Of course, car dice are tacky, but where did they come from. They’re among the first items sold to be hung from a rear-view mirror, and before they were fluffy, they were made of a polystyrene material. Most source agree that they started in Glendale, California but opinions are divided about whether they started in 1959 or 1952. Either way, the question is, WHY? Why on earth do we need to hang a pair of fuzzy dice where they can swing in our way?
Perhaps part of the reason they leave a bad taste in our mouth is that people who have these decorations are actually more likely to get in an accident. Traditional thought is that it’s young, drivers of hot-rods, which at one time is who was most likely to decorate their cars in such a manor. But that’s not strictly true anymore.
Brief History of Fuzzy Dice
The reasoning for this is that car dice or fluffy dice originated from US airmen during WWII, which would explain the association with flashy young men who take risks. Although several board games make use of just one die, car die must be in pairs. And while many games use dice the proper display of car dice is so that they display some combination that totals seven, leading to the obvious theory that it alludes to playing craps.
Maybe there should be more research done on whether woman hang dice in their cars, but typically this is associated with dudes. Online sources (and we all know how reliable these are!) link the practice with “hot rods;” and since its associated with people who “feel the need for speed” cements the link to airmen. This might not be reliable evidence, but it seems logical.
Nowadays both young and old have dice on their mirror – and you are more likely to have dice if you are of the older persuasion. Many men who couldn’t afford their dream car when they were new discover in retirement they can afford them. And if you want the exact car you wanted as a teenager you want the fuzzy dice that were on the hanging on the mirror back when you first saw them.
The Golden 80s
The golden age of car kitsch was the 1980’s with nodding dogs on dashboards, items stuck to the windows and bumper stickers. This was the time of the “fluffy pink dice.” If the drive to have such items was to express your individuality, then it lost its ability to satisfy as soon as everyone had them. The ultimate, flash in the pan, fad, that faded into a cliché, but never completely left.
The fad found a second life in “pimping” up the inside of your car (though there are more stylish and less obvious ways to achieve this). A reference to “pimp dice” can be found in the Urban Dictionary in 2007, but it probably originates with certain TV and movie characters like Huggee Bear from Starsky and Hutch.
Not all states support the hanging of the two dice. In Minnesota it is illegal to drive with this “tag” when the car is in motion. A citation or warning may be given if a car is being driven with anything from the rear-view mirror, be it dice, air fresheners or whatever as it may obscure your view.
The latest innovation seems to be using these fluffy dice as a speaker system. Giving them a purpose is a good idea, but generally a car’s speaker system is built-in. Probably more of a novelty.