My Natural Hair is a Man Trap

So I have embraced my natural hair for about six years now. During this time I have noticed a peculiar pattern. Men really love my hair in certain styles more then others. There is talk about how natural hair is not as appealing to men as straight hair (most can’t tell the difference between a perm or a blowout). But that issue is not what I am responding to.

When it comes to my hair, men like it a very specific way. You would think they would be partial to WNG, or day old twist outs. But I have noticed that I get more eye contact, smiles and numbers when I look busted.

Yes busted. I mean 10-day-old WNG curls, pulled into a ponytail, begging to be detangled, dim, straggly, and as thirsty as a whale in the dessert. Need I say more? As odd as this may sound, men love it. I have developed three possible theories to explain this phenomenon.

The Control group:

I walk out of the house looking fly. My usual go to style is business causal. No heels during the weekday. My hair is slick, jumbo curls or WNG. I prefer wearing it slightly wild and big. I go to the mall, the gas station and a quick trip to the grocery store.

Results:

[heartlist]

  • 5 smiles
  • 1 greeting and a smile
  • and few odd stares (creepers need love too)
  • And Maybe the occasional one liner but not from total strangers.

[/heartlist]

The Test Group:

I roll out bed into baggy sweats. I walk the dog, which pulls me through a puddle, graciously sharing a pre-bath-soak. Wearing a high bun/lose pineapple, I towel off just before running out to get some milk. By the time I reach the store, my hair is falling down trying to remind me that a serious shampoo is way over due. (What can I say; some days I am a lazy natural.)

The Results:

[heartlist]

  • 4 smiles
  • 3 greetings and a smile
  • 2 numbers (one of whom I may just call ;)
  • And the regular stares (probably from people wondering if I was homeless)

[/heartlist]

Theory # 1:

Fairly well off men have approached me when I looked my worst. They may be thinking: “Here is a diamond in the rough. I can take her home, clean her up and set her on my shelf. I have a lot to offer her. And I can change her life. Excuse me miss..” I don’t care what anyone says, men love to feel like super heroes.

Theory # 2:

Men feel comfortable approaching me when I do not look like a Diva on a Mission. Maybe that look is somewhat intimidating. They may be thinking: “ Here is a chick who is pretty good looking, but not high maintenance. She is confident enough to come out of the house with out make up or a brush. She seems nice and has smiled at me. Excuse me miss…”

Theory # 3:

When I look my best I am usually headed somewhere important. This may give off an “I am busy, don’t bother me” vibe. Men may not notice the flaws I think I have when I look rough. It may just be that when I look rough I am also relaxed. Those are the times I really couldn’t give a care in the world. And all I want is all I already have. This disposition is very appealing and disarming. It can be unnerving to approach a woman. A calm vibe may enable them. They may be thinking: “OH YEAH!! Excuse me miss…”

This is all just speculation. So I am writing this to see if there is anyone out there who agrees or disagrees with me.

Comment Questions:

[checklist]

  • Has this happened to you?
  • Which of your usual hairstyles do men seem to respond to the most?
  • If they were attracted to messy looks, would you ever be willing to slum down?
  • Think back to the times you were hit on, what were you wearing? Do you see a pattern?

[/checklist]

If you are a man, please feel free to shed some light on this subject as well

Author: Jocelyn Duke

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23 Comments

  1. I must concur with this article!!…I was on the BART(the Bay Area’s Subway) and I decided that morning that I was going to wear basically a mumu and my hair clean, big and curly…do you know even the white man conducting the BART was trying to holler. I was like DAMN…Im going to stop spending hours in the mirror!!…I was meeting qualities…and I didnt feel that confident!!!…I was hoping that I didnt see anybody that I knew!! By the time I got to my destination I felt like Jill Scott!!!…and it opened a whole new world of comfort up for me!!

    I will NEVER relax my hair again!!!

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  2. I agree totally with this article, men love natural hair, I’m only 18 and I know how guys at my uni ridicule weaves and other hair extension hairstyles. My boyfriend loves when I wear my braids, but even more so my TWA…though its only about 7 inches long LOL!

    A nice read thanks! :)

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  3. Yep. It was at the time I was still being relaxed. I was going to visit a friend ( whom was also a hairdresser) and it was hot in FL and I didn’t have a working air conditioner in my car, so I rolled the windows down. Which meant my hair was blowing every which way and I didn’t think to smooth it down and whatever as I was walking into the mall. This HOT guy Spanish I think) was totally checking me out, to he point I felt myself blush because there were other put together women in that mall and I was wearing my jeans and t-shirt with sneakers. The same thing happens here in Korea (natural now) Seems the people prefer my afro puff and twists / twist outs to other styles. I get more attention than I do with braids or a sew in.

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    • Yep!!!! I am so happy to see so many people share a similar experience !! I have been playing around with this theory, and due to your positive responses, I think its time for a follow up article!

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  4. Jason, thank you, it’s refreshing to hear such a positive point, from the man’s POV!!! I too can agree with what you have stated. I AM MY HAIR, but not to the point where it cripples me into thinking, however I chose to style it, it could be the determining factor on whether a man approaches me or not. I tend to also agree, while men are visual creatures, as a married woman, most men I have dated and my husband, love my hair, no matter how I wear it! My husband tells me all the time, he just loves that it is so thick! I have been wearing my coarse strands relaxed and healthy for years, without any outstanding issues and it works for me. I have entertained maybe going natural once I am much older, but for now, I’ll maintain. It is what works for me and while I don’t like it bone straight, I like it with some kink to it, yet relaxed. I don’t hate myself, nor my ancestry. I have embraced the entire me, not just my hair.

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  5. As I read this all I could do was LOL… I Am faced with the same dilema daily and its good to know I am not the only one. I am dating someone now and he always lets me know how beautiful I am and How wonderful it is that I really embrace my natural beauty and have not allowed society to dictate to me and all that jazz… Im sure you can tell just by the little ive told you he would have fit right in during the 70’s pro-black movement.. anyhoo… I decided ( spur of the moment thing) to blow my hair out to see how much length I had over the past few months. Well to my dismay I really thought it would be a welcomed change from soft as cotton to smoothe as silk. No MAAM!!! He looked and stared for almost an hour trying to figure out what to say and all he could come upe with was… UMM I think your hair looks nice and its really soft but when are you gonna make it nappy again? SHOCKED.COM!!! yes he used the nappy. Poor dear couldn’t come up with anything else but nappy… SMH!LOL!

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  6. Thank you for posting this. I have thought this odd oto, but i also take pride in it, it makes me feel good.

    I have found that when im looking all kinds of crazy, braid outs fully transformed into a curly fro, that i get the most reactions from people. My natural hair has made me stand out for some reason. I get many more compliments for it and curious questions. I am enjoying the overall experience. It is most definitely a booster throughout the day when im feeling a mess and my guy friends smile or want to play in my hair. (i think its too cute their so amazing at the softness and versatility of natural hair.)

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  7. Many men seem to embrace natural hairstyles better than females. My ex loves my natural hair…no extensions just natural. When we were together, I kept my hair short (a la Halle Berry), but after we broke up, I got a new attitude. Why my new guy doesn’t particularly like the au naturale look, it’s what I’m working with. Today I’m rocking a fro…and like the author, I’ve got quite a few compliments…and a couple of “if he’s so in to you…and you’re not married, let me take you out…”

    All in all, even though it takes some getting used to (especially in the professional world), I love the freedom of being natural!

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  8. We all know men don’t really want to work too hard or feel like if I get with this woman I might have to part with some money..the whole “high maintenance” thing. But really if a man sees me and I am all done up, apparently I can handle my own high maintenence. Natural and no make up does not mean I am easier to get a long with it and if he really feels that way it is not who I need.

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  9. I noticed this too especially when i rock a fro, i actually asked a male friend why he kept smiling at my hair and he said it was just so refreshing to see someone carry a natural and feel darn good about it(shrug). the smiles i get when i walk by still baffles me??

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  10. well i dont have any experiences to post…but my close friend (who is a male) saw my hair (naturally braided down) and told me bluntly…”you need to wear your own hair…do that Erykah Badu thing…i like that better than them wigs you be wearing!”….he made me promise for New Year 2012 that i rock my own hair…and i am..no more wigs (well not so much anyway…lol

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  11. I can’t believe some of these remarks. I take care of my health and my looks for me. If they notice, ok. My mother always taught me pride in my appearance. I also disagree with looking good equals being fake or obnoxious. I try to treat people with respect and dignity and expect the same.
    I don’t put too much stock in what men say they like. If men like natural everything so much how come so many pornographic magazines and websites are making money? Someone is looking. So, don’t just judge a book by its cover. There are fake people wearing their own natural locks as well as those covered in store bought hair. I am genuine regardless. I am not my hair.

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    • I completely agree with you my mother taught me the same thing, when I get dressed in the morning I put on what makes me feel good, that includes mascara, and a little oil in my hair for a nice even shine. I love decorating my hair with clips and such, I had very few complements when I was natural, though when I started straightening it and styling it with my own flair I had complements numbers and such pouring in. I love myself and I feel equally as comfortable in high-heels and a dress as I would in my track outfit.

      -Adeenah, High school student :>

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    • I agree with you. And I am glad you take pride in your appearance, as I do. To me it makes little difference if I am in sweats or in a suit, I’m comfortable in my own skin either way, What most people are mussing at here is the varying reactions they have received, not much else, sure those pre-fade images of women have to appeal to someone for them to make any money off it, But I wonder how many of those women (walking around in the real world) feel on a day to day basis. Being human, its almost impossible to not jump to some conclusion about a person’s appearance, in spite of the fact that books, by their cover, are rarely ever read properly. Thanks for the comment I appreciate your diverse opinion.

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  12. men have informed me that they prefer when girls are more “natural” (i.e. – little or no make-up, their own hair, less dressy) because it’s more honest in a way. the women who are done up look pretty for that moment, but they have no way of knowing what they look like without all the decoration. when they wake up in bed together & the make-up is gone, she’s in between weaves & the scarf fell off over night, it could be scary. if a girl can look amazing on her own she will always look amazing, and it shows confidence to be naturally you & not concerned what people think. men don’t like all the self-esteem related baggage many women come with.

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    • I love my girlfriend and she wears the all natural look. She is attractive without make up. The all natural look rocks.

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      • Thanks for the comment! :D

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  13. Hey Girl,

    I’ve noticed the exact same thing, but not just from men. When I’m on my A game I get practically nothing. No one comments on my hair the day I wash it. BUT if I don’t comb my hair for a few days (this happens pretty often), men and women alike compliment me. I tell people all the day, people love my hair when it hasn’t been combed in three or more days.

    I’d say intimidated the hot look (unless you’re at a fashion event. They will love you there).

    I have noticed that black men love my hair curly. Natural. But that all depends on their philosophy/politics/culture. My LA Ex liked it straight, though he enjoyed the curls. My NY men love it curly, but like the straight look too. Women tend to like it straight. I think that’s due to brainwashing – because they also seem to envy my curls.

    Who knows…it’s all weird to me.

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  14. Hiya Jocelyn

    I thought about what you wrote and have to agree that with all my relationships that lasted I had made no effort whatsoever when I’d first me my victim, lol. I can’t remember what my hair was like apart from the last time when I was wearing a scarf. The other times I am sure I had my hair in two strand twists just hanging, I’m not very inventive when it comes to my hair and I never used to wear makeup, not even mascara.

    It’s good to know I now don’t have to make any effort to meet a man. It would be great if you had posted pics of the styles you were wearing on your test days.

    Nats.

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  15. I agree. My female family members and I frequently note this phenomenon. It’s very strange. I suppose like De said, it just seems approachable. They may be intimidated by females who look like they are the hottest thing on the planet and they know it. Think about it, if you feel really confident in how you look, most of the time you won’t give the time of day to the average Joe. It’s usually accompanied by an attitude. Most men don’t think of themselves as more than the average Joe unless they are a bit arrogant or have the superhero complex for those worthwhile gentlemen that approach us.

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  16. I find this sooo funny. I have noticed the times I have gotten approached THE MOST, was when I rocked a short cut. Now that I am natural, I don’t get alot of stares as before. But when I do, they are usually when my hair is pulled back out of my face, like a high bun or twists in an updo. To be very honest, I think it has alot to do with how comfortable you feel about yourself with any hairstyle you rock. I feel my most comfortable and confident when my hair is pulled back out of my face and I am not trying too hard. Plus, it is a simple look men can relate too. It looks approachable.

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  17. i definetly agree with this post, sometimes youll come out looking a hot mess and guys will still approach, its really baffling to me, i guess we’re never looking as bad as we think we do, since they still approach

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    • I am a guy and I say some of us guys appreciate women for more than how teir hair looks. Personality and confidence are more appealing to me than a woman’s hair. Some women can have a bad hair day and still be appealing. It is a shame we live in a society that judges a woman based on her hair. The mosy important thing is who she is in the inside. Plus a woman with a bad hair day is easier to approach. it is intimidating when a women is hot looking.

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