The other day I was at brunch with Jay, one of my best guy friends, having a juicy conversation basically about hair and men. I wore a curly twist out and by this point my hair was stretched for the gawds. Yes!
The conversation stemmed from the point that the waiter seemed nervous when taking my order. He seemed fine taking my very flamboyant friend’s order, so we were curious as to why his entire demeanor shifted with mine.
I just said maybe it was his first day. Jay, however, gave an entire verbal list that he compiled in a matter of seconds, “1. he was blocked by your amazing beauty; 2. He was uncomfortable after taking my order (Jay’s a very flirty homosexual); or 3. He was intimidated by your natural hair.”
“Huh? Wait, how is my natural hair intimidating?!”
At this point, the rest of the time at brunch consisted of mimosas and the so called intimidation factor of natural hair.
Jay is an extremely observant individual. His argument was that he notices whether we’re out for food or out shopping that guys react differently to different styles. If I wear my hair in a poof, I look younger so I may not get approached. If I wear my hair in braids or throw on straight wig*, it’s more approachable. But sometimes, depending on the setting, if I wear a full curly fro it may come off as “oh she loves herself, her culture, and is about business.”
I found this hilarious but so true. I do love myself, my culture and will take care of business. What’s wrong with demanding respect?
He even went so far to say one time when we were out at Potomac Mills that he used the restroom and overheard guys in there talking about me. Saying that I was beautiful but probably wouldn’t give them the time of day so why waste their time. What! Because of the way I wore my hair?!
Before this conversation I had never heard this. I mean I’m pretty friendly and would say that I’m approachable, even when wearing my natural.
While of course the opinions brought up in this conversation were from his point of view and not everyones, I’m curious. Do you think some men find natural hair intimidating or that it demands respect? Or do you think it depends entirely on the setting?
Karen Mcneal says
Wow, very interesting. I have locs and moved to the southwest, it seems like men are intimidated by me and just stare.
Patrick Jutz Marylilia Nsameka says
It may not be the hair that directly intimidates men but the self confidence that you exude while wearing your beautiful natural hair.
Faith Brown says
Without makeup.. Pure confidence and natural beauty
Karen Mcneal says
Believe it or not I am in my mid40’s with loc half way down my back AND I barely wear makeup?. I am ultraly beautiful w/o makeup. So I guess some men are intimidated by my inner beauty/self worth, and strong educated mind.
Keys Jones says
I had that said to me before, by an ex. Others have said it in the past as well.
Julisa Young says
I’ve never thought about this. I’m still learning how to feel confident with my natural hair in styles other than straightened or blow outs. Currently I’m working on redefining my curls. But I do agree that the confidence we feel with our hair can be conveyed via our body language/persona.
Suzette Powell says
maybe in a American but not in Jamaica man like natural hair woman alway natural never have a problem fining a man never
Valerie Johnson says
So true Jamaican men are appreciative of black women’s beauty.
You are absolutely right about that………they think we are sexy when wearing our hair natural.
Amir Willow says
It’s intimidating cause he can’t focus on how SEXY her azz look sporting it
Nikki Dixon says
I must chime in. I have a very large natural hair that I love!!!!! When I wear my natural I feel empowered. My makeup and outfits are in sync with my fro. I noticed men never approach me with my natural hair. Recently I took a break (got a little lazy) and wore a wig…they loved that. I straightened my fro to get a trim and they love that too. Many of my colleagues like it too. I mentioned this to some of my peers and they agreed that the reaction was true for them too. Many opt to wear straight hair or weave.
I love the flexibility of my hair, but I chose my fro. I guess I will have to take an L on flirting when I wear it. My fro/natural is everything!!!!
Dana Wilson says
I think while women of color have embraced our own standard of beauty, most men have not caught up with us. They feel conflicted, because society has dictated what is supposed to be beautiful, yet there’s so many women of color living outside of that standard and rocking it! They see it, recognize it, yet are intimidated by it. I love it! Be fearful of my beauty and my power, I am woman, hear me ROAR 🙂
Dania Coleras says
why are men such cowards..no wonder they only go after bummy women, smh i guess ill never stand a chance in this dating world
I’ve noticed that when I wear my natural hair out in a puff, older men seem to find me more attractive, but when I have a straight type wig or my hair straightened, men close to my age (18yrs old) find me attractive.
I guess it all depends on the man and their age. Older men I feel appreciate natural, African beauty, but when it comes to younger men they like the beauty that society applauds such as the straight, long silky hair.
I kind of agree.i. I’m a 60s kid who wore a HUGE fro in 70s & 80’s. A lot of hair & black pride back then, just look at old Soul Train videos & Pam Grier as Foxy Brown. Even the white kids at my college tried to grow Afros . Guys loved them & carried picks in their back pockets. All those baby boomer guys…..and girls…… are now in their 40s – 70s & still love the look & are happy to see the natural hair boom. HOWEVER ! When the crack epidemic of the late 80s – 90s hit our communities, drug use destroyed many lives & families, too many teen girls had babies & didn’t know how to raise them, rap became nasty & misogynistic, & black pride vanished in favor of the old self hate. It was back to light vs dark skin, good hair vs bad hair & other negativity. Remember the prevalence of light skinned wavy/curly haired girls in rap videos? I was teaching then ( now retired) & we teachers noticed the change in black kids’ behavior. Blacks were not passing down our positive culture & pride to their kids. When I retired a few years ago many elementary boys were ridiculing black girls … and even us teachers…for wearing wigs, extensions, locs, braids & natural hair & we often had to read them the riot act. Negativity took over & black on black crime increased & is still a major problem. Many of today’s young men grew up in this new world & are stuck on white beauty standards & “good hair” & have difficulty dealing with black women who embrace their natural hair & beauty. We who wore Afros back in the day love it & have no problem & are wearing natural hair again.
This is true. I’m a 70 baby, so i know what you are talking about. My mom worked in the welfare/child support system, so she saw many of these immature young mothers being able to leave their homes; go out on their own with section 8; etc. When I was in college (late 80s/early 90s) & going to a HBCU, we had our Black power moment; natural hair (short fro); holistic living (vegetarian, vegan, etc.); Black pride etc.; & then some time in the mid-to-late 90s the thug movement came along. But by that time, i entered the military, & started living overseas.
That was a very informative, well thought of statement that you wrote. As an 18yr old, it was interesting reading about the changes in black pride, natural hair movement, etc.
You are right, my generation is generation of negativity towards our own kind. Hopefully, we can get back to black pride and embracing who we are as African American people without judging how light or dark our skin is or whether or not we have good or bad hair. What people need to remember is that we are all God’s children and that we should be proud of our skin complexion, our kinky, coily hair, etc.
Is that you in the main photo for this article?
ladee neenah says
I think it is the attitude and the energy that we exude. For me, I’ve found that my natural hair journey has bolstered my awareness of my self and now I exude confidence. I’ve been told that I have an energy around me and I think that is what attracts or repels, not the look of the hair in and of itself.
ladee neenah says
Men are not so complicated as all that. They tend to take us as individuals, not lumped together as a group like we do to them. When they see a woman, they see that woman and the greatest part of what makes her attractive is what she feels about herself. If she feels she is beautiful regardless of hair, clothes or makeup, they can sense that and tend to respond accordingly.