I hope you’re all doing well, whichever corner of the world you’re currently in.
You may have guessed from the post title, and if you’ve been following the series, you’ll definitely know that this post will focus on my experiences of how having natural hair has influenced my interactions with guys.
So what’s the issue?
Many people (both male and female) will be quick to jump in and assert that how I choose to wear my hair couldn’t possibly influence the way members of the opposite sex approach me, but the more sceptical among us will know that it most definitely can. Our hair, like everything (e.g. our clothes, our walk and our talk) will aid people in forming an image and opinion of us. Before I “went natural”, this wasn’t something that I thought about, questioned or to be frank, even cared about. However, after I cut my hair, it was almost impossible to miss.
The old days…
I’ve always had qualms with the way some (boys that think they are) men approach women, especially when the poor woman happens to be me. I’ve been called “sweetness”, “oi”, “babes”, hissing noises and much worst things when I refused to engage with this type of boy (yes I mean boy!).
Well, now things are different – noticeably so. Sometimes I still get the odd hissing noise, but when most guys approach me, they tend to be more respectful, have better manners, compliment me on my hair, and praise me for going for “the natural look”. I get called “sister” and “queen” and the guys tend to ask “what do you do?” as opposed to “where do you live?” – which gives the impression that they are genuinely interested in learning about me, rather than just finding out if I’m local.
Don’t get me wrong, I much prefer this type of guy, an actual man, but I can’t help but wonder why the massive disparity.
Does my hair really affect guys that much?
Ok, so here are my thoughts.
- I highly doubt that guys are choosing to speak to me differently now that my hair is natural. I do however think that I am attracting a different type of guy – guys that prefer “the natural look”.
- It’s not all guys. From my experience, I’ve only really seen a change in a way black guys approach me. The attention I get from guys from other ethnicities seems to have been largely unaffected, with a few additional complements.
- The anti-weave guys thing that I’m one of them. There’s this new wave of men that are anti-weave for some reason or another. I’m not, but when I wear my natural hair out, they assume that I must also be anti-weave. This new wave of men seem to have an admiration of me wearing my hair this way, as if I am making a stand against weave and single handily upholding the memory of their ancestors or something. I think this is another reason why they use words like “queen” and “natural beauty”, because they genuinely appreciate my hair in its natural form.
- Again, people like to make assumptions. In my experience both guys and ladies think that with the big chop comes a new attitude or persona. I’ve been told I look “Afrocentric” and asked if I’m pan-African or whatever. It’s highly likely that guys are now approaching me this way because they think that’s what I will be receptive to. They’re just trying to give themselves the best odds, and if I’m honest, I probably am more receptive to it.
- I’m not getting any younger and thankfully neither are the guys that approach me. It may just be the case that as I’m getting older, I’m starting to attract older, (and hopefully) more mature men, who respect and understand women more.
In all honesty, I’m not sure and I can’t say for certain why this shift has occurred. For the most part, I’m glad it has, but I also hate the idea of my hair defining someone’s perception of me. I do however absolutely love respectful men*, so overall, I can’t say I’m terribly upset by the current state of affairs. I do however wonder whether there are key factors that determine the way guys approach us and whether my straight-haired sisters are now getting or even want the same treatment.
Would be keen to know what you guys think. Have you experienced this? What do you think the reasons are? Let me know!
Thanks for reading all
Lola (African Remy)
*Especially when they are tall, dark and have abs like little cubes of dairy milk chocolate.