Does Your Hair Play a Part in the Way Men Approach You?

63 comments
October 12, 2011 ‐ By

Is it just me, or does natural hair force men to find a new way to “holler” at women?

Of course, this isn’t a short PSA on the benefits of having natural hair. Be sure to stick to with what works for and looks good on you ladies. But honestly, I’ve noticed that when you’re sporting whatever your definition of natural hair is, the same old “Mack daddy” lines don’t seem to be good enough for some brothas to use anymore. And I know I’m not the only one who has noticed.

While talking to a fellow writer I recently met about her beautiful dreadlocks–locks she says she put in herself–the conversation turned to her encounters with men since she decided to change her hair. She said, “It’s funny. It’s like the dynamics of how men approach you are totally different.” She later went on to tell me that a lot of the compliments she received from men would start with her hair, and a few men had tried to call her “goddess” of all things because of her locks. While she was somewhat flattered, it was still kind of weird to her. She had a point.

Just that day on my way to the train, a guy walking with who I originally thought to be his girlfriend, broke out of a conversation with her to turn around and say to me: “I like that ‘fro, it’s beautiful.” Startled, since I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on with my BlackBerry at the time, I just gave a weird face and simply said, “Uh, thanks.” But this happens often. Instead of using the usual, “Hey ma,” “Wait a minute, can I talk to you,” or doing that horrible kissing noise sound, I’ve heard and even noticed from a lot of my own interactions with men that natural hair becomes the focal point, and their way to get your attention. Catching you off guard in what is deemed as a positive way, they talk about your hair first so they have a better chance at selling themselves. Well played.

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  • Miesha

    Loved this article!

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  • Cultart

    I agree , I am not sure if the girl can take any compliment.  I am 55 years old with locks.  I am glad for a compliment.  But back in my day, it would all depend on my mood, if if a brother noticed my other attribute that they love.  It might put a smile on my face.  Men are visual creatures.  Relax, it is all good as long as they do not think they get to touch.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LMDJBVQT7URMQNBISXGOF73QTU MixedUpSiciliano

    I”m not trying to start something real, but I began growing my locks some time. As I began having the courage to wear them in public (They got longer) I noticed that men did not approach me in the same light. When I wore wigs/weaves, it was a whole different experience. Sometimes I’ll wear my locks wrapped up in a long African print scarf. Sometimes I’ll wear them out. I notice how men approach me now in comparison when I did not wear my locks and to be honest (not because of them mostly) I feel more confident. The other day I decided to throw a wig on for the hell of it when I went to dinner with girls. I felt so uncomfortable and phony. It felt disgusting. I really can’t see myself every wearing anything but my natural hair. Adios. 

  • Lady D

    Men don't care about the length of a woman's hair. They admire it if its neat and looks healthy. The secret is to be
    cute in the FACE and small in the WAIST

  • Bianca

    Thank you Maurice for that!

  • Bianca

    This is a dumb article. Clearly MN Editor, you are an idiot. Men don't like fake. They prefer natural. Stop looking at everything in such a negative way. It's a simple compliment. Say thanks and move on. Sounds like you are insecure about your hair. If you really need to question why a man is complimenting you about your natural hair, you have a problem with you.

  • MissMix

    I'm 5 yrs natural underneath my wigs and weaves and yes, I do get approached differently depending on which look I'm rocking. Hands down men prefer my weaves. Don't get me wrong, I do get complimented when I wear my natural hair, but it's very infrequent and like the author said, the compliments are more geared toward "my confidence" and they tend to sound contrived. I'm called "queen" and "sista" when I'm natural, but I'm called "cutie", "gorgeous" or "good looking" when I wear the staight weaves. *shrugs* Go figure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512619736 Tiana Council

    In college, I found that Black men paid me more attention when my hair was straightened. However, when my hair was natural, I didn't get the time of day lol…but now that I'm in the workforce, I get "hollered" at…but I don't think it has anything to do with my hair…

  • Talib

    As a black man I began reading this article with a slight smile and a bit of hope, but by the end I realized it was the same negative nonsense that has been spewed by our "sistas" for too long. I personally think its beautiful when black women embrace their natural selves be it with natural hair, no make up, or even a more natural clothing style. Why cant the compliment just be accepted for what it is? Why cant we appreciate the beauty in your curl or in your locks? Do me a favor and love yourself more so I can love you better.

  • MsDdre

    Something for black women to understand:

    We are constantly judged by the Eurocentric Beauty Standard, so when many of us use perms, spend money on Brazilian blowouts, and don the straight hair extensions, know that you are being judged and ranked by Eurocentric standards.

    However, when a black woman wears her hair natural, there's nothing they they can judge it on.

    It forces them to put you in a new category, as one who doesn't adhere to the Eurocentric beauty standard, and doing so in the FIERCEST way possible.

    It's something that they cannot judge, because they can't use the EBS to rank your beauty. It's something that they're not used to, thus making it rather threatening to those who like to think the negative things about a black woman's image, particularly her hair.

    Our beauty is a threat. Wear your natural hair with pride, but only if you choose to do so….

    We're beautiful and a force to be reckoned with, but only when more black women realize it will it begin to stick.

  • Fango

    i don't see how it would…

    Daily Situations that Bring Out the Racist in All of Us http://goo.gl/2EZuc <too TRUE!

  • http://twitter.com/dionneclifton @dionneclifton

    I think men are just pleasantly pleased to see a woman who has gone natural. Seeing a women gloriously wearing her hair as it grows from her head may just be an affirmation in his spirit- reminding him of and reconnecting him to his own beauty.

  • Kayla

    idk i wear wigs and weaves, but I still get approached. I guess when you look at someone you can tell if that person is sincere, and im honest to god a sincere person, pleasant person to be around. it;s sort of like a vibe a person gives out, But natural hair is always beautiful. I guess it all depends on the person's vibe.

    • somethingdifferent

      she didn't say natural women are the only ones who get approached, the point of the article was women who go natural notice a difference in how they are approached…

  • Junjun

    i don't see how your hair would make men approach you a different way….:/

    Apple Giving away the new iPhone in Honor of Steve Jobs Death (founder of Apple) http://goo.gl/37gBi . i just went ahead & got 2..next 24hrs ONLY! lol

  • Envied

    Great article. Interesting POV.

  • jjac401

    I agree with you Maurice – and thank you for your opinion. I have noticed that since I have cut my long permed hair off this year, I have notices that I get alot more complements. At first I was so surprised, but I think that it is because of the confidence that shines through. Mature women know that men are drawn to confidence.

  • Real le

     It is very interesting when a man – sided prospective becomes a woman’s opinion.. In and fact most of her position was societal experiments not by any conclusion she gained by deduction.. She, the writer, purposely framed the indicted, the male opposite as if he had no better intentions than to as one of the commentators posted F!/k your naps straight. But truth be told from one opinionated male to a woman with HPD ( Histrionic Personality Disorder ) men some not all have the means of determining if the woman is pursuable or if it’s a try it or fail.. The hair shows confidence and whether she’s a fad or fashion type of girl. Differentiating between a woman who can articulate individuality and expression or com form-inanity and passiveness.. We are at times deemed to the choosing of the more accessible that the best suitable. So in theory we tend to lean to a more natural doo because we may be lucky enough to get an expressionist plus a down to earth confident woman not the keep up with the jones’s think that I more than him he needs to get a life I can do bad by myself he don’t make no money he got to want something because he told me my hair look nice kind of chick. 

  • http://yahoo.com rose

    proud of my blackness and would never change my hair (natural stage) or any body oarts to look like another race, all thats does is show that they have what i want.. how insecure can these people be, but yet they are called the besuty standard in society.. gimme a break!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/XxWarriorGoddess1981xX Natasha Thomas

    I went natural back in January and ever since I have been getting hit on by men and my boyfriend loves my afro. He tells me I look more down to earth with the natural look and I'm know I look more beautiful natural. Glad to get rid of the relaxer.

  • Dogma2011

    I've worn my hair natural for almost 6 years. Yes, my hair used to affect how a man approached me,but was it flattering to me-no. Many of the men had pre-concieved notions of who I was and how I would fit into their world. I would prefer to be complimented on my face or overall look ( "You are very pretty, " for example…). There were many assumptions because of my hair. Some examples…

    Assumption: She will understand and treat her man as a king/ Fact: a brother is NOT my king. I believe in partnerships, not what a woman's place is supposed to be.

    Assumption: She is low maintenance, doesn't care that I'm broke, won't ask me for money./ Fact: I do expect you to have a job and you should pay for the dates.

    Assumption: She is down with the cause, or black muslim faith, and understands how the man is holding me back./ Fact: I am proud to be a black woman, but I'm actually Buddhist and don't care for the muslim religion, and although you may have to fight harder, only YOU can hold yourself back.

    Now, how the hell they got all this from natural hair is beyond me…

    In any NORMAL culture, hair shouldn't be at the forefront of your dating experience. When I was dating my husband I asked what he thought of my hair. He reply was, " IM A MAN, WHY AM I SUPPOSED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT HOW YOU WEAR YOUR HAIR? ALL I KNOW IS YOU LOOK GOOD TO ME…

    I think that's how you know a man is not full of bs…

    • Alex

      LOL died at the "Now, how the hell they got all this from natural hair is beyond me…" I don't know either – but i def experienced it! even with just my genie locs – the types of brothers that were coming to me expected EXACTLY those three things! :) tell it girl!

    • Bianca

      Why did you feel the need to put all your business out there? And if a man refers to you as his Queen he expects you to refer to him as your King.

      • Guest

        "And if a man refers to you as his Queen he expects you to refer to him as your King. "

        Yeah, I don't understand her problem with that.

  • JTL

    This is silly. Women get approached for a million different reasons and the way they are approached depends on different factors. I wear my hair in all different kinds of ways, depending on my mood. Of course when I was young, I got approached with the "whats up shawty?" "hey redbone!" I was a younger woman and probably carried myself as such. Now that I'm a woman who takes no nonsense and is about her business, I get approached very differently and by a different kind of man. "Hoodboogers" although they may look, don't even approach me anymore, they don't bother b/c they know they don't stand a chance. The only men who approach me come off as gentleman and let me know they are trying to prove themselves worthy of my time.

    • dana

      Same here

    • JustAshley

      Thank you! Same here. Its often about how you carry yourself.

  • http://www.facebook.com/OneWomanShow.Hollywood Tiffany B Poppins

    Being of the 'low-boy' cut clan I have been approached in ways that I do not even want to repeat. But I do often get the 'it takes a lot of confidence' and 'your hair really compliments your face' etc. I am often flattered because I do not get compliments often and I am very cordial. Sometimes it buds a conversation and sometimes it does not. But I appreciate being recognized for being myself. My mother dislikes my hair cut, my 3 year old niece calls me boy but I could careless i love my hair, or lack there of, and one day no time soon I will grow it back.

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  • Loretta

    I agree with this article based on experience! For the last nine years I have worn my hair loced. I have my waist length locs colored, washed, re-twisted and styled at a salon every 4 to 6 weeks. I have had men ask me why I messed my hair up like that. I worked for a black man who never said he did not like my hair but did everything short of firing me because of it. I get complements from black men every now and then but for the most part I find black men are more attaracted to women with weaves braids and straight hair. It does not bother me as much as it did when I first stated my locs because if a man has a problem with my hair I don't want to talk to him anyway

  • Ms. Eee

    This article is very interesting and it has some truth to it. Because I have natural hair (locs) and since I have been growing them the approach from men are very different but in a good way. But that doesn't mean anything but I do see the difference totally! My favorite line "I love ur hair, I love a natural woman." Lol Whatever!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000614211150 Verna Bonaparte Mitchell

    and we wonder why article upon article are written about 'angry black women'. madame noire bloggers are WAAAAYYY too contradictory for anyone to take seriously.

  • Brodie

    I can't say it ain't true. I like it though-who wouldn't like a little flattery.

  • Stanley

    Yes your hair play a role in the way men approach you. Because as a man, I only approach natural hair black women. And all my ex girl friend have been black and natural. I don't make any apology for loving certain African features like booty, lips and curly hair.

    • bhillboy37

      WORD!

    • http://yahoo.com rose

      Thank you Stanley, because i am a natural girl, natural hair, natural full lips, natural round curvy donk booty and im very proud of it, i would neve ever change anything about me to look like another race, not my skin color , hair, lips, butt, face , nose NOTHING,, Im black and i'm proud and always will be and its good to see and hear black men appreciate their black queens and not run to fake butts, lips and fske skin color.

  • crazybabymamas

    Yeah, you'll get the compliments for your short or natural hair BUT who are they dating..yep, the ones with the fake long hair…real IF they're lucky! HA
    http://crazybabymamas.com/

    • Get in Gear

      LOL I was just getting ready to comment on that. They will comment on our natural hair, but wouldn't want us seen with them. The hypocrisy. To be honest, many men simply give compliments because they think they are doing us a favor, or are trying to be "nice". Half of the times they don't mean it.

  • xquiste.dee.lyte

    I've always worn my hair natural. When I was high school, I used to be insecure about it because all the "cute girls" had hair flipped, permed, and weaved up. I wore mine it in a ponytail, or cute cornrow and twisty styles, or sometimes flat ironed (which would only last three days tops. LOL)

    As I hit college, I rocked my fill thick 'fro. I've gotten a lot of compliments from the brothas , and non-black men too,

    Sometimes it was simply that. No pick up line or nothing to follow; just an acknowledgment of natural hair.
    Just dudes sayin "wow.. Your hair is beautiful that way." I would tell all or them, even those who were tryna holla, thank you with a big respectful smile.

    I know we girls are on guard a lot from the " aye ma, lemme holla" dudes, but still at least they are taking time to acknowledge you. The best thing to do is say thank you with a genuine smile and keep it moving, even if you don't want to be bothered.

  • KISSING UP

    Hair is sexual display. Without the artifice of wig, weave & chemical straightening, a man imagines he is sampling the real you. And the beauty of your bloodline.

    • http://Bossip.com Danna

      Who cares what men think. Be comfortable with you and others will follow.

  • L-Boogie

    Thank you, MN for the article. I found more men admire my hair. It has allowed me to do more activities and more versatility.

    • KISSING UP

      Plus natural hair stays on your head longer. Tragic how I see receding hairlines on sistas up in the haircare/ wig stores on 125th St. in Harlem. Tension alopecia, burned out hair follicles, straight bald with a just a coupla peas left like Naomi Campbell.

  • Kaydee-P

    Definitely does. Do I still get the annoying kissing noises and ish? Yes. But often the same old dudes will turn a hiss into "Goddess" and "Miss Natural" or "Queen" like I'm still supposed to turn around and give you the time of day. Do I like hair compliments? Sure. But when I know you are playing off of it and your intention is still the same, it's the same thing as shouting "Yo ma!" from across the street.

    • kay

      that post by alicia brown shoulda been for you. you don't know their intention (always) and sometimes a man just wants to tell a woman hello, or pay her a compliment – accept it graciously and keep it moving!

      you know how many times I've had decent ,brief convos with men about the LACK of black women being nice?? if someone gives you a smile and hello – say hello back! it's not hard and all men are trying to disrespect or screw you on the way to work. lighten up. it makes your day go better. honestly

      • kay

        btw, I am black and I live in the hood in a major city – so I know of what u speak. but still.

  • Abm1

    I love your article. My have had this conversation with my friends before. I went natural years ago and I now have shoulder length curly hair. I just want to say that at least guys say something to you. For me guys think it is ok to just randomly touch my hair. Women think I have a weave. People say I have an attitude because I'm light bright with good hair. It's so ridiculous. On a side note though, does anyone notice that different people will approach you based on the way your hair looks. I feel like when my hair is curly different guys approach me rather than when it is straight. Anyone else notice this?

    • Vicky

      uhhhhh….. Good hair in comparison to what??? You sound conceded and confused. you should fix that.

  • ann

    well i do everything under the sun to my hair weaving wigs etc when i met my hubby he told me i like ur hair natural and it felt really good he like it and i still weaving at times but

  • bhillboy37

    When I say she, I was speaking of the commentor [cake211]- not to be confused with the author.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1283953958 Alicia Brown

    so wait. what was the point of this article? was it to prove that the writer can't take a compliment? First we get mad at me for not liking our natural style then when we get mad when they compliment us on it? yeah it was a pick up but who cares? a compliment is a compliment, take it or leave it and move on. things could have been worse he could have said " damn baby, let me f##k your naps straight." i don't think she would have preferred that.

    • JustAshley

      DEAD@ "damn baby, let me f##k your naps straight." LMAOOOOOOOOOOO

    • https://www.facebook.com/joymayharris Joy May-Harris

      I was thinking the same thing. I wear my hair short…as in SHORT, I am approached respectfully and yes, I get the "it takes a lot of confidence" line. I like that. You know why? BECAUSE IT DOES. Not a lot of women can wear a fade and walk into a room and take ALL the attention away from the weaved up women…but I do it on the regular. Sue me. A lot of men recognize…and there's nothing wrong with that.
      It's as if guys can't win. You're damed if you do, you're damned if you don't. The author needs to lighten the hell up and just take the compliment and keep it pushin'. Geez…..

    • Uhhh…

      Alicia are you mad right now? The author can take a compliment. Did you note that she said "well played" and someone taking the time to compliment hair that she spent hours working on was not a bad move?

      The point of the article was to highlight a particular phenomenon and to see if other natural women shared this experience. Judging from the success of the article- they do.

      From the article: "Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get pissed or bothered by it at all…"

      No one's mad.

      • Vicky

        Took the words right out of my mouth

    • Talib

      My thoughts exactly! Sounds like deep seeded insecurities to me and as a black man I found it slightly offensive.

  • JustAshley

    ……But you know what? When I see a well dressed black woman or man with dreads my first thought is of "regality". Its something about afros, locks or twist that scream royalty to me. Maybe its why I'm so attracted to men with dreads. *shrugs*
    *
    In reality, a person with dreads is of no more noble blood than I, and a persons character is never demonstrated by their hairstyle. I guess it's moreso about a "look" than anything else.

  • JustAshley

    That's interesting because I don't really get the "Hey Ma" thing. The atypical line I get is, "Hey Beautiful…" or "Hello. How are you today?" or something really friendly and leading to conversation and whatnot. I've had guys compliment my hair when it is natural, braided or weaved up. I really don't notice any difference in the way they approach me.
    *
    I have noticed that when my hair is straight or when I am weaved up I get a whole bunch of compliments from white dudes, but that's about it. The brothas pretty much treated me the same.

  • cake211

    I get compliments on my hair from guys, which is really whatever to me, no different from them saying they like my eyes. The only thing different is some guys' reasoning for talking to me is because my natural hair "automatically" means I'm "more real" than girls with straight hair. They clearly hadnt heard India.Arie's declaration. I'm real, but it's not cuz my hair is natural, I'm as real as I was with a relaxer or a weave. Besides, in the great words of Jill Scott: "Just because I rock a natural, it doesn't automatically mean I'm positive- some days I am, some days I aint"

  • NaturalNappy

    I must say that I have gotten a hell of a lot my compliments or pick up lines since I went natural. I love my hair in its natural state. It so fits me and my personality and I guess the guys no matter the race are digging it too :):)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002442843012 Vicky Rogers Burks

    SAY IT LOUD I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD OF MY BLACK HAIR.J.K.I.R.

    • Cammya

      exactly..thats why you perm it every 2 months..lol
      ..
      Apple Giving away the new iPhone in Honor of Steve Jobs Death (founder of Apple) http://goo.gl/37gBi . i just went ahead & got 2..next 24hrs ONLY! lol

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