A naturalista has penned a telling article about the dating woes she has had to face because of her hair.
In the online publication, Mane Addicts, Juwon Ajayi said she tried just about every hairstyle from fros and twists, to braids and bantu knots, and has big chopped at least four times. But throughout her hair journey, a variety of men have always found a way to bring up her hair on dates.
“The comments have run the gamut from complimentary (“It’s so pretty.”) to fascinated (“Can I touch it?”) to critical (“Why did you do that? Your hair was so pretty before.”),” she wrote in the article. “When I cut my hair off and went natural for the third time in my twenties, I was surprised at how many men had an opinion about it. That they voiced. Unsolicited.”
She said she welcomed their comments but noticed that she began to gravitate towards men who liked her natural hair, finding that they were more “emotionally intelligent, more self-aware, more informed about the world around them, and nicer.” She added that she found men who didn’t like her hair in its natural state weren’t as enlightened.
“It was as if my natural hair weeded out all of the men with qualities I detested,” Ajayi wrote. “My hair was, for many years, a douchebag repeller.”
She says 15 years later, her hair is mostly worn in wash-n-goes, although lately she’s been wearing her hair straight because of a hairdo she saw on Instagram.
“It’s a big change, but not a particularly deep one. In fact, it’s the same reason many women change their hair all the time,” she wrote. “And yet, I am low-key worried about the message my now-straight hair is giving. I’m not trying to attract men who listen to the Fresh&Fit podcast, ya know?”
The author recalls a time when Instagram influencer Beverly Adaeze asked her male followers which styles they prefer on Black women. Most men said they preferred women with natural hair without weaves, tracks or extensions, but then women began to chime in stating that when they do wear their hair natural, they are less likely to be approached by men. Instead, the women said they receive more attention when they wear their hair straight (sometimes with extensions added).
“Women tell me ‘this is what men like’ and I say ‘what type of men?’ I don’t think confident men have an issue with hair whatsoever,” Holland-based business developer and project manager Laura Luijk told Ajayi. “I have noticed the men who are very opinionated about hair have an unresolved complex.”
All in all, when it comes to hair, Ajayi says it’s just that – hair. No matter how a woman chooses to wear her tresses, “we’re not struggling with identity issues over here. We know how to take care of our hair now and we’re just enjoying it in all its forms and having fun because every other race gets to without it being a thing. We’re wearing it straight, then in an afro, then we’re wearing braids. When we’re going for a floor-length moment, the wig is going to come out.”