"I took a break from dating, which inspired me to go natural. My head full of big kinky hair gave me confidence again! But now that I want to date again, nothing's happening. My cousin says it's because black men may be 'intimidated by an Afro.' Any truth to that?" --E.C.
I won't pretend for the sake of being PC that there aren't men who won't be into your natural hair. There is a healthy chunk of black guys who prefer (for various, complicated and lengthy reasons that require a separate response) for a black woman's hair to be straight. "Some men fall subject to the brainwashing that the media does and have this notion that 'good hair' is flat, long and straight," said a man I asked to offer a guy's perspective on hair. "It's the lack of appreciation of the natural hair of our forefathers, parents and themselves."
Additionally, some of those men will equate your hair texture and style with being, as one friend put it, "militant, competitive, feminist or argumentative," all traits that can be a turnoff when it comes to dating. But that's not who you're looking for. There are enough hurdles to work out when it comes to pairing off, and trying to convince someone to accept the hair on your head just isn't a battle worth fighting. You want someone who appreciates what you're bringing -- in your heart and via your follicles -- and thankfully, many men do.
You don't have to take my word for that, though. I asked the Male Mind Squad -- my go-to group of 50 guys who meet my standard of "good dude" and have allowed me to pick their brains over the years on topics such as women's very personal grooming, why a woman carrying condoms in her purse is a turnoff and what men mean when they talk about a woman "submitting." These guys are raw, candid and incredibly insightful, and except for one, they all agreed that a woman rocking natural hair is of very little concern and not remotely intimidating, at least not to a man who appreciates a confident woman.
In an effort to unload the politics of black hair, I don't think hair texture should be interpreted as sending messages. But if it must, you'll be happy to know that many men interpret your natural hair as a sign of self-love. "It shows that the black woman is no longer buying into what society has deemed 'beautiful' and owning who she is, what she is and what she looks like," said one guy. Another thought that natural hair showed a sign of "fearlessness." He added, "Often, I feel as though women hide behind their weaves and lace fronts."
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