After starting a love affair with my natural hair, I knew that it wouldn't be long before other suitors took notice. Not sure why, but it's always been evident to me that a woman's crowning glory can leave lasting impressions on our male counterparts. Whether her hair is long, short, real or embellished—it's pretty universally understood that a sista with a well-whipped mane has the power to stop a man in his tracks. However, how he reacts upon stopping is a much more thought-provoking matter.
Which brings me to the next chapter in my nouveau natural saga …
Over the past 6 years as a resident New Yorker, I've walked this city's streets a million times and heard my share of cat calls: "Shorty!", "Excuse me, miss lady!", "Hey Cutie!". To most of these advances I'd offer a friendly smile and look back as I kept my stride. I'd never given the context of these gestures much thought—until I went natural.
One day well into my natural hair transition, (when my curls were having a particularly springy day, might I add), I took a stroll much like many I've taken before. A friendly gentleman approached me. "Peace, Queen," he said. This time, I stopped in my tracks. "Queen?" That's one I hadn't heard before. I fell back into my stride, smiled and continued on. But his greeting repeatedly rang out in my mind.
Coincidentally, the weeks that followed brought more compliments from bold brothas that caught my attention: "I like that hair, sis!" one offered. Another even went as far as to ask me (and I quote) "What do you use?” I was flattered and confused all at once. Never in my relaxed hair days had a guy been so interested in my hair care regimen. What gives?
I decided to bring this conundrum to one of my closest natural friends—my resident "hair whisperer." When I shared with her the onslaught of atypical advances from men I'd been encountering lately, she could barely keep herself upright as she howled with laughter: "Girl, don't you know?!" she asked. "You're natural now. You've crossed over!" I chuckled, realizing she meant by simply changing my hair I'd gone from "cutie" to "queen" in the eyes of men. And, the funnier thing was, her rationale made some sense to me.
Now, don't get me wrong! I don't believe shaving my head and growing out my natural locks changed my beauty from what it was before. But, I couldn't help but scratch my head (figuratively) at the thought that my new natural "do" may send a different message to my male spectators.
I dug a little deeper with my trusted male friend. His response was not as cut and dry, but did shed some light. He likened a woman's hairstyle to the appeal of her clothes, fragrance, or walk—they all draw different responses from men, each of which is very subjective. He had a point. The issue was clearly not black and white, and I was left with just as many questions in the end as when I started.
Do kinky curls warrant "queen", while silky straight tresses elicit "cutie"? As I pondered, I realized one thing—exploring the allure of one's hair is far from cracking the code to understanding male/female attraction. That's one I'll leave for the professionals.
And in the meantime, I'll keep loving my hair both on its "cutie" days and in its "queen" moments—not questioning why others admire it, but instead simply appreciating that they do.
Check back next week for Part 4 of Dre's "Confessions Of A Nouveau Natural Woman" saga: "Workout Wonders And Waterproofing"
Driven to infuse each encounter with joy-inducing laughter, Dre Brown (before and after her run-in with the clippers, left) seeks to offer those she reaches both something for the eye and for the soul. Based out of New York City, Dre splits her time between makeup artistry, hair styling, strategic marketing, writing and entrepreneurship. Follow her exploits on her blog: a Dre in The Life