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Old 07 February 2019, 05:49 PM
E. Q. Taft's Avatar
E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
Join Date: 30 July 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 14,408
Icon220 Question for women re: hair

So, I've let my hair grow out again. it's around shoulder-length at the moment. My hair is quite thick and a bit wavy. Sometimes I find this a little frustrating to deal with, but it has its good points, too. (I've never much worried about going bald, though my hairline has certainly receded some over the years.)

A few minutes ago, I passed a woman I didn't know in the hallway. We smiled at each other, and she said, "I like your hair." I thanked her, and moved on.

This is the first such compliment from a stranger I've gotten in a while, but on previous occasions when I've had long hair, I've gone through phases where I would get spontaneous compliments from women I didn't know in public places. The interesting thing is, as with the one this morning, the women have almost always been black. (I am white, in case anyone wasn't sure.)

I presume this is due to the particularly difficult issues black women have in connection with our general society's standards of beauty -- which, for women, often includes a head of long, silky, flowing hair. Few, if any, black women have hair like that, particularly not without a lot of work (straightening, hair extensions, etc.). The reason I particularly suspect this is that often the compliment is in the form of "I wish I had hair like that," or "That hair should be mine!" (In a good-natured way, not an outwardly angry one.)

It is kind of a sad commentary on how our beauty standards -- like most everything else -- favor the European-descended folks, and how black women in particular are the victims of this. (I have read that, on OK Cupid! and other dating sites, black women have the hardest time finding matches. White men have the biggest advantage, in that most women are willing to consider them irrespective of their own race; on the other hand, even some black men have a strong preference for non-black women.)

What I have wondered is if non-black women -- particularly those who do have particularly lustrous hair -- have noticed a similar trend of getting spontaneous and somewhat envious comments from black women. If your hair is particularly nice, you probably get such compliments from women of all races, but are a disproportionate number of them from black women?

Or, do they feel more comfortable making these kind of comments to me, as a man -- perhaps because they don't see me as direct competition? That seems possible, too.

ETA: Or, are black women just more prone, for whatever reason, to make spontaneous comments to strangers in general? Hadn't thought of that possibility.

Not exactly a burning question of our time, but you wonder about these things from time to time. Or at least, I do.
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