Can I just say – I love the natural hair community!! Online and in real life, all over the world — when women with natural hair see each other, we smile. We compliment each other. We show love. And that positive energy we generate is a self esteem booster for ourselves, and for younger generations as well!
I got an e mail from a young reader that inspired me to respond with an Ask Afrobella. Take it away, Megan!
Hey, I’m 16 and I have been wearing my hair natural since the 4th grade and am loving it! I am very happy that you have this blog to give young women like me the inspiration we need to keep going this way. But I have a question for you. . . see I don’t get too much attention from a lot of boys, do you think that they’re intimidated by my natural hair? But regardless, I will still rock my kinky curls!
Megan, you are SO far ahead of the game!
I wish I could take you in a time machine back to when I was your age. Back then I wore my hair relaxed and frequently streaked in some bizarre color, and I attended an all girls’ high school. And all I worried about was what other people — especially boys — thought of me. I could have used a friend like you in those days!
Back to your question: Are boys intimidated by your natural hair? It’s possible, but that depends on a variety of factors. In my experience, teenage boys aren’t exactly conditioned to think outside of the box. Back in my day, “the box” mostly included girls who were slender yet had feminine curves, were typically light complected, and had a certain texture of hair. The quote-unquote cute boys were checking for them. And because I was none of the above, I was put into Box #2. The friend-only box. And I wanted so very much to be in box number one.
But you know what? Hindsight is an amazing thing. And with hindsight, I’ve realized there was a third box I was oblivious to. Allow me to elaborate.
The third box includes girls who have that je ne sais quoi. That undefinable sparkle. Self possession. Confidence. Doesn’t even matter what they look like – they have it in spades, and it attracts people to them like a magnet. If you truly have it, confidence radiates from your inner being, and gives you an effortless glow. From your statement, “regardless, I will still rock my kinky curls!” I’m thinking you already have it!
Not all boys will find you attractive. This may be because of your hair or it may be because of other things. Doesn’t matter. I’m here to tell you, if a boy is intimidated by you, or doesn’t find you attractive because of your natural hair – he’s a fool. Forget him. I had to realize a long time ago — if a guy doesn’t like you because of your hair or your weight, or the shade of your skin, or the neighborhood you live in, or…name your factor here – you’re better off without him anyway. It’s his loss that he wasn’t able to appreciate your beauty. Trust and believe that someone else will – and keep it moving.
As it turned out for me, the boys I was most attracted to back then turned out to not be worth my time or energy. And now that I look back on photos of some of them now that 15 years have passed, all I can say is… WHAT WAS I THINKING?? Just wait, Megan – you’ll see. Some of the absolute hottest of the hot guys you may be crushing on now will not age so well. You may find yourself in that same position, of realizing that you’re better off without them and that your crush was in fact based on fleeting things. Looks. They really do fade.
Even when you’re in a relationship, you may find that some guys will try to tell you how you should wear your hair. If you express an interest in cutting your hair, or wearing it in a different style for a change, they may come at you with threats or negativity. It’s happened to me. Back in the day, one potential paramour wasn’t feeling my idea of doing a big chop. He referred to my close cropped hairstyle as “The Menopause.” Guess what? I cut him loose. For me, it took time and a relationship where I was 100% sure that my boo cared about me, my heart, my mind, and our future together, before I’d even discuss my hair choices with him. Now if my husband feels some kinda way, I think he’s within his right to express a little concern over my hair – only because he’s earned that right with time and love. However, I always will reserve the right to disagree with him and do what I wanna do anyway.
A natural haired woman’s desirability doubts don’t necessarily stop with high school. I know many women with natural hair who ask the same questions – are men intimidated by my hair? Does my hair make me less attractive to men?
To them I say – check out a site like Black Love Poster. If that doesn’t give you inspiration, I don’t know what will.
Or check out the Facebook groups Black Men Who Support Black Women Going Natural, or White Men Who Love Black Women With Natural Hair if you doubt that natural hair love exists. It’s out there, it’s beautiful and it’s real. Don’t stop believing.
So Megan – as it is right now, you already seem to be aware of your beauty, and blessed with a strong sense of self esteem. You’re in box number three! Not many girls at your age are there yet. Hold your head high, know that you are GORGEOUS and AMAZING. Enjoy high school, because it’ll be over in the blink of an eye. And please know that the right boy will man up eventually, and he’ll love you with your kinky curls just the way you wanna rock em!
That’s my two cents on that. Thanks for writing!
Bellas, fellas – any advice for Megan and other girls who may feel like she does?