comments 18

Curl Attraction

What type of image does curly hair convey in social circles? I know I already discussed curly hair in the workplace, but what about in….*gasp*…dating life? Is there a negative connotation towards my curly brothers and sisters when going up against their straight-haired counterparts? Does the modern ‘Western’ idea of beauty fail to address that which has been glorified for centuries?

Cute. Fun. Eccentric. Adorable. Young. Sweet. These are all words I’ve heard others use to describe me (among other, more unflattering things, but I’ll try my damnedest to keep this post rated ‘G’…). I realize that my hair is a large factor in how people perceive me. The curls can make me seem younger, as the spirals are reminiscent of the cherubic little children in commercials and advertising throughout history. But in some cases, I want to be taken seriously. Similar to my gripe about curlism in the workplace, it is my belief that curlism strongly exists in the dating world. Or perhaps it’s my own perception?

Straight vs. Curly!!!! (Also - how obnoxious are these old photos? I'm sorry, you guys).

Straight vs. Curly!!!! (Also – how obnoxious are these old photos? I’m sorry, you guys).

I distinctly recall, as a young[er] Jess, getting excited about going on a date. I was going to wear a sleek, silk black dress with tiny rhinestones around the bow at the waist – very classic and sophisticated. When I asked a friend how I should wear my hair, she offered, “Straighten it! That’ll go with the sexiness of the dress.” This essentially sums up how I view my curls.

Curls are fun, and daring, and make me feel like I can get away with lots of different outfit choices. As someone who has always believed that confidence equals sex appeal, I am shocked at my own idea of straight hair still getting all the love attention. I guess it has to do with this: I rarely, if ever, have a guy come up and tell me that my hair is awesome. On the rare occasion that I do go to the bar with some girlfriends, and I decide to wear my hair down, copious girls (often, drunk ones…) will tell me that my hair is awesome (while slightly trying to restrain themselves from sticking their hands in it). Glorious bathroom conversations ensue. However, out on the dance floor? Not a chance that a guy will approach me, especially based solely on my curls. Again, perhaps this is just me (as I’m in a long-term, committed relationship, I do admittedly give off pretty harsh “STAY AWAY FROM ME!” vibes).

My second case in point: the rare two occasions that I have straightened my hair and accompanied some friends to a beverage-partaking establishment (which isn’t to say that this is something I frequently do; it’s not, and usually, on these events, I am the beloved DD), I have been approached. Some may even say, the poor schmucks attempted to ‘hit on’ me. While laughter-inducing, it also solidified my belief that curly hair, perhaps, isn’t as attractive to the opposite sex.

Finally, when I was younger and, yes, played with Barbies….I never wanted the curly haired Barbie. Brown, frizzy hair? Ugh! No thanks! I’ve got enough of that! I always opted for the straight, long, blond-haired options (aside from Jasmine because damn, she was gorgeous!). Obviously, this could have been due to a lot of social factors…including targeted advertising, fewer curly-haired Barbie options, and what was routinely given to me as gifts (things I didn’t have a ton of say about when I was quite young). Still, it was something I felt very strongly about as a 7-year-old.

People I have dated have assured me that my hair is a great part of what attracted them to me. However, is this a small sample of the population? Is this a common occurrence?

What do you think? Is curly hair sexy, or will it always have a ‘cute and cuddly’ kind of rap?



  1. Christian

    To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a woman with curly hair. It can be perceived as fun, daring, and outgoing if you portray that persona to go with it. I have always seen it as the ultimate physical characteristic of femininity. 3b to 3c curl types are just gorgeous!! I wish my woman had that hair!

    • Wow, thank you so much Christian! It’s great to have a man’s opinion on this (especially such a positive one!).

    • Alex

      How interesting that you find yourself saying how much you love curly hair but conventionally excluding hairtypes found on black people…

      • Ah!!! Interesting point! This is duplicitous in that it can come down to personal preference for one’s hair, but also in analyzing what influences those preferences….

  2. I’ve never noticed this, but I’m going to have to look out for it now. Interestingly enough, my boyfriend loves my curly hair enough to give me the nickname Curly Q, and he constantly boings my curls. Maybe I got lucky with him? But I’ve had lots of people ask me why I don’t straighten my hair. The answer: Because it usually looks fake for a curly-haired person to have straight hair.

    • It really does look straight! Because it’s pin-straight, and it just looks weird. Anytime I straighten my hair, the majority of people tell me ‘I like it better curly’. It just suits the personality more, you know? Like, you can be a bit crazier and bouncier with curly hair, or something.

  3. You just wrote about my life. I have curly/wavy hair and I never bother straitening it anymore because it simply pings back into curls after half an hour, especially if its humid or damp. Just like you, I have never had a guy tell me I have nice hair or give me many compliments but do have constant comment’s from girls saying they ‘want my hair’. I’d never really thought about it before but this blog really made me think, is it something to do with gender? Now I think about it, at school it’s the girls who straiten their hair within an inch of it’s life that get guys.I always assumed it was something to do with the fact that they also wear the most makeup and revealing clothes but perhaps it is partly to do with clothing. Interesting post.

    • Jess A

      Thank you very much! I know how challenging it can be. I wonder if we can change how people perceive curly hair? It’s funny how historically, it was always associated with beauty. The pin-straight hair has become a more recent beauty trend, I think.

      • It’s similar to being extremely skinny I suppose. Historically, being overweight was a sign of wealth and therefore considered more attractive but now being skinny is more desirable. I also think that yes, we curly haired chicks should form a cult and fight back against the trend of straight hair!

  4. I love how honest this entry is and how scary it is that I feel like I wrote it myself! I’m a freakishly small person, so I already am mistaken for a little teenage girl constantly (and my short Shirley Temple curls might be adding to the “cute” and “bubbly” nature of my looks). I so badly want to say, “Uh who cares!? Curls rock and other people just have stupid ideas on what’s sexy because that’s what is being fed to us through the media!” but it’s one thing to say it and still feel confident that you look good with curls.

    Confidence is a key player in feeling sexy! When my confidence is already struck down by passing comments like straight=sexy (which I’ve heard a million times before too) then I tense up. Then, I have a hard time cutting loose at a bar because I’m worried if I start moving around too much my hair will turn into a pompom ball and all hope is lost.

    Curly is sexy, what’s not sexy is having a girlfriend who spends 30 minutes getting her hair straight or giving her hair big barrel curls every time you want to go out! (Which was me pre-natural hair haha)

  5. Vivien

    I sort of alternate between the two, though I?m leaving it curly more often lately. I discovered argan oil by pro naturals and I use it on damp hair to control the frizz and define the curls, my hair looks a lot prettier so I leave off the straightener.

    • Jess A

      I’m glad to hear that you found a product that makes you love your curls, Vivien! Your hair is probably thanking you in the long run by being less dried and frizzy from heat styling. Embracing natural curl makes my heart smile. 🙂

  6. Stacie

    I think the whole curly-hair thing is because guys feel like the can’t run their fingers through it. I seriously think that’s it. And I’m totally the girl that’s like ‘ugh don’t wreck my curls – keep the windows up, don’t touch my head!’ Car rides are the worst with curls.

    That being said, I think curls are pretty innocent looking but they can totally be sexy, too! With the right outfit, accessories and attitude, curls are the best!

    There’s a country song by Sara Evans and this is my favourite line: “all the straight-haired girls, they all want curls and the brunettes wanna be blonde.” The grass is always greener, and there are days we curse our curls, but there’s also someone always there wanting what you’ve got!

    Also – I nominated you for a Liebster Award! Check out the details on my blog: Looking forward to your answers 🙂

    • Jess A

      Ha! I can barely run my fingers through it, so I guess there’s something to a guy not being able to do that, either! It definitely does depend on the outfit and attitude…perhaps I’m just looking for more curly-haired representation in the celebrity world (or something like that).

      And thank you very kindly for the nomination! I’m lucky enough to have received a few of these – I need to get around to re-posting it all. Gah! Also your questions seem super fun. If only I had the gift of more time…! Soon!

  7. I’ve often had the same problems, Jess. I don’t feel confident with my curly hair, and too often, I feel I have to straighten it to be taken seriously, or to feel sexy (or to make it somewhat manageable!) My husband has even stated in the past that he likes my hair straight better. The ‘sexy’ curls are the ones we don’t have, unfortunately-those beachy waves and big barrel curls. The media has a huge role to play in this, and I hate that society has defined those sorts of hairstyles as sexy, and focuses more on those in ads, tv, and with celebrities. It’s so hard to find a naturally curly girl in any sort of media related outlet, and this has definitely molded the perception of others to view curly hair as not as attractive. I’m sure there are a ton of guys/girls out there who love curly hair, but on the whole, I think most people would rather see the processed, it-took-me-hours-to-do-this look. Womp womp for us.

    • Jess A

      Oh no, hubby! I guess I’m lucky that the beau is really enamoured with my hair. And I certainly agree with the big-barrel curling iron idea of ‘sexy, beachy waves’ – hair that rarely exists in reality (and, frankly, hair that I barely call curly). It reminds me of whenever I try to look up curly haircuts in magazines and get slight waves or hair that is obviously permed. Where are we represented?!

      Interestingly enough, I bought the most recent issue of InStyle, and it featured not one, but TWO curly-haired people. They aren’t (yet) big-name celebrities, but perhaps I’ll post some of the photos/links, as an inspiration to us curly-headed gals seeking our kind.

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