I’ll admit that like 99.99% of black women, I am hair obsessed. I remember back when I learned how to actually do my own hair–from start to finish without a hairdresser–it was the most liberating and exciting time, as I would stalk You Tube and the hair boards on how to manage my natural hair, and I would watch in awe and admiration as I saw women whose hair looked like mine grow from a TWA to waist-length. I recently announced on my blog that I have a goal to be waist length myself by my 40th birthday and take a big ‘ol nekkid glamor shot, and to that someone replied, “It’s just hair.”
Well, it’s hair, but it’s not just hair. Not for a woman. Hair does more than keep your head warm. It frames the face, and can make an okay-looking woman a drop-dead gorgeous one if her tresses are stunning. “Long hair is sexy and seductive; it’s instantly flirtier and more frivolous because you can flip it, whip it, toss it, twirl it, stroke it, twist it — you can even play peek-a-boo from behind your bangs!” says Suzanna Mathews, “The Date Maven,” a Midwestern matchmaker.
Matthews might be on to something. Pantene recently conducted a survey that found that, of the respondents, 74% of men indicated that they notice women because of their hair and 44% of men surveyed said that hair is the first thing they notice about a woman, more than her clothes (26%), legs (25%), or make-up (4%).
Hair before boobs? Hair before arse? “Yep,” says Andrew Schrange, 25, co-founder of Money Crashers, a website aiming to educate individuals in making wise choices about credit and debt, investing, education, real estate, insurance, spending. “With the guys in my social circle, they often say ‘Oh, she has beautiful hair,’ and notice that more so than other physical traits.” Schrange, who is half-Chinese, says he loves the look of a full ‘fro that many African-American women are sporting in his home-base of Chicago. “It’s super unique. It’s almost a statement and expression of confidence” to break away from the usual straight hair fare.
The Pantene survey also reported that most men surveyed would be more likely to approach a woman at a bar with great hair than a woman wearing a low-cut shirt. 82% of men indicated that sexy hair is a key element to a womanâ€™s overall sex appeal. A bit of a stretch, says The Last Honest Guy, writer of a blog with the same name. “When we first see a woman, we usually do a full body scan of her from top to bottom. If she has nice boobs, our eyes automatically stop there. If she doesnâ€™t have nice boobs then we continue to scan down and either stop again at her waist if she has a nice one or simply notice her butt and then stop there. This is just standard procedure and itâ€™s an automatic behavior by a man.”
Automatic behavior it may very well be. “Beauty is not skin deep but a strong indication of our evolutionary psychology,” says Los Angeles-based celebrity make up artist, Jeffery Paul. “Throughout the ages we as humans found certain traits as indicators of the perfect mate. The traits we found pointed to the fact that the mate we were choosing was healthy, fertile and able to progress the species. Facial features, height weight proportions and skin were some of the traits while hair has its own significance.” He may not be an evolutionary scientist, but he’s right on the money. There’s a very good reason why women will stay hours and hours in his chair getting long-haired weaves.
So which is it? The hair or the whole package? Chris-Tia Donaldson, author of “Thank God I’m Natural,” says that with weaves so readily available, anyone and their mama can have long hair, and the men she encounters are more drawn to a physcially-fit, shapely woman. “We women make hair more important than it is. Men are turned on by hair, but it’s not everything. Hair in itself is not the issue– it’s whether it’s grab-able.”