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August 16, 2011

Dating While Natural


Natural Hair, White Dudes And Black Power Fists

by Dr. Phoenyx Austin

Maybe it’s just my experience, but being a natural haired woman has definitely come with more than a handful of “interesting” experiences with the opposite sex- specifically White guys. When my hair was relaxed, I was approached by Black men and non-Black men in about the same ratio. All my life, I’ve dated men of different races and ethnicities. And before I went natural, I can’t really recall a time when a White guy ever seemed self-conscious about asking me out- with the exception of an Italian boy in middle school, who was super cute, looked just like the kid from A Bronx Tale, and prefaced his nervous invitation to the Winter Formal with: “You know Italian people are really Black?”

Well, since going natural, I’ve noticed a definite shift in male attention. First and foremost, I now get approached more by non-Black men than Black men. And second, since going natural I’ve lost count of how many White guys have approached me, asked me out, but prefaced their approach with something along these lines: “I think you’re beautiful. But you probably don’t date White guys.”

And just this past week I was at the library and caught a glimpse of a White guy staring at me. I smiled and after a few minutes, he came over to talk. We talked and mildly flirted. And just like the many White guys before him, he seemed attracted but then sheepishly asked: "Can I get your number? I'd love to take you to dinner sometime. But you probably don't date white guys, huh?"

It’s quite funny and apparently I’m not the only one who’s experienced this. I’ve heard similar experiences from many other natural haired women. It’s made me wonder if natural haired women have a certain “look” that says: “I stick to my own race.” I’ve asked men (Black and White) to offer their insight as to why this could be happening. And quite a few stated that they felt natural hair on a Black woman symbolized or exuded a certain level of “afrocentrism.”

So that just further makes me wonder if being natural haired makes some white dudes (or people in general) think I'm going to throw up the Black Power Fist at any moment. LOL.

Has this ever happened to you ladies? Have you noticed a shift in the type/race of men that approach you now that you’re natural? And have these men (most likely because of your “look”) ever made the assumption that you probably weren’t interested in dating interracially? Please share- I’d love to read your experiences!

If you’d like to send a comment/question to Dr. Phoenyx Austin, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Phoenyx Austin is a writer, media personality, and physician who shares her thoughts on natural hair and wellness.

52 Chime in!:

Michelle said...

I've been having a different experience... Although I am married, younger black men have been coming on to me... I think that natural hair on a black woman exudes so much seld confidence and that's what attracts the masses of men to natural haired women. I think men truely enjoy seeing a woman who is proud and happy with herself!

Sarah said...

i haven't seen a shift in attention since going natural. i still get more attention from black men. i'm in a more diverse area, so i would credit that with me getting a diversity in attention, not my hair.

and to the second question, i don't think white (or other non-black) men who are attracted to black women fear approaching them because of their hair... they fear approaching them because they assume we don't date outside our race. there are statistics that support that assumption as well. matter of fact, my Italian labmate almost stumbled over this black woman in the coffee shop one day, but was ultimately afraid to ask her out because he assumed she wasn't into interracial dating... she had relaxed hair.

Leena7 said...

American white guys sound so strange, when a white guy in europe asks you out they just do it!

luvfeelinpretty said...

I really just think it depends, I do think that people in general assume that a sista with natural hair is more ethnocentric than a sista who has relaxed hair. I'm not saying it's true or fair just that it is a common assumption. Also I think it depends on location, I live in the DMV (DC, MD and VA) area and their are a lot of sistas with natural hair here. So I don't think there is a big assumption as to what type of men we are attracted to due to our hairstyle. Here, you see it all, natural haired sistas our dating all types of men from different races and backgrounds.

Anonymous said...

Why do we ALWAYS FOCUS ON WHITE MEN WHEN TALKING ABOUT NON BLACK MEN? Most BW arent attracted to them? The media and society already worships, praises white men and many of them have the false notion that every ethnicity of women want them! So not true! I liked the fact that when dating interracially BW usually wanted Latin, Asian, or Middle Eastern men. Lets focus on them!

Kenya said...

Yep,I've never gotten compliments from a white guy till i was natural. One day my hair was in a shrunken fro and this white guy said "I love your hair,your gorgeous"...i smiled and thanked him...then he was like "you look so amazing,and I dont even approach girls like you(i hope that doesnt offend you)Girl you got me studdering" LOL!! This all happened at a gas station..I laughed but that was the best compliment I had eva gotten and this white guy was like a rocker type. I've also noticed alot more white guys checkn me out too,black guys still do but they act like they cant speak...

Anonymous said...

No shift at all. I think my hair makes me stand out. I get more attention and more compliments.

Anonymous said...

I have sooo many friends who are natural and have married or are dating white men. So white men are attracted to black women and their natural hair. I married an African man who loves my natural hair. I think that it's more Black American men who like the straight stuff.

BluJay said...

Absolutely there has been a shift in the guys I attract: I attract MORE of them! Before going natural, guys of either race rarely made it a point to compliment me on my hair; nowadays I get compliments left and right. I chalk it up to simply "standing out" from a sea of relaxed and straightened heads on campus (and off). As per race, Black and non-Black men have taken positive notice, but I definitely turn more non-Black heads, again because I stand out (I think), or maybe because I've become a more confident person overall with the change. In any case, it's refreshing :-)

Anonymous said...

I must be the only one that thinks this topic is tired.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I haven’t noticed non Black guys look at me differently but I have noticed that many other naturals with Caucasian men. I generally see it when I’m browsing my local Whole Foods store or on natural blogs when some naturals talk about their significant others.

Tiki_Green said...

It depends, i don't think you can lump everyone into categories. I'm Afro-American and my fiance is Caucasian and oddly enough he was the one that convinced me to go natural, he saw the struggle i had taming my hair, flat irons, relaxers, hours getting sew ins etc. So he suggested i stop processing and killing my hair, and we've taken this chemical free road together, he helps me twist my hair, pick of new products to try etc. The only thing i notice is the lack of Black male attention that i receive now that im natural.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon. 11:32' I generally get approached by more men in general,lol. I attend a HBCU, so obviously black guys talk to me more XD. But, when I'm out-and-about, all bets are off. It really doesnt phase me though; people are gonna like me...or simple they wont.

Anonymous said...

@Leena7, that's why I'm heading to Europe! American men in general have lost their mojo. Lol. I find I get approached a lot less by men in general since I went natural and I don't feel any less beautiful. I just think it's part of a scaredy cat trend among American men. I've learned after meeting men that they have expressed interest in me to a third person but never gave ANY indication of interest when they actually met me. Maybe my natural hair is intimidating but I doubt it.

Lilith_Eve said...

I've noticed a definite shift in the type of men that check me out or approach me since I've gone natural. The number of black men that approach me has gone way, way, waaaaaay down since I big chopped last march lol. And the black men that do approach me are all significantly older, like 50's & 60's *shakes head* (I'm 27 btw).

Men of other races (white, asian, indian etc...) compliment and approach me more than when I was relaxed. It's an interesting change. Though when you factor in where I live I'm approached significantly less than when I travel out of state altogether.

I'm really hoping that when I move somewhere more diverse for school (haven't decided if I'm going north or west) that things in my romantic life will pick up *laughs*

Anonymous said...

I have had the same experience! I've been natural for a little over 3 years but have only started wearing my hair in its natural state this spring/summer. (Before this I wore it straight with either roller sets, or full head sew ins to give my hair a break from the heat). In April I decided to start rocking my hair in its natural state, so I got my formerly bsl hair cut into a short funky short chin length bob. I've been wearing mostly twist-outs or wash and go's, as my staples. Well since this spring, the # of Black men who approach me has DEFINITELY decreased. I don't know if it's the length difference or the texture difference but the brothers definitely seem to be not as interested. Interestingly though, the number of non-Black men that approach me has increased exponentially. White American guys, White European guys, Latino guys, South American guys, Middle Eastern guys they are all feeling your girl lol. Before this I had been approached by mostly Black guys, some Latino guys and rarely RARELY White guys. Now I'm feeling like the U.N. and I LOVE it.

At first I was saddened by the fact that Black guys didn't seem to be as interested but honestly now I'm like "oh well!" When I get married and have a family I want a man that will look at my daughter and tell her she is beautiful just the way God made her. If a brother can't see that in me without a blow out or a weave how can he see it in her? I'm open to love wherever God sends it and if the men who can recognize my beauty best are not Black that's ok with me.

Anonymous said...

There has been a definite shift. I attract more non-Black men (especially Latino men)now that I am natural. They are loving the curls!

Bridget D.

Anonymous said...

My fiance is a white man that was very excited when I told him that I was doing a big chop and cut my hair down to about an inch. He has loved every minute of the change in texture and look and every chance he gets is touching my hair and feeling the curls. He has washed it and loves to put his hands in it and loves to tell everyone, including my family, how soft it is. I completely disagree with Anon 11:00 AM when she states that "most BW aren't attracted to white men", because this one sure is and has been for many, many years. I'm a grown 45 y/o and I like what I like. It's not for everyone, but we should all be accepting of everyones choices and as for this being a tired subject-Anon 11:50AM, I never tire of talking about my feelings on this subject. If there's a subject I feel is tired or being discussed too much, I just don't read the blog. Have a wonderful day ladies and let any men that are good men in your lives if you choose.

Anonymous said...

This is so funny. That's one of the first things I've noticed since going natural. Although they were all dead wrong I've never had much interest in black guys (I'm only three years ot of high school you know what guys are like in high school) and until recently only dated Puerto Ricans (not on purpose, it just ended up that way.) But really if a guy seems interested in me and we can have a real conversation I won't turn down a first date.

mothereartha said...

Love this statement Anon @ 1:21 PM
At first I was saddened by the fact that Black guys didn't seem to be as interested but honestly now I'm like "oh well!" When I get married and have a family I want a man that will look at my daughter and tell her she is beautiful just the way God made her. If a brother can't see that in me without a blow out or a weave how can he see it in her?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I attract more non-black men now that I am natural, although I still attract plenty of black men. I remember being nervous the first time I went clubbing with my natural hair, and I shouldn't have been! All the guys were going crazy (I had so many random hands in my hair all night long).

Anonymous said...

First of all, I am gay and, having been natural for almost a decade, I am tired of being left out of the dialogue of my fellow sisters. (This is the 2nd time a heterocentric poist has been on CN in 1 month, that I've noticed).

To answer: I have been told by all kinds of ethnicities and genders that I look more approachable with curly hair than straight. I think that's because when it's straight I'm worn out and stressed out from getting it that way.

Annabel said...

Sorry, I find this post generalizes way too much...

Anonymous said...

I live in Sacramento, CA, and I don't get a lot of Black men approaching me, regardless if I'm wearing my hair straight or in my afro. There is a lot of interracial dating out this way, but when I go to the Bay Area, which is about an hour away, men (any race) approach me more, regardless of how my hair is. I do notice that when I wear my own hair out (blown out or curly afro), people just stare at me like I'm weird, in Sacramento. I guess it's not as diverse. Don't know what it is.

Anonymous said...

I definitely think white men are attracted to natural haired women, I have lost count of how many white men I've seen on dates w/ black women that have natural hair.

Anonymous said...

I get attention from black men and white men. However, when a white man approaches me and assumes I don't date them because they are white, they are correct. I don't date white guys.

Anonymous said...

I'm just getting approached more in general. I find that when ever my hair looks good I feel good, when I feel good I look more approachable :D

Anonymous said...

Yes this is so true, I really have lost count of how many men of different races have stared me up and down, but the brotha's like it too:) I wasn't open to dating men of different races, but now i'm open. I just felt like he would never fully understand me, idk maybe thats just me. But when all is said and done you should be with a person who loves all of you , not just your hair. Loving me naturally:)

Anonymous said...

Um @ anon 3:15 if you think that the post is "heterocentric" it's because the poster is. That's unfair and fantasy based to assume that there's some kind of discrimination. Perhaps you may want to send a post in to this blog. I do believe that CN has opportunities for guest bloggers. Oh and don't do it anonymously, be proud!

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend is white and I can't tell you enough how much he likes my hair. I don't have anything against black man, they just slowly stop approaching me since I went natural. Like one of the ladies here said, 'oh well'as long as I am happy, nothing else matters, life goes on!

Anonymous said...

After a while I noticed the white guys taking a look at me but to be honest since I started wearing my natural hair older men are more attracted to me period. I think that the black men are not as attracted to me now, I have not been approached since, I've heard negative comments about it, but it doesn't bother me one bit because I love it whether they do or not. The white guys have always been into me relaxed or natural hair, I guess it depends on how you carry yourself. My confidence has skyrocketed since going back to my natural hair!

Anonymous said...

I have noticed since being natural,all men notice and black men are telling me they love it and wish more women would do it. I even had several stop and ask to run their hands through something they would not have dared do if I had relaxed hair. I think natural hair appeal is fun and carefree to men.

Rayann said...

Well, I'm too young to be getting approached by men of any sort. But because of where I live and the school I go to, there are hardly any black boys. So when people have their hands in my hair, there usually Caucasian. One thing I don't understand though, is not dating out of your race. You can learn so many things if you open yourself up to something different.

Anonymous said...

I'm married to a white man who loves my natural hair. I have never, and I mean never gotten a compliment on my natural hair from a black man. That has been my experience, so far.

Christie B. said...

I've been attracted to white men since middle/high school. For the longest time, I thought that they wouldn't be attracted to me because I'm black. This was soo wrong. My first boyfriend was white. I've been approached by black men, but most of them just wanted to hit it and quit it. Now there are white and non-white men that have this same mentality. When I get approached by a white man/non-white man, they seem like they want to get to know me. I seem to attract the white men, I'm sure that they're loving my looks, but I do also think it's because we tend to have common ground.

Have any of you ladies read the book "Don't Bring Home a White Boy" By Karen Langhorne Folan? It's a great book to get. It goes over some of these topics brought up in this discussion.

Overall, do what makes you happy, try not to be closed minded. Love knows no color.

Morenike said...

I notice that I get approached by more mature men, usually to 40 and up (I'm 27). I don't get more compliments or advances from white men and that's fine because I don't date white men. Black men give me compliments on my hair all of the time. I find that since wearing my hair natural men give me more respect.

Anonymous said...

Why do we care what men think of our hair? if some don't like it they were not for you anyways. Hair doesn't make a relationship and men approach you if you seem approachable and confident. It also seems that the natural hair sites are obsessed with non-black men, why? Dating criteria shouldn't be based on race it should be based on values and trust, neither of which can be determined by race.

Anonymous said...

For folks who keep saying that "Why do we care what men think of our hair? " must not be living in a realm of reality. Would you marry, get involved, or even be friends with someone who hated your natural hair. ALRIGHT then.. so it does matter. To act like we are soooo independent and "secure" as Natural Black women, that we don't want to feel loved and attractive is delusional. I don't think it makes us weak to want to know what the opposite sex thinks and it obviously doesn't dictate what we do to our hair or we would have stuck with the relaxers.

Poundcake921 said...

My dating life sucked when I had permed hair and it hasn't improved at all since I've gone natural. Black, Hispanic, White, or any other races barely approach me, they will look but dont say anything....so I think it's more about the individual as opposed as to what type of hair we have on our head.....

anon 7:39 AM said...

@anon 9:52, My point is not that women don't need love all women want to be desired and loved. My point was that there is so much more to dating than hair.

Attractiveness is more than hair, it is confidence and the way you present yourself (face, body etc). Obviously they are going to be men that don't find you attractive or that dislike your style choices but why would you worry about them? Not every man can fancy you, like you don't fancy every man. Plus unless a man tells you they don't fancy you because of your hair how would you know?

I just think that because hair is so important to the ladies that frequent hair sites we over analyse the importance of hair when people in the real world don't actually care as much as we think they do.

anon 9:52 said...

@anon 7:39

Very valid
"I just think that because hair is so important to the ladies that frequent hair sites we over analyse the importance of hair when people in the real world don't actually care as much as we think they do."

over thinking can be a bad thing. Hair can't/shouldn't be the only thing and only focus.

Anonymous said...

Sure I've notice some changes since going natural.

1. More compliments about my hair from white people in general...but haven't been particulary "approached" by a white guy. Maybe like most have said...they didn't think I would be interested (not particulary) or maybe they wasn't just admiring my hair.

2. Got more interesting looks and flirtatous vibes from other men of the Hispanic culture. More of my taste!:)

3. I still recieve attention from black men but not as much...and interestingly they tend to give me more respect (i.e. hello sister, I like your hair, or holding the door open for me more often) That actually shocked me!lol but it felt nice all the same. Oh, and the older men seem to like it too...maybe it remindes them of the women they grew up with. lol

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic as I was just pondering it the other day. For the vast majority of my dating life I have worn my hair in weaves, braids, wigs, or pressed. Now thanks to my daughter, who has inspired me to wear my natural hair, I finally mustered the courage to do so last month. Although somewhat timid, the freedom I now have I would never trade :) Certainly have noticed more non-black men looking my way since the switch. However, it is welcomed since I am open to dating any race. But for some odd reason I wondered if men would stop looking my way because of the switch...ladies I can assure you that MORE of them (mostly non-black)are looking than before; what a pleasant surprise! I believe that they can appreciate something totally different than the mainstream. Newsflash ---for the most part they aren't hung up on natural hair - it's some of US that have the hang ups. A man (or woman) can/should appreciate a woman who is being true to herself and embracing her natural crown of glory as God intended. So let's keep rockin' what is unique to us, and let's let these men admire our beauty :)

Anonymous said...

TRUE STORY: I was at a mall going down an escalator in an upscale part of town. A white guy smiles at me going up on the other side. I am walking to my car and seconds later I feel someone touch my elbow. I jump up startled. It's the white guy, but he's unglued. This guy looks like somebody's new husband (Early 30's handsome brad pitt like). Guess what? He was. He says, "I'm married, but you're..." then he ask for a hug. He's having a melt down. I hug him, more out of mercy, but not out of desire. The hug was intense, but I exit. Hair was freshly done, but lord knows they LOVE us either way. They are just more timid about showing it.

Anonymous said...

Well I've always been approached by men of all races when my hair was relaxed, (actually less so from black men). Everyone I met always thought I was mexican or south east asian or some other ethnic group. When I went natural I got more approaches from black men. :)

Anonymous said...

Now that I am natural I have noticed that more black men are checking me out.I have always been approched by white and hispanic men more than black men before I became natural. my boyfriend of 10 years is mixed with white and puertorican.He would always tell me to stop relaxing. When I finally decided to go natural and cut it all off he was shocked, but he loved it. He loves to play in my hair. Sometimes he tries to give me crazy hairsyles.

Anonymous said...

I am natural now but met my white husband while relaxed. He loves it when I wear my fro or rock a weave. As India Arie said, I am not my hair. I dont really care what race approaches me, I accept it all. Ladies love your hair and all the attention it gets!!!

BlkMystry said...

Both Black and White men have been socialized to preceieve Black women a certain way. For alot of black men (as it is with many people within our race/culture) (straight)long hair is the way to go, especially if the female is "light-skinned".
For white men too have been socialized and it seems this is to think black women as exotic, especially when natural. After all, in veiwing a magazine, black women were primarily shown looking very natural, earthy and strong. Perhaps these images play their parts in presenting a certain mindset.

Queen said...

This is a very interesting blog. I have been natural for almost ten years and before I locked my hair, I wore braids. Nobody (including myself) knew what i was going to do with it. I was working in an after-school program within a diverse population. I will never forget the reaction from the children I worked with when I showed them my baby twists. The boys really gave no reaction. The black girls hated it, and the white girls thought it was "really cool".
At that time, I was living in Virginia. In the South, the people are known for being partial to long hair and light skin. This is true, but I was approached more, even by black men, when I lived in Virginia; however, I noticed that most of the men i dated thought of me as just the dating type, not the relationship type. Three years ago, I moved back to NJ and have not really had too many men approach me at all. It may be due to my new "mommy persona" (I was pregnant when i moved to Va)...but I still agree...black men are much more partial to women with permed hair.

Anonymous said...

I have been natural for almost two years now. I typically wear braid outs or WnGs. The reactions I have received are very similar. Sadly, I have been approached more by non-blacks than black men. Many of my black male friends questioned my transition negatively and couldn't understand why I chose to cut my thinning, mid back length hair to a short natural afro. I have also noticed that if I wear extensions or braids ocassionally, it is more acceptable in their eyes.

My current boyfriend is white and adores my hair. When I told him I was going to get braids, he sighed and asked could he play in my hair all night before it was too late. LOL... He even began to use more natural products such as olive oil on his biracial daughter's hair because he said, if it is good enough for his "big" baby why not for his "little" baby too.

When will our men truly embrace the beauty of our natural glory God has given us and not forsake us because it isn't a measurement of the European standard of beauty?

Be blessed and lovely, ladies....

Anonymous said...

The fact that in society today finding a female of color who is all natural is DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE im very appreciative to see even the least attractive female cherish her Natural hair! the media in society today has brain washed many women to believe that in order to gain attention from the opposite sex you must be artificially enhanced! this is FALSE! any educated brother or MAN for that matter will tell you how much they appreciate the confidence it takes for a women to be Natural! its the way GOD intended you to be YOURSELF! i appreciate all women in this thread and all women off all walks of life who cherish their temple and natural beauty! this is the only type of women i will consider for companionship no exception >> follow me @thekingjosef or tumblr =http://kingjosef.tumblr.com/

Anonymous said...

This is a little off topic but not really. I really love the girl's hair in the featured pic. Is that just two strand twists or some other type of twists with extentions. Please let me know! :)

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