A couple of years ago this Good Morning America experiment caught my eye because I, too, am a curly girl. Sure, I had had my share of dates over the years but suddenly the thought struck me: What if my curly hair was holding me back from being truly attractive to the opposite sex? Come to think of it, my friends with straight hair were being approached more often than I was. Hmmm.
To give you a little history, I went to high school in the 1990’s when all just about everyone with curly hair straightened it in keeping with the current fashion. This was the era when Friends was on TV and all the actresses wore silky, straight hair.
I couldn’t be bothered to do much with my hair during my teens. I had much more important things to think about like how I was going to fit homework, my job and ballet training four days a week into my life and still be able to sleep. There was just not enough time in the day to worry about waking up early enough to spend two hours doing my hair. My college days were no different.
Fast forward to my late 20’s when I had (slightly) more time at my disposal. I thought I might give straightening my hair a try but I held off buying a flat iron. Meanwhile my sister-who had watched the GMA feature with me-got tired of waiting for me to come around and bought the thing for me.
My family is generally supportive of anything that changes my hair and forwards Groupon e-mails accordingly. I have had essentially the same haircut since I was 18-years-old and rarely to never color my hair. So, they were all supportive of this new experiment and may or may not have taken up a collection for the flat iron. (My grandmother was the only dissenter and I think I love her even more for it.) I admit I actually thought this was my chance to finally be attractive and maybe even a little glamorous.
My first and last mistake was trying out the new hairdo on the morning of a workday. First of all, it took much too long to do my hair that day. As a newbie, the anticipated two hours turned into three and-geez-was I tired and overheated by the time I had finished! Second of all, I got way more attention with straight hair than I’d ever had or desired before. So much, in fact, that I didn’t get very much work done. (Although, my boss did not seem to care for once… perhaps attractive people do get preferential treatment.)
I arrived at work feeling temporarily like a Bollywood goddess as I got out of my car. (There was even a light breeze blowing.) Then I was chased down in the parking lot by one of my male co-workers who had to tell me how fantastic I looked. He advised that I style my hair straight all the time. Shortly thereafter another coworker was so shocked that he walked into a wall as I came through the door. The receptionist did not recognize me and my boss pretended to faint with shock. For me the novelty wore off about that time.
I was flattered and embarrassed to have caused such a commotion all at once. And I was a little appalled at how much all the compliments affected me. Sure, it was nice to be thought attractive (or be told I was attractive for the first time in a long while) but why in the would I base my self-esteem on what these people thought? Or on whether or not men in general like or don’t like my hair? Was I really that desperate for approval?
The thought of spending two hours every morning to style my hair in order to be perceived as more attractive (because I could take or leave the straight hair, really) was also ridiculous. Not to mention that I’m very fond of my curls which have now been proven as the best way for me to be taken seriously at the office.
So, that night I put away the flat iron and decided to save it for special occasions (read: about once or twice a year these days). That way, if I decide to go straight once in a while I’ll know I did it because I wanted to do so and not because I wanted to be attractive by everyone else’s standards. Because it isn’t about how other people see me but about how I see myself. And, really, I only need one man (and not the 12 at my office) to think I look like a Bollywood goddess even if I only straighten my locks once in awhile.
Have you ever experimented with a change you hoped would make you appear more attractive? How did it work out?