Curly vs. Straight: Which Do Men Prefer?
To find out, I embarked on an unscientific social experiment. Newly single in New York City, I joined a popular online dating service and posted two profiles. They were identical in every way—except one. The first profile included a picture of my hair flat-ironed straight. For the other, my hair was naturally curly. After one month showcasing the straight profile and the next month curly, more than twice as many men responded to the straight look.
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But this experiment is far from over. There’s a twist. On my dates, the plan was to find out what they really think when I show up as the opposite of what they expect. If they reach out to my straight profile, I would meet them as a curly, and vice versa. Would my hairstyle really affect their attraction? It was an adventure that was full of surprises. My one rule: I vowed to only date men I was truly interested in. This is the real deal, real dates, real men. Here’s a snapshot—you be the judge.
Bachelor #1: Financial-Services Executive
This is my first date. I’m nervous on the entire cab ride to the restaurant, wondering if my date will even recognize me. He expects stick-straight locks. I’m curly. I quickly phone a friend for reinforcement. I’m connected to voicemail, hang up, then glance at the cabbie. He seems nice enough. I bend his ear.
Bachelor #2: Italian Business Owner
It’s a late-afternoon lunch date near the shore, so I decide to show up straight (just like he expects) knowing the beach air always performs tricks on my tresses. I purposefully forget my clips, headbands, and emergency-fix spritz so I’ll be forced to accept any twists and turns the day may bring.
Bachelor #3: Cuban Marketing Executive
On my next date, I vow to worry less and relax more, no matter where my locks lay.
Bachelor #4: Music Executive
A week later, I schedule early evening drinks at a rooftop bar. As I step up the stairs, I again remember to approach the date as a confident curly. No matter what his reaction, I will smile. And I do.
Bachelor #5: Sales Executive
The next morning, I head out for a horseback ride with a new date. Once again, he expects straight, but I arrive curly. We exchange smiles. Not sure if his is a happy-to-finally-meet-you smile or I’m-in-shock-and-don’t-know-what-to-say smile. In my mind, I choose the former. After a breezy, hour-long trail ride, we have brunch at a tiny French bistro. Still not a peep about my hair, until I speak about it. His response? Curls are “exotic looking” and, like most of my dates, he seems unfazed.
Bachelor #6: Italian Model
It’s month two, time to replace the straight photos with curly ones. Within days, frustration sets in. Not as many e-mails, even fewer winks. Then, finally, one response catches my eye and interest. In his email, he mentions that he likes my curly photo. We exchange numbers. He speaks in a charming foreign accent. Turns out he’s a model. We make plans to meet for dinner.
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