For most women of color, tying up our hair before bed is a necessary task. From reducing breakage to maintaining our ‘do, wearing a scarf at night has a myriad of benefits for black hair. But when your man is sleeping over, all that smart logic can go out the window.
The scarf brings the attractive factor down a few notches, according to some women. “I feel like Aunt Jemima,” a woman who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed. “A scarf just doesn’t look sexy,” she added.
Admittedly after a romantic night with a new boo when I’m feeling especially alluring, the last thing I want to do is grab a brush, wrap my hair and put on my leopard print scarf. Even if it means I have to sacrifice my new hairstyle in the process.
But what’s behind our aversion to wearing a scarf around a new guy? While some think it’s simply unattractive, others want to appear “perfect” and don’t want their man to see me them in their maintenance state. But I wonder, is it because these women are embarrassed that they have to wear a scarf in the first place?
A good friend of mine, who has straight hair on account of her mixed ethnicity, counts the fact that “she doesn’t have to wear a scarf,” as a source of pride. Her hair apparently isn’t damaged by cotton pillowcases and has the same look the next morning no matter how she sleeps. Scarves, she explained, are generally regarded as a need for “black hair.” And tying up your hair is evidence that you don’t fit the European standard of beauty so many of our men and women still readily embrace.
When addressing his divorce from Malinda Williams, Mekhi Phifer brought up the dreaded scarf as one of the reasons he became disenchanted with her. He said something to the effect that he doesn’t want to come home to his wife in a scarf and sweats.
While I acknowledge his point about keeping up appearances (to an extent), it bothered me that he spoke about her scarf with such disgust. They were married and Malinda is undoubtedly a gorgeous woman but to Mekhi, her scarf made her undesirable—and many women fear their men will feel the same way.
What’s the big deal about wearing a scarf around your boo? Have you ever forgone tying your hair at night in the presence of a man? Why? Do men look down on the act of tying up the hair while desiring those who don’t have to?
-Jessica C. Andrews