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

  • http://www.hautechocolatebeauty.blogspot.com LMarie

    I own several scarves and bonnets to keep my hair in its place at night however they usually end up somewhere in between my pillows in the middle of the night. I’m not really concerned with my natural hair but when I flat iron I would like to stay straight. One day I’ll learn how to tie my scarf and keep it on my head all night.

  • http://www.ebonylolita.tumblr.com EbonyLolita

    I alternate the head scarf w/him. Normally when it’s on&poppin I will sleep w/no scarf. But if it’s a chill/cool out night I put it on just BEFORE I go to sleep. *LightsOut* If he don’t like it he can leave. Mekhi’s excuse is bogus b/c if all it took was a scarf for you to leave a woman you NEVER loved her. Ppl play too much

  • Chelsea

    Oh heck no!!! I hat to be the one to bring race in this but why do Black guys complain so much about nothing? My ex boyfriend didn’t care that I wore a scarf and he’s Latino, I just joked and would say it’s time to get sexy baby lol hey maybe that’s why he’s my ex…the scarf huh ha ha anyways who cares, if I have my hair done up real or fake it’s getting wrapped up because that’s just how I choose to care for MY hair…and besides what about all these dudes walking down the street with wave caps and whatever that cap is that looks like a damn condom lol and they don’t hesitate to wake you up at night for some nooky idiots : ( btw I truly live in a bubble I didn’t know they were married and she is gorgeous she’ll find a man not just in to looks.

  • Chelsea

    Oh heck no!!! I hate to be the one to bring race in this but why do Black guys complain so much about nothing? My ex boyfriend didn’t care that I wore a scarf and he’s Latino, I just joked and would say it’s time to get sexy baby lol hey maybe that’s why he’s my ex…the scarf huh ha ha and it always ended up lost in my covers and not on my hair and anyways who cares, if I have my hair done up real or fake it’s getting wrapped up because that’s just how I choose to care for MY hair…and besides what about all these dudes walking down the street with wave caps and whatever that cap is that looks like a damn condom lol and they don’t hesitate to wake you up at night for some nooky idiots : ( btw I truly live in a bubble I didn’t know they were married and she is gorgeous she’ll find a man not just in to looks.

  • http://www.splendidstyle.tumblr.com Joanne_

    I can’t believe Mekhi said that! wooowww, now I’m assuming it would be wrong if someone told him it was no longer alluring when he would continuously wear tees and jeans at every event even at his age. I feel that if a man is not willing to accept that fact that WE have to tie our hair at night in order to maintain our hair then that’s his problem. It’s maintenance! I hate when a man does not cut his hair on the regular or at least a tape but I would never stop dating a man because of it, that’s just silly.. If a man can’t deal with something as trivial as a head scarf then maybe it is good that he leaves, because clearly he is not able to deal with adult issues…

  • melissa c

    This is such a subtle yet MAJOR topic, great article! I have a funny story. I was sleeping with my boo and I wanted to look sexy so I had my lipgloss and my sexy bedhead look going on. As we are getting ready to sleep he actually taps me and asks, “Are you going to tie up your hair?” I was so taken aback yet impressed, so I tell him, of course! thanks for reminding me hun. Keep in mind he was raised in an all woman household so he gets it. Eyeroll at Mekhi Phifer, but wait isn’t this Melinda’s second divorce? maybe there’s more to the scarf and sweats situation….

  • http://www.ilovelivelife.blogspot.com Amanda

    Jessica,

    I agree that women should be comfortable enough around your man new or otherwise, to be able to wear your scarf with them,especially if you’re free enough to have sex.

    Although in defense of Mekhi, he was referring to Malinda’s overall attitude to their marriage. In the same statement he mentioned she wasn’t in tuned with him sympathetic or cooking/cleaning. I really don’t see anything wrong with his comment that he didn’t want to come home and see her in sweats and a head tie. Most men don’t want to leave and find you in the same spot they left you looking like you’re losing your mojo.

    #just sayin..

  • hmmm

    I think there are some really sexy ones. But, they are sold like they used to be. There is those sexy tie wraps ala pam grier and those sex kitten days something like that they make until this day but the rag ones are another. I feel what people where in the privacy of their home however they own darn business. Now what a married woman wears is between her and her man. But, if she be for a man worth discussing that over with. LOL I think one should wonder to if they are with teh right person when god forbide he lost his limb would she leave him? Or if she suddenly has some kind of disease and couldnt be a part of wholeness in whatever way before would he love her less. See alot of people sometimes worry about the scarf or the limb or etc but it should be an evaluation of the person you think you are in love with. Some people have no idea what love is that was a waste of an marriage and time for him and full time hobby for her of stupidity to deal with him. I never could understand the fascination with him anyway. I always assumed him to be a certain type of person that I dont find to be very good. I dont know him but I have seen him action. I am sure his mother is a wonderful woman; I’m so cynical. lol To each their own that is the beauty of life love and desire is all in the beholder.

  • hmmm

    it takes a doucebag to worry about such a thing. LOL…That all seems so punkish the whole part. I never wore them. I wear one occasionally after drying or add moisture to my hair like a deep wrap spa lol because they make a substitute for hair dryer for moisturization. The built in growth ones, ha! If I did decide to wear one though it would be my business. I feel that it is important to let hair to breathe But, I rarely wear it long. Wow, I cant imagine why that made him had to go there publically and speak about his exwife like that how is it going with the current one. I wonder what douchebag fest broought that to his head. Get over her and move on. I say. Just worry about your current wife and that wonderful mother that raise to be such a fine man! LOOOOOOOOOOOOL I hope him and his wife all the best of health. I hate to see him fall out of love if she would to become less of a scarf!

  • hmmm

    there are some that are straightup sexy there are some that are not within that purpose lol but too me the moral of teh story is that is scary mekhi statements and that he had to douchebag about it in public. Yeah between a man and wife and home that is one thing to talk about certain quirks. O girlie…its like his wife saying honey if you keep having those dagger dry lips everynight with that grining slobbering mouth of yours like a chesire cat than i am going to. LOL I would say she didnt love him much in teh first place and taht lol. I dont imagine why sleeping with them is good for hair breathing. But that is beside the point.

  • Leah-Marie UK

    I agree with the majority of comments made here today.
    I too wear a headscarf to bed religiously and if the guy I’m seeing does not like my headscarf then he can move on!

  • jenny

    the headscarf may not be on the beginning, but if we are close enough for sleepovers, then we are close enough for me to break out the scarf.

  • blk women spoil blk men

    yes, some are horrid some are sexay! It is not about the hair garb. women all of teh world have interesting customs and garbs. some are full frontal and leave out the face some are pinned up with a stick lol but this is not the point if he does or does not like that was something he could have addressed and moved on. This is not the big deal. He was just running his mouth because he just yaps. He seems to have always liked attention and just goes on and on about nothing. HE went from b to d list. He has always for since he began his career acted kinda of to me. Its about the fact he has always annoy me and that hear he is whining over his ex. Move on already that is what it is really about and the need for attention to talk about her. Get over it. HE subconiously doesnt get it or he does but he needs to move on. You shouldnt be thinking about your ex or talking about her period! From beyonce to malinda to his current wife and mommy have been to kind to him. LOL…he needs to grow up and stop already. IF you are married to a new woman you dont need to be reminiscing on your ex. I can tell he is crazy about his wife and i am sure he is in love with her but there is no need to be reminiscing on your ex period. lol

  • c-cubed

    I hate that this is even an issue that I have to think about. Can I go to bed in peace knowing that my hair is protected without having to be judged? I try to stand my ground and pretend like I don’t care what he thinks but it bothers me. Thanks for the article.

  • lara

    its funny this is an issue i have always pondered as i just don’t think it looks romantic for a lot of us when we wear our scarves. there are some nice ones out there now that you co ordinate with your night clothes or if wear it covering the front of your hair it looks nice and cute. i think it is when you bring out the stockings/tights or some ugly patterned one or dirty one or it big and bulky this is not romantic. i always think the effort we bl women go thru for our hair is it worth it…i am transitioning now to natural hair and i feel so free – i hated wrapping my hair at night

  • Afia

    So he can lay in my bed, be inside of me, but wearing a scarf is a no no? This is ridiculous.

  • chanela

    LOL i just slept over my man’s house last night and i stopped being self concious about it.hes hispanic and was like WTF at first but then he didnt care and liked that he could see my face more : )

    i call BS on tying your hair up meaning you dont fit the beauty standard. have people forgotten that in the 30s 40s 50s and 60s women of ALL races tied up their hair at night cause they had pincurls n stuff? its just that nobody does those styles anymore in mainstream like they did back then and black women are the only women left that tie their hair on a nightly basis.

  • smooches

    when my hair is bangi’n he alway’s ask?baby!,aren’t you going to tie your hair up!he’s understanding!i understand when he break’s wind!lol!,but i get over it!lol!

  • Sherrie

    (In my best Church Lady’s voice): Well, isn’t Miss Jessica’s friend SPECIAL in her response re she doesn’t have to wear a scarf!

  • Sherrie

    Listen, if the negro doesn’t like it, lose him. In my opinion, he’s not worth it, it’s your hair’s health not his.

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