Other Black women simply prefer the bigger styles that are usually associated with natural hair or just want to embrace a healthier head of hair.
Whatever the reason may be, it can be devastating to make a commitment to going natural only to discover your partner isn’t so sure about the switch.
Less perceptive men might not even notice when their loved one has changed her hair. What seems like a drastic change to women is often insignificant in the eyes of their male counterparts.
But that is usually not the case when it comes to the transition to natural hair.
Even if a lady doesn’t commit to the big chop, the transition to natural hair usually presents a drastic change from the flat-ironed or chemically straightened hairstyles of her past.
For Franchesca Warren of Black and Married With Kids, her natural style and her husband’s disapproval almost gave way to a comb-tossing fiasco with her husband.
Warren recalled the self-proclaimed “war” her husband started by asking that fateful question: “Why don’t you wear your hair like you used to?”
He added that he felt like his wife looked like “Celie from The Color Purple.”
“Astonished, I turned around (comb still in hand) and asked him to repeat himself again,” Warren recalled in the post. “…At that moment, I almost threw that comb at my husband. How DARE he tell me didn’t like my hair? This is my hair—I wear it like I want…Didn’t he know that natural hair was beautiful?”
That’s exactly where many men and women differ when it comes to those natural hair wars.
Most women go natural and see it as a statement about self-love and racial identity.
Men, more often than not, see a hairstyle. Nothing more. Nothing less.
To be clear, there is a substantial number of men who will openly discuss the fact that they prefer natural hair over perms and weaves. The idea of having a partner who isn’t going to have to spend hours in a salon chair or actually being able to feel her scalp is a thing that they thoroughly enjoy.
But when you suddenly make the transition after years of draping weaves or texture-altering perms, it can simply catch a man off guard.
“It’s often implied that if a Black man doesn’t like a Black woman’s natural hair style, he’s really a self-hating slave to the euro-standard of beauty,” Damon Young, the co-founder of Very Smart Brothas, wrote in an advice column for Madame Noire. “And while that may be true in some cases, usually it just comes down to a man getting used to his woman with a particular hairstyle, and not immediately feeling the change.”
Women forget that transitioning to their natural hair is a drastic change and can surprise their partner the same way it would surprise them if their man shaved off all his hair or decided to go from his usual fade to dreadlocks.
There is no telling how a woman might like the style change, but the change itself is jarring.
So the first rule to dealing with a partner who doesn’t like your natural hair is to realize that the resistance could be temporary.
The next rule would be to acknowledge your switch as a style switch, not a cultural decision in this context. In other words, don’t accuse a man of being that aforementioned “slave to the euro-standard of beauty” simply because the new style isn’t embraced immediately.
Young also points out that women should consider switching up the actual natural style if their partner doesn’t embrace the transition right away.
“It’s possible that he doesn’t dislike your natural hair, just the particular natural hairstyle you have,” Young wrote. “Just as there are dozens of different things women can do with weave or relaxed hair, there are dozens of different ‘natural’ hair styles—twists, afros, short dreads, long dreads, braids, etc.”
If your husband or boyfriend expresses that he doesn’t like your natural tresses, ask more questions and see if perhaps it’s just a certain style he isn’t crazy about.
This should not dictate your styling choices, but it should also be something of which you’re aware.
For example, if your man reveals he is a sucker for a good braid out but didn’t necessarily like your box braids, try avoiding the braided style on date night or special occasions.
Not because he should rule as king over your hair but simply because it’s a nice gesture and relationships are all about compromise and happy middle grounds.
Warren adds that it is key to actually host a detailed conversation about why your husband or boyfriend doesn’t like your natural hair.
In some cases the disdain might not actually be about your hair at all. This was the case with Warren’s husband.
“Later in the day, I got a surprise text at work that read, ‘I’m sorry I seemed mean last night,’”Warren recalled. “‘What I really meant to say was change up how you wear your hair and stop obsessing with it.’ I agreed.”
In addition to nodding to the fact that men typically like change—no hairstyle is going to be great to them if they see the same one every day—he also revealed that what he didn’t like was the “obsession” with natural hair.
The truth is that going natural does often consume a Black woman’s life.
She may spend more time searching for tips on YouTube and the bathroom counter may be overrun by natural hair products.
For a man, it can all be overwhelming.
So while the Color Purple jab may always launch a comb-tossing barrage, women should remember that many men simply struggle when it comes to communication in a relationship.
Talk to him about the change both before and after making the decision to switch, the same way you would hope to have a conversation with him prior to him deciding he wanted to rock a handlebar mustache.
In most cases, the natural hair divide in a relationship will be worked out through patience, communication and a little bit of compromise.
In cases where a man adamantly insists that a woman’s natural hair is turning him off in every shape, cut, style and color she dons, it may be time to snip the relationship.
Not because he didn’t like your hair but because if he’s too deterred by a simple hair change he may just not like you.