Do People Treat Straight Haired Women More Deferentially?

Medusa courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art

I met my friend, who asked to be called Natalie, or maybe Donna in this post for dinner this weekend. She marveled at my perfectly straight hair. I divulged that I had just gotten a Brazilian Blowout. Natalie/Donna and I both have full thick curly hair. Natalie/Donna gets her hair blown out professionally once a week, and for half of the week it is sleek and straight and for the other half it is wild and curly. Natalie/Donna enjoys having her two different looks.

When I saw  Natalie/Donna for first time at the gym, she had her curly hair. She was very sexy and I later told her that I imagined her to be the plaything of a rich mobster.  She would go from machine to machine toting her designer bag with her head down and her curly hair covering her face. She was so slender and willowy that I was shocked when I noticed that she lifted seriously heavy weights. I also could not help but notice that all of the men that seemed to check her out while she was so oblivious.

Later,  as we became friends, I went out with her  when she had her straight hair- just blown out for the night. “Natalie/ Donna! You look like a rich socialite trophy wife now!” Well I suppose that neither of these perceptions is really true since she is extremely smart and an accomplished classical musician….oh and she was far from a trophy wife.

However, hair does make a statement. I have noticed that people have always treated me differently when I had straight neat hair. Perhaps this perception dates back to the time when I was 12 and cut my hippy long wavy hair and my class mate, a boy, said “Oh you look so much better with out all of that orangutan hair!”

My really new straight hair  gives me a “no nonsense” image. I seem much more business like and formidable (is it necessary to say that this is not my usual?)  Another friend said that my new hair makes me look thinner. How can I ever go back? What do you think? My husband suggested that I might try this experiment with bigger breasts and see if anyone treats me differently.











previously published on Open Salon under Snarkychaser January 17, 2011