I’ve always thought women were most irresistible when, as Drake puts it in his song “Best I Ever Had,” they’re in “sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no makeup on / That’s when you’re the prettiest / I hope that you don’t take it wrong.” But I never had a particular stance on Black women’s grooming habits until I met Regina*. Two weeks after we began dating, I was pretty sure she wore a weave, but I was fine with it. Men know when we see the hair, the makeup and maybe even a chest or butt that we could be getting a misrepresentation of what a woman really looks like. But while there is nothing wrong with enhancements, they should be an accessory—not a necessity.
Regina didn’t get that. We had been dating for about a year when I realized that I’d never seen her real hair. When she finally took her weave out, she looked like a totally different person. Her hair was short and permed, and I preferred that to the way her weave looked in the morning. But she wasn’t confident. No matter how much I would compliment her, she didn’t think she was pretty unless she was wearing extensions. Sure enough, after a month, the weave went back in.
That’s when I started to view the enhancements some women make—butt injections, weaves, heavy makeup and fake lashes—in another way. I’d been thinking about Regina as possible marriage material but decided we wouldn’t work. I want a woman to be able to look in the mirror and be comfortable with who she is. A woman who couldn’t love herself as nature made her was not someone I could be with for the long haul.
I know what you’re thinking: Men say they want a natural woman, but then they turn their heads for the glamour girl. I admit that men are visual creatures. But the women men like to check out or fantasize about having sex with are different from the ones we commit to in relationships.
It’s really upsetting to me that so many women try to look like a video model or celebrity in their daily lives. I went to a pool party in Atlanta recently and saw a lot of women with fake butts. I just can’t believe that is becoming the standard. Seeing this inspired my song “Wake Up & Go.” Everybody assumed it was just about women being natural and loving themselves, but it was also a metaphor. I want women to wake up and realize that they don’t have to rely on artifice to be beautiful. Intelligence, a sense of humor and the connection we make are much more important.
* Subject’s name has been changed.