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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Curly vs. Straight

First impressions count. Many closet curlies are married to a flat iron because they think men prefer the smooth, straight look over curls or kinks. And when you can maneuver your mane in either direction, you have the option of changing your visual impression when meeting someone new.

But should you? And would it really make a difference?

To find out, I embarked on an unscientific social experiment. Newly single in New York City, I joined a popular online dating service and posted two profiles. They were identical in every way—except one. The first profile included a picture of my hair flat-ironed straight. For the other, my hair was naturally curly. After one month showcasing the straight profile and the next month curly, more than twice as many men responded to the straight look.

More Details:

* The straight profile was viewed 1,606 times for the month, while the curly one received 1,063 views during the month it was posted.
* The flat-ironed look drew 181 e-mails, compared with 60 for the curly profile.
* On the flirtatious side, the stick-straight profile received 120 winks, while curly locks caught winks from 60 men.
* In about 10 percent of the dates, hair made a difference, while confidence was the driving factor in the remainder of the connections.

But this experiment is far from over. There’s a twist. On my dates, the plan was to find out what they really think when I show up as the opposite of what they expect. If they reach out to my straight profile, I would meet them as a curly, and vice versa. Would my hairstyle really affect their attraction? It was an adventure that was full of surprises. My one rule: I vowed to only date men I was truly interested in. This is the real deal, real dates, real men. Here’s a snapshot—you be the judge.

Bachelor #1: Financial-Services Executive

This is my first date. I’m nervous on the entire cab ride to the restaurant, wondering if my date will even recognize me. He expects stick-straight locks. I’m curly. I quickly phone a friend for reinforcement. I’m connected to voicemail, hang up, then glance at the cabbie. He seems nice enough. I bend his ear.

“So, which do you prefer, a woman with curly or straight hair?” I ask, hoping for curl confirmation.

“It depends,” he says.

We’re almost at my destination. I press him. He begrudgingly admits to leaning on the straight side. Geez, why did I push?! I’m more nervous now, but there’s no time to think. I’m here.

I see my date at the bar. My approach is hesitant. I say hello. He looks at me, his eyes widening. Now, he’s nervous, at a loss for words. I think I know why, so I mumble some lame excuse explaining why my hair is curly, not straight like my picture. I’m not even sure why I felt compelled to explain. It’s just hair, right?

“Does it matter that my hair is curly?” I ask.

“Well, no, I guess … I’m just surprised,” he says, voice trailing off to a whisper.

Uncomfortable, I quickly change the subject and turn the attention to him and the hobbies listed in his profile. We order drinks and he finally seems to relax, as he shares stories of his mountain-climbing adventures. We laugh, sipping sangria. But we never quite recover from that fumbled first impression.

Bachelor #2: Italian Business Owner

It’s a late-afternoon lunch date near the shore, so I decide to show up straight (just like he expects) knowing the beach air always performs tricks on my tresses. I purposefully forget my clips, headbands, and emergency-fix spritz so I’ll be forced to accept any twists and turns the day may bring.

We sit at an outside table overlooking the water. A damp breeze is blowing. After the first bite of risotto and sip of Sauvignon Blanc, it happens. I can’t see it, but suddenly I feel my stick-straight locks expand, to the right and left, up and down, like they’re waving hello. My date banters back, “Your hair, it’s transforming right before my eyes!”

I stop eating, my fingers now entangled in a tress tug-of-war. And as I’m about to pipe in with an explanation, I look up and realize he’s already back to enjoying his meal, unfazed.

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Posted by Ajay :: 6:06 PM :: 0 comments

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