It can either be a source of pride or vexation. Women typically either love or hate their manes. If a woman’s tresses behave as she desires, she’s very happy. If not, she bemoans her bad hair genes. Sometimes both in the same day.

What does a woman’s hair have to do with dating? A lot, it seems.

How a woman feels about her hair before a date influences her self-image. This affects how she behaves on a date. If she’s having a bad hair day, she doesn’t feel attractive, which impacts her confidence. She doesn’t feel she’s putting her best foot (hair) forward.

If she likes her hair that day, she has a spring in her step, a smile on her face and an isn’t-life-grand attitude.

The style of her hair matters, too. If she has a wash-and-wear cut, she can spontaneously say yes to a walk in the rain or a swim in the lake. However, if she knows it will take hours to craft her locks into something she considers presentable, she’s likely to pass on that convertible ride, no matter how cute the driver. (A gal pal was an hour late for a set-time dinner party because she was doing her hair!)

Some women manage bad hair days with hats, scarves and barrettes. As long as it’s attractive, great. But some seem to lean on these accessories rather than try to wrangle their mop into something more appealing. A midlife pal with thin, limp hair has taken to plopping on an unattractive hat when attending professional events. She doesn’t want to take the time to learn how to style it to be more becoming.

Semi-permanent solutions play into the mix. The amount we spend on braids, weaves, extensions and dye is staggering. Comedian Chris Rock explores the societal complexities of African-Americans’ hair habits in his insightful and hilarious documentary film, “Good Hair.” Rock says, “I knew women wanted to be beautiful, but I didn’t know the lengths they would go to, the time they would spend — and not complain about it.” Beauty, as we all know, is in the eye of the one holding the blow dryer (or paying someone to do it for them).

At some point we had to decide (or perhaps are still deciding), “Should we color or not?” This decision has many ramifications including how one perceives herself, how she wants to be perceived, whether she feels pressured to do something she really doesn’t want to do. If she decides to dye, can she afford to have a professional do it or can she do it herself? Should she stick to her natural color or use this as an opportunity to explore something different? Or perhaps straddle the fence and go for a frosted look that plays up some gray? Or maybe let it go au natural and let whatever nature intended be seen?

Hair length is pondered, too, not only for ease of maintenance (or lack thereof) and how it balances one’s face and body, but for how one is perceived by potential suitors. While lots of women look sexy in short-cropped or even bald heads, I’ve been surprised by the number of men’s online profiles that say their ideal match has long hair. The age-range of these men’s desired match isn’t younger women, as I’d assumed, but midlife women. However, midlife women with below-the-shoulder coifs aren’t that common.

One man told me that he pre-determines a woman’s libido by her hair length. He said below the shoulder meant she was frisky. Between the shoulder and ear, still interested. Above the ear — couldn’t care less about the horizontal tango. I’d never heard anything like this, and many short-styled women tell me he is completely wrong. Yet it made me wonder how many men had a similar imaginary passion indicator.

Mature Woman with Gray HairFor myself, I left my locks natural until 10 years ago. I liked the salt-and pepper look until three things happened:

  •  the salt began to overtake the pepper;
  •  I felt I looked older than I felt; and
  •  someone guessed my age at many years older than my actual age.

So vanity and a desire to look as young as I felt motivated me to spend many hours and untold dollars in a colorist’s care.

My hair is below the shoulder, having previously spent a decade with Rod Stewart-length hair. I never really liked the look, and each time I visited my stylist I told her I felt better about myself when I had some curl in my hair. Yet I’d leave her chair with gelled spikes on the top, which I’d go home and wash out. Because I have a lot of thick, coarse hair, I stupidly returned thinking she was one of the rare stylists who knew how to work with my mop.

One day, at home after a styling, I cried when I looked in the mirror, so vowed never to return. I’m clear on what image makes me feel the best about myself. However, my stylist has orders to whack off a few inches when I begin to look like those middle-aged women trying to pass for 30.

How do you feel about your hair and how it affects your sense of attractiveness? How have men reacted to your hair? Has a sweetie ever influenced you to do something different with your hair? Post a response on Facebook. I would love to hear your experiences.

This is an excerpt from Dating Goddess’ book, Assessing Your Assets: Why You’re A Great Catch, one of her 15-book Adventures in Delicious Dating After 40 series. Order it at Dating Goddess.


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