I have a guilty confession, I like social experiments and growing my hair out for three years was one of my more thought out, protracted and painstaking (literally) experiments to date . I’m always interested in how people react to me, because of my dreads and other obvious physical characteristics and intangible traits such as my accent. I constantly fielded incredulous looks and comments as a Jamaican man with LOCKS who has never smoked ganja. I’ve even paid attention to what my locks have meant for my love life. My biggest social experiment thus far has been the 9 months I’ve spent living and studying in Copenhagen, Denmark. It’s been exactly two months since the big chop and I told nobody I planned on cutting my hair, Jacey, my best friend was beside me in a barbershop in London and was beyond shocked, yet alone the barber who ignored my repeated requests to cut it off (I think subconsciously) and even mounted a small protest hahaha.
Everybody here in Denmark is surprised by how different I look. I’m starting to wonder if this is true based on the reactions of female friends in Denmark, USA and Jamaica and female family members. There is nobody in the middle, everybody is in one camp or the other. All this has made me think about the preferences of women in the selection of their mates. I was interested in a woman who has been a lifelong friend, for her I needed to be over 6ft, and she didn’t like my locks; for a host of reasons (not least the combination of the dreaded gravitational pull of the Friend Zone, her not being physically attracted to me and our incompatibility), we remained friends. My mother hated my dreads, and was one of the more vocal opponents to my decision to grow dreads and was beyond elated when I cut them. Last summer in Jamaica one of the women I got involved with while working in Kingston was from a very religious home and had a problem with my hair because of what that would mean for how her parents would feel towards me.
None of these were the reasons behind me cutting my hair. The truth is I never intended to keep my locks into perpetuity and was ready for a new look (my old look) and come Fall I'll be starting my last year of my masters degree and beginning the process of trying to land a job in the policy/political arena.
In all frankness I'm as confident as they come but the few times I've felt the pangs of insecurity about my desirability stemmed from my dealings with women, particular those of my age group and race. My height has been more of an issue than I expected. An even more glaring observation has been the laundry list of traits these women want. The laundry list thing is problematic and many a woman's dating life suffers because of this. Why does a woman who is 5’2 feel that if a man isn’t 6’2 he is undateable even if he has many other appealing traits especially in terms of what is important. Don’t get me wrong yes I’m short (5’6) but this doesn’t really bother me one bit as pulling women has never been a problem for me. And if my height is a deal breaker for somebody, then that really isn't the type of woman I want to date. Moreover I’m the type of man who’d date a woman 6’3 if I deem her attractive and intriguing. As far as I’m concerned, tall trees were made to be chopped down. But in my humble opinion many women are making the mistake of limiting themselves in trying to find some mythical übermensch that fits every single superficial criteria.
Race, complexion, height, hair length/style etc are not important, not even her religion. Full disclosure I have an affinity for some specific physical traits as well like dimples and curly hair, and tend to gravitate towards older women, but these are definitely not must haves, not having them doesn’t detract from a woman’s appeal. Geographic origin is a little tricky. I’m a bit of an extremist, truth be told I’ll probably end up procreating with a woman of Jamaican/Caribbean origin or parentage or a black woman from elsewhere or a woman from as different a background as I can imagine (Andorra, Bhutan, Kiribati, Suriname, Seychelles, Wyoming etc). This prediction is based on my love of learning and novelty --I get bored in romantic interactions easily-- and also my observation of culturaI differences leading to far too many unions being torn asunder. Secretly, I like the idea of waking up and cooking some ackee and saltfish on a Sunday morning with roast breadfruit and fried dumpling and not having to explain myself and my significant other being every bit as excited as me hahaha.
I’m simple, I need a woman to be good looking, intelligent, passionate about something, anything! I like to talk so she must too, and she can’t be miserable or easily offended because I’m a pretty silly and irreverent person when you get to know me. She needs to be kind and family oriented and invested in her friends (because I'm that way and it'll cause problems if she can't relate). That’s pretty much it.
I guess what I’m getting at is: at what point are “preferences” unrealistic and too numerous?
I've apparently missed out on "opportunities" romantically and otherwise because of my hair and what may have been seen as an undesirable countenance. Al Gore was worth 1.7 million when he lost the 2000 presidential election, now he is worth over 200 million and has even won a Nobel Peace Prize. Never you spend too much time ruing the rejection by/loss of a person, position, "missed opportunity" that was never yours to begin with. They just weren't supposed to be a part of your story, journey nor legacy. "When a fi yuh a fi yuh!" (Translation: When something is supposed to be yours it'll be yours.)
Cheers to marching to your own drum beat, and making lifestyle choices that place a priority on your happiness and not the whimsies and fancies of others. You can’t please everybody, and you can’t pull everybody, some people just won’t be attracted to you, so be comfortable with who you are.