Ask an average guy what he first notices in a gal, and--unless he happens to be a hairdresser--a woman's hair might rank low on the list. Women care about hairstyles, but whether men do is a matter of debate. Rex Harrison, playing Henry Higgins in the 1964 musical "My Fair Lady" laments, "Straightening up their hair is all they ever do. Why don't they straighten up the mess that's inside?" Young women might fret that an unsuccessful hairstyle might wreck a date, but more mature women know that no bad-hair day can squelch an ardent suitor.
Health and Hair
Women often ponder what might attract a man. Men respond to visual stimulus, so--in theory--truly tragic hair might trouble some men. Sleek and glossy hair can be an indicator of health and vitality for women in certain ethnic groups, so insofar as men care about the health of women, they care about their hair. Certain medical conditions can cause changes in hair. Low thyroid levels can cause hair to become dry and brittle. Hormone level abnormalities can cause women to develop male-pattern baldness, according to the "Merck Manual." A strong and full head of hair can suggest fertility to a man and help a woman win a mate, or at least, get a date.
Hair and hairstyles can help a man decode a woman's personality. Long hair with soft waves might attract a man looking for a romantic, feminine and perhaps traditional woman. Extremely short or asymmetric haircuts in deliberately unnatural hues can let a woman express her independence--and help attract a soul mate. Musicians and artists often start hair trends--shocking people, only to see the styles become mainstream a decade or so later.
Pomp and Circumstance
Hair styles sometimes seemed geared to other women rather than men. One function of hair health and grooming is that it sends a message to society that a woman cares for herself and that she can afford others to care for her. Social standing in a community can determine a woman's hair cut and color. Mature women who fill the society columns of major newspapers every week sport remarkably similar hairstyles. A man who has considerable public exposure sometimes seeks out a reliably well-groomed mate with whom to share photo opportunities. Some women complement men under public scrutiny--and some, like the late Diana, Princess of Wales, simply eclipse them.
Not My Generation
The way a woman wears her hair can distinguish her from older generations. Younger men might look for trendier looks. For some men, any hair that looks different from his mother's hair looks good. Blond men who grew up among other light-eyed and light-haired siblings sometimes gravitate to women with dark hair and eyes.
A woman experiencing problems with a partner might try dyeing her hair or changing hairstyles--hoping to renew the relationship. A partner's infidelity might trigger insecurities, prompting a woman to ask herself what she did to cause the person to stray. Women with long hair sometimes cut off tresses following bad breakups in what is meant to be a catharsis. Lightening the load sometimes involves cutting off hair.