Dear Black Guy,

I’m a 42 year old attorney and I have been married to my wife for 7 years. She is an amazing mother to our 3 year old daughter. She’s a successful hair salon owner. I’ve known her for 10 years and I’ve always known her to be a risk-taker when it comes to her look(s). She works in the beauty industry, so I get it. About a year into our dating lives, she showed up on a date with a fire red Halle Berry short cut. Like most supporting guys, I told her she looked beautiful and patiently waited about a month for the fire red Halle Berry short cut look to pass.

Shortly after she opened her business, she primarily settled into the look that I met her with- a long beautiful simple flowing hair style. I’ve always had a thing for long pretty hair. I don’t care if it’s weave or not, no guy really does, it’s just what I like.

I’ve accepted the changing styles for a decade now, but I’m feeling like I cannot handle the look she’s been rocking for about 18-months now. My wife had a modest length of hair (about chin length) but she recently cut her hair into an all out taper fade. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife, but I am having a very hard time finding my attraction to her with a fade. I thought it was a phase, but I really feel that she knows I don’t like it. I really don’t want to be that shallow of a guy, especially to the woman I want to grow old with. Can you help?


First off, thanks for your courage in discussing this issue.When it comes to the physical appearance of girlfriends/wives, I’ve probably heard more guys talk about this amongst themselves than any other subject. To be honest, most guys ARE NOT FEELING, the natural movement of the sistas. Sadly, it’s a byproduct of neo-colonialism, and the European standards of beauty that have been beaten into our conscious, as well as, sub-conscious brains. But, without going “Hotep,” in this response, let me attempt to address the real matter at hand.

You and your wife are a successful black couple, who have made it over the American Marriage-Divorce hump, and are raising a beautiful daughter. Because of the way you worded this letter, I’m wondering if her hair is the real issue? Maybe it’s the easiest problem to face in your relationship? You seem too intelligent and dedicated of a man to relegate the emotional bond you have with your wife to something as shallow as her taper-fade. Sure it may be problematic, but I seriously don’t think you’d allow it to be the straw that would break the camels back after 10 years of marriage.

Let me ask you a serious question. What if your wife was diagnosed with cancer, and went bald as a result of chemo-therapy? If  you’d stick by your wife’s side (Which I hope you would) maybe you can re-calibrate the way you’re mentally approaching her hair situation right now.

From a real life angle, I don’t think all African American women understand the mental blocks many guys have with women who have gone natural. Often times, women with natural styles are coupled with negative thoughts associated with a woman who will not, by any means necessary, be relationship material (Don’t shoot me).

In the case of your relationship, I want to bring a few things to the surface for your thought:

  • You are raising a young girl who is physically, emotionally, and spiritually connected to every thing you display with your wife. Be very careful and delicate with this situation.
  • Did you really marry and create a family with someone on the basis of physical image? If so, how/why did you allow yourself to do that?
  • Have you or your wife evolved into a person that you feel is no longer connected to the other? If so how/why?

I could go further, but start here. I think you’ll find that the root is much deeper than her hair, and I hope you two can work through this with effective communication.


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