Online dating is pretty terrible. You deal with an infinite number of men on a daily basis, most of whom are looking for one thing only... And it's not a home-cooked meal. Putting yourself out into the world of dating sites can be pretty scary, and those who do it should be applauded for their bravery.
Heather Steinberg is one of those people, and she's taking her story of rude online dating interactions to the internet in an attempt to show what women have to go through when dealing with this stuff.
Steinberg has many pictures of herself and her naturally curly hair on her Plenty of Fish dating profile, and one man thought it was his place to comment on it. Spoiler alert: it wasn't.
"Very attractive beautiful let ur hair grow long and straight no disrespect intended or trying to affend u im telling u from a guy perception, [sic]" the man wrote.
Steinberg answered pretty bluntly.
"I style my hair the way I want to."
She went on to say:
"If a guy isn't going to like my hair then that's on him [...] Oh my God look at your hair! That third picture looks like you're wearing a brown Bowl on top of your head!"
The man responded again, saying "Oh wow omg I really wasn't trying to disrespect or offend u im so sorry I think ur very attractive I was just trying to say u would look hot with straight hair so sorry. [sic]"
Steinberg's response to this was a lesson in self-confidence.
"I was born with naturally curly hair and the people who know me agree that me having curly hair was meant to be, as it reflects my personality and quirkiness. I look fine regardless of my hairstyle."
Steinberg had every intention of letting this go, but after sitting on the remark for a little while, she got more and more frustrated. She took her experience to the R/CurlyHair forum on Reddit. Yes, curly hair forums exist!
"Unsolicited advice," Steinberg wrote, accompanied by a screenshot of her interaction. "I've got naturally curly hair & this guy sends me this message. I just had to share. It bothers me to no end that people think curlies would look better with straight hair. Why should we change our God-given hair texture to look better for YOU? vent over."
The message gained a lot of attention, and soon went viral.
In speaking with TODAY, Steinberg admitted she didn't think it would get this big, but she just had to show the kind of nonsense women are dealing with.
"A lot of men have keyboard muscles when it comes to these online dating sites, so when I saw that message with the unsolicited advice on how I should wear my hair, I had to share it with the curly hair community," she said.
Normally Steinberg ignores these types of messages, but sometimes she just has to write back.
"Sometimes, though, the messages are just so appalling that I really want to ignore them. But in the case of the hair advice, I just had to respond," she said.
It's not just hair that people comment about on these dating sites, either.
"It's bad enough that I encounter negative comments about my weight on these dating sites, but now I have to worry about what a man thinks of my hair?" Steinberg questioned. "I stopped caring what people thought of my appearance about 20 years ago; I don't plan on stopping now."
Steinberg also points out that there's a difference between having an opinion and just being rude. Sometimes, silence is the best policy.
"Honesty is always a wonderful thing," she admitted. "However, unless you are asked, do not offer advice regarding a woman's looks, weight, hair, makeup, taste in music, fashion, etc. If me speaking my mind and holding my own lessens my chance with men out there, then so be it. I am my own person, I LOVE who I am, and why should I let some jerk online make me feel otherwise?"
Since her post has gone viral, Steinberg has received a lot of support from people with hair similar to hers.
"The curly hair community is a wonderful, welcoming, open place," she gushed. "They all commiserated with my reaction to this mans 'advice.' I got to hear experiences from others. It was a great reaction, overall and I am glad that I shared."
Trying to meet someone in this day and age is tricky, and knowing people like that jerk are out there doesn't make it any easier.