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I’m a cart girl on a golf course. I wear pigtails and red nail polish to get higher tips from men — even if it grosses me out sometimes.

A selfie of Zalaiya Nefwani

Courtesy of Zalaiya Nefwani

  • Zalaiya Nefwani is a 24-year-old beverage cart girl in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • She’s tried the “pigtail theory” at work, where women make themselves look younger for higher tips.
  • As a woman in the service industry, Nefwani says she studies what men like to get them to tip more.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Zalaiya Nefwani, a 24-year-old beverage cart girl in Phoenix, Arizona. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I’m a beverage cart girl at a golf club, which means I’m basically a mobile bartender on wheels. I drive around serving drinks all day — and sharing some of my experiences on TikTok, which is where I first heard about “pigtail theory.”

The pigtail theory is simple 

If you’re a woman who works in the service industry, you’ll make more money if you wear your hair in pigtails. 

When I first saw the theory, someone commented on one of my videos urging me to try it. I did it right away after I heard about it, putting my hair into low pigtails and heading to work. 

I was curious: Would the pigtail theory actually work?

A selfie of  Zalaiya Nefwani

Courtesy of Zalaiya Nefwani

Well, kind of. I made at least $100 more that day than I do in a normal shift, but I wasn’t totally sure it could be attributed to the pigtails. Plus, I thought I’d make more than an extra $100. 

I posted about it on TikTok, and people commented telling me high pigtails are best because they make you look even younger. I was so grossed out — it’s uncomfortable to think that’s what men really want. 

But I tried higher pigtails, and I made $200 more with them than I do during a regular shift. 

Being part of the service industry as a woman can involve a level of studying men

It’s strange. You have to figure out what they like and what works to get them to pay you more. I saw people talking about the “red nail theory,” which is basically that if you have red nails, men are drawn to you because red is a sexy color that symbolizes desire. 

I gave that a shot and was shocked. It seemed like the golfers were turned on by my nail color and just forking over their money. I even had someone give me $20 just for driving by. They didn’t even order a drink! 

People kept complimenting my nails and tipping me more and more. It was wild. I’ve heard about “red lipstick theory,” which is the same as red nail theory but with lipstick. I’ve even thought about combining the red lipstick, red nails, and pigtails, but I haven’t done it yet.

On one hand, it makes me feel powerful to be able to wrap men around my fingers like this

A selfie of Zalaiya Nefwani

Courtesy of Zalaiya Nefwani

Sometimes, I’ll be going into work and thinking I don’t look pretty that day. Then, men are just praising the ground I walk on, so that’s a confidence boost.

Plus, I can just make these small changes to my appearance and make more money. That’s power.

But on the other hand, it really makes me uncomfortable

Like, the red nails and lips are one thing. But knowing that I’m playing into men’s fantasies of women being childlike is a whole other thing. It’s really unfortunate that it actually works. 

And it’s strange to be treating it all like a game — like, what can I do to myself to be even more desirable to men? But it translates to money, so I like to test things out. It’s like: “OK, give me all your money, all you’re getting is this image of me in return.”

If other women are thinking about trying out any of the theories, I’d tell them to just make sure they’re safe

If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t do it just for a TikTok. Trust your gut. We’re women, and we need to keep ourselves safe. It’s not always worth it.

And when you don’t feel like it, don’t do it. I don’t wear pigtails to every shift and I don’t always get my nails done red, because I don’t live to please men.

Read the original article on Business Insider