The ‘Pigtail Theory’ Going Around TikTok Is Sadly True And Really Gross

The idea that grown men are attracted to women who appear younger isn’t exactly new. Fetish porn of teacher/student and daddy/daughter is extremely popular (and we’ll try to avoid kink-shaming here). However, when this kind of infantilization crosses over into real life, it gets even creepier and really gross. A perfect example of this trend is the “pigtail theory” going around TikTok right now. Prepare to be really weirded out.

What is the pigtail theory on TikTok?


Today was so fun!!🤑👧🏽is my hair cute or am I tripping??🤣😅 #blackcartgirl #zalaiyanefwani #pigtails #pigtailtheory #pigtailbraids #pigtailtheoryblackgirl #pigtailshair #cartgirl #bevcart #blackbevcartgirl #blackgirlsatwork #dailyvlog #banterqueen #donttakemeserious #blackbarbie #thirstythursday #golfers #golfersbelike #blackgirlbraids

♬ Me obsessed with you – not.jayswift

It all goes back to late 2021, when Grace (@aliveandwellandsexy) posted a video in which she showed off her work look: a black t-shirt, a pink hat, and pigtails. All good — she looked cute! However, she then revealed her true style inspiration. As it turns out, wearing pigtails makes men give you more money.

“When you wear pigtails to work and make double the amount of tips than usual,” she captioned her clip.

As it turns out, Grace’s experience isn’t singular, and plenty of other female bartenders and servers began sharing their own under the #pigtailtheory hashtag. To date, it’s earned more than 20 million views.

So wait, just how true is this?


It does infact work #pigtailtheory #servers #trending #worklife #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #viral

♬ original sound – Michelle Hawkins

While it’s clear from the number of responses that TikTok’s pigtail theory is a very real thing, user Michelle Hawkins (@just_dandyyy) decided to try it out herself. While she actually forgot to even turn on the open sign for half of her shift, she still took home way more than her usual number of tips all because she was wearing pigtails.

In her video, she shows off tips of 23%, 34%, and even 50% of the total bill. “Ladies and dudes with long hair, if you wanna wear pigtails, wear the heck out of them,” she says. “These things did something.”

In April 2023, @zalaiyanefwani tried out the “pigtail theory: Black girl edition” at a golf course where she serves players. Thanks to the pigtails, she got a $7 tip on a cup of ice, and one guy even said he’d buy the 3-for-1 beer deal if she agreed to go out on a date with him. Given that this isn’t how her usual shifts go, it’s clear the pigtails played a part.

Tipping big is definitely appreciated by workers, it’s just a shame it has to come at a personal cost.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill