I wear pigtails to my waitressing job because men tend better when I do that. It earns me, but the money is worth it.

This tipped article is based on a conversation with Katelyn Buss, a 22-year-old server in Salt Lake City, Utah. Edited for length and clarity.

When I first started working as a waitress at a sports bar and grill, I had a hard time tipping. I felt like I was wasting my time. I was making very little money, because the minimum wage in Utah for tipped employees is $2.13 an hour.

I’ve seen “curl theory” for more tips on TikTok

So I went to TikTok to see what other waitresses were doing to tip higher. I was looking for any ideas and tricks I could use, and I came across the “#pigtailtheory” trend. In it, women realized that if they wore their hair in pigtails, they made more money in tips.

I was kind of surprised by the idea, but decided to just give it a try. I put my hair in pigtails and went to the bar to act as a waitress. That was the night I made my first $100 tip.

I was really surprised that it worked so quickly

I kept trying it, and it kept working. I was making more money than I ever had before. I was surprised. I didn’t think it would work, and everyone at my job is making fun of me about it. But I tell them all that they should try it too. It may be a TikTok trend, but it works!

I thought about why me and so many other waitresses wear pigtails at work, and it kind of freaks me out. I think it plays into guys’ imaginations about schoolgirls and the innocence they think comes with that. If you are flirtatious and chubby and wear pigtails, they really like it.

I’ve tried experimenting more with pigtails. If I curl my hair before I put it in pigtails, I give more tips than I do straight hair. It’s like it makes me look like a doll, and guys seem to love that.

The comments I get while wearing pigtails make me feel weird

I mean, I know everyone has their own crush, and I don’t want to judge them. But it still feels uncomfortable to me, especially when they make comments about it.

One man told me that I reminded him of the comic book character Harley Quinn, who was famous for wearing pigtails. It wasn’t too bad, but he kept telling me how badly he wanted to pluck my hair. He was in a large group of his friends, and he kept saying that. I’m 5-foot-2, and his friends would make fun of him, saying he liked little blonde girls with pigtails. It was creepy.

The men who like pigtails more and more are in their late forties or early fifties

Sometimes it can get weird when they are with their wives or girlfriends, but mostly I try to talk the woman down so she knows I’m not trying to flirt with her man.

I’ve had cases where I check the receipt and see that the man wrote 1 amount in tip and the woman scratched it off and put a smaller amount in tip. I understand being jealous or feeling weird, but it hurts because I’m doing my best to make a living. Everyone suffers from insecurity, but I don’t think you have to deal with how you pay your rent.

I definitely find it disturbing that guys love the pigtail look

But at the same time, I have to do what I have to do. If any other young lady is considering possibly trying the braid trend, I’d say go ahead.

You might get weird comments from guys or some negativity from women, but you’ll get higher tips.


Tricare west is a global news publication that tells the stories you want to know.

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