I've never talked about this before, but I'm not a big fan of protective styles. Now, I wore my hair in protective styles non-stop while I was relaxed and transitioning, but that was mainly because I didn't know what to do with it, and my hair was severely damaged. I therefore focused more on the health of my hair than its appearance. However, now that my hair is thriving, I see no reason to cover it up. My grandma would be so proud of me right now, because she HATED the fact that I had long hair, but chose to wear it up in a bun instead of down and blowing in the wind!
I see a lot of ladies on the hair care boards talk about how they wear their hair in all types of protective styles, rarely wearing it down. I also see a lot of women who use a TON of different products, and have insanely complex regimens. Although I believe that it's important to take care of your hair in order for it to be healthy and retain length, some of the methods women use to achieve that are a bit over the top in my opinion.
I've said all that to basically say this: Enjoy your hair ladies! Life is too short to keep it pinned up all the time. Sure, you can and should wear protective styles sometimes, but don't deprive yourself of fully enjoying the fruits of your labor. After all the hard work we put into getting our hair in tip top shape, we deserve to wear it out every once in a while. And trust me, as much as men love to see a woman's hair swangin' and run their fingers through luscious locs, I'm positive your man will love you for it too!