Don't sweat it - your curls are gorgeous.
I used to work with a guy who would tell me my hair looked better straight, but that's his opinion & I'm fine with that. Funny thing is that when I wear my hair in its naturally curly state, I'll get random compliments from absolute strangers. That has NEVER happened when I've worn my hair straight, so I agree that I think it's probably because people just like something different . . . it's not an insult or slight against your ringlets.