In November 2010, I went to Michel at Civello for my quintennial Chop Off. It seems that every five years or so, I cut off most of my hair.
I have always loved the look of short hair on me and on other women. The reaction to my haircut has become predictably polarized – one camp absolutely loves it and the other, well, does not. The latter usually thinks I look too androgynous and boyish, which, oddly are often the very same reasons why the former loves it!
Sadly, K is in the latter camp. K prefers me with longer hair, but he has not minded my short cuts in the past. However, this time, I think my “faux-hawk” threw him over the edge. My mother gently advised me to wear lipstick for the next while (you know, so people would know that I was the woman in this partnership). I wish I could say that I did not care whether he liked it or not, but of course I did. It got me thinking and reading.
Various studies suggest that there are (often unconscious) evolutionary and historical reasons as to why men prefer long hair. Many eons ago, long hair signalled to a man that a woman has been in good health for at least a few years, and by extension, in good reproductive health. In recent history (i.e. over the past few millenia), long hair was worn by those with wealth and power. It was the servant classes who wore shorter cuts. In both cases, longer hair on a woman would likely result in more “fit” and “desirable” progeny.
I have also read (anecdotally) that short hair on a woman sends a signal that, among other things, the woman is not/less interested in pleasing men, is rebellious (consider the women of the 1920s and the 1960s who cut their hair in response to societal changes and new freedoms) and is going through a stressful period in her life (Britney Spears’ implosion will forever preserve this theory).
I think there is some truth to each of findings and observations. But, the fact is, I love having short hair because I feel good with it and (I think) I look good. I believe it frames my face and accentuates my delicate, barely-there Korean features. It is a myth that short hair is not versatile. I like that I can style it so that it matches my mood on a particular day. Some days I’m feeling strong and bold, so I will style my hair with a bit of an edge, like Tilda’s. Other days, I’m feeling soft and feminine, so I’ll tousle it a bit, like Kate has.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of long hair as well – hence the existence of a five year cycle in the first place. Long hair makes me feel feminine, sensual and earthy. So don’t worry K, my hair will be long again soon enough. But, this is not the last time you will be seeing it short, either :).
Read Part 2 of this post here.