I like your hair long! And other things people say about my short hair.

It’s cool. You like long hair. A lot of people like long hair. Most women around the world probably have long hair, although I haven’t seen any statistics on it lately.

I like long hair, too. But it’s not for everyone. It’s definitely not for me.

Too honest?

Occasionally it gets me down when friends and strangers give me unsolicited feedback about my hair. Usually though, I expect it. There are a lot of requirements out there about what women should look like. For example, we should:

  • have pert breasts with standardized nipples,
  • cover our grey (unless we’re really young, then we can dye it grey), and
  • look like we’re always in our child-bearing years.

It goes on.

Hey, whatever makes you feel good! Go grey, don’t go grey. Whatevs. You can even decide not to shave if you like. The world won’t explode.

Prescriptive truth

I’m just saying that there are a lot of variations out there on how to look, choices we all can make about ourselves and our appearance. I think it can be easy to forget that though, what with the culture we’ve got going for us. It’s mighty prescriptive.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where your truth even comes from, right? Is it yours or cultural code you’ve internalized?

Maybe being honest is different from being truthful

Not to wade into philosophical waters that I’m not qualified to swim in, but this past Christmas I received a card from a wonderful friend and mentor. In it she wrote:

I think of you as a storyteller – part of a club that speaks the truth – even if it’s imagined.

I love this idea! Okay, so in this context she was referencing a Hans Christian Anderson she was giving me as a gift. But still, truth can be imagined. I think that’s a good guide to keep in mind when deciding how honest to be. Is this my opinion or is it truth? Maybe my opinion isn’t truth. Maybe there is more than one truth! Maybe I need to revisit Plato.

Do you really think I look better with long hair? Because it’s super not flattering on me. I can say that, I’m honest.

Read more about life with short hair in How I became a hair salon snob.

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Truth or Dare.

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This post also appears on Medium

22 thoughts on “I like your hair long! And other things people say about my short hair.

  1. Oh, I used to hate that! “Why do you keep cutting your hair?”, they’d ask. Because it keeps growing. Why do you cut yours? Nobody ever asks now that I’m older.

    • It’s something of a social experiment. I still like to get my hair cut out-of-town, so sometimes there are long periods between cuts. I’ll get it very short when I get it done, since I know it may be months before I can go back. Then, as it grows longer, I’ll notice how people become more comfortable with me. When it’s very short, apparently, it can be intimidating (I’m told). As it gets longer, I seem softer. But I’m still me!

  2. Ah yes….hair….so much people have to say about it. I seem to be one of the very few of my friends, my peers, who are grey….visibly grey anyway. Started going grey in my early thirties and just went with it…perfectly happy with grey though people have a lot to say about that! So short funky grey cut…fine by me…no-one’s business but my own!
    Short or long….should just be whatever works for you!

  3. This is so appropriate to this weekend’s moonshine grid! I’m glad you posted it – Natalies’ post, Talk me out of it covers these hair issues, and the post from Inspiration is a dirty word covers the warped cultural standards of beauty – your wraps it all up in one nice package. Thanks!

  4. So many truths to this. I get so many unsolicited opinions about my hair, and it’s hard for me not to internalize them. At the end of the day though, I’m the one who has to live with it, so I’m going to do as I damn well please (at least, that’s the attitude I’m trying to cultivate, lol).

    • Yes! I noticed that in the comments on your post — lots of people offering suggestions on how to wear your hair! It is hard not to internalize things. Once I walked into a woman’s room in a bar and someone said to me that I couldn’t be in there. Tall woman + short hair = Dude. Then, after realizing her mistake she said, Oh, you’re actually sort of pretty. Thanks?

  5. I hate unsolicited comments. “Who asked you anyway?” Unless they are compliments, which are completely acceptable if they’re friendly and not some sort of passive-aggressive way of saying, “Why don’t you do it this way? You were so cute before.”

    If a woman wants to change her hair, or leave it the same, or take a little off the top… that’s her prerogative. (Same goes for guys, but people seem to care less what we do.) Love it or leave it. No one should try to make her feel like crap for doing whatever the hell she wants with her hair, though.

    • Yes, Lukas, totally! It’s our prerogative. In this case, I don’t think anyone was trying to make me feel like crap, although that does go around a lot in our culture. I think it’s more about expanding our ideas about what’s attractive. Well, that and going with the guide: “If you can’t say something nice…” Also, I love how after reading your comment I have “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown in my head. Good tune.

  6. I have reached an age when women are expected to wear their hair short. My mother has been telling me how much she likes me in “that picture” – the one when I had short hair (only a few times in my life) – for more years than I can count. Long hair feels like me. It is me being me; comfortable in my own skin. And, finally, my mother has let it go.

    I love short hair on other women and wish I felt comfortable with it or looked good with it short. I don’t. (As a pop culture reference, I will turn to the character of Carol on The Walking Dead – awesome short hair!) I respect your position. The way you wear your hair should not be prescribed by anyone else or what is culturally expected or acceptable.

    • Robin, it’s so true! Long hair for the younger and short hair for the older is also an expectation. Let’s all just do what we want right? Thanks for sharing your hairstory. (Sorry, I think I may have just made a terrible pun.)

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  9. As a kid I had long hair…cut it to chin-length the day after high school graduation. It grows quickly, so I always knew if I whacked it off, it would be long again in a year or so. In my 40s I decided that my long (waist-length) hair was dragging my wrinkles down, and cut it super-short. Then I attended a musical performance by women my age, and the drummer had this amazing veil of hair down past her bottom, hair that she tossed about with abandon. I immediately started growing mine out again. I love my long hair. I also love it just past my chin, as it is now. The point is, I wear it the way I want to wear it, the way it feels best on me at the time. If someone says, “I loved your hair long,” my usual reply is, “come back in a couple of years. Right now I’m enjoying it short!” Do what you love because you love it! – Fawn

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  11. I absolutely agree with you on the hair front. People do get on their high horses, and everyone else’s goat, about such matters, don’t they?! I am in the process of growing my hair down to my waist (at age 55!) – though I will need to find my waist first! More like an Equatorial Region at present: took the last expedition a month to circumnavigate the damn thing!
    Hair is part of our individual statement about who we are – and is nobody else’s business!
    Alienora aka the stroppy old mare

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