I cut my hair. It's all gone.
I donated it to Locks of Love, in honor of a friend's battle with cancer. I have always wanted to do this - it wasn't a whim. But for many years I was scared of the awful 2nd-grade-bob my mom gave me, or I was in a theater production where I was locked into a hairstyle. In the recent past, I haven’t cut my hair because I was married. My then husband openly forbade me to cut my hair in a pixie because he had long hair and was horrified by the idea that his wife's hair might be shorter than his. Eager to please him, and wanting to be the sexy fantasy woman he so desired, I complied.
But then I got a divorce. So all bets were off, and I decided to take the plunge!
Everyone has always told me that my face shape is well-suited for a pixie: big eyes, small nose, defined cheeks. In theory it is a good choice for me. And after the cut I felt more attractive and sophisticated and sexy than I ever had. I walked around a few stores by the salon and heads seemed to turn as I passed. A girl asked me to participate in a charity fashion show. I was thrilled by this new-found confidence.
I posted a picture on Facebook; my female friends raved. So I happily sent a picture to a boy that I am currently dating.
While he did not intend to be unkind, he bluntly informed me that my new hair-do was a complete turn-off for him. I have to admit that I was completely crushed. A TURN-OFF?! He suddenly found me far less sexually attractive? I know we all have our preferences, but I just can't see how he can say, "I still think you are beautiful and I love you, but your hair cut is absolutely hideous." When he saw me that night over skype, he could barely look at me.
So where does this long hair preference come from? Deep rooted ideas of femininity and fertility? Why do men so vehemently oppose the pixie while women adore it?
I searched and searched online trying to find the answer. And I found this from male "experts" that the Daily News found to weigh in on how un-sexy short hair is:
“If you cut your hair you might be making a statement that says, ‘I don’t want to be seen as a sex object,’ ” says sex therapist Dr. Aline Zoldbrod, who agrees that men are usually more sexually attracted to women with longer hair.
“Men love long hair; the touch and the smell stimulates our senses,” says Matt Titus, Manhattan dating guru and author of “Why Hasn’t He Called?”
“The three physical things that attract a man are a great body, beautiful long hair or great lips. So cutting off one third of your beacons of attraction doesn’t increase your chances of having Mr. Right approach you. It’s like sending a nonverbal message that you’re not interested in sex,” [Titus] declares.
Great. Thank you for answering my burning questions, Mr. Titus. I just got out of a relationship where my spouse barely looked at me only to completely jeopardize my chances of turning on a man...ever again.
I was talking with my mother, who does like my haircut, and she simply asked, “Well, sweetie, what did you expect? You just did something very counter-culture. I think you look lovely, but you’re going to grow it out now, right?”
I was a little taken aback. Counter-culture? Really? Maybe in the 20s…but now? Is cutting your hair above your chin an indication of your edginess or a statement against social norms? For me, I just wanted to honor a friend’s battle with cancer—I wasn’t aware that my radical behavior now made me a card-carrying-bra-burning-
I understand that we all have preferences about what we find attractive...and that is okay. What I take issue with are the deeper issues at play here: why do I, as a modern woman, still so desperately need and seek the approval of the men around me to the point where I forbid myself from cutting my hair for years and then hating myself when I finally have the guts?
I know that true beauty comes from finding and feeling beautiful within oneself; however, I was hoping to be sexually attractive to some man, someday. And it’s difficult to feel pretty and accepted by others (males in particular) when it is so obvious that the short hair stigma exists.
Aimee is a second-year English Master's student at BYU. She likes to bake, and her Bichon Frise puppy has enough hair for both of them.