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The Long and The Short of It: Hair Today and Gone Tomorrow

The Long and The Short of It: Hair Today and Gone Tomorrow
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BY JILL MATLOW

I was on a date recently when the guy I was out with asked me a question I’d been asked a million times before. No, he didn’t ask me what my career was, or why I was still single, or if I was a native New Yorker (although I’ve also been asked those questions too countless times before).

He asked me if I ever had long hair.

I’ve been asked that question so many times by the guys I’ve gone out with that I’ve run out of clever responses. I find it particularly ironic when guys who are bald have asked me that question too. Should I have asked them if they ever “had hair”?

But I would never go there because I know guys are super sensitive about losing their hair. And believe it or not, I’m attracted to guys who are bald. So those of you with the three pieces of hair you have combed across your forehead should take note and maybe get rid of those remaining hairs.

But I digress…

I didn’t always have short hair. In 6th and 7th grade, I had really long hair that I used to wear in pigtails, braids and everything in between. I remember back in those day, the boys used to literally pull my pigtails (I assumed they were flirting with me). Even though I loved my long hair, I hated all the extra work involved (hair dryer, curling iron, etc) I needed to make it look good.

I finally cut my long hair when I was a teenager and from that point forward had short haircuts. Remember all the great hairdo role models we had back then? Twiggy, Dorothy Hamill and more recently Halle Berry paved the way for women and gave us the ‘green light’ that short hair was the way to go! I felt liberated and loved how low maintenance my short hair was too. Throw in some gel and out the door you go. Goodbye hair dryer!

But as time marched on, and even with the growing popularity of short hair for women, I started to wonder what the continuing fascination most men had with long hair and why that fascination carried on from one generation to the next. (My dad, brother-in-law and brother are all fans of long hair).

We are all familiar with the depictions of cavemen dragging their women by their long hair back into the caves (assuming the women were allowed to leave in the first place). But why do men today find long hair so alluring? Most men I’ve spoken to have told me that they find long hair sexier and more feminine. Yet, these same men complained about the amount of time that their women took to get ready (most of which involved ‘fixing’ their hair). It seemed contradictory to me—the men liked low-maintenance women but with a high maintenance appearance.

Maybe I’m just making a sweeping generalization.

A few years ago, I ‘caved’ and decided to grow my hair long again. For women who have gone through this transitional phase, I’m sure you’ll agree that your hair never looks good! I remember visiting my grandmother Lilll during this time. Never one to mince words—especially in her 90s— Lilli said to me: “Jilly, I always liked your hair better short”.  I scheduled a haircut appointment for the following week.

A few months ago, I tried one more time to revisit the long hair days and thought my hair was finally starting to look good. That is, until I received an email from my mom (Lilli’s daughter). I had just written an article about ‘Honesty’ and in the spirit of being honest, my mom wrote that “my longer hair was adding years to my look” and that “I should go back to short hair again, as it was a better fit with my personality”.

It appeared that my family members were now joining the ranks of men on the hair feedback bandwagon!

My mom is a straight-shooter, no-nonsense, pragmatic woman. That’s what I love about her—she is all about the truth (even if the truth does hurt at times). But I know she has my best interests at heart, especially when it comes to my hair styles.

Ask your doormen” was her closing line in her email. I guess she thought her suggestion might not be enough and I’d have to solicit more male opinions before I relied solely on hers.

I realized at that moment that in the end, I really was more comfortable with short hair. So while I continue to date guys who will most likely ask me if I ever had long hair, I’ll hold out hope that I’ll find the one who never poses the question.

In honor of Mother’s Day this month, this one’s for you mom! With love always

 

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Jill Matlow
Jill Matlow spent much of her career working in many different facets of the healthcare industry writing marketing proposals, creative briefs and tactical plans. She is thrilled to now be writing articles geared to baby boomers who are nostalgic about their past but still hopeful about their futures. While music is her first passion, writing comes in a close second.