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(Douglas McCoy on hairbrained.me)

Whenever I return to the pixie after a stint of longer looks I encounter an equal mix of admiration and horror. What might surprise you is that these reactions are not divided by gender. For every woman who looks at my crop and wistfully utters, “I wish I could do that,” there’s one who asks why I cut off my hair as if I’d chosen to loose a limb. And, for every man who tells me I looked better “before” there’s one who tells me with a combination of surprise and admiration that I pull off short hair really well. But my experience is contradicted by every article I’ve read on the subject. Women, even those with short hair, seem determined to believe that men don’t like it. What gives? Click the notes for my theories. –– Laura Martin

Men don’t think they like short hair, but they do. The same men that discourage me from cutting my hair before I make the chop are often the ones who tell me how great it looks afterwards. When it comes to hair, I believe men expect to like longer styles, but what they actually like is whatever is flattering.

Some men do prefer long hair, but some prefer short. There is a certain percentage of the male (and female) population that prefers a specific hair length regardless of who is wearing it. If you happen to be dating a guy who categorically loves long hair he’ll probably freak if you cut it off, but the same is also true if you grow out your strands when you’re with someone who loves short styles.

Expectation affects perception. Since many women view cutting their hair short as a daring, gender-defying action they tend to present it as a negative to men. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a client with a new pixie cut ask her boyfriend, “Do you hate it?” instead of “Isn’t it sexy?”

Special thanks to Laura Martin for this post. Laura is a professional hair stylist, former senior educator at ARROJO cosmetology school, and a creative non-fiction MFA student at Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA. Follow her inspirations on twitter  @LarMarStyle 

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