When I was 20(ish), I decided to cut my hair short.
My hair was a dark brown then, and I liked how simple it was. It was right before a road trip I was taking with my friend Becky, and her mom, Katie. We RVed down the East Coast, which was challenging, invigorating, and really really fun.
I loved it.
I wasn’t dating anyone at the time, but obviously still wanted to be attractive to the opposite sex. The rural routes we took weren’t exactly through Babe City, so I had limited exposure (as did my short hair cut, that I was crazy about) to guys. It wasn’t until I arrived at our final destination, Daytona, that I got any feedback about how I looked from a dude.
I was at a wedding (friend of a friend), when an older guy, who was talking to someone else, said something I would never forget.
“Guys like long hair,” he said to her, but looking directly at me. “Guys don’t like short hair.”
For a 20 year old girl, that was devastating to hear. While it probably wasn’t intentionally hurtful, I was immediately flooded with doubt. Needless to say, I was too afraid to love my short bob, so I let my hair grow. I didn’t cut it short again until when I was married, and even then, I waited until he was halfway around the world in Iraq.
As silly as it sounds, I wanted to make sure I had something on lock before I risked someone thinking my hair was ugly.
I feel really sad for that previous version of myself. I remember feeling extremely insecure at 20 anyway, and the discouraging words of that man haunted me for years. I’m embarrassed to admit that it took me a long time to separate “Attractive Melissa” from “Actual Melissa”. Even longer to accept that it was ENTIRELY OK not to force myself into an ideal appearance.
It’s such bullshit.
I didn’t really recover from that sharp-tongued short hair hating man until I watched House of Cards. Seeing a woman of power rock such a simple, yet elegant look, with SUPER SHORT HAIR made me realize that he was wrong. In fact, 99% of guys that I talked to about HOC found Robin Wright as stunning as I did, pixie cut and all.
But to be fair, I don’t think it was the short hair entirely. I think what anyone likes, is less about preference, and more about confidence. It’s more about ownership over who you are, and how well you wear yourself.
A few weeks ago, I went to see my hairdresser Stephanie (at Arrow in Durham), to cut my hair again. I have no expectation or desire to have my short hair enchant anyone but myself. She cut off 4-5 inches, so my hair is now chin length, and choppy.
I even let her shave underneath.
I wish I could go back in time and confront that guy. Instead of saying nothing, I wish that when he said, “guys don’t like short hair”, I would have looked him right in the eye and said:
If you want more #shorthairdontcare, check out the many adorable minimal haired people posting on Instagram. I spent about 45 minutes trolling.