On Friday, I learned two things:
1. I watch a lot of makeover tv shows, and read way too many magazine articles about makeovers,
2. My twitter feed is composed almost exclusively of women who are very fond of their long hair.
These lessons became apparent after I -- in response to someone soliciting input about changing the colour and cut of her hair -- mentioned on The Twitter that I think women over the age of 35 look better with short hair. Actually, I might have set the number at 30 or 40 -- I'm a little fuzzy on the details. I can't check back to consult the original tweet because once I realized the validity of Lesson #2, I deleted the tweet before I could annoy more people.
I hemmed and hawed about writing this blog post. On the one hand I don't want to insult or hurt my Twitter friends, but on the other hand I stand by my opinion. In the end, I decided that it was chicken shit of me to delete the initial tweet, and it's bullshit for me to pretend that I've changed my mind. Hence this:
Women over the age of 35 look better with shorter hair (translation: shoulder length or shorter).
It's not a revolutionary idea. I don't remember any of my mom's friends or my friends' moms having longer hair once they'd passed 30. But the practice seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years. Maybe it's an off-shoot of our youth-obsessed society? Maybe it's because long hair is an upper class status symbol? Maybe it's because hair dyes and styling products (and the marketing campaigns for these items) make it seem viable to have long healthy hair later in life? Maybe it's because glossy magazines and television shows create the illusion that the average woman can have beautiful, long hair (like Jennifer Aniston) even if she can not afford to employ a hairstylist to do her hair whenever she leaves the house (like Jennifer Aniston)?
The reality is very different once a woman hits her mid thirties. Her hormones change. Her complexion alters. Her face wrinkles. Her features sag. Her hair gets thinner, drier and wirier. Long hair -- especially if it's not a recent style -- just emphasizes these changes.
Every makeover show I've ever seen (certainly every episode of What Not To Wear) counsels women to cut their hair. Long hair literally and figuratively drags down a woman's features, and defines (not defies) her real age. I seldom see non-celebrity women over the age of 40 who can carry off the kind of long hair Hollywood would have us believe is attainable for mere mortals. But I sure do see a lot of buns, braids and ponytails.
As for me? I'm going to stick with my shaggy bob and will keep doing my best to keep my scalp from playing peek-a-boo with the neighbours.
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Update added September 25, 2011:
The denouement to this post can be found here. Thank you.