Rapunzel Culture: Why Do Men Like Long Hair?

May 6, 2009 by Jennifer Belleau  
Published in Hair

Think of the words “hot girl”. You probably picture a girl with long hair. But why?

First of all, men aren’t the only ones who tend to prefer long hair.  Women can as well.  I feel more like a woman, and happier with myself, when my hair is long, healthy and shiny.  In high school, after I got into college and made some serious life changes, I cut my hair.  And not only did I cut it, but I cut it short, to my chin, and dyed it strawberry blonde.  Might I add that before, my hair was bra-strap length and dark reddish brown.  It was a drastic change, which was what I was going for.  But I wasn’t happy with it after a few weeks.

A girl in my class had warned me, “You will no longer feel sexy with short hair.”  She had cut her hair boy-short and she lamented that although it was fun to play with, she had a hard time feeling like a real woman.  But I kept telling myself it was the right choice.  Because more than anything, I wanted a change.  I wasn’t even thinking of looking good.  

When I first came out of the hairdresser, I was thrilled.  It had taken four hours to cut my hair, remove the previous dark dye, and then lighten it about four shades.  The change was exhiliarating, and for the first few weeks I was thrilled with how different and mature I looked.  People had a hard time recognizing me.  Even my best friends had a hard time recognizing me at first.  But then, after the initial shock, I realized one thing: I may have looked different, but I also looked worse.  My hair was starting to resemble that of a soccer mom.  As it grew an inch or two, it began looking like Carol Henderson’s in the Brady Bunch, except brassy and orange, so I tried my hardest to pin parts of it back and keep it modern.  I dyed it brown again to get rid of the harsh color and was impatient in terms of waiting for it to grow back.

It took me two years to grow my hair back.  Every day, I regretted my unfortunate choice of cutting my hair so short.  Even though women constantly told me I looked more unique, I felt less feminine, less attractive, and less like myself.  Now, one could argue that I’m just a “long hair girl”…which I am.  I prefer long hair on myself and on most other people, except for some girls who pull of short hair perfectly.  But in today’s society, long hair seems to be a “must”, especially in America.  I have never seen a Victoria’s Secret model with short hair.  Getting such a drastic haircut, to me, felt like wearing a “breast minimizing” bra without having huge knockers in the first place.  I felt like I had sabotaged my own femininity.  The initial thrill of being able to shake my head and feel the ends of my hair on my neck got old.  I felt like a mopheaded twelve-year-old boy.  It didn’t help that my good friend seriously recommended I get breast implants.  Thanks.

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17 Responses to “Rapunzel Culture: Why Do Men Like Long Hair?”
  1. Richard Says:

    Its a fact that some women look good with short hair some don’t. Attitude and confidence is just as important in whether a woman can model short hair as sexy as opposed to having it be perceived as manish. It’s sad to me that so many ladies bow the common culture of only long hair can be sexy. Incidentally I’m a guy whose just as attracted to confident stylish women with short hair.

  2. Jennifer Belleau Says:

    It’s true! So many women with short hair who pull it off are the same women with booming confidence. And I agree it’s too bad we don’t see that more often, because variety is the spice of life.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I had long hair since the time I was allowed to make my own decisions about how I cut my hair; it was a rebellion against my parents who always encouraged me to keep it short. Then, a couple years ago, I decided to chop it all off because I was tired of taking care of it and I needed a change. Now, I’ve never had high self-esteem and I was hesitant about doing this because I had no idea what I’d look like without my hair to hide behind. Since then, however, I’ve never looked back, never regretted that decision. In fact, since that initial chop, it’s gotten progressively shorter. While I think you’re completely correct in the stereotypes that exist about long hair, I think you’re making an incorrect generalization when you say not to go short if you’re insecure. Perhaps I’m the exception to the rule, but I feel more like I’m in my own skin with short hair than I ever did with long hair, and I’m about as insecure of an individual as you can find. Instead of making me more insecure, cutting my hair short made me feel MORE secure. At the same time, some people really just can’t pull it off. Furthermore, every guy I’ve ever been with has commented that they like that I keep my hair short, that it suits me far better than long hair and that I should never grow my hair out.

    Incidentally, another thing to consider is that many women who make a quick change from long hair to short do so in reaction to a major life change, such as breaking up with a long-term boyfriend, changing locale, or quitting a job. The sharp change is often a physical manifestation of the other changes happening in the woman’s life. Short hair is often associated with independence, freedom, and confidence; perhaps it says something about American culture that we prefer hair that implies docility, obedience, and sexual objectification. Sorry for the long comment, but I just felt like giving you some more thoughts beyond your own personal experience to ponder.

  4. Jennifer Belleau Says:

    I have never heard of anyone in your situation, but it’s very interesting to hear about! First of all, it’s clear you are someone who probably looks the best with short hair. Some people just do. And as for making you more secure, you are one of the people who probably doesn’t subscribe to society’s stifling stereotypes, and I think that’s really great. I should have mentioned perhaps, that a drastic change to dramatically change your looks can also give people a sense of identity and make them feel proud to stand out. I dyed my hair red for that reason, but for some reason cutting it short didn’t do it for me. And yes, when I cut my hair senior year of high school it was also because of a “breakup”, but in the long run it was so inconsequential that I didn’t think it needed to be mentioned. And don’t worry about the long comment. It was very insightful and I am always looking for ways to improve!

  5. Johanna Vargas Says:

    I think is completely true everything written here.
    Long hair, yes is sexy, short hair also. But it is not just about the hair, think of Halle Berry for instance, she has a great body and a beautiful face, and enough money to care about it. With short hair I used to felt kind of naked, like if people look at other parts of your body. But i really like it after a while.
    Short hair also needs a lot of time and care, of curse is healthier because is younger, but it needs to be cut every 4 weeks maybe to keep the style.
    Also people use to think that short hair is more modern and extreme… (well both my grandmas had really short hair… so i consider this a cliché ) and on the other hand you can also have long hair with a really modern crazy edgy style.
    It only depends on every women.
    I personally cut it short, a bob, when i was around 15 and never let it grow longer than my shoulders, now i am almost 27, and really want to have that feeling of really long woman hair. Also because my attitude in life has changed, I feel more like a grown-up woman now, and not like a cute girl.
    Just want to end saying that I think stereotypes and cannons should not exist anymore in our heads, and that everybody should find the way to FEEL beautiful, it will be reflected to the others!

  6. Mr. Me Says:

    I am a guy.. I hate short hair on a woman. It is very rare that I will find a short haired woman attractive. The #1 thing that attracts me to a woman as far as looks is looong hair (brown shades being my favorite). Nothing sexier than kissing a woman with long hair and feeling it in your hand as you hold the back of her head.. and by long hair I mean mid-back and longer…

  7. Abby Says:

    I cut my hair to my chin less than two years ago for Locks of Love. I don’t regret my decision. When I had my short hair, I was told it was cute and silly, that I looked younger. I liked that. With my current length, I truly feel like a woman, since I’m not exactly the largest chested woman out there and I’m quite slim, my long hair provides SOMETHING for me to feel womanly about. Back then, when I cut my hair, I do NOT regret it, because it was the right thing to do, I really needed it. It wasn’t even planned, I just did a sporadic change, but I believe it was a smart choice. Growing it back has been a pain in the ass, but a very enlightening experience. I was VERY attached to my hair back then, and cut it off. It made me feel like I was defying the norm for society and I liked it. Now, for my age group, I’m not the norm. My hair is longer than any of my friends’. As far as cutting it now, I’d never do that. Cutting your hair short is a decision that you want to think about. If you tend to be a clingy type person, it may not be the best decision. If you’re a carefree sporadic person, go for it! That is if you want to…

  8. Littleoreocookie Says:

    Wow i read so much opinions, and I want to cut my hair, but i dont want to be looked at as unattractive or manish to other people. I’ve decided to try something new so Im going to go for it, i do feel that men do prefer longer hair ( like my boy friend), but i also feel that beauty is only skin deep.

  9. Juliet Bock Says:

    my best friend had hair that was a rich natural orange color and it had never been cut in her life. it was down to her thighs and it just looked weird im sorry to say. then she cut it to her SHOULDERS after having so long. she also dyed it a more blonde hir color and she looks absolutely gorgeous with it. a million times better. shes the type of person who need short hair. it looked sexy and modern but then she started putting more dyes in it and she permd it and it looked just…unhealthy. she said that it was the worst mistake for her hair. so she grew it out and when it was short and healthy guys just drifted toward her. when it was short and UNhealthy they didnt hang around so much so when it grew out about to her mid back it started looking better and the guys started coming back. so long or short i think they just like it soft, silky, and healthy.

  10. Beth Says:

    Good blog!

    Personally, I\’ve always kept my hair long throughout adulthood, except for two times where I decided to chop it all off. The first time, I looked like an akward 15 y/o boy. The second time, I looked like a soccer mom. I\’m neither of those things, and these short hairstyles made me extremely insecure. My mom and my sister can both pull off short hair effortlessly and are always nagging me to try short hair \”one more time\”, because maybe this time I\’ll get the right cut. No, I don\’t want another 3 years (my hair grows SLOW, no matter how healty I am or what I use) of low self esteem and regret. With long hair, I can be fun and sexy, or serious and professional depending on how I style it. I\’m keeping my locks! Bra-strap lenght now, after 5 years growing it out. YAY!

  11. jenn Says:

    I’ve always been a long-haired girl. My husband loves me more, wants to have sex more and all around treats me better when I have long hair. I don’t know why. At times I cut it up to my chin, he says I’m sexy but starts getting less sexual. As soon as my hair starts reaching my breasts again, he’s all over me, like flies on **it. I love my hair for this reason, who doesn’t want their man to want them.

  12. PEPE Says:

    I read over your post. I disagree with some of it but agree with it on other parts. It comes down to everybody is different. Some guys like short/shaved and others like long. I am of the preferring longer, but it doesn’t have to be down to her buttocks. I couldn’t date a shaved woman for multiple reasons. It all goes back to when I was six years old and was attacked by a bald woman. That and recruit training at Parris Island. Anyway, to cover my own a$$, I wouldn’t leave my wife if she had no hair due to cancer. However, the feeling of a shaved head feels like sand paper and is a definate turn off. Sorry, but I would never be able to touch her head that would kill a relationship. However, if she had alopecia and lost all of her hair, OK and no problem because she wouldn’t have the sand paper effect.

  13. Tessa Says:

    I like long hair.. I think short is is 80s andtoo momesh.

  14. Short n Cute Says:

    I have had short hair since the age of….16. I am now 30 and it is still short and I have never had a problem with feeling feminine or sexy EVEN WHEN I HAD A MOHAWK, In fact I felt super sexy with A shaved head. Oh but I have always had a problem with male attention, I get way too much of it lol! So when I have come across surveys that show most men like women with long hair…LOL is what I do! Its complete rubbish. Whatever style or length of hair you choose should suit you, match your personality and it will look good! Who cares what men like…how about going with WHAT YOU LIKE and if he doesn’t like…..wave goodbye!
    I have a very feminine face and my figure is very delicate and petite so long hair is what makes me feel very unsexy because it hides ME! It hides my best feature, my face! It hides my body and I feel so unoriginal and boring like every other women hiding behind long hair! The ‘Cousin It’ (adams family) crowd! lol
    I feel confident and fresh with short hair. People comment on how lovely my hair and skin is and that its nice to see a persons full face.
    U need flawless skin for short hair and delicate features would be best. I WILL NEVER HAVE LONG HAIR! So if it really is so awful living with short hair wouldn’t I grow it or stick some extensions in! :-)

  15. Sam Says:

    Hello there I like your post and find myself agreeing with it. As for me, I’ve had short hair since I was a kid and it was after graduating college that I realized I want to have long hair. I’m now on my mid 20s and I’ve decided to keep it long always, for me having long hair gives me many options, like when you’re having a bad hair day you can always do a pony tail, or when you’re feeling sexy/cool whatever you can always put it down, blow dry it or flat iron it, half pony tail it whatever. When I had short hair, I always feel the need to comb it so it will not turn outwards, specially when short hair grows and reaches the shoulders it just turn outwards and it’s unpleasant. I like having long hair I think it complements my face and feel secure with it and as a plus, I noticed some guys complementing how I look when I decided to put my hair down.

    Although in the end I think hygiene still is very important, doesn’t matter if you’re short haired or long-haired you should always keep your hair clean, shiny and soft. :-)

  16. short and sexy Says:

    I have very short hair too and recently joined a dating site. I didn’t put a picture up right away and only got a few responses. However, when I put my picture up, short hair and all, I got an incredible response. The guys loved it. Hey, short hair works for Halle Berry too so I’m keeping my hair short too. If a guy only likes you if you have hair down to your waist and hates it if you cut it short, he isn’t worth spitting on.

  17. Dylan Smith Says:

    Girls with long hair look HOT. Girls with short hair look boring and manish.

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