Thursday, February 9, 2012

Alpha Mail: how old is too old?

Stickwick asks if she should trust women she already knows are attempting to bring her down to know what makes older women look ridiculous:
I have a question for the men. I keep hearing two things over and over from other women: 1) I'd look cuter with shorter hair; and 2) When I reach middle age, I should absolutely cut my hair, because older women look ridiculous with long hair. I have sufficient evidence to know #1 is a lie. However, I want to know if you think older women -- even women in their 60s and 70s -- look better with long hair. Assuming it's healthy-looking, that is.
Since you know they're lying about (1), why would you assume that they are telling the truth about (2)? Yes, older women with grey, silver, or white hair look much better with long hair; the least sexual being on the planet is a fat, pyramid-shaped, 50-something she-thing with a fluffy purple perm topping a close-cropped back-and-sides. Now THAT'S ridiculous.  It is also grotesque.  But to prove the point, compare the picture of the Hollywood actress on the left with the picture of the woman below, who, judging by her hands, appears to be even older. Who looks more attractive? More importantly, who looks more like a woman?

And this is being more than fair to the short hair brigade; women with that dreadful mushroom cap look are ubiquitous and yet I couldn't find any pictures of that common hairstyle on the Internet.  Why?  Because no one wants to see that!  The real reason that women are always telling older women to chop their hair off is because nothing makes a 35 year-old woman who is just beginning to feel the ravages of age look and feel worse than a 60 year-old woman with long silver hair who can still turn men's heads.

All that cropping one's hair short does is make an older woman look even older, harsher, and more mannish.

50 comments:

Matthew Walker said...

Less hair == cats, sensible shoes. The message received is that you have assumed a male role in life and you want to make sure that's clear to everybody. If you're interested in mothering a "Dear Woman" man, that's the way to attract one.

Feminine women with short hair are under 25, roughly speaking, there's not that many of them, and they're limiting their options more than they know.

R. Bradley Andrews said...

I just showed it to my wife and she couldn't figure out who looked more attractive. She claimed I have always been partial to women with long hair.

Wow.

I agree that the one with longer hair looks more attractive.

My wife's hair is (fortunately) almost as long as that and nowhere like the first one.

Vox said...

I just showed it to my wife and she couldn't figure out who looked more attractive.

That's precisely why no single man should ever trust a woman who tells him that one of her friends is attractive.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. A woman at our church recently cut her shoulder-length hair back to a pixie cut and it added 15+ years to her face overnight. Walking with her husband she looks like his mother.

Daniel said...

Women almost never get this question right. These are the same people who brought us jumpsuits and harem pants. It is in their best interest to encourage their sisters to look as much as possible like clown college graduates.

Anonymous said...

They can't even tell which hair is more visually appealing. And now you know why all the greatest artists are men.

Stickwick said...

Thanks for addressing this. As I said in the other comment thread, I should know better than to trust the advice of other women by now.

My hair is currently down to my waist. The assortment of comments it inspires is interesting. Most of the compliments come from women who also have long hair. But I get derisive comments from such women, too -- one, who was almost 20 years older than me and had hair as long as mine, told me I need to cut it, because I look like a mermaid. (Like that's a bad thing?) Women are so darn competitive.

djmoore said...

On the other hand, there's nothing more ridiculous than an older woman whose sole sexual attraction is her long hair. It's as bad as dressing like a teenybopper.

There's a lot to be said for accepting reality.

My sister, who's pushing sixty, is a good example. She was spectacular in her youth, but age has not been kind.

She cut her hair short a few years ago, a lot like your top picture, and to me it comes across as simple honesty.

Plus, she's in a managerial position, and that cut does indeed convey a sense of authority.

She's dieting like crazy to control her weight, and she's taking dance lessons. Plus, her job still involves a good deal of physical activity.

But, tragic though it may be, her time has passed, and she's faced up to that as best she can.

CL said...

Yes, I hate this stupid meme that older women should have short hair. When I lived in the south of France I saw lots of older French women with long hair and trim figures - nothing like Anglo women. From behind you couldn't tell them apart from a 25 year-old. Most of the fat people there were English or German.

It's pretty obvious to me which of those two women pictured is more attractive.

Oh, and long hair is not more work; that's complete nonsense. It's actually less work so long as you don't blow dry or colour (better anyway as less damage to the hair). Shorter haircuts, in my experience, are way more of a pain and more expensive as you need to go have it cut more - and with long hair, it's not hard to trim it yourself.

When I had short hair there was no shortage of women telling me how "cute" it was; with long hair I do get compliments but less often, and I get more attention from men. Go figure!

JCclimber said...

Getting compliments on your short hair from women is great! So long as you are a lesbian AND want to attract women who like short hair. Many lesbians that I know prefer long hair.

By the way, the root meaning of the word "cute" is - ugly but adorable. If you don't mind being described as ugly but adorable, go for it and cut your hair short!

If you prefer the word "sexy" to be used to describe your looks, I'd avoid the kind of haircut that causes women to describe you the same way they describe bugs and pug nosed little dogs.

Vox said...

On the other hand, there's nothing more ridiculous than an older woman whose sole sexual attraction is her long hair. It's as bad as dressing like a teenybopper.

Your statement is far more ridiculous. You're quite literally saying that if a woman only has one sexually appealing aspect, she should get rid of it. Based on your logic, plain women with fat ankles and really nice breasts should all get masectomies too, right?

Long hair is absolutely nothing like "dressing like a teenybopper". Hair length has nothing to do with "honesty".

Anonymous said...

Is that Kevin Bacon? He's aged well even with the glasses.

soleil said...

Vox, I completely agree. Although it is rare to see "mature" women in the states with long hair so women who don short hair at an older age are considered the norm and those who diverge from this norm are often criticized.

I suspect that the reason why this norm was established is that women who are past child bearing years tend are no longer sexually viable and thus cut their hair to a modest length to signify this.

On a tangential note, I wanted to get your assessment as to when women are most likely to compliment other women. My observation is that women tend to compliment and gush over women who they don't perceive as a threat-the exceptions are women who are in a relationship and therefore "off the market" and women who are friends with them who make for good social proof.

I'd like to know if this aligns with your own observations.

Kiwi the Geek said...

Stickwick, I'm sure you've seen women with long gray hair-- don't you agree with the men that it looks way better than a perm or a boy-cut? I know several women who have beautiful gray hair down to mid-back, and I wish I had some hope of mine being thick enough in 20 years to still keep it long.

Actually, I knew a woman over 90, who had very little hair left, but kept it as long as it would grow (shoulders) and pinned it up in a sort of swirl every day. I think anything else she could have done would have been less attractive. So maybe, even if there isn't much, it's still better long. What do you think, guys?

Daniel said...

At first I thought it was Paul McCartney or that other elderly lesbian-looking chap.

Back when Annie Lennox had her last mainstream resurgence (Diva album, I'm thinking - whatever one "Walking on Broken Glass" was on - that song was inescapable) I remember seeing her on the cover of Billboard with her regularly butchered hair. She then took to wearing sort of plain dark wigs when she went out for non-work-related thing in public because she was being celebrity-mobbed a lot at the time.

She was unrecognizable, younger looking and way more attractive - and that was with a wig!

Vox said...

My observation is that women tend to compliment and gush over women who they don't perceive as a threat-the exceptions are women who are in a relationship and therefore "off the market" and women who are friends with them who make for good social proof.

Yes, this is true. One way you can be sure that a woman is at least moderately hot is if other women say things like "I don't think she's pretty at all" in a bitchy tone of voice.

As a general rule, women dislike women who are more attractive to men then they are.

Stingray said...

I am not sure this is such a good thing but the last couple of times a woman has criticize my looks, since reading here, I took them as a compliment and was actually quite flattered.

Vox said...

the last couple of times a woman has criticize my looks, since reading here, I took them as a compliment and was actually quite flattered.

What the hell, do random women just walk up to you on the street and tell you that they don't like the color of your nail polish?

If you want to crush nosy bitches, just smile and say: "Thank you, but I already I know I am more attractive than you are. I'm not blind."

Legion said...

At first I thought that Jaime Lee Curtus would be hard to beat, but the second women wins hands down in this contest.

Would Jaime Lee make it a better comparison if you could see as much of her shape as you do in the second pic? Probably. I doubt anyones eyes don't factor in the whole picture.

Orville said...

I think it's extremely rare for a woman to look better with short hair. Curtis has always kept it short, but I remember a movie in which she was a prostitute who wore a wig while on duty. She definitely looked better with the big hair.

Stickwick, don't listen to the gals. My wife never gets compliments from the worker bitches, but the men at work do complement her occasionally on new hair or clothes. I keep telling her go by a man's judgement, not another woman's.

Stingray said...

What the hell, do random women just walk up to you on the street and tell you that they don't like the color of your nail polish?

HaHa!! No. Not at all. It is not something that happens on a regular basis at all. I have insecurities about my looks as I was a tomboy and an ugly duckling. While I have learned to not be hurt by criticisms I still have difficulty forgetting them.

Stickwick said...

Stickwick, I'm sure you've seen women with long gray hair-- don't you agree with the men that it looks way better than a perm or a boy-cut?

Absolutely, Kiwi. I have no intention of ever chopping off my hair as I get older. I was just curious about the men's perspective, since this "cut your hair when you get old" sentiment is near-universal with the older women I know.

Speaking of which, at the gym this morning I made a point of watching the older women coming and going from the aerobics studio -- all but one had short 'dos. Two had the mushroom, the rest had boy cuts. Not attractive. I'm at the gym 5 days a week, and realized I'd never noticed any of these women before -- they've made themselves so unremarkable.

I keep telling her go by a man's judgement, not another woman's.

Agreed. I'd rather please my husband than anyone else, so no problem there.

I am not sure this is such a good thing but the last couple of times a woman has criticize my looks, since reading here, I took them as a compliment and was actually quite flattered.

You probably should be. I get criticized for my hair and the way I dress. I've toned down the latter, but when I used to dress sexy I got a lot of stick from women about it. Not one single criticism from men.

Zeke said...

May I point out that the first picture shows wrinkle lines much more clearly than the second picture? The first also leaves out the full body shot and the second woman has an attractive figure (for her age anyway).

Anonymous said...

^Just imagine Jamie Lee Curtis from Halloween, but with grey hair.

bob k. mando said...

Would Jaime Lee make it a better comparison if you could see as much of her shape as you do in the second pic? Probably.

wow dude, NO.

look up current pics of Jamie Lee. she's gone all pear shaped. and i mean that literally. heck, just look at the portion of her upper arm that you can see in the pic Vox posted.

no tone and clearly carrying excessive flesh. i'm sure that sharp chin line she still has owes far more to a plastic surgeon than good living.

she MIGHT be able to get into shape for film work if she goes full Hollywood with the crash diet and personal trainer AND they use every photog, post production processing and film trick that they've got written up in the book.


http://nutritiouslyhappy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Jamie-Lee-Curtis_More-2002.jpg

George Garner said...

Sure, if she looks like the long-haired woman you pictured above, who is obviously a model, she could get away with longer hair. Shouldn't we be comparing two ordinary women, not an actress and a model?

Imho, long gray hair on women often makes them look like witches, or geriatric hippies. It's the equivalent of older men who wear pony tails.

Really, though, how the cut will affect a woman's looks depends on the woman. My suggestion for your inquiring correspondent is that she go ahead and cut it short as an experiment, then pay attention to the reactions she gets. If she doesn't like how it looks, or if others don't care for it, it will always grow out again.

Just my two cents.

~George

R. Bradley Andrews said...

Those who say they don't like long hair, do you really like it short? I suspect that makes them look like your grandmother and not attractive either. Who is/was attracted to their grandmother?

This seems like an attempt to "act their age" rather than look attractive.

SarahsDaughter said...

Check out Jamie Lee Curtis vs Sigourney Weaver in the same dress. Look at those calves! I'd say Jamie Lee with short hair by far wins out vs Sigourney but still not as much as the second model in Vox's example. However...if you look at their hair styles alone, you'd never know Sigourney is nine years older than Jamie Lee.
http://www.posh24.com/photo/594464/jamie_lee_curtis_sigourney_we

R. Bradley Andrews said...

Blech. She looks like a man.... (JLC)

Stickwick said...

My suggestion for your inquiring correspondent is that she go ahead and cut it short as an experiment, then pay attention to the reactions she gets.

Are you not paying attention to the reaction even the idea of short hair is getting here? I'd have to be insane or an idiot to try this experiment.

indyguy77@work said...

So typical women are insane or idiots... that's been my working assupmtion for a few years now.

(ducks)

Stickwick said...

@indy: Women who have ample evidence ahead of time that the experiment will very likely yield a negative result and proceed with it anyway, yes. Women who just don't care, not necessarily.

The LP 999/Linda said...

I hope to look like the 2nd pic as I age.

IndyGuy77 said...

Stickwick: please don't ruin my attempts at humour with actual thought.

Thanks, dollface. ;)

Stickwick said...

Whoops, sorry 'bout that. You know we gals are a little obtuse when it comes to humor. :^)

Kyle said...

The short haircut is fine... if you're a twenty-something male. That has no business on a sixty year-old.

If an older lady REALLY wants to look younger, than keep the hair long and wear it with bangs. The more forehead you show, the older you look.

Hermit said...

"By the way, the root meaning of the word "cute" is - ugly but adorable."

I used to consider 'cute' as "Pretty, but not slutty", but I'm starting to come around to your definition. I think of all the chicks I consider cute, and none of them are boner inducing. I think that when chicks call short-hair cute, they are using my definition, when they should be considering yours.

Samson J. said...

Great topic, one whose importance women almost *never* grasp. In my first year of marriage, I had an impassioned argument with my wife because she wanted to cut her hair - not really short, but shorter than I wanted. It wasn't a fitness test or anything; she was a sweet innocent girl and honestly didn't know how men felt about hair. She has not taken more than an inch off her hair since that time. I think this is an area, men, where you've simply got to lay down the law , even if she doesn't understand why, although of course it's better if she does understand.

I agree with the comments that women can age *very* well if they don't succumb to the ubiquitous grey mushroom top. I've noticed that many of the older women at my church - generally the ones married to elders and such, the church alphas - still have at least shoulder length hair, and they look great. Hair does absolute wonders.

When, and why, did women start cutting their hair in middle age, anyway? I have photos of my great-grandmothers in their middle age, and they always have their hair long, in a neat little bun.

Leahn Novash said...

Geez. I had an argument with a women over breakfast just yesterday exactly on this topic.

A long gray or white hair is absolutely beautiful. Let it grow, regardless of age.

jay c said...

"It's the equivalent of older men who wear pony tails."

Older men who wear pony tails are the equivalent of younger men who wear pony tails. Unless it's braided and you frequently wear a sword, you just look like an idiot. With the sword, you might still look like an idiot, but shiny stuff with sharp edges distracts from the bad do.

Siobhan said...

There are no rules when it comes to what looks best length wise for either women or men. It depends on the shape of the face, features, condition of the skin, etc..No two people are exactly alike. Some lucky ones with great genes look good in either style. Look at Halle Berry, Tamron Hall of MSNBC, Lisa Rinna (before her "lip pumping disaster"..) These are beautiful sexy woman who in my opinion, look best with a short style. some faces look better without the distraction of a lot of hair...same goes for fashion, right? No two body shapes are alike..we dress to accent the positive and disguise the flaws, right? I don't believe this is a simple long/short looks better argument. Long hair can drag down a more "mature" face on SOME women.. I loved my long hair in my youth..but I started to cut my hair quite short (not peter pan pixie style..and definitely not old lady "mushroom" either..always stylish.a bit layered, side swept bangs..) and have received more compliments not just from women..am told I look younger.. husband loves it short and men still glance..we women are aware of those glances..haha..for me, it's like a face lift without the expense..Vive la difference!

Siobhan said...

PS..I am not opposed to long hair on older women either.and even if I were..who the hell am I to dictate to another what s/he should look like...I have seen women my age who look stunning with longer locks..I have also seen women experiment with short hair only to conclude it doesn't flatter them at all ...in the end it's a personal choice and how we feel about ourselves and what we wish to communicate non verbally through our personal style of fashion is what counts. How we present physically is only one thin layer of who we really are as human beings..not to say it isn't important.. those first impressions can and do have an initial affect (positive or negative) on potential employers, friends, romantic partners..We are not all looking to attract the same type of person, job, lifestyle. I say cut or grow your hair in a style that makes you want to look in the mirror and say "you know what..you look good!"

gray hair reversal said...

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Anonymous said...

Bullshit!

Anonymous said...

I went natural (grey) earlier this year after years of dyeing my long wavy hair. It's nice to not have to worry about roots growing out for the first time in 20 years, but, I'm only 41 and am excited to grow out my pixie cut into the long soft waves my dear husband misses, sans the dye job.
I did get a lot of rave reviews from female friends, but I am petite and curvy and always got a lot of attention from men, for whatever that's worth.
Anyway, I personally want to look a little less like JLC (with all due respect to her gorgeousness, I just do not feel comfortable trying to pull off that look ) and more like the second woman, softer, more feminine.
Thanks for posting this!

The Shytrovert said...

I am black and over 40 and look 15 years younger. I got a short afro and women were coming out of the wood work to tell me how adorable it was. I'm wearing braided extensions now for a switch up. However, I have to tell you I got as much action with short hair as with my extensions from young and older men alike. I feel like the average white woman is more at a disadvantage over 35 cutting their hair. I agree that really pretty women look best with short hair. Celebrity wise Halle Berry 40+ is gorgeous with her signature cut and to me looks pretty with long hair, but average. Michelle Williams, 25+ while not gorgeous, is quite pretty and looks best with her pixi cut. Many women over 50 do look like dudes with short hair. But I think it's more because they tend to be fat and dress poorly. By the way, you should talk about the whole "age-appropriate" dress thing. I hear that all the time and I think it's BS. It's another way women use to make other women fugly. When you hear someone tell a 40-something with a hot bod that just because she looks hot she shouldn't wear a mini skirt, something is suspect there.

Anonymous said...

To me what is tragic is women giving up on their femininity. 20 or 80 you're still a woman. You may not be as cute as a 40 year old as you were at 25 but you typically have more of a sexy aura from knowledge and experience gained. Therefore, women should strive to stay in shape and continue to look as good as they can as they age making needed adjustments, no I don't necessarily mean surgery. Just style changes a knee length skirt instead of a short one, shoulder length or chin length hair instead of to the waist. A lot of older women make the mistake of saying, fuck it, I'm old I'm gonna get fat sit around cut off all my hair and throw on any old thing going out the door. When you get older you have to make more effort to look good, not less.

Anonymous said...

Jaime Lee Curtis is ugly as fuck and always has been. Long hair helps average and ugly women look better. Two stars I know who look best with short hair are Halle Berry and Michelle Williams. But I'm a woman, so I suppose all you guys will say I'm insane.

Anonymous said...

I have always been a feminine woman who took pride in her looks. I look better with longer hair, and have just decided to keep it, but ditch the hair color and grow out my natural silver/gray. I am a trim and slim 66 year old who has had facial work done. I am going for the look of the second picture. It is a personal preference.

For those woman who no longer care to keep the traditional feminine attributes, and like the sleek clean look of JLC, good for them. They feel comfortable that way, and that is what counts.

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