Sunday, July 1, 2012

How Much of A Hit in the SMP/MMP Does a Woman Take For Short Hair?

I've heard some commenters equate short hair on a woman to effectively being 30 pounds heavier.  At first glance, that strikes me as rather excessive---I mean that's often the difference between being nicely petite and occupying somewhere in the 70th-80th percentiles these days and being down in the 40th-50th percentile.  Does it REALLY make that much difference?  Is the pixie cut THAT cursed?

Then I recall my own history.  You see, I provided myself with a nice unplanned experiment in revealed preference back in my early days during college.  We're talking late 80s here, so keep in mind that only 20% or so of women back then were even overweight, much less obese.

For my first serious girlfriend in college, I actually had two choices, both of whom broadcast indications of interest loud enough that even the non-neurotypical friends of a non-neurotypical running a pretty primitive emulation could recognize them as such.  The choice between the two of them also was very unclear.  Neither one was clearly more attractive than the other.  Both were very smart girls with abnormally even and stable temperments.

Both were, at that time, pretty representative of the 55th to 60th or so percentile of attractiveness---in layman's terms, exclude all of the women at the time their age that were overweight or obese, they're probably invisible to you mostly anyway, they're right in the center of what remains.  Now, that gets you to the 75th or so percentile as a woman, because so much of your competition has taken itself out of the running, but back then a fairly average looking woman with around a 21 BMI wasn't very noteworthy.

But here's the catch, one of these girls, let's call her woman B, could have easily been 75th-80th percentile on the scale of her day.  She had a nice athletic body and objectively nicer features than woman A.  So why was she occupying such a low spot in the SMP/MMP that she had to compete with woman A for a man her social circle collectively evaluated at that time as being just marginally above average?

The reason was that she had a pixie cut.  It really was that simple.  Unless you're a woman with such ultra-feminine features that long, touchable hair is just gilding the lily, it will hammer your position in the SMP or MMP that much.  Even in cases like that, you'll still take a pretty big hit.  Don't expect your girlfriends or beta orbiters to be honest with you on that score.  Effectively, woman B had marked herself down a lot, and, perhaps unfortunately, the younger Jehu didn't have either the lens of caritas to view her with or even a 'value investing' frame of reference with which to approach the decision.  With either he'd have realized that she was a bargain and could easily be convinced to let her hair grow long.  How do I know this?  A few years afterwards when I saw her again, she HAD grown her hair fairly long, a bit below shoulder length, and that change gave pretty much precisely the boost to her attractiveness that we've been discussing.

So despite the fact that pixie cuts and the like seem to be going through a resurgence in fashion, I recommend strongly against them.  They really are, as other commentators have pointed out, almost as bad as 30 extra pounds. 


Anonymous said...

I prefer long hair. But the hit for short hair will vary significantly based on the quality of the cut. Good ones won't be a big hit. Bad ones can make a girl undateable.

Jehu said...

The magnitude of the hits discussed above are for haircuts described as 'fashionable' or 'sassy', not for inherently badly performed haircuts. I'm sure you could amplify the effect here even further with poor execution.
The only kind of woman that experiences only a mild hit on her SMP/MMP position for having short hair is the woman who has ultra-feminine (by this I mean more feminine than say, 95% of women in her age group) features in general. Such a woman's body and face are already screaming 'I am a woman' and thus only take a minor hit.

Anonymous said...

I'd posit there is a huge difference between kind of short:

And really short:

Jehu said...

Definitely---the first will only give a modest hit, the second a very harsh one.

B322 said...

I always thought really short haircuts were for women who were advertising their awesome looks by voluntarily handicapping themselves. Which is compatible with what you're saying.

There is a huge difference between short hair and a hairdo which hides length from only the casual observer. A woman who is pinning up mid length hair, to bare neck (for looks or air circulation!), is always tacitly suggesting that she looks (and acts) differently when she's let her hair down.

Jehu said...

Unfortunately, lots of misguided younger women see the awesome looking actress and try to emulate her hairstyle, or her friends, perhaps unconsciously trying to sabotage her in the SMP, suggest it as a 'new look'.

Sam L. said...

I've seen women who've looked better with shorter hair. That may have been because their longer hair-do was unflattering.

Jehu said...

I can't say I've ever met a women who looked better with hair shorter than shoulder length. I suppose if their last haircut was by lawnmower it might be possible though.

Randy said...

I must be the only guy in the world who really doesn't mind a women with short hair.

Alrenous said...

I actively prefer the pixie cut.
That said, converting to shorter hair is fast and easy, converting the other way isn't, and I still have a too-short threshold.