Monday, May 01, 2006

Long and Short of It

This week is major character development week for me (according to my nifty little schedule). Part of sketching out a character involves skulking around the internet, looking for images of people who personify the person I'm inventing. Usually requires a lot of gazing at hot guys, which, I know, is true hardship.

What I've noticed, though, is the lack of Beautiful Women (note caps) who have short hair.

I have a character who has short hair. But for the life of me I can't think of an actress who wears her hair short as a rule. Except for Halle Berry, and she is indeed a Beautiful Woman. But my character isn't African American, so she won't work. Besides, I've used her before as the model of a different character, and I try not to recycle.

Anyway, I've been racking my brain trying to come up with somebody whose hair is normally kept cut short, and I just can't come up with anybody. Every actress who comes to mind has long hair. Sure, they've gone through their short-hair periods, usually because of a role that requires drastic shaves (see Demi Moore a la G.I. Jane). But then filming ends and they seem to disappear for a while only to have it grow out really fast, back to the original long look.

Or maybe they get it cut because they are seeking a change, but such a change never seems to last because the poor soul gets so much grief over cutting what I guess so many people believe as public property. Remember that broohaha over Keri Russell's decision to cut off a gazillion inches of her trademark locks? Heck, some even contributed the decline in the show's popularity to the haircut. And I think poor Faith Hill went through some angst when she cut her hair. For crying out loud, the woman would be gorgeous with no hair at all. Why do people care?

But it seems that the public at large does prefer a woman to have long hair. And everyone who reads romance knows the cliche of those magnificent tresses flowing past the heroine's waist, usually of some sort of glowing sunrise shade of titian glory. Isn't that always what the hero notices first (or second or third), how her hair is the epitome of feminine sexiness? How he can't wait to feel it drape over his naked skin like some kind of living protein blanket. Yeah, in both real life and fictional fantasy, there seems to be a long hair = sexy lady thing going on.

Now, I admit that I have long-ish hair. Down past my shoulders. This is for a couple reasons. First, my husband tends to like long hair as opposed to short hair. I don't do a whole lot for him as regards my appearance; I don't diet or workout to keep my body in that youthful college form he first admired. I don't wear fancy (read: sexy) clothing or very much makeup. I'm very much the as-you-see-me kind of girl, so leaving my hair long-ish as a concession to his preference and as an effort to make myself attractive to him is a small price to pay.

BUT - this reason alone would not be enough for me to keep it long if not for the fact that I'm incredibly lazy, and despite the "just wash it, towel it dry and go" claim of hairstylists trying to sell some sassy short do, I think short hairstyles require a lot of work to look good. As it stands now, I wear my hair in a ponytail 90% of the time. I like the fact that I can hop out of bed and look semi-presentable without having to shower. And I've never been one of those hair-girls, who can work magic with nothing more than a bobby pin and a curling iron. What the hairstylist accomplishes while I sit in the beauty salon is something that will never happen in front of my bathroom mirror.

Too, I'm just stark raving terrified of what I would look like with short hair. I have fairly chubby cheeks, and I can't help but think I'd look pretty much an overgrown Q-tip if I didn't have long hair to draw my face downward. I know that hair always grows, so a tragic experiment is temporary at worst. But I have yet to find the Perfect Short Look that inspires me to take such a risk.

And adding another hit to the laziness column, I haven't had a decent haircut since I move from downtown Chicago some ten years ago. Back in my young, urban chic days, I went to a fancy schmancy stylist on high-end Oak Street, where they offered you a glass of wine when you walked in the door and the number of people you had to tip neared the double digits.

When I moved to the 'burbs, going to that stylist became a major effort. And since my style was not a whole lot more than 'trim off the dead ends', it seemed reasonble just to find a new gal or guy closer to home. Somehow, though, I just never got around to it. You know, those pesky kids and all of their needs and demands. So my haircuts now usually consist of me and a pair of scissors and about two fingers' width of getting rid of the bulk. Need I remind you that ponytails offer a lot of saving grace for the home hair stylist?

But, back to my dilemma. Surely celebrities and models out there have oodles of time and money to spend getting a faboo haircut. After all, it's their profession to look good, so they can write it off as a business expense. So why don't many of them have short hair? Is it simply a matter of trends, like the Rachel do? If some hot actress pulls off a cute short cut, everyone else will follow?

I hope it happens soon. I don't want to get off schedule.


Paul said...

I'm the last person to talk to about finding a good stylist and such, but I have to say I enjoyed reading the rest of the entry.

For one thing, you have a point about long-haired actresses (although I think short hair is in style now... been a while since I watched the Oscars and whatnot, but I have a vague impression of shorter dos on the red carpet), but it's something I never realy stopped to think about before.

For another, it's kind of funny how big a deal holywood can make of a simple haircut. (Or is that an oxymoron now?)

The main thing, though, is that I've always felt kind of "odd man out" amongst FoLCs because the Lois's Haircut polls always turn up all this support for short-haired Lois. It's nice to realize that maybe I'm in the majority (or a majority, anyway) in the bigger picture.

All of which probably wouldn't have been enough to prompt me to post except that the last item there reminded me of something:

Isn't Teri Hatcher a short-haired Beautiful Woman? Or is my perception of her Career Average Hair Length skewed by my knowing her mostly from L&C?

*Checks IMDB's photo gallery, is very surprised*

Never mind.

Sorry, I really thought I had one there...

meljean brook said...

Gah! Exact same problem with my current WIP, made slightly worse, I think, by the fact that her family is from India, and really, really short hair (like, spiky-punk hair)...I've just never seen it.

So I ended up going with a model whose face is exactly right, and I have to imagine it with short, short hair.

And in the process of writing, I tried to make a reference to an actress with short hair...and ended up with Halle Berry. After a long, long time of searching the internet...there was Halle Berry (and I like her a lot, so I did go with that one, though my character isn't AA either she had the closest hairstyle). Sharon Stone (which was not a comparison I wanted to make), Demi Moore (but the cut wasn't exactly right) and maybe Pink. Oh! and Alyssa Milano in some of her Charmed episodes.

I also fear the veryshortcut because of my cheeks. I'd probably look like a chipmunk.

Anonymous said...

How about Jamie Lee Curtis?

Marianne Arkins said...

Okay... you intrigued me. So I Googled "Celebrities with short hair" and found some links for you:

Celebrities with short hair

Also, these ladies have (or have had) short hair:

Ashley Judd
Alyssa Milano
Cameron Diaz
Charlize Theron
Isabella Rosselini
Jennie Garth
Marisa Tomei
Meg Ryan
Phoebe Cates
Sheena Easton
Sigourney Weaver
Tea Leoni

And if you go here, you'll see pictures of many of these ladies with short hair (just keep hitting "next" at the bottom of the page.

I'm a "fixer", can't you tell?

Good luck!