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Short Cut

By Mink Stole | Posted 5/19/2004

I'm 19 and my boyfriend is 23. We live together and have been dating for almost three years. He has a hair fetish, and really likes very short hair. I used to have long, long hair, then last year I cut it short for him. But I hated it and decided to grow it out. Short hair is not my thing, but it's not as if I'm refusing to want short hair specifically to hurt him. I would love to want short hair, but I don't. However, he cannot seem to let go of this need for short hair. He constantly mopes around and tries to manipulate me into cutting my hair again--and it's still quite short. This has been a fantasy of his since childhood, but I just want him to shut up about it already. We want to get married, but he just can't let go of this fetish. What should I do?

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Dear HTGT:

Not saying this would be like ignoring a big red zit on the end of your nose, so I must: Unless you are extraordinarily wise and insightful beyond your years, you are too damn young to get married. You just haven't lived enough postpubescent years to acquire the judgment and perspective necessary to anticipate what your needs and wants might be by the time you're even 25, by which time you may have further encumbered your life with kids.

Even if I'm wrong, however, and you are the wisest woman on Earth, completely capable of making such a commitment, you're in for a bumpy ride. Maybe your guy would be willing to get some counseling to help figure out why short hair matters so much to him, and, with luck, help him break free of the fetish. Or maybe a shorthaired wig could do the trick--think of it as sexy lingerie for your head. The thing is, he's got every right to ask for what he wants, even if what he wants makes you unhappy, but not the right to demand it, which means that you have the right to refuse. But if you want to stay together, one of you has to decide that the relationship is more important than the right to control the length of your hair. Just don't get married until you've figured it out. You don't want to fear that any scissors in the house is a potential weapon, either for cutting your hair or slitting his throat.


I am 23, and two months ago I started seeing a guy who's 43. At first he was kind and loving, and I really liked him--in fact, I'm in love with him. But things have changed. He says I'm childish and always want things my way, but if he gets upset he won't talk to me for days, which makes me feel so terrible that I run after him and apologize, even when I don't know what I'm apologizing for. He calls me a liar for not telling him about everything I do, but when we met he told me to guess how old he was, and when I guessed about 29 he didn't correct me. I learned he had kids the first time I went to his house and saw pictures of them. When I asked him why he hadn't told me about them, he said, "you never asked." I don't have a problem with the fact that he has kids, or that I'm half his age, but his lies hurt me. Taking this kind of shit from a guy isn't like me, but I'm only happy when I'm with him and I think about him all the time. What should I do?

Older Man Blues

Dear OMB:

Sometimes we get cravings for people who are bad for us, but who, for some chemical reason, trigger an intense and irresistible hormonal response, turning us into emotional junkies living from fix to fix. This guy is as good for you as a dry martini is for an alcoholic; and just like a drunk, you're willing to do whatever it takes to keep him. You've only known him for two months and you're already begging him not to leave you. This is not happiness; this is addiction and desperation.

Letting you think he was 29 could possibly be chalked up to vanity, technically he didn't lie about his kids--it's not like he hid their pictures when you came over--and there are plenty of fortysomething guys in this country dating women in their 20s. But even granting him the full benefit of the doubt, and overlooking all his flaws, you still can't build a good relationship at the cost of your own self-respect. We're all insecure to some degree when falling in love, but nobody is worth groveling for, and no man who cares about you would want you to. It's never easy to break a habit, but quitting this guy cold turkey today could put you back on the road to recovering your good mental health tomorrow.

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