I Let My Husband Dictate How I Dress & Wear My Hair -- So What?

long hair marriage

When I was 8, I got my ears pierced. I loved wearing earrings and wore them every chance I got -- sparkling, dangling, daisy flowers, parrots, and cherries. I had about 10,000 pairs. In high school, I got more piercings, one at the top of my ear and triples on each lobe. That's seven earrings total. I wore them every day.

Now? I wear none.

My reasons are varied. I have three children, none of whom I want pulling on the jewelry and ripping my earlobes like I did to my mother. But I could wear studs. So that's not the real reason. The real reason is this: My husband hates them. It's a fact. He thinks earrings are gross. So I have stopped wearing them.

It's the same reason I obsessively keep my hair below my shoulders and try not to lose TOO much weight. It's also the reason I tend to wear short necklaces instead of long ones and V-necks over turtlenecks. My husband likes all those things.


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I don't know what it says about me that so many of my fashion and beauty routines are influenced by my husband. Perhaps it makes me a bad feminist. But I want him to find me sexy. I want to do the things I know he likes. The things he likes have become the things I do.

Because truth be told, I don't like short hair anyway. Don't get me wrong. I know women who have it and look great. They can do whatever they want. But on me? It would look silly. I may have grown out of mid-back-length hair, but it will always be long. And now it's become as much about me as it is about my spouse.

I will never forget the first time I cut my hair after he and I started dating. We were about five months in. "I love you"s had been exchanged, and we were already planning to move in together. It was an exciting time. I decided to get a new chop along with all the new love.

I trotted out to the salon without telling him, taking eight inches off my nearly waist-length hair. It was just above my shoulders.

"SO fashionable," my stylist gasped, thrilled I had finally let her do more than a trim.

My then boyfriend nearly cried. He said I looked beautiful, as you do. But I could tell from his face and body language that it was a big, fat lie. I loved it. My thick hair is notoriously hard to dry and blowouts take more than an hour. But I hated the look on his face. It was almost like grief. I promised myself I would never see it again.

And I never have.

It's my hair. And they are my ears. And it's my body, right? I should wear whatever I want. And yet, it's not entirely true.

When my husband and I first met, he was a complete idiot when it came to fashion. Jeans and T-shirts he'd worn since the seventh grade pretty much comprised his entire wardrobe. So I helped him. We went shopping a few times at better stores. Hello J.Crew and Brooks Brothers! We tried caps over baseball hats and got him a hairstylist that could help deal with his thinning hair.

After 13 years together, he looks like a grown-up. He dresses the part. His head is shaved and his shoes are stylish. Does he do it for me? Probably, in part. But he also does it for himself. He feels better when I want to snuggle with him and be seen with him. And so do I.

That's marriage. It's the desire to appeal to the other person almost more than you want to appeal to yourself. It's why we have been married going on 12 years and still paw at each other like teenagers.

So, yes, I wear the things he likes and don't wear the things he doesn't (goodbye lovely earring collection, fare thee well), but I don't think that makes me a bad feminist. I just think it makes me a good wife.

Do you wear your hair/jewelry the way your husband likes it?


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