Fake Short Hair

Man with his hair in a short ponytail
Photo: StevenK/Shutterstock
Q: Hello, I need some advice. I have long, curly (actually dark red) hair now. I'm naturally dark, dark brown, but bottle colored. I recently read your article: Long Haired Men. I have spent 6 years growing my hair out. I like long hair on myself; I have always wanted it, and now had the chance to have it. Everyone at work likes it and all my friends do too. So, it's not like I don't have sort of a "following".
I'm moving back home to Chicago after living here in Utah for 14 years. I'm very concerned about me being able to get a good job with long hair. I know that sounds kind of silly, but I have heard stories. I have been at my current job for 6 years so, I haven't had to find a job with long hair. Is there something that I could do to my hair (i.e. wrap it and put it up) that "mimicks" having a regular head of hair without cutting off my long locks? My hair is naturally curly.
I am willing to get it "modified" underneath (meaning a partial cut) so that when I put my hair up that it looks better. But I really, really do not want to cut it all off. Help, if you can make any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. Most hairstylists here in Utah don't deal well with long hair, so I need to be informed FIRST before going in for "alteration".

A: You’ll be happy to know that you can fake a short hair look without sacrificing your long hair with a little creative cutting. What you want to do is create a “short hair outline” along the bottom of the sides and at the nape of the neck. A stylist can use clippers to cut a 1/4-to-1/2 –inch perimeter around the ears and neckline to about ½ inch in length. The rest of the hair remains at your current length.
All that you have to do then is to pull the hair back to the nape of the neck and secure it into a ponytail with a matching-colored elastic band and tuck the ponytail down the collar of your shirt. My husband does this to his hair (loose, it hangs to the middle of his back) and he works in an office environment. His hair has never been an issue in his job hunting. We live in Atlanta.
These days, most employers are accepting men with a variety of hairstyles. In fact, having longer hair is more acceptable in most places than punkishly short hairstyles. You also have the benefit of moving back to a larger metropolitan area, where it’s more likely that you’ll find more acceptance than in smaller, less urban communities.
In the majority of workplaces, the key is looking well-groomed. If your hair is clean, in good condition and brushed into a neat and tidy ponytail, you’ll generally have no problems from most employers.
You don’t specify what field you work in, but unless you are in law enforcement, fire fighting, or emergency medical services, there are few employers where your longer hair would be an issue. (My husband is in the IT field, which is notorious for being tolerant of long-haired geeks.)
If you happen to work in the professional field of business, the restrictions on hair can be varied. You’ll want to consider whether a company that feels the need to overly restrict personal choices like a hairstyle is really some place you want to work, anyway. I wish you the best of luck in your move, and keep those long locks growing.
See also:
Men's hairstyles
Dressing up men's hair
How to put hair in a ponytail
How to cut hair with clippers
How to fake short hair when you are a woman