New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Much to the surprise of her friends, 23-year-old Prachi Nigam, after a gap of four years, cut her long hair to shoulder-length -- a rebellious way to tell her ex-boyfriend, 'You are no more in my life and the thing you loved most about me I have got rid of .'
This is not just Nigam's story, but most young women these days cut their hair after a break-up to announce their 'break-free' image. But the drastic makeover can turn either way - a head-turner or a complete drab.
Some Hollywood celebrities too have changed their hairstyle - both for good and bad after their break-up.
While singer Miley Cyrus had a new hairdo and hair colour a few months after the breakup with Nick Jonas in 2007 and the change looked refreshing, Britney Spears at the same time went bald after her break-up with Keven Federline in 2007, which did not enhance her looks one bit.
Though there is no rule book to understand the psyche behind this move, experts say men generally like women with long hair, and hence after the break-up, the best way to hurt their ex is by chopping off the long tresses.
'Generally, men like women with long hair, so if that is the case, after a break-up a change in hair style is a way of saying 'I am no longer going to consider my hair that important as you wanted them to be. So, as you are off from my life, they are off too,' relationship expert Kamal Khurana said.
But there is another side of the coin too.
It may also be that a woman wants to get a makeover and look more confident, sexy and wants to get over the break-up, hence she goes for a hair-cut.
'Sometimes it is purely because one wants a change. A haircut that changes one's look, appearance, is refreshing,' psychiatrist Sanjay Chugh told IANS.
'Often when people go through break-ups, the self-esteem becomes vulnerable and you begin to question yourself - your looks, physical appearance, intelligence, smartness, social skills,' he added.
'An extension of this could make a person reject or disapprove parts of herself and you may want to do away with them by changing your style, dressing, appearance etc,' Chugh said.
'This could also help uplift the confidence temporarily and also revive the hope of finding someone new in the social circuit who may fall for the new look,' he added.
There is one more side to this hair-cut theory, though a negative one.
Twenty-seven-year-old Hritu Kaneja went in for a bob-cut after her break-up. The style didn't suit her face and added years to her appearance.
According to Khurana, she was in a depressive mode where looking good didn't matter any more.
'See, it depends on person to person. In this case, the person is so depressed that she doesn't want to come out of this failed relationship. Hence the feel-good factor has died somewhere and she is sulking,' he said.
'This is a depressing phase and it does get difficult to get out of it,' he added.
Though getting a hair-cut or a makeover is not the only thing a person goes in for.
After abiding by all those restrictions that were imposed while one was in a relationship - like no partying hard, avoiding short dresses and many more, a person rebels, and starts doing exactly what he or she was not told to do.
'This is because a person is trying to justify himself/herself that the person is no more a part of his life and they are free to do anything. Hence they indulge in activities that were once disliked by their beaus,' Chugh said.
'It's just a smart way of hurting their exs and it does work because the break-up is fresh and with life so well connected through social networking sites, the pictures are uploaded in minutes and the purpose solved,' he added.
(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)