Hi Rachel, first of all you have a Lovely smile and great eyes and you could get away with short and/or long.
It is true though that many men like long hair and people I think in general. I have always gotten more compliments on my hair long than short.
I don't think after we hit the age of 40 we need to go short nor have I ever heard anyone complain about people in their late 60s, 70s or older with long hair. It's how you take care of it and style it
I have had many types of hairstyles from the real short to the short bop to the midlength, etc. Friends obviously didn't like my short cuts as they said I looked like my brothers Looking back, they were right. I cut it off short and then I always end up growing it out which takes another year or two and that's when I get compliments.
So, I am going to keep my long hair as for me it is easier to throw it up if I am in a hurry. Maybe someday I will do the short again, but not short layers, more of a style than just short.
Now like you I had straight hair until my 20s, I mean stick straight. Wow, who would have known straight is in as I curled it with perms and hot irons. Now it is curly in the back and my bangs are stick straight and now I have to flatten it to get the straight.
Anyway, as far as layers, you really have to watch out for layers and curly hair. From my experience, your hair will go everywhere and it is hard to manage. What I do is make sure you have a good hairstylist and say I want it thinned, but No defined layers. I have my kids do the over-the-counter Keratin treatments which puts shine to your hair and does get rid of the frizz. I don't flat iron it everyday as that would be bad, but when I do I use a protectant. But I like to go on my dates with it long and straight silky hair
Some friends said I needed a hairmaker and I take advice without critism, because that's what friends are for, right? Anyway it was cute when I got home my kids said Wow and called my girlfriends and said Thanks, you made my mom look like a Hot mama Now that's a confidence booster, hehe. Kid's won't lie normally;)