There is not much discussion on this topic, but there are some differences of opinion. This article deals with some different opinions related to the definition of a hairstyle with braids, attempts to find a middle way (perhaps unsuccessfully) and ends with the author’s own definition and description of ideal braids.
The tail is when the hair is tied in a bundle and hanging from the back of the head. Most would agree. But if that horse’s tail is involved, is it still a horse’s tail? Some say yes, others say it’s called braid. The same question applies to braids, the most common term for gathering hair into double tails (one on each side of the head). Can pigtails be involved and are they still called pigtails? Do the terms “tangled pigtails” and “untangled pigtails” make sense? Some claim that “braids” are just “braids” and not braids at all!
The Random House College Dictionary defines “pigtail” as “a braid of hair hanging on the back of the head.” What? Does it apply to ONE braid hanging on the back of the head and it’s called a braid? Hmm, there’s no talk of TWO pigtails at all! Something is wrong here. The dictionary entry for “copík” corresponds to the definition given above. So what about all this? Is the dictionary incorrect? There are several dialect or regional terms for double tails, so it is difficult for a dictionary to focus correctly on the definition of a word? Was the definition too fluent over time for the dictionary to define it? And why doesn’t the definition include the phrase “the cutest hairstyle of all time?”
The word pigtail is also an expression for wire cabling, which refers to a specific way of terminating the braided shield of an electric cable. (Again, the word “cop”!) Another technical and even more modern use of the word pigtail is for some wireless accessories for radios or cell phones or something – I haven’t fully understood this yet.
A few years ago, a college survey was conducted on the concept of pigtails. The students almost agreed that the pigtails were two tails, one on each side of the head, and that they could not be entangled. If they were involved, they were called braids. A class instructor who was from a different generation had a different definition. He believed that pigtails specifically meant two pigtails and that the two untangled tails should actually be called a dog’s tail. My personal analysis of this “experiment” is simply as follows: The instructor must have been older or almost like that, and may have lost his memory, so who knows what his generation really called “twin ponytails.” And dog tails? There is no way I can ever adapt to using such a term. The word dog or something similar can never be used to describe a woman with playfulness, boldness and / or superior self-esteem wearing hair in a braid. The students obviously had a much better idea of what the pigtails were about.
So where does it leave us? There seem to be generational differences, and perhaps regional or dialectical differences, that contribute to the debate (if you would call it that). So, I’ll put it this way: Pigtails are two bundles of hair hanging on the left and right sides of the head. They can be tangled or untangled. But I’ll also add my preferences here, because as I see it, there’s one right kind of pigtail. Braids are much more attractive when they are untangled. They should be placed on the sides of the head, perhaps a little behind and above the ears. Braids that are too high on the head, too low or too far back, simply do not have the true braid spirit. And braids without this true spirit simply cannot exert their undeniable magic on the wearer and its surroundings.