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Not So Old Fashioned Advice; Should I Keep My Short Hair?

January 29, 2010

Following is this week’s question for Not So Old Fashioned Advice. Please pitch in by leaving your advice for this teen in the comments section.

My magic pants and I can’t do everything, ya know. 😀

PS. Remember to leave your questions for future Not So Old Fashioned Advice columns in the Comments section of this post.

I just started a new school, and I have been having an ANNOYING problem! See, I am tomboy and have short hair… (long hair annoys me)

Well, EVERYBODY thinks I am a boy!!! (except some new friends)

On top of that there is this girl who is an absolute b… Female dog!!!

Everybody hates her because she thinks she is the boss of the school and throws out horrible comments about the others. I have been called ugly, fat, and that I look like a boy to her! I don’t take it personally… But I am worried that others will! I am kind of the shy girl so I don’t have the courage to tell a teacher…

I need advice on how to look more feminine while still not going 100% girly girl and how I can defend others (and myself) from that one girl!

– ShortHairedNewGirl

First of all, let me just say that I totally admire girls who can rock short hair. It takes a certain brand of self-confidence to pull it off, and the very fact that some girl in your new school is giving you grief over it tells me that you must pull it off with flair.

Otherwise, you wouldn’t even be on her rader.

That’s because people who pick on other people are usually painfully insecure. They spend their time pointing out other people’s perceived flaws in a desperate attempt to keep people from seeing their own. It doesn’t work, of course, because then everybody just sees THEIR flaws AND thinks they’re @#$holes.

But I digress.

There are really two issues here. The first is the fact that this girl will NOT leave you alone and is basically a bully. The fact that her intimidation has been verbal instead of physical is beside the point. She’s picking on you (and it sounds like a lot of others) and that’s just plain unacceptable. You don’t say how old you are, which can make a difference. If you’re in middle school, you should go tell a trusted adult about this girl’s behavior. I know it’s hard to stand up in a situation like this, ESPECIALLY if you’re shy (my oldest son is extremely shy as well), but it’s IMPORTANT. Someone has to make it known or she’s just going to keep doing it. In this case, speaking out takes real courage, but I can already tell from your question that you have the guts to do it. Since there are other kids being picked on as well, you might try to convince one ore two of them to come with you. Your complaint will carry more weight if there’s more than one of you and it will make it easier, too. Ask the adult in whom you confide to keep your name out of it, and they should be more than happy to honor your request for anonymity. Since this girl picks on lots of different people, a simple, “We’ve been getting complaints about bullying,” is all the principal should have to say.Schools take bullying a to more seriously than they used to, and I’d be willing to bet someone will step in and speak to her. If you’re in high school, I recognize that it can be tough to “tell.” In this case, I’d suggest allying yourself with some of her other victims (or anyone else, really). Bullies tend to pick on people who are alone, and if you band together, she might think twice before picking on ANY of you.

The other issue is one of CHOICE. If you LIKE your look, screw everybody else (sorry if that offends)! Seriously, you’re not living your life or dressing yourself for anybody but you. All that matters is that YOU like your look.

But it’s also perfectly normal to re-evaluate it from time to time, especially as a teenager. I have a tomboy, rocker-girl myself. She hasn’t shown much interest in fashion until recently, but lately, she’s been trying to soften her rocker-girl image with one slightly-more feminine piece each day. She might wear black leggings and tough, black boots, but she’ll throw a black-and-gray skirt over the top of the leggings to add a bit more “girl” to the “rocker”. But never pink! Don’t even say the word!


She might wear black skinny jeans with a Star Wars t-shirt (I kid you not!), but she’ll throw on a cuter, black sweater and save the olive-green army coat for a time when she’s wearing something a bit more feminine to go with it.

By adding one, even slightly feminine thing to your usual tomboy-cool look, you can soften things up a bit.

But the key is; ONLY IF YOU WANT TO! Because you should never let someone else’s small-minded view of how you should be, look, talk, act, etc., make you do something you don’t want to do. I’ve been there, Sweets, and there’s no happiness down that road.

So promise me that whatever else you decide, you’ll be YOU first. No matter what.

And come back and let me know how you’re doing, okay?


10 Comments leave one →
  1. ShortHairedNewGirlTimes2 permalink
    February 6, 2010 6:32 pm

    As we all know, I just started a new school… Well, I just figured out that my parents are getting back together (yay!!!) but we are moving back to Florida (i live in texas and have lived here for six years…) SUPRISE!!!! We could be moving back before APRIL!!!

    Now, I don’t have ANY place that I can call “Home”… We lived in my Dad’s house for three years, my parents got seperated, I have been living in an apartment for four months and I haven’t lived in florida for SIX YEARS!!! I can’t even call my parents car home because our original one got wrecked and we had to get a new one!!! HELP!!! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

  2. Ayla permalink
    January 31, 2010 6:10 pm

    oops… forgot to change the screenname to Ayla…

    that one doesnt need to be anonomyous

  3. HELP!!!! permalink
    January 31, 2010 5:23 pm

    Two words…

    Writers Block

  4. January 30, 2010 12:35 pm

    This is great advice ladies! I never had short hair in high school, but shortly after I chopped mine off. It’s actually very freeing to not have to worry about all that massive amount of hair. Kudos to you for having a haircut you like and not one that fits the mold of a typical high school girl. Speaking of the bully…Michelle is right. She sounds like the type to take her insecurities out on other people. I only wish the “popular” girls would realize how much power they really have, and that they don’t HAVE to do bad things with it, but that’s a whole different subject.

    I say stick to what you’re doing, but I do like the advice here about adding a cute cardigan or hair clip. I saw some cute headbands and clips at Old Navy last night actually. My first thought was, if I was in high school these would be so cute 🙂

    Not sure if you’re into earrings, but even simple post earrings can add a little glam. 🙂

    Good luck!

  5. January 30, 2010 12:19 am

    Love this advice, Michelle! You give many choices here!

  6. michellezinkbooks permalink*
    January 29, 2010 11:00 pm

    You guys are so great! You’ve given some fantastic advice to this week’s teen (love the hair clip idea!). It really warms my heart to see so much encouragement!

    I ❤ you guys!


  7. Jenny permalink
    January 29, 2010 9:53 pm

    I’ve had hair that is practically a buzz cut and just wore little clips in it, and like Michelle mentioned, softened it with some piece of “softer” clothing. But really, I also wear combat boots to this day and most days wear jeans and tanks.(pretty basic)I’m debating going super short again, too:D I think, depending on your age, your .. er… curves will distinguish you from the boys a bit as well. Short hair is fabulous and really, you may be getting targeted because this girl is jealous and lacks the courage to try short hair out herself. Silly, but it happens.

    Sadly, our society seems to identify beauty by a very narrow standard. All girls do not need to have long locks to be viewed as beautiful or feminine. I worried at first when I cut off all my hair. A shocking number of people were vocal about their dislike of it.(In my case, it was men) BUT, I really enjoyed it and ultimately decided that what was most important was how I viewed myself, not how others viewed me. As Michelle mentioned, that is really a no win when you start living to please others.

    Just remember to be true to yourself.<3

  8. January 29, 2010 9:13 pm

    Short hair chicks unite! (I need a trim, but yeah…usually mine is short too.)

    I liked Monster’s idea of the hair clips–a tiny bit goes a long way. And I definetely 100% agree with Michelle–that kind of bullying attitude comes from insecurities. Being shy myself (and attending five high schools in four years), I know how hard it is to be new and be picked on. It’s also super hard to tell a teacher or authority cause…well, then your new and could be labelled. But the thing you gotta decide is–how much are you willing to put up with (especially since you don’t HAVE to put up with any), and knowing what this girl is like, are you gonna let her do it to other kids, or are you gonna be the bigger person and do something to have it stopped.

    Being the bigger person sucks. But the whole situation does. Good luck, dear!!

  9. January 29, 2010 8:54 pm

    Michelle is spot-on. Only if you want to.

    You can also add subtle little clips or bobbies in your short hair that will fem-things up without going all super-girly. I totally admire you for rocking the short hair too… I barely got the courage to go above my shoulders this year, and I’m in my twenties!

    Rock on :o)

  10. Anonymous permalink
    January 29, 2010 8:48 pm

    Totally agree with Michelle!!!! I’m thirteen…..teenage years are very hard even before it starts…..I’m a rocker girl myself. Well, more on the goth side, but my parents dont let my dress how i want to all the time. My mom pesters me sometimes about me wearing “old dirty jeans” when they’re really fresh out of the dryer and are only shredded at the bottoms…You can’t even see it!!! Anyways, Shorthaired, your problem is with school-life people. My problem is with my parents….I don’t have that problem in school because we have….*drum-rolls* UNIFORMS!!!!!!! I live in a tiny Caribbean country…Trinidad to be more specific…..Just be happy to be who you are. Especially on the inside, ’cause you know what? That’s what matters the most….Be who you want to be and express yourself. You don’t have to please anyone else.

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