Young Male & PonytailQ: I'm a young male teen and I've been wanting to grow out my hair to put it into a ponytail, but I'm worried about being mistaken for a girl since I haven't hit puberty yet, is there anything I can do to have long hair and have people know I'm a guy?
A: Generally speaking, unless you intend to relocate to a place where no one has ever met you once you have long hair, I think you'll find potential gender-confusion to be less of an issue than you think. The people who matter will be aware of your hairstyle progression and won't have any confusion. And new people you encounter will probably not have any question of your gender because of other gender specific traits.
Unless you are striving for an androgynous appearance, the way you dress and your mannerisms will convey your gender clearly. Even the hairstyles commonly worn by guys with long hair are different than those of girls with long hair. Men's hairstyles tend to be simple. The hair is washed, plied with a small amount of product and blown dry or allowed to air dry, and styled using the hair's natural wave and style.
Girls on the other hand tend to be much more involved. The hair is blown out, curled or straightened and arranged with accessories that are clearly more feminine. There is also the fact that girls tend to develop faster than boys in the pubescent stage, and by comparison, the girls will appear more rounded, and filled-out, than you will.
The bottom line is that you need to have the courage to wear your hair any way you desire. There will be plenty of times in the future when you may be required to conform to a specific look (for a job, or by a loved one). Try not to take the issue too seriously. And if you grow your hair long and people start confusing you with being a girl, just get a tee shirt that says "Back off. I'm a Dude."
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