ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:
Do guys still go for girls with big hair or long hair? I've got long red hair and I've been wondering about cutting most of it off and getting a bob. That's come back and it would be a lot easier to manage. And since I'm not getting any dates (I'm a junior in college I live with my parents) I figure I might as well change the hair? Maybe I can dye it black and look like Jackie Kennedy? Will guys call me then?
--Red-haired and Dateless
I am encouraged to know that college juniors are aware of historic personalities such as Jackie Kennedy. I can also tell you that if dying your hair will make you look like Jackie Kennedy, you won't need to dye your hair to get guys to call you.
Here's my deal: On the scale of masculine sensibility I'm somewhere between the Retrosexual and the Metrosexual. The Retro is your basic hairy chauvinist pig. The Metro is the sweet guy who dresses well and listens well, whom you are pretty sure is gay but you are confused because he never mentions it.
Dear Jon has an advice column because I'm a Retro who listens like a Metro. Sort of. I don't lift weights or golf like a Retro, but I don't get manicures either. Probably both Retros and Metros would agree that I fit a whole other category, "Slob." And yet I had enough listening and grooming skills to marry the prettiest woman in college. (Yes, beauty IS in the eye of the beholder HOWEVER she WAS accepted to compete in a beauty pageant.)
Anyway, I freak out anytime my wife announces she is changing her hair. I always freak, and she comes home and it ALWAYS looks great. On the subject of her hair, she really is always right and I really am always wrong. So on the subject of your hair, you will probably be right even if you reject my advice out -of-hand. But I have a predilection for long hair, big hair, teased hair, whatever it is that makes a female more feminine.
When I was college-age, which was not that long ago actually, there was no shortage of fantastically beautiful red-heads at school. Some of them were so nice and sweet and intelligent I was scared to death of asking them out. Others were sarcastic--I had a more natural rapport with them, although efforts to get them to go out with me led to the usual results even if I did find the put-downs funny.
"I'm free February 30th." Am I the only guy who has heard that one?
Others were the daughters of Flower Generation hippie types. Those conversations never went where I wished they would.
One thing they all had in common is that they lived on campus. I have a hunch that one thing that is tripping up the guys at your school is that, since you live at home, they just don't see that much of you.
Of course you are living at home because it is cheaper for you and your parents. I'm just saying that the long red hair is not the problem as it concerns your social life. Believe me, that is a long long way from being the problem.
If you don't already have one, consider purchasing a meal plan at the school's cafeteria. My wife and I met in our college's cafeteria. We never had a single class together in our three years at the same school.
Consider getting involved in extra-curricular activities--and I don't mean "The Lillith Project for Feminist Art Alternatives." I mean the mainstream extra-curricular programs, such as school theatre. Even if you are not in the cast or getting credit, a lot of theatre programs need volunteer (i.e. extra-curricular non-credit) help painting sets, cataloging props, hanging lights, applying make-up. Hint: This will have you working closely with men.
You might also want to consider finding on-campus work. The bookstore, the library, the cafeteria--aim at places where men will either be working next to you or will frequently see you. The reception desks of residence halls is another possibility.
Do as much of your homework and reading as you can in the library or other study halls. (Do colleges still have computer labs?) If there are lockers for commuter students, rent one.
Bottom line: You attend college, you live at home. Economically that is probably the best thing for you to do. Socially, don't be in a hurry, on any given day, to leave campus and hurry home. Be a visible part of the college's environment. Spend LOTS of time there. Eat there, study there, get involved there and even work there, as much as you can.
I'm basing this on your letter. You don't mention a specific guy you are interested in. You probably aren't interested in anyone specific, because you don't know anyone well enough. You are experiencing a general frustration, but it is not specific to a short-list of guys that you wish would ask you out or that, under the right circumstances, you might ask out. If that was your issue, that is what you would have asked.
The more you plug in to the college, the more you will see of some guys, and the more they will see of you. Something will click.