Flat-Chested Fury

Dear Dategirl,I am a petite 20-year-old woman, but I have the face of a 14-year-old and a flat chest. So people always mistake me for a preteen or young teenager. It's especially discouraging when I meet someone I'm interested in, and all they see is the image before them. One guy even said that he should announce to everyone that I'm legal in case they thought he was hitting on an underage girl.Friends and family members have said that at least I'll still look young when I'm 30 and I won't have saggy breasts, but it still doesn't help with some of the hurtful things people say. And most of the guys who hit on me are creepy old guys who have pedophilic fetishes. My ex turned out to be one of those, even though we're the same age! I've changed my wardrobe to appear more womanly, and have read books for my self-esteem. But I feel like I'm at wit's end right now. What should I do?—Sick of Being Lolita

I've always wanted to be Trinny or Susannah from the BBC's What Not to Wear, so you can imagine how excited I was to receive your note. Nobody ever asks me what to wear! And as I look down at my fetching ensemble of cat-hair-covered T-shirt, faded Target pajama bottoms, and sweatsocks, I can sort of understand why.But before we address your outsides, let's talk about your insides. I'm not saying you need to be a bitch, but a young lady who looks like a teenager needs to project confidence and don't-fuck-with-me-ness. Because you're physically unintimidating, it's imperative to give off an aura of power. My boyfriend's friend Melody is about 4'11", and one of the most intimidating women I know. I'm not saying you have to go so far as to be outright scary, but you need to be tougher than us tall girls—taking up a martial art or boxing would go a long way.Now let's get you some new clothes, shall we? I asked one of my most fashionable friends, Felicia Sullivan, author of an outstanding memoir, The Sky Isn't Visible from Here, what she thought. Being a petite lady herself, she had some tips. "Proportions and fit are paramount," she advises. "For day, I love a fitted, cropped blazer with a long, flowing top and fitted pants or skinny jeans. This gives the illusion of length. Heels are also a petite girl's best friend, but I stay away from anything that wraps at the ankle, as that tends to shorten the leg. A cool wedge or platform gives height as well as comfort. Also, I love dresses in the summer."Oh, and don't be afraid to get things tailored—grown-up lady clothes may run a little long, but you can hem. Whatever you do, don't cloak yourself in baggy T-shirts and sweats. They'll only make you look punier.The next stop is hair and makeup. I like Vain on First Avenue (there's also one on Ballard Avenue). Have one of the nice ladies give you a grown-up cut. Not a mom mullet, but something a little more sophisticated and sassy than what you're currently rocking. Once the hair is good, go to MAC or Sephora and get someone to show you how to slap on some face paint. You don't have to go all trannylicious, but a pro can help you look polished and pretty.Twenty is a weird age. You're old enough to serve in the military, but too young to legally drink a beer. As Britney says: "Not a girl, not yet a woman." All this advice is not to blame you for what's been happening in your love life. Finding out that some guy you're dating is into you simply because you look like a teenager has to be one of the most repulsive things I've ever heard. I'm so sorry you had to go through that.dategirl@seattleweekly.com

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