You Asked It

Karen Elson Is Your Friend

And listen up, because it’s about to get wise in here.

I tend to be eventually friendzoned by any guy who shows interest in me. Should I act more mysterious around them or less interested in them? Should I show more boobs (because they are pretty nice, but I prefer to wear T-shirts)? How do I make them LIKE me and not just like me? —Ashley, 17

Honestly, you need to stop trying to impress guys. Acting mysterious, being aloof, or showing more leg, boobs, and so on may get some boy hot and bothered, but is that what you want? Wouldn’t you rather have a guy respect you for who you are than fall in lust with some version of yourself that you’ve manufactured for his pleasure? That said, I don’t know if you’re doing something specific that is giving guys you like the message that you’re not interested in them that way. Why not be more direct with the boy about what you want? Showing off your boobs may get you a lot of attention, but trust me, you do not want to be defined by them. Use your words, not your boobs!!

Should I get a Harry Potter tattoo? Is it too lame? —also from Ashley, 17

Don’t do it! Imagine your Harry Potter tattoo when you’re 70 years old and your grandchild is wondering why you have a wizard on your arm? Almost everyone I know who got a tattoo on impulse (this sounds like one) regrets it. On the other hand, I have friends who put a lot of thought and creativity into their beautiful tattoos; these are the people with no regrets. I could be wrong, of course—maybe Harry Potter will be your lifetime idol. In that case, then, you’ll still want this tattoo in a few years, and at that point you’ll feel more sure about it. But for now hold off. I loved the movie Labyrinth when I was younger, and I’m glad I don’t have the words “The Babe With the Power” on my back today.

I cheated. It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever done, and I hate myself for it. There are reasons why I did it, mostly me moving out, having a long-distance relationship, quitting therapy, and feeling disconnected from…everything. But I know none of these are excuses. Nothing makes it OK, because it was selfish and it was CHEATING. My boyfriend is working on forgiving me (we’ve been working on this for months), but how do I forgive myself? I hate me. I loathe me. I’m constantly reminded of my mistakes, and I cry constantly. I can’t keep it together anymore. Every song on the radio is telling me that cheaters don’t deserve to be happy. I feel like I don’t even deserve to get sympathy for feeling so depressed. Help me! —J.

Let me sit you down for a moment, J. Almost every woman, at various times in her life, will experience moments when she is cheated on, and moments when she is the cheater. I have been around the block and back, and my take on this subject is that things happen in life that you just don’t expect, and they usually reveal deeper problems you may not want to look at—but that you probably should. I don’t want to justify your actions, but you’ve owned up to what you did. That is important and huge. You also obviously feel bad about it. Maybe too bad—it sounds like you’re really beating yourself up over this, and that’s not doing yourself or your boyfriend any favors. Instead of all this needless self-flagellation, try looking at the deeper problems going on in your life. You feel disconnected—why? Is it possible you cheated to sabotage a good relationship? Do you do that kind of thing to yourself a lot? Why? Or maybe you didn’t want to admit that your current relationship isn’t working, so you cheated to create a more obvious issue to deal with. And what about the person you cheated with? How do they feel about it? How do you feel about them? These are all questions I think you need to answer for yourself. Are you in therapy? It’s not a bad idea to talk to someone about this, besides your boyfriend—though talking openly about it with him is obviously really important and might even make your relationship stronger from here on out. Or maybe you will realize that you are not happy, and you made this “mistake” to open an exit door for yourself. J, self-hatred is a beast that you need to tackle down to the ground. Please don’t beat yourself up anymore. You recognize that what you did was wrong. You are paying the price. Now forgive yourself, then find out why you did it.

When a guy, or a group of guys, comes up to you in the street asking for your number, is there a polite way to say no? —S.

You can always say, “I don’t give my number out to people I don’t know.” That’s super polite. However, in most situations a simple “no” is perfectly acceptable. ♦

If you have a question about ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE for the Rookie staff and friends, please send it to


  • isobele July 10th, 2012 7:05 PM

    haha, ‘use your words not your boobs!’

  • christinachristina July 10th, 2012 7:08 PM

    I have two Harry Potter tattoos and zero regrets about them.

    • Aurora July 10th, 2012 8:18 PM

      Just out of curiousity from a huge harry potter fan, what do they look like?

    • pygmypuffs July 10th, 2012 10:22 PM

      I have 6 tattoos total, 2 of which are Harry Potter related. They are not all easily covered – if I want to appear “normal,” then I have to wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt, regardless of the weather. And yet, I don’t regret getting them at all. People tell me daily that I’ll regret my tattoos when I’m 70, or that I won’t get a good job because of them. And yet, I don’t regret getting them. Because each tattoo means something to me – the wand on my ankle that I got on my 18th birthday (the earliest you can legally get tattooed around here) is my way of showcasing my belief in everything Harry Potter stands for: love, loyalty, friendship, education, family. My giant Deathly Hallows symbol marked the end of my childhood. I do not regret my tattoos. If Ashley has taken the time to write in and ask for your opinion, I’m sure it’s not a impulse tattoo. Telling her she doesn’t know what she wants and to wait can be damaging. It seems to promote the idea that she’s too young to know what she wants, which is contrary to everything Rookie stands for.

      Ashley, it’s not lame to get a Harry Potter tattoo. If you love Harry Potter and want to get the tattoo, get it. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s lame or uncool to be passionate about things. Get as many nerdy and lame tattoos as you want. When you decide to go under the needle and get a tattoo, do it because it’s an image and idea that you love. Your tattoos are for you to enjoy, no one else. Get tattoos that you love and you won’t regret it.

      • lorobird July 10th, 2012 10:37 PM

        I support this. If you want to get pierced or tattooed, do it (in a safe, clean place!).

        Your tattoo may mean something today and this meaning can change in the future. This is not a bad thing. Each tattoo will always be part of a certain period of your life. Even if you stop re-reading HP when you hit 30 (unlikely, but you never know), your HP tattoo will always mark a certain time in your life when your fandom was really important. This change in meaning only makes it more interesting, a symbol of your development as a person!

        So, DO IT, letter writer! DO IT! Do something you’re afraid of every single day! Let tomorrow be the day you get your amazing tattoo!!

      • lorobird July 10th, 2012 10:41 PM

        I would also like to add that I know several young people with tattoos who absolutely love them and wear them with pride. I also know several middle aged adults with tattoos who are also proud and badass and awesome.

      • marimba_girl July 10th, 2012 11:01 PM

        Exactly. Harry Potter will never stop being “totally awesome!” to my mind, or the minds of my fellow Pott-Heads, as my friend refers to us.

        • Aurora July 11th, 2012 6:32 PM

          Nice very potter musical reference right there. Love it almost as much as ron loves redvines.

  • lylsoy July 10th, 2012 7:56 PM

    I wish someone had given that advise about boys when I was a 15! Karen Elson rocks x

  • darksideoftherainbow July 10th, 2012 8:06 PM

    great advice!

    i show my boobs A LOT and i hang out at a bar that is frequented by mostly men of all ages. my boobs get me a lot of attention. sometimes i have fun with it, but truthfully, i never take a guy seriously who is all about my boobs. so in a way, even tho i can have fun with it, it’s a trap for finding truly worth it guys. it’s great to be attracted to someone and have them be attracted to you, but trust me, guys see your (totally awesome!!) boobs whether you’re showing cleavage or not. just be yourself and have fun!

    • Mags July 10th, 2012 9:05 PM

      Ha! That’s definitely a smart way to weed out the less-worthy guys.

  • Abby July 10th, 2012 8:12 PM

    My 23 year old cousin got the most bas-ass Harry Potter tattoo EVER. It’s got The Burrow, parts of Diagon Alley, Hedwig, and some other stuff, and it’s SO COOL.

    • Abby July 10th, 2012 8:17 PM

      BUUTTT… although I’m pretty sure that he’ll never get tired of it, you might. When you’re 25 and trying to get a job, you’re going to have to cover it up all the time, because that isn’t exactly profesh. Think it over REALLY well, and if you decide to do it, put it somewhere you can easily cover.

  • Mags July 10th, 2012 9:05 PM

    It sucks to be friend-zoned all the time, and it’s hard to answer that question without knowing anything about you and your personal situation, but I just want to say that you should only show your body if you want to show your body and not because you think it will get you attention. I think showing your boobs/legs/whatever on purpose can backfire sometimes, especially if you want to get guys’ attention. Most of the time it will be a creepy kind of attention, which is not fun. I have absolutely no problem with girls/women showing their bodies or dressing sexy. I love dressing sexy, but I don’t do it for attention anymore. I mostly do it because it makes me feel sort of glamorous and fun. Sometimes I’ll even dress up and do my make-up and just hang around the house without expecting any kind of attention from anyone, because it makes my day a little brighter. I think you should only dress sexy if you are comfortable with it, but I don’t want you to think that it’s wrong to dress sexy because it’s not.

    As for the tattoo question: I actually don’t like many tattoos, but I would feel weird telling someone what to do with their bodies. If you really want it and have given it a lot of thought then you should go for it and get the tattoo. I should add, however, that when I was 18 I really wanted a tattoo, but never got around to getting one, and I’m so glad that I never did. Everyone is different though and you may love your tattoo for the rest of your life. Just make sure you’ve thought long and hard about it, because it’s permanent :)

  • marimba_girl July 10th, 2012 10:58 PM

    My friend got the deathly hallows symbol tattooed on the back of her neck and she still loves it. When it comes to tattoos, although waiting is not a bad idea, it really depends upon the person and the tattoo itself. I would not tell a person that they will for sure regret getting a HP tattoo because they really might not.

  • Jamie July 10th, 2012 11:29 PM

    i would use my boobs but idk how to even get them to do that boob thing that celebrity/popular girl boobs do. alas

  • velvet moon July 11th, 2012 1:45 AM

    Although I am an avid Harry Potter fan, I do not see the appeal of getting a tattoo showing your dedication towards the phenomena. Constantly, I see people all over the internet and walking down the street with the Deathly Hallows symbol. Why would one want a tattoo that numerous other people have and isn’t unique? In addition, many of the commenters are saying how they undoubtedly do not regret their tattoo RIGHT NOW. That is irrelevant to how one will feel in 50 years and when they “are a grandparent.” So what if one doesn’t regret their HP tattoo right now because they’ll be living the rest of their life with a “permanent” choice they made when they were young. Good luck.

    • anonymouse July 11th, 2012 6:49 PM

      It doesn’t matter if the tattoo is unique, what matters is how they feel about it, what it means to them; how they changed, how they have grown, how they have stayed the same. It can mean, “I am alive. I would not be if not for this book/band/movie/tv series/artwork/artist. Let’s celebrate!” It can be a tangible reminder of hard times and that they got through them. Harry Potter is childhood for many people, they want a piece of that on them forever.

      It is irrelevant how you feel, they will feel in the future. If you don’t want a tattoo, don’t get one. If they become parents/grandparents a tattoo can instigate a conversation with a kid about the meaning or lack thereof (it could just be something they like and wanted on them). Feel free to judge crap tattoos(or tattoos in general), silently, but don’t pretend to understand the reasons someone chose to get a tattoo.

  • kindofabigdeal July 11th, 2012 2:20 AM

    Yeah poor Karen knows a thing or two about being cheated on. I’m looking at you Jack White.

  • Sea goddess July 11th, 2012 2:40 AM

    Ah the first one, I can relate, but w/e most of the guys that friendzone me are about the same amount of guys I friendzoned.
    And the last one, that happened to me not long ago, and I just replied with a: “I don’t know you” and he just walked away :)

  • kindofabigdeal July 11th, 2012 3:39 AM

    What is friendzoning?

    • anonymouse July 11th, 2012 7:00 PM

      Friend zoning is often mentioned when a guy likes(wants to date, have sex, etc.) a girl but the girl only wants to be friends(or doesn’t even get the signal from the guy that he wants more). He has been friend zoned and will usually complain about how she uses him, but doesn’t reciprocate with sex as he expects her to.

      As snappyteeth quoted below,
      “Friendzoning is bullshit because girls are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.”

  • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini July 11th, 2012 6:02 AM

    I disagree with not getting a HP tattoo. Waiting might be wise, yes, but for some of us, Harry Potter is not just a book or a movie. It’s our childhood. Besides, lots of people get something like the deathly hallows on their wrist or a spell on their ankle, and those probably are not going to be problematic in terms of getting a job, since they’re so small and easy to cover up ( at least on your foot). I’m considering getting “Expecto Patronum” tattooed on my foot, but since I’m 16 I still have two years to think about it, and even then I think I’ll wait ’till I’m maybe 19 or 20. Even though we’re young, doesn’t mean we do this stuff on impulse.

  • Emma S. July 11th, 2012 7:26 AM

    ‘The babe with the power’ would at least be more apropos than a picture of David Bowie’s giant codpiece.

  • rokal July 11th, 2012 8:46 AM

    i have a harry potter tattoo! it says expecto patronum, with the “a” in the patronum as the deathly hallows symbol. my mom, sister and i used to all sit in bed to read harry potter together, so part of it is a reminder of that. the dementors were a symbol of JK Rowling’s depression, and I have struggled with depression for a long time, so the charm is a reminder to think of all of the best times in life and believe in myself, and that i can get through the times where it feels like my soul is being sucked out of me.

    • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini July 12th, 2012 9:02 PM

      That’s literally my exact reasoning for possibly getting that tattoo. This is creepy.

  • nickz July 11th, 2012 9:20 AM

    Good advice,I’ve never cheated on anyone but self hatred is not the answer in any situation.Also getting a guy to like you for who you are rather than for you boobs is a lot more satisfying :)

  • Jennifer T July 11th, 2012 10:37 AM

    I dunno…defining having sex with someone other than one’s official partner as “cheating,” i.e., something inarguably bad, with roots in some deep personal problems that require serious attention and remedying, is not so very far from slut shaming. Requiring strict sexual fidelity in relationships lends sex a sacredness that, frankly, it doesn’t deserve. Are we REALLY meant to be entirely monogamous creatures? Do we REALLY have serious personal issues that require attention if we want to bone somebody else for a change? Can’t it just signify that we, uh, want to bone somebody else for a change?

    • christinachristina July 11th, 2012 12:16 PM


    • kavalier July 11th, 2012 7:16 PM

      That’s an interesting way of looking at things, but what’s notable here is that you’re defining cheating as having sex with someone other than your partner. Cheating isn’t just limited to sexual acts. For me, the impact of cheating on a relationship doesn’t come down to the “sacredness” of sex – it comes down to the breach of trust, and the thought that the official partner maybe wasn’t “good enough.” It doesn’t come down to slut shaming at all.

      Whether or not humans are supposed to be monogamous, unless it’s discussed between a couple, relationships are currently generally assumed to be monogamous. To go outside of that IS a breach of trust, and it IS massively hurtful – sometimes to both parties, as can be seen in J’s question.

      Like, in a perfect world, if you want to bone somebody else for a change, discuss it with your partner first. See if they’re okay with it, and if they’re not, decide where to go from there.

    • Nic August 7th, 2012 5:01 PM

      I think there might be some misunderstanding here with regard to fidelity. If one has an agreement that they will be monogamous with their partner (which this person was, obvs), then having sex with another person outside the relationship *is* cheating. There are lots of reasons why people do this, and many of them may be the issues that Karen raises. This is not slut shaming and it has nothing to do with wanting to “bone someone else for a change.” It’s exploring why an individual would break the bond of trust they made with another individual.

      If you have no interest in being monogamous and are looking to have the option to bone other people, then this should be discussed with your partner and you should both agree on the terms of your relationship.

      I’m a huge fan of Dan Savage, and being GGG is about being open and honest about each others’ needs and not deceiving your partner.

  • Mirandablaaaa July 11th, 2012 10:57 AM

    There is nothing wrong with getting a harry potter tattoo!!! Those books are a massive part of our childhood and our identity! If someone had asked about a tattoo celebrating some high brow piece of literature, the response would probably have been different.

    Yeah, you might grow out of it, but only as much as you could any other tattoo!
    (I THINK ANYWAY!!!!!)

    (DO WHAT YOU WANT!!!!!!)


  • Snappyteeth July 11th, 2012 11:34 AM

    I’d like to take a moment to quote someone from the Internet: “Friendzoning is bullshit because girls are not machines you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.”. Truer words have never been spoken.


  • LeavesThatAreGreen July 11th, 2012 11:56 AM

    If you want a Harry Potter tattoo – get a Harry Potter tattoo. Karen Elson obviously doesn’t understand Harry Potter. (And it’s nothing wrong with that – most people who haven’t read the books and/or aren’t involved in the fandom don’t)
    Harry Potter is huge. Harry Potter is religion. I will probably like Harry Potter until the day I die.

  • Aurora July 11th, 2012 6:37 PM

    I love Harry Potter so much :) i don’t know if I would get a tattoo, but I think i tend to lean towards the smaller ones, like a spell or a quote or the deathly hallows symbol. I saw a girl with “mrs. ron weasley” tattooed all down the side of her arm with a heart on her hand. I don’t know if I could make that kind of commitment.

  • mulberry July 11th, 2012 6:44 PM

    My thoughts on tattoos are similar to my thoughts on getting hitched: They can be really awesome, or kinda okay, or really sucky, or anywhere in between. You (and the other person in the marriage scenario) are the only ones who can decide if it’s right or not. That said! Since these are decisions that reflect rest-of-your-lifey sorts of things, what’s the hurry? If you are going to want the same tattoo enough that you want it for the rest of your life, you also should probably want it in six months, or two years, or three years.
    THAT said…getting a tattoo that you DON’T love in 20 years is also not the end of the world. It can be an opportunity to accept that the way we look doesn’t define who we are! If you see the good either way (tattoo you like = physical representation of meaningful idea / tattoo you don’t like = opportunity to reflect on your younger self and keep on loving your current one), then whatever choice you make will probably be excellent.

  • smallsauropod July 11th, 2012 7:16 PM

    I’ll be 27 in a month, and I’ve got a few tattoos, and I don’t regret any of them.

    I got the first one when I turned 18, after following everyone’s advice and waiting for YEARS after the idea first occurred to me. (I was 10 when I first asked my mom if I could get it…)
    2 short years later, I’d changed, and I didn’t love it the way I used to. For a little while I was almost embarrassed by it. My other tattoos I got “impulsively”, after thinking about it only a month or a couple of weeks. I still love those tattoos and get compliments on them, because the artists did a good job. But I still don’t regret that first one, even though it’s my least favorite. Tattoos are awesome BECAUSE they are permanent, they’re like a map of who you were before and where you have been. If you really want it, and you go through with it, when you are 70 you’ll have an awesome story to tell your grandkids – both about a book that you love AND the fact that you were once young and impulsive enough to do that. 70 year olds LOVE telling those kinds of stories.

    As to finding a job, I have never ever ever had to cover up a tattoo for a job, nor do I know anyone who has. Most employers realize that some folks have ink on their arms or whatever. It’s not 1950 anymore, you will be fine, trust me.

    But if you have to ask if it’s “too lame” maybe you already think it’s kind of lame? Only you can decide. But don’t let the “you’ll regret it when you’re old” argument scare you.

  • Lolly July 14th, 2012 9:28 PM

    Tattoo idea: get some temporary tattoo/henna/etc markers and try it out for a few weeks. If you can’t be bothered to refresh it, it wasn’t for you, but if it’s months and months later and you’re still going over it, it might be one to get permanently.

  • mtimson14 August 7th, 2012 2:20 AM

    I have a Harry Potter tattoo and it was the best decision of my life. I knew what I wanted and used to draw it on random places to test it out. I’m OBSESSED with mine, and ended up getting it kind of on impulse.