I think we can all relate to having someone try to make us feel back about ourselves, whether it be a backhanded comment or a blatant in-your-face insult. I was not a popular kid growing up. I had a couple close friends and I got along pretty well with most people, but I was definitely not part of the “in” crowd. It’s unbelievable to me that even in a school of only 120 kids, kindergarten to grade 12, cliques still managed to exist. What’s even more unbelievable is that when I make a trip home and run into the so-called popular kids as adults, most of them still think they’re a part of this socially constructed group with made-up prerequisites established between a bunch of mutually self-loathing individuals. As kids, these people deliberately said things to me and about me to make me feel bad about how I looked. It wasn’t constant, but even so, as soon as I was able to pick the classes I could take, I chose not to participate in gym class. Because it didn’t matter how hard I tried, it was never good enough. I was never good enough. I was too slow, too uncoordinated, too nerdy, too unpopular, too whatever. So I chose to remove myself from those 40 minute reminders of all that. I kept a lot of my feelings bottled up, never talking about them, telling myself it didn’t matter, that what they thought and said didn’t matter, while secretly, desperately, wanting to be friends with them. And not even because I thought they were cool or good-looking or funny (because they weren’t), but because I wouldn’t have to feel I didn’t belong and the boys wouldn’t make jokes about never wanting to date me.
I recall the time I wore a pink dress to school. I think it was about grade 2. It was recess and it was by the monkey bars and one of the boys in my class told me I looked pretty. It still makes me smile when I think about it. But moments like that were few and far between. So when I was 13 and visiting some family at the lake and a cute boy from the next town asked me if I would go to a movie with him, I was skeptical and I thought he was setting me up for something. I said no.
God, writing this out, I wish I could travel back in time and tell myself that I was right. That these people and the things they said really don’t matter. That these experiences would be short-lived and in the future, I would have an amazing circle of friends who love me unconditionally and I would find out that men DO want to date me. And they want tosleep with me. Like, A LOT of men want these things. And I get to choose which ones I let into my life and my bed. And on the couch and over the kitchen table and against the truck and in the pool and so on and so forth.
This got a little deeper than I had intended. (Thatswhatshesaid!) But I wanted to set up some background for my thoughts on the events that took place this past St Patrick’s Day. And I feel a little nervous that I just bared a piece of my soul to you.
So, it’s St Patrick’s Day. And I look good. I mean, really good. Both men and women were hitting on me. And I feel good. I head out to my favourite pub, O’hanlon’s, with a couple of my best friends and the beer starts flowing. We are laughing and joking around and dancing and having a great time when a cute young man comes over and starts talking to us. I couldn’t really hear most of the conversation that was happening with him, but I caught snippets of something at the end before he walked away and can see the disgusted looks on the faces of my friends. I asked what he said and it was something like, “Yeah, well I only came over here because my friends dared me to find out how much your combined weight is.” I laaaauuuughed! Because, how ridiculous! Who says shit like that? But I could see that both of my friends were affected by it, and offended, for themselves and for me. I tried to joke it off, but it didn’t work. A short time later, one of my friends and I were upstairs and saw him again. Well, my friend saw him. I didn’t even register that it was the same guy. He wanted to go over and lose it on him, but I said no, I would go.
So I go over to where this guy, kid really, is talking to his friend and our conversation goes something like this:
D-bag Jones: Hi
Me: What makes you think it’s ok for you to insult me and my friends like you did?
D-bag Jones: Your girfriend made fun of me.
Me: So? You couldn’t handle it like the joke that it was and needed to make a fat joke to insult everyone? What the fuck is wrong with you?
Asshat Martin (friend of D-bag Jones): Hey, you can’t just come over here and start talking to him like that!
Me: *turns to Asshat* Shut up, no one is talking to you, your friend was an asshole and needs to hear why it’s ok not to behave that way. *turns to D-bag* You’re a douche. My friends are beautiful and amazing. You can make any joke you want about me, but fuck you. I am 350 pounds and confident and sexy as fuck and *gets cut off by D-bag*
D-bag Jones: I know! You are! You’re so sexy! You’re hot. You’re the reason I came over, because I wanted to talk to you.
Me: Uh. Well then what the fuck is wrong with you?! Why would you say something that immediately eliminated any chance with me?
D-bag Jones: Because I’m insecure. Your friend made fun of me and my instinct was to be a dick. I’m really sorry. (I studied him for a moment. He seemed sincere.)
Me: You should be sorry. And you should be apologizing to my friends. Be a better person.
I turned around and walked away, never noticing him again.
This incident did not make me feel bad about myself, but it did make me think the next day about how no one should have to put up with shit like that. Why should I have had to spend the last 34 years working so hard at loving and accepting myself and giving zero fucks because cunts like that exist in both child and adulthood? Why should my friends? Why should you?
Maybe a month or so after that, I was out and made some new friends at a club and we ended up at O’hans again. Again, I looked good. Really good. And I didn’t notice some girls noticing me when we walked in. But my new friends did. And after we got a drink, the one told me he told these girls to shut up because of some comment they made about me. I don’t know what it was, but it was in regards to the dress I was wearing, which hugs every soft, delicious curve on my body, and they obviously didn’t think I should be wearing it. At this point in my life, I choose to let it go. It’s not always easy, but I try to remember one thing: It must be hard to look at me and be filled with the very real fear that I could steal your boyfriend with just a wink and a smile.