I think I have mentioned how unfortunate looking I was growing up. I went from a scrawny, lank haired child into a scrawny, lank haired, sallow faced teenager. My mother cut my hair and made my clothes. I had braces, glasses, and special shoes because I have extremely high arches.
I have pictures, but I will NOT be sharing them with the internet. I hear people talk about how ugly they were and then they proudly whip out photos to prove it. But truly ugly people, we keep that shit hidden.
In 5th grade, when I was ten, I had a brief respite from the decades of poor looks. I had gotten my braces off the year before and didn’t get glasses till the following year. And for some reason, my mother had let me grow out my bangs some. I was, miraculously, sort of cute for that year between childhood and the ravages of puberty.
Proof that I was cute, once upon a time.
I was also already taller than all my classmates. I was already 5’9” or so by the time I was 10 (I was 6’0” at 12 and only grew another inch into adulthood). It lead to many, many adult men asking me out beginning when I was 10. Awkward!
I was somehow also popular for that one single year. Not that I was ever particularly unpopular. I was mostly ignored or regarded as that weird, geeky lesbian girl for my entire life at school. But people left me alone due to my size.
So, in 5th grade, I had my first big crush. R was really good looking. I am sure I’d still find him attractive even now. He had the whitest smile I had ever seen and dark, laughing eyes.
He was the fastest boy runner at our school and I was the fastest girl runner. It was a match made in recess heaven. We spent gym period running together, not even talking, just running.
When I found out he liked me too, I couldn’t believe it. He never asked me out, he was never my ‘boyfriend.’ But we sat together in class and at lunch and spent our gym time together. I don’t even remember us holding hands or kissing.
One day at recess, everyone was playing kickball. I hate kickball and was instead sitting on a picnic bench, reading. I was alone in a secluded corner of the playground. Far from my friends and any teachers.
I seriously hate this game
And that’s when they came up to me. There were 4 girls from the other 5th grade class at our school. Everyone was intimidated by them. The leader of the group was one of the biggest girls I had ever seen.
I can’t remember her name now, let’s just call her, L. She was already a few inches taller than me. She was also about 5 times my width. I was a stick figure compared to her. And she wasn’t fat. She was solid.
L walked up to me, her friends hanging back a bit, watching for teachers. She snatched the book out of my hands and dropped it on the ground. I didn’t understand what was happening but I was used to people being jerks. Plus, I had heard she was a bit of a bully.
I got up and picked my book up, brushing off the dirt. And that’s when she got right up in my face.
“So,” she said. “I heard you like R.”
Now I was really confused. I had seen them talking, of course, but had never thought much of it. “That’s right.”
“I’ve seen you two together.” She took another half step closer.
“Well, we do spend some time together.” I backed away a bit. I had never much liked people in my personal space.
“Listen up you skinny little nobody. R is my boyfriend.” Now her face was inches from mine.
“Oh, does he know that?” I asked innocently.
And I swear to you guys. I was not being a smart ass. I had no idea what was happening. I thought she just had poor boundaries and that we liked the same boy. No big deal.
Her three friends that had been acting as lookouts had unfortunately overheard what I had said. They burst out laughing so hard; one of them literally fell down and was rolling with laughter.
I had a kind of weirdo crush on Hobbes growing up. Who am I kidding, I still do.
L looked so annoyed with her friends that it distracted her from me. And that’s when my friend, M, came over. He was L’s second cousin or something like that. He chased her off and told me that she had been talking about kicking my ass for liking R.
This was actually the most confusing thing I had ever heard in my life. Jealousy and possessiveness is still not a concept I am very good with. I mean, wasn’t it up to R who he liked/dated/whatever it is 5th graders do?
How could someone want to hurt me for being attracted to someone? Did fighting me mean she would win him? I still really don’t get it.
For future reference, being too stupid to realize you are being bullied, or hit on, is a fantastic way to get them to stop. You aren’t worth the trouble to most people.
It also worked in another notable situation in which a man in his 40s said, “If I told you that you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?”
To which I replied, “Why would I hold it against you?”
We went back in forth like that for some minutes like some Who’s on first, What’s on second comedy routine until he gave up in frustration. I was 14 and didn’t get it until many months later.
But I digress.
After, that R and M never left me alone at recess or between classes. L never got her chance to kick my ass. Which, I can assure you guys, I might have been able to outrun her, but I would have failed miserably in a fight.
R and I went to different middle schools and I never saw him again. But I still remember his face, that smile, those eyes, and his full name. He was the first boy I had adult feelings for. I guess that is not something I am likely to forget easily.
And that is the closest I ever came to getting in a fist fight with a girl. Stay tuned to hear about the ones I got in with boys, though.