“God help you are an ugly girl, but too pretty is also your doom, cause everyone has a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room.” – “32 Flavors” Ani DiFranco
I was not a cute baby. Come on people, you know that not all babies cute. You know it, society knows it, even the baby’s own mother knows it. I looked like my father when I was a baby, which would have been fine….if I were a boy. I had fine light brown hair that was more or less fuzz on a round head, chubby cheeks, and way too intense light eyes that belong on any child. To top it off, I had a profound speech impediment, kinda big for my age, socially awkward and a little defiant.
All that is different is the speech impediment went away.
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As a child, whether it was true or not, I believed I was rather masculine looking. My mother, in an act of nothing short of cruelly cut my hair short when I was about six making matters that much worse. I have not forgiven her to this day. Not only did I look even more boyish, I missed out on all the grooming rituals young girls engaging in like braiding or even holding back a friends long hair at the drinking fountain. I was the only girl in my class with short hair. There are pictures so I did not imagine this. I believe this just compounded my social isolation.
Teen years did not help. I was a “late bloomer,” shall we say. Even to this day that term seems embarrassing and euphemistic. I was also overweight but not in a womanly, shapely kind of way. So yeah, boys didn’t really like me. This was okay, I suppose, because I was so emotionally and physically immature that I did not really like boys that much either. I guess I liked them in a theoretical kind of way like way one thinks they might enjoy the Caribbean but have never really visited. One might listen to reggae music, see people return from cruises with tans so the Land of Boys did exist, I just had never been there and as far as I was concerned was a mythical and mysterious as Shangri-La.
Here’s the thing. And if I believe the flattery of my classmates, I think it is true. I look about the same I did in high school. If anything, I am about two to three sizes smaller than when I graduated high school. Where most people have gained 40 to 50 pounds since high school, I have lost it, but I am hardly thin. My skin is clear, very few lines, not a lot of skin damage, and Lord knows I have not had any children to wreak havoc on my body and accelerate gravity in any way. I tease that is just Mother Nature’s way of tricking some unsuspected sperm donor into believing I still have a few more years of beauty and fertility left to sire and heir. At least I keep my hair dresser in business by covering up my roots lest my graying hair gives me away.
So, what is the benefit here? What is the upside of social isolation and lack of experience with the opposite sex.
I am still trying to figure that out. Even coming out of a 12 year marriage, I am still rather innocent, “sweet,” and woefully ignorant of men. I believe that this makes me a danger to myself and others. I am the weak and wounded of the herd and men can smell fresh meat. This is going to get me in trouble.
But if you have never been pretty, you can hardly mourn the passing of that beauty. If you were not a pretty teenager, you don’t mind if you don’t look like a teenager anymore. If you were a size 24, (God, I hate to see that in black and white, much less on sewn in my jeans) you think you look pretty hot as a size 18. Here is another thing I did not realize. Men in their 30’s (and up) are less concerned with a little extra pounds as much as the attitude that comes with it. I have never learned how to be unapproachable. If a man says I am beautiful, I want to believe him. This is a good and bad thing. I might have to start to be more selective.
In earlier entries I tease that all that time without a date gave me time to develop a personality and a sense of humor. And yeah, if people care enough to look past it, they see that some of those jokes can be defense mechanism.
I might not have been a cute kid, but I do believe I am a beautiful woman. Please don’t hate me for thinking that. Yeah, I am tall and “built like a brick shithouse,” whatever that means. I think depending on the connotation that might be complimentary. I don’t know. The thing is, I guess you can’t miss that which you have never had.