Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ugly Girls

In high school, during the early '80s, it was easy to equate ugly with smart and beautiful with stupd. For the most part, the pretty girls acted dumb. They read "Seventeen" magazine, and spent a lot of time worrying about the height of their hair. The ugly girls sat a lone at their lunch table, and by their Jr. year either became sluts or brains. But by my senior year in high school, it was already starting to get more complicated. One could start to find pretty girls in any group. The punks had them. They were thin, wore black, dyed their slick hair bright red, and dated the punk guys. The fat punk girls were the ones in the pit but no one dated them. The new forming grunge crowd had them. These were the "indie" girls: thin, prettily unkempt, and dating all the plaid shirt wearing guys. It would have been easy to hate them but they were usually fairly nice, knew about the music, and for the most part were intelligent. But deep down, I hated them.

You see, there was me. The ugly girl. Fat, pimply, frumpy. I never could get my hair to the sleek perfection of the alt girls. I couldn't wear the clothes they way they did. What looked so chic on them looked ridicilious on me. I never knew enough about music. I never listened to the "right" bands. Really I was a social failure in every group I tried to be a part of. My teen and young adult years were spent on the fringes of groups I longed to be a part of. It wasn't as simple as wanting to be popluar. I gave up wanting to hang with that crowd my sophmore year of high school. No, I wanted to hang out with the punks, the goths, the indies. But even with these alt people, I wasn't right. And maybe it woudn't have been so bad if I wasn't social but I was social. I loved being around people, goign to clubs, dancing, etc. But ugly girls have very space for that kind of interaction. And to top it off these girls weren't dumb so there was no way to feel superior even there.

Eventually, I ended up hanging with a group of gay men and transvestites. I think we were drawn to each other because we were all misfits in someway. It was funny because these people thought I was beautiful and wonderful stylish. They loved my vintage lace gowns paired with combat boots. With them, I felt beautiful, glamarous, and daring. They appreciated my sarcasm, didn't give a shit what music I liked. We didn't often have much in common, and we spent most of our time together, drinking, smoking and being outrageous.

But of course no one wanted to date me. It was very assexual. And that's really the kicker when you're ugly. You spend a lot of your life just feeling lonely. I didn't date at all in high school. For three years, I didn't have a boyfriend. Hell, no one was even interested in me. And then after I dated a bit but not a lot. I wasn't the first girl found themselves attracted to. In college, it was the same, lots of friends but no one wanted me. I dated two guys my entire college career, and one was really just a fuck buddy.

I would look in the mirror, and wonder what it was about me. I didn't see someone ugly staring back at me. Sure it wasn't perfection, and yeah I was a bit thick but I wasn't respulisve or scary. It seemed like girls uglier than me had dates. I wasn't any smarter than the pretty alt girls. And deep down, I just wondered if there was something really ugly about me inside that somehow manifested on my face.


Ernesto said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful writing, Gee.

(word verification: oorjja) :p

Ginger said...

Hey we could do a lot with that "word." I'm not real thrilled with this piece but it's something I'm playing around with and I needed to get out! Thanks for stopping by and reading.


Ros said...

I didn't date at all in high school either! Four years of being ugly & lonely. College brought me two girlfriends and two boyfriends. Considering it was FIVE years of undergrad, that's still pretty sad. Thank god our lives got better, huh?

Ernesto Sandoval said...

in my case during high school i was too nerd and geek and ugly to date anyone. however, i had a lot of friends, most of them girls funnily enough. i usually tried to approach them but i was too clumsy. actually a song that could define me back then was half a person by the smiths, you know, 16, clumsy and shy.

Ginger said...

ARRRR. I hate it when my reponses don't come through. Grrr. Okay rant over.

Ernesto S. Welcome. I've seen your comments on the other E's post. Interestingly enough, this post was inspired by Morrissey's "November Spawns a Monster." And I was the friends of hundreds and lovers of none throughout most of my life. Even now I have many male friends but not many admirers (of course H's ferocious nature may have something to do with that). Also H loves that Smith's song and told me it reminded him of his youth.

Ros, yes life has gotten better in that i have found atleast one person who finds me hot!

John B-R said...

About 10 yrs after high school, a guy I was rooming with (with whom I'd gone to high school) fell into bed w/a woman we'd also gone to high school with. After they'd fucked:

He: imagine that. Me, of all people ... in bed with you, of all people.

She: Huh?

He: Well, I was nothing and you were the queen of the world.

She: You were? I was?

Fat Lady said...

I'm going to take the risk of sounding like I'm bashing men - though I don't really mean it this way.

I think men, in general, enjoy simplicity - particularly in relationships. The more they can compartmentalize and the less they have to think about it, the better.

I think this is particularly true for teenage boys - maybe for teenagers in general. Maybe that's why these cliques, these groups form so easily. And the girls who fit into these subsets neatly, cleanly, simply are the ones who get the guys.

But what of those who don't fall into any one category. What about the girls who like black nail polish and torn stockings, but aren't willing to dedicate themselves fully to punk. Or what about the girls who like bouncy hairstyles and cute clothes, but enjoy alternative music instead of what all the other kids in that group listen to. Or a ton of other combinations.

What about the people who are just too complex to force themselves to live in a box? I think this, more than physical beauty, may lie behind the lack of romantic attention some girls get. When a teenage guy is happy in the security and simplicity of his box, he doesn't want a girl who is going to make him, or tempt him to step outside of it.

Then, of course, too there's the role that self-perception plays in it all. Some of the people I've known to get the most attention didn't get it because they were objectively beautiful - they got it because they believed, and thus acted, as though they were beautiful - even if they weren't.

I got very little attention in HS and to a lesser extent in college. I frequently lamented how fat and ugly I was and thought if only I were thin and beautiful, I would be happy. But guess what? When I look back at pictures of myself during that time, I WAS thin and beautiful - I just couldn't see it and so I couldn't properly project it. I put up a wall between me and everyone else because I was so afraid that no one wanted me.

Anyway, in the end, you have the last laugh because you have found someone who both appreciates your complexity and sees your beauty. It doesn't get much better than that!! There are plenty of "beautiful people" who are never lucky enough to experience that.

Ginger said...

yes I do think it has a lot do with comfortable, and I don't think that's reserved to teen-age boys.

But as for thinking you're beautiful. I don't know. I hear that a lot but you know I don't think I'm ugly. I know that I am not stunning beautiful but I certianly think I'm attractive enough. And yet I'm not sure if many others see that. I suspect that the people who see themselves as beautiful also spend a lot of time making themselves that way. The girls I know who had that attitude and really didn't seem to be much to look at, did a lot in terms of hair, clothes, and make up. They spent a lot of time playing the games.

And yes there were girls who also found themselves attractive and didn't do these things, and to be honest didn't seem to attract any more people than I did. I don't's a complicated thing.

Anonymous said...