The writing was apparently on the wall when in kindergarten I paid boys a penny to kiss me. Or maybe it was when I threw a neighbor into a thorn bush and tied him up with kite string (To be fair, he did choke me with my scarf at the bus stop.)
By 3rd or 4th grade I was reckless with scribbled love notes, perhaps with a too-intimidating vocabulary for boys who still chose grunting over speaking. Maybe it was because I was a bit of a behemoth with size C boobs, towering over the other girls in my class . There were many times I would call a guy over, sit him down, tell him how I felt about him, only to hear things like “I really like you as a friend, but…” My girl friends, trying to encourage me, would say “You have a really pretty face and a great personality.” Awesome. Thanks.
It was probably as early as junior high that some slimy man stopped me while I was in Manhattan and said he knew some “producer” who was looking for “zaftig” girls. REALLY???? REALLY???
Eventually, most of my “bulk” spread out into a 5’9′ frame, curvy in the right places, “pretty face” and “great personality” fairly unscathed. I still blamed not having a boyfriend until 19 on my size, so, I suppose that it helped that my very first was 6’6″ (but skinny as a stick.) I think he sort of stumbled into me without really knowing what he was getting himself into, but, we were suddenly having sex for the first time in our lives, and God knows, a 19-yr-old man is not just going to throw that out the window too easily. In the end, I think I scared his FAMILY more than him.
At 23, I met a lovely, funny, but very quiet man who later became my fiance. We bonded over our love of the Flinstones, language and music. It was the first time either of us had ever been in such a heady, love bubble but, well, he apparently fell in love with someone else and we never got married (he eventually married her.) His two best friends are still friends of mine and I know that he has avoided, at all costs, being in the same place at the same time as me. Worked very hard at it, as a matter of fact. I can just see him, all beet red and tremendously uncomfortable. I don’t understand why because I would love to see him again, 20 years later, and compare lives. I sense it’s fear-based and not his shame over having ditched me for his “soul mate.” I can’t imagine what he would expect me to do if he saw me.
In my 30s I think I scared a man from Oklahoma, already teetering on the edge, to fully come out of the closet. On a more disturbing note, there was a man who very clearly liked young girls and I think realized, after not being able to “perform” with me, that that was who he really was and has sinced moved to Thailand. An English guy who stood me up and left me frantically worried claimed he was in a car accident and in the hospital but after a carefully orchestrated stakeout with a friend of mine, we discovered he was lying.
Recently, a friend of mine was going to fix me up with someone and said before he and I had met “Don’t scare him off!” I was truly insulted by this. It wasn’t because a button in me had been pushed but because the implication was that I was so off-putting that a seemingly strong, funny and intelligent man in his late 40s wouldn’t be able to deal with me. In the end, we never met, but I am pretty confident that he would not have cowered in fear in my presence.
The most wonderful of men have stood the test of time with me and been drawn to me. These are the ones who love that I go in first for the kiss, that I make the first phone call (my ex-husband said that he never would have made the first phone call and was thrilled that I did), that I talk to strangers and make friends with waitstaff, and that I am effusive with my feelings. Certainly, at this point in my life, it’s way too late to change who I am and I have no intention of trying to be something I’m not. I like me and my strengths and hope I pass every ounce of confidence onto my daughter. Perhaps I should advise her though, that throwing boys in thorn bushes is not really the best of tactics and that a good kiss is worth MUCH more than a penny.