Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Would You Wear Shoes?

I was a tomboy growing up. Super cool at the time (naïvety an overarching factor), not so cool in retrospect.  Tomboys don't get the boys, they get tackled by them - if only I would exert as much effort to get tackled in my adulthood.  The wannabe boys don't get the boys nor do they get the respect of the boys - talk about a lose-lose.  I don't know how old I was when this started.  All I remember is, I would rather play football at recess than hopscotch.  I was never picked last, and I needed to make sure the boys knew I was tough. What a waste.  Let's just chalk this tomboy decision up as a daddy issue, shall we?

These social mistakes choices lasted until about 7th grade.  It wasn't until then that I finally started to come around to the fact that I'd like to make out with boys, not outrun or out-throw them (I'll never get tired of out-smarting them, though).  I started on the "I'm a girl and I am trying to be pretty" route (still working out the kinks).  I shifted from chapstick to lip gloss and football to foursquare.  I thought I was on a roll, fooling everyone to believe I was now uniquely feminine.  The charade was going nicely until one fateful day...

Recess 1998: typical middle school setup - boys on one side, girls on the other. We were all sitting at the lunch tables in our respective groups.  Suddenly, the boys started shouting my name, instructing me to come over.  I tried to play it cool, but let's be honest, I was ecstatic they finally realized I was a hot piece of ass girl.

I casually walk over hoping my boundlessly escalating nerves go unnoticed, praying to God the months of Skip-It training would pay off.  I couldn't risk a stumble - surely I would never recover from such embarrassment.  I was elated - heart was pounding, prepubescent sweat glands working hard.  The boys wanted to talk to ME.  Maybe one of them was going to ask me out? I knew this day would come.  Whatever it was they wanted to tell me, it was sure to be important.

Well, it was important - important for my inevitable future of letting guys prey on my insecurities and diminished self esteem (again with the daddy issues).  I reach the quixotic table of boys - some whose voices sporadically cracked in and out - and all of them kept telling each other to "say it."  No one wanted to tell me whatever it was that had them so worked up.  "You tell her!" "No, you tell her!" - it went on for what seemed like eternity.  But I kept my cool, "Come on guys, what did you want to tell me?"

It was in that fleeting moment that I should have walked away.  While they were still having trouble finding their balls, I should have slinked back to the comfort of my friends.  But no, in true Lily fashion, I waited around to have their balls thrown in my face (fortunately, not literally).

Finally, someone said "____, you tell her. You're the one that came up with it!" (name omitted as to not give him any credit for being clever).  He begrudgingly obliged their peer pressure and asked,

Would you wear shoes if you didn't have feet?

I was really confused - why were they having so much trouble asking me such a dumb question?  My response took less than a second, "Well, no."  Then it came like a lonely man on a prostitute...

Then why do you wear a bra?

I was mortified. (I'll give you a minute to wish you could go back to that day, find this boy, and pat him on the back for being so funny ... k, time's up).  MORTIFIED.  I immediately ran back to the girls, attempting to tell them what just happened, instead, breaking down in tears - no, sobs.  I ran my suppressed tomboy sprint to the bathroom, refusing to leave the confines of the stall for anyone.

Well, I was 12, I didn't have much say on how long I could keep myself cooped up (thank God for studio apartments at 25).  I was only allowed to wallow in self pity for a few minutes until my teacher came in and made me tell her what happened.  I had to relive the whole incident, wishing all the while that their balls were actually thrown in my face instead of that insult.  I could have come back from balls.  There was no coming back from breast-less bras.  Of course, she made him apologize, I hated him for God knows how long, and I made my mom find me a bra that didn't say "Nearly A" on the tag.

Truth is, I think it's absolutely hilarious.  Sure, it was devastating the day it happened.  But as my mantra promotes: bad decisions make good stories.  It was a bad decision to walk into a rowdy tween boy circle, but, hey, thanks for the story...and the backbone.  It was probably one of the last times I took a joking insult seriously.

A few years after that fateful day, my boobs finally grew...for a week.  But that one week was enough time to convince everyone (including me) that this spurt might last for a while.  Sophomore year, I reminded ____ what he had said to me years before.  He didn't really remember it, but simply responded, "Well your feet look great now."  Of course, he was prematurely assuming they would look even better, but that never happened.  Sure, now you can discern my chest from my back a bit easier, but, more importantly, my personality is big.  In the end, that's all that matters, because guys love big boobs personality.

"Breasts: Because you can't motorboat a personality."

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