We were watching “More to Love”, that horrible train wreck of a show on Fox where “normal sized” women (the smallest, I think, is a size 14) compete for the love of an abnormally large man. I’m sorry, but he is. He weighs 330 lbs. That’s a big dude. But somehow, THAT’S not the catch of the show. It’s not “Big Love, Fox Style”, it’s “Normal Sized Women Compete for Love From Something with a Penis”.
Anyway, we were watching this train wreck of a show that we watch every week, and at first, it was fun to be HORRIBLE people while watching it, but as the show progresses, it hits deeper and deeper.
One of the women was in her confessional interview and she said she was excited to be with a man who would find her attractive, and not feel like he HAS to say she was pretty just because. She would actually BELIEVE this guy, she said, if he said she was beautiful. If.
“Wow,” Bryan said. “Do women really have self esteem issues like that?”
It was my birthday. I disappeared for a couple of days. Told no one where I went. I was still young and single and I just disappeared. Because he asked me to.
In the hotel room, swaddled in white linen and sunbeams, he laid his arm on top of mine. Our bodies were diametrically different; he worked out, he tanned easily, the manual labor of his summer job was defined in every muscular curve. My arm, coddled within the bronze of his, was the antithesis. My skin only saw cubicle lighting, so pale that the veins underneath looked like a subway map. No muscular curves, just alabaster .. arms. Nothing poetic there.
“Look at how beautiful we are together,” he sighed.
I wanted to crawl into myself and die, knowing that he was mocking me. Knowing that he saw me for what I was: fat, pale, sad, lost, so much less than a woman he’d want to be with. So much less. Knowing that I wasn’t worthy of his attention, and we both knew it. I knew I should’ve hated HIM for mocking me, but all I could feel choking my throat was the self-hatred that would haunt me the long drive back to my house.
It was almost two years later that I thought back to that and realized that he meant it. He meant every word. He thought I was beautiful. I just didn’t believe him. It should’ve been a perfect moment. It wasn’t. Because of me.
My own insecurity clouded everything.
Watching those women, I fought back tears.
“Yes,” I told Bryan. “We do.”