This story was written at the beginning of October. The monthly topic had been “sex” but I didn’t really want to write about that. I’m thinking about writing a bit more about this character – what do you think?
I was really fed up with all that flirting, and the cat calls, so I decided to get fat.
Just the night before I had been out, and there had been several guys touching my behind in the club, a co-worker had made googly eyes at me, and on my way home there had been the usual cluster of Turkish teenagers on the street who had called out to me.
I really had enough.
I don’t mind sex, not at all, it’s just that I prefer not to think about it while it’s not happening, and I would like to be able to have a good time without having to fend off all these guys.
Getting fat wouldn’t happen over night, I knew that, so I needed some additional help. How to become uninteresting to men? Or better yet how to become unattractive?
I had the whole weekend before me to think about it. First I went shopping of course. I needed fattening foods. And beer. And soda. I hadn’t bought that much junk food in years.
Next I thought about clothes. That was easy. No heels, no mini-skirts, no cleavage. No make-up. Though I have to say that in my experience most guys can’t even tell if you’re wearing make-up until you go for the very red lipstick. That’s something they all react to.
Fortunately I did have a couple of outfits that would work. Baggy pants, sweatpants, an over-sized hoodie that I love to wear on weekends, a couple of old t-shirts, sneakers, the Birkenstocks that I wear around the house – all set.
So I laid back on the couch for a weekend marathon of watching TV and eating junk.
It was a good idea that I hadn’t started on the beer yet when the phone rang. It was my mother. Of course it was my mother, it was Saturday so she demanded her weekly phone call.
„Darling, why haven’t you called me, is something wrong?“
„Mom, it’s only early afternoon, nothing is wrong.“
„You sound weird. Are you eating?“
„Yes I’m eating mom, it’s lunch time after all.“
„You are eating properly, aren’t you?“
„Of course mom.“
„Are you eating something warm?“
„Of course mom.“
„What are you having?“
„Potatoes, hamburgers and green beans.“
„You should have made meatloaf. That doesn’t have as much fat.“
„Yes mom.“ I looked at the half-eaten bag of potato chips on the couch table.
„And how’s it going with that nice co-worker of yours? Has he asked you out?“
„We were out with a bunch of others yesterday, mom.“
„That’s not a date. But it’s a start. How did it go?“
„It was okay. I don’t know.“
„You really should try a little harder. It’s not healthy being all alone.“
„Mom, I like being alone.“
„Nonsense, nobody likes being alone.“
Then she went on about what her doctor had said, and that my aunt was mad at me for not sending her a birthday card, and then half an hour later I finally got off the phone.
I grabbed the remote to start the film again when the phone rang again. This time it was Laura. I had met her through work, and we went out together a lot.
„Hi. Look, I need you to go shopping with me this afternoon.“
„Because I need something to wear to the party tonight.“
„Are you crazy? The party. Zach’s party.“
„Sorry, I forgot.“
„You really are crazy. So I thought we could meet in an hour at Starbucks. Maybe we’ll even find something for you too.“
Damn phone. Why did I always answer it? I was perfectly happy sitting here, eating chips, drinking soda and watching a movie, and then those people barged in calling me in the middle of the day.
I didn’t want to go shopping. And I didn’t want to discuss my eating habits or love life with my mother.
Still I got ready to meet Laura at Starbucks. First I thought about just going as I were but then I decided against the sweatpants, and changed into some jeans. No make-up, the hoodie, and sneakers. I didn’t know what to do about my hair. After trying a ponytail (too uncomfortable), letting it hang down (too attractive), a braid in the back (didn’t work with the hood), I did two pigtails. Not attractive at all but for some reason they made me smile. Pippi Longstocking in a hoodie. Since I wasn’t wearing any make-up I didn’t need to carry a purse so I just put my wallet, phone, and keys into my jeans pockets.
When I got to Starbucks of course Laura wasn’t there. I should have known it before she was never on time. I got myself a hot chocolate with cream even though I already felt quite full after all the chips and sweets before but I had to keep on with the fattening.
From what I saw my plan did work. Not one of the men I had passed on my way there had looked at me twice. I probably didn’t even register as female. Great. No smiles, now whistling, no one talking to me on the train, it was simply perfect.
I pulled out my smartphone and started reading a novel. Good thing I had that with me. Half an hour later Laura entered the shop. One couldn’t miss her. She went and ordered coffee without even looking for me first. She just assumed I would come to find her. Which I did. Even though I would have preferred to read my book. But that was no way to behave. I grabbed the rest of my hot chocolate and went over to her.
„There you are.“ she said looking me up and down, „What’s wrong with you?“
„Hi, nice to see you too.“ I said.
„No, really, what’s wrong? You don’t even wear makeup. Nice jeans, though, but the hoodie is really horrible. Looks like a tent on you.“
„Well,“ I looked down at my shoes, „well,“ I wanted to say there was nothing wrong but then it hit me, „Well, I guess I’m just not feeling that well. Maybe I should have stayed home.“ I looked up into her eyes, „but I didn’t want to let you down.“
„That’s really sweet of you.“ she said automatically, „are you sick or something?“
„I’m not sure,“ I said, „I’m probably coming down with something.“ I snuffled a bit.
„Don’t touch me,“ she said, „don’t touch me, I can’t afford to get sick now. You know what, you just go home and get better, I think I can manage on my own. See you.“ And with that she swept out of the door leaving me standing there on my own.
I waited for the bad feeling of rejection to come but instead I felt rather good. Giddy almost. I didn’t have to go shopping. I could just get back home, and do whatever I wanted. And I didn’t even have to look good while doing it.
I threw the rest of my hot chocolate away, and got out the door too. On my way to the subway I realized how good it felt to walk. Especially in these shoes. For years now I had always worn heels because they are so much more flattering. Of course you’re not expected to walk anywhere in those. And if you do you start hurting. But walking in sneakers was that much better. The hoodie felt like I had brought a blanket with me. Nice and comfy and warm. I pulled up the hood against the wind that had started to blow.
Walking like this was great. I could even walk all the way home. And that’s just what I did. And on the way no one even looked at me. I was just some person in the street, some uninteresting person in the street that no on wanted anything from.
And later there would be pizza for dinner. And beer. And ice cream.