“The Girls All Think You’re Ugly”
by Tom L.
I was bullied in junior high and high school, by both boys and girls. One incident that I still remember vividly involved a girl, Teresa P. I was in high school, sitting alone in the lunch room as usual. I knew Teresa (not well) and knew that she was “pledging” for a popular “girls club” at the school (sort of a proto-sorority) – but I was startled when she came over to the table and sat down next to me.
“OK,” she said to me. “I don’t mean any of this. I just have to do it to get into [club’s name]. We’re supposed to pick the ugliest boy we can find and say this to them. And the girls all think you’re really ugly!”
And then she proceeded to tell me how much she loved me, how she wanted to be my girlfriend, how she wanted to go out with me, etc. etc. Of course, a gaggle of girls was standing nearby laughing.
My response? I didn’t even look at her. I just stared straight ahead and continued eating my lunch as if nothing was happening. Though it did seem as if her little speech went on for quite a while.
Because I was unpopular and already felt plenty bad about myself—I certainly would have agreed with her that I was one of the ugliest boys in school—this incident just reinforced what I already “knew” about myself.
This particular girl never spoke to me again. But how did I resolve the feelings this—and similar—incidents provoked in me? A few things helped. Just getting away from that environment, for one thing. Going to college and being around new people was extremely liberating. I was lucky enough to find a good counselor on campus who helped me through some of this as well. And time. The old cliché, but in my case it’s true.
Once I got out of high school, I was able to make friends more easily, and I managed to finally stop believing (most) of the hurtful things bullies said about me. I feel pretty good about the person I am. I have plenty of people in my life who love me, so I must not be so bad after all.