11 October 2014

Why it can't ever be as simple as "F**k you"

I'm absolutely fuming. As in, I don't remember the last time I've been this angry.

Tonight, on the way home, I was subject to a classic case of objectification. And, what's worse, they thought they were being subtle about it.

I would just like to point out that the offenders in question were in sixth form (I overheard them discussing teachers and references for uni) and looked their age. One was unfortunately pimply. The other two were average looking.

I chose my seat before they did. One sat to the right of me, and the others sat directly opposite me. I was currently reading "Pretty Honest" by Sali Hughes (you'll understand the laughable irony momentarily), so I looked up for a second to observe my tube neighbours, and got back to my book, vaguely aware of them.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the boys silently gesturing to the boy next to me. Immediately, my senses went on red alert and my heart dropped. The boy next to me responded with a "so-so" hand gesture, before looking at me, shrugging. They all laughed. Seconds later, the boy next to me held his hand in a claw shape as if to grab his face, and closed the claw as he moved it away from his face. If my description is utterly rubbish, and you have no idea what it means, I'll save you the confusion and clarify that he was commenting on my nose.

This gesture was followed by laughter: his, then theirs.

Followed by something in me snapping, and starting to boil with rage.

Firstly, on an equally shallow note: as if. As in, as if they ever thought I would be a potential candidate for pulling on a night out. As if I would even give them the time of day. I'm no Blake Lively, but heck, they weren't oil paintings themselves.

Secondly, the fact they, as 17/18 years old, believe this behaviour is acceptable, is unacceptable. I wish I could have filmed the exchange (if this can even be classified as an exchange) because I would have hunted down their parents - especially their mothers - and shown them their beloved child's failure of respect towards women.

And now, to me. Anyone who is even slightly close to me knows I hate my nose. I hate it. It's the one thing I would change about myself if I had the choice, no question. If I was faced with the option of the equivalent of designer bags and shoes for the price of a rhinoplasty, I would choose rhinoplasty every time.

If you think this is a ridiculous concept, or sad and superficial - lucky you.

Because clearly, you have never had to hide your tears in class pretending to be absorbed in your work  as people snigger about you and call your names. Clearly, you've never endured the humiliation of having gum spitballed in your hair and frantically trying to get it out before your next lesson. It's the reason I'm not a fan of gum. And clearly, you've never had to tell yourself over and over again on the journey home "When you get inside, you can cry. Just wait until you get home. Just wait."

The worst thing is - tomorrow, those boys won't even remember me. I, on the other hand, will probably never forget those boys, or that experience.

Funnily enough, when I tell people that I hate my nose, they say, "There's nothing wrong with your nose!" But what they don't know is that for every person that tells me that, I can think of 3 more occasions I've felt like my nose is anything less than very wrong indeed.

And when things like tonight happen, it all comes rushing back. The paranoia of sitting somewhere, knowing people can see my profile. Detesting any pictures that acknowledge my nose curve. The sniggers. The jeering. Everything. And it hurts.

As soon as the boys moved their attention away from me, I couldn't concentrate on my book ("Pretty Honest", remember?). But I didn't want to let them know I'd seen. So I pretended to read, turning pages occasionally, letting my eyes fall on words and not taking any of it in. I had to do this for 6 excruciating stops. I got off the stop before the one I wanted to because I couldn't bear sitting next to them any longer.

I wanted to say, "Fuck you. Fuck you all. How dare you have the nerve to sit there and judge me on something I'm so painfully self-conscious about and think it's okay. Fuck you."

But I couldn't bring myself to say anything. Even 3 teenage boys felt like a threat. I just sat there, fuming, humiliated and silent. Just like I'd done 10 years ago. It felt all too familiar.

And to the people reading this who are thinking, "Stop being so sensitive", consider this: why? Why should I have to stop being so sensitive to something that is clearly unacceptable, and something I, and nobody else, should be subjected to? Why can't you understand that it's not me who's the problem, it's them? Basically, if you think I should stop being so sensitive, you're just as bad as the boys in that tube carriage.

So as much as I wish "Fuck you" would have sufficed, and as much as it would have felt empowering in the moment, it's not that simple. I wish it was, but it wasn't.

All I can do is sit here and hope that tonight as those immature, pathetic teenagers go out on the pull with their fake IDs, drunk on the straight vodka they swigged back, they are rejected. That they feel as humiliated as they made me feel. Because if I don't have karma as the ultimate equaliser, what do I have?

Image: WeHeartIt


  1. I can relate to this SO MUCH. I absolutely hate my nose and have been stood in a takeaway waiting for my order whilst being called a witch, plus many other unpleasant things before. It's honestly horrifying how horrible people can be.

    Lauren x

    1. Hi Lauren! URGH, that is so vile - I'm so sorry you've had to endure that. It's almost like people actually think we're blind or deaf.


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