When I was a sophomore in high school, I developed a crush on a nerdy freshman, with big teeth and braces who everyone called “Hee-Haw”.
I should start of by saying that I was a big girl who managed to defy all teen movie stereotypes: I was popular at my California high school, invited to my share of exclusive parties and I was asked to every prom.
I don’t know about you, but my high school was a funny place where the social “hierarchy” was quietly established and then followed without question. So when the crush I had on my little “Hee-Haw” became public, it shook up the status quo and two things happened.
1.) A popular upper classman who I was friends with, pulled me to the side after seeing me holding hands with Hee-Haw. “So, are you telling me you want to become… a ‘She-Haw’?!” he asked, running his hands through his hair. It felt like he was warning me that people would see me differently if I decided to date someone like him. I just laughed and explained that my crush was cute and funny and if that made me a ‘She-Haw’, oh well.
2.) A few unpopular (but skinny) freshman intercepted my little Hee-Haw as he made his way towards me and my crew during lunch. They pulled him into a corner, whispered and giggled while looking at me. It felt like they were warning him that people would see him differently if I decided to date someone like me. He broke up with me the next day.
I was secure enough in my popularity to date a guy that all of my friends made fun of, but my Hee-Haw was too insecure in who he was to date a fat girl. Oddly enough, being liked by a popular Plus Size Princess put Hee-Haw on the map and within a week he was dating a skinny girl who had never given him the time of day before.
I, on the other hand was emotionally bruised. He liked me until people found out… he liked me until people told him he shouldn’t. Better to date a skinny girl who used to ignore you than a fat girl who liked you when no one else did. That lesson stuck with me for a very long time… and it wasn’t until seeing this scene below from LOUIE on FX that I began to understand why I never became a She-Haw.
Before we look down our noses at my Hee-Haw for not being a strong enough teenager to publicly date a fat girl, I must examine where my crush came from in the first place. I actually had three senior boys who were interested in me (or maybe it was the DD boobies that came with my plus size body), I liked them too, but would never admit it. Instead I chose to pluck a Hee-Haw out of high school obscurity… why would I do that?
High school can be a fascinating social experiment. If physical appearance is social currency, then being overweight can put you into social debt.
Did I feel that my popularity and status was enough to get me invited to parties, but not enough to get me the boyfriend of my choice? Did I choose a Hee-Haw because deep down I thought my social status made me an upgrade for him even though my weight was a social liability?
Did I choose an insecure guy… out of insecurity?
The Hee-Haw was the last guy that I expressed interest in, his rejection stayed with me for a long time. When I moved to NYC for college and guys began approaching me, they were always very attractive, which was the last thing I expected (more on that in these posts: “Can a Big Girl Date a Hot Guy?” and “Superficial Fat Chicks and other Myths“).
As Sarah Baker states in her honest monologue, hot guys have nothing to lose if they date a big girl, they’re still hot. Its the insecure men who can’t handle it… its the men who are unsure of themselves that wonder if dating a big girl confirms that they aren’t as attractive as the next guy.
Unfortunately I spent too long letting insecure men make me feel insecure.
But here’s the deal: My job is to work on me, ditch the high school social games and place value on who I am at any size.
I can play the insecurity blame game, or I can keep it simple and know that when I’m confident in who I am I attract men who are confident in who they are… and that’s hot.