Yet Another Open Letter to the CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch

4 years ago

Dear Mr. Jeffries,

Here's yet another open letter to you in the wake of your stupid and classless remarks regarding your decision to not make your clothing available to women of all sizes. This letter isn’t the typical response to your comments about only wanting “the cool people” to wear your clothes.  This isn’t about what a prick you are because you don’t want larger women to wear your clothes. This isn’t about what a colossal douchecanoe you are for allegedly destroying extra A&F clothes instead of donating them to charity because you don't want homeless people and the poor to wear them.

You do realize that your clothes end up in thrift stores, right?

You are a colossal douche, but for very different reasons.

I don’t know you, nor do I know anything of your background or what your growing up years were like. I’m pretty good at reading other people and I’m also a very perceptive person. However, the more I read about you and the more I saw your picture, it’s pretty obvious to me that at one point in your life, you were one of those “uncool” kids you don’t want wearing your clothes.

I, too, was one of the “uncool” kids while growing up.  I didn’t wear the cool brand of jeans. I didn't have a closet full of monogrammed pullover sweaters. I didn’t get to wear the cool brand of shoes until I saved up enough money to buy them myself. I wanted braces in the worst way because I had crooked teeth, but I was told we couldn't afford them. Despite being told this, my parents always had money for what they wanted...shortwave radio equipment, a trip to Canada, an SLR camera...stuff like that.  I'm sure I don't have to tell you how shitty that made me feel knowing that my oral health was less important to my parents than trips, hobbies and material things. I got the message loud and clear.

And then there was the time I fell down in gym class and sprained my arm, and my parents were pissed off that they had to take me to the ER the next day because this wasn't just a bump. It was as if they thought I tripped and fell on purpose. I ended up wearing a sling.  I think you can guess how their attitude made me feel. Like shit.

I was painfully shy and had pretty much zero self-worth.  I was an easy target for other kids to pick on. I pretty much sat there and took what they dished out because I didn’t know how, and deep down probably thought I wasn’t worth standing up for myself and dishing it back.  See, back then, I’d endure all of this at school and then go home and have to endure the same thing from the same people who thought I tripped and fell in gym class on purpose and taking me to get medical attention for it was an inconvenience to them.  Nobody stood up for me, which made me feel even more worthless.

That is what I had to deal with growing up.

I bought into the whole “if only I had a pair of Nike shoes, then people will like me and I won’t be such a dork” mentality. This is the same psychological snake oil you’re trying to sell with your clothing.

It doesn’t work.  Those Nike shoes I saved up to buy didn’t make me popular. They didn’t make me cool. I didn't magically become more outgoing and charming when I wore them. They were shoes. That’s all they were.

And yes, I had revenge fantasies. None of them involved violence. My revenge fantasies involved moving into a position where I had the power to make those kids' lives as miserable as they were making mine. One revenge fantasy involved my own suicide and how I was going to write the ultimate note so those who made my life a living hell had to live with the guilt for the rest of their lives.

The difference between you and me, Mr. Jeffries, is that I grew up and you didn’t.

I grew up, dealt with my issues and went on with my life. I took the time to open up old wounds and rip out the poison so they could heal once and for all. Opening old wounds is painful, but I had the courage to do this because I knew that I couldn't move on until I did it.

Underneath the poison, the infection and the scar tissue, I found that confident, outgoing smart little girl I used to be who got lost under layers and layers of verbal abuse and general bullshit heaped on me by other people who felt so insecure with themselves, they took it out on me.

I didn’t know it then, but I was a mirror for some people. I still am. People like my father, a supervisor at work I constantly butted heads with, some of those kids who picked on me all looked at me and saw qualities I had that they lacked. And because nobody likes to be reminded of their shortcomings and faults, they put me down to make themselves feel better.

I see you, Mr. Jeffries, and it’s painfully obvious that whatever issues remain from your growing up years have not been resolved. I see it in your surgically-altered, over-Botoxed face. I hear it in your condescending and arrogant words. At some point in your life you decided that you were going to get even with all of those people who made you feel “uncool”. So you grew up and eventually became successful enough to run a company and be in a position of "power".

But you’re still that immature and wounded kid. This time you’re wearing a suit of armor of made of money and position.

And you’re doing the very same things to other people that were probably done to you.

Have you ever heard of the saying “Two wrongs don’t make a right?”

That saying applies. You’ve become the very thing that tormented you. You’re an arrogant bully.

Money can buy you a new face. It can buy you houses, cars, friends and many other things.

There are things that money cannot and never will be able to buy.

Self-esteem.

Class.

Empathy.

Kindness.

Compassion.

All of your money can buy you the coolest clothes, veneers, a new hair color, and enough Botox to paralyze an elephant. But you’re still an ugly person, Mr. Jeffries.

You’re ugly on the inside and that’s a type of ugly that is much worse than any physical imperfection. The most physically attractive people can still be very ugly, because they are ugly on the inside. There are no quick or superficial fixes for being ugly on the inside.

Instead of spending money on plastic surgery or other quick, superficial fixes, I suggest you spend it on therapy and work out your issues of self-loathing and wanting the rest of the world to suffer like you did.

I don’t fit your ideal aesthetic, Mr. Jeffries. And you know what? I don’t care.

My face is asymmetrical. One of my jawbones is longer than the other. I don’t know why this is, but it contributed to the crowding teeth on the bottom (I had the top teeth fixed) and one of my ears is a bit higher than the other.  It’s pretty noticeable because I also wear glasses and the glasses don’t sit straight on my face. Maybe someday, before I die, I’ll get the bottom teeth straightened and try wearing contact lenses again.

Fixing these is not a priority for me because I’d rather work on being a beautiful person on the inside.

In your eyes, I’m not cool. I’m also not in your target demographic, which, in your lexicon, means I’m old. I don’t think 43 is old. I certainly don’t feel old.  I feel a hell of a lot better than I did when I was 23, both physically and mentally.

Since I’ve focused on being beautiful on the inside, I’ve become a much happier and content person.

Perhaps you should try it yourself.

 

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