I’m not stupid. I didn't exactly commandeer mathematics, but I know that if the four guys that approached us, at the club, are only speaking to three out of four of us, something isn't right. I’d brush down my dress, re-position the hair that brushed my shoulders, and suck in my stomach, praying my Spanx wouldn't roll down. Once I’d look up, and stare over at the hourglass bodies that accompanied me, I would confront the notion. They weren't speaking to me because of my size. Plain and simple.
Image: James Peragine via Shutterstock
In college, my friends were all slimmer than me. They were also either unconsciously or inherently evil. Forever 21 party shopping would turn into comedic adventures, when they’d hand my size fourteen figure medium sized dresses.
It’s gonna accentuate your curves girl!
You need to tighten it up, spandex is always a good idea.
Men like meat, I swear they do.
I’m still not sure whether they were trying to boost my confidence or make themselves look better, but I prayed it wasn't the latter.
With this prayer, in tact, I’d sit at the bar or in the cove of a lounge and wait for the conversation to divert to me. Men would swarm my slimmer friends, buying drinks and pushing their business cards into eager hands. I’d sit in the illumination of my phone and only join in when beckoned, usually by default.
“Oh you’re a producer? Awesome. My friend Erica is an emcee. You guys should totally work together, she’s amazing.”
“You’re a writer! Great profession! Erica writes, she’s always penning something great!”
The men would look at me and smile, sometimes responding with delight, an excitement that screamed, “Be nice to the fat girl or else you won’t get any tonight.”
Even the good boys were guilty. They’d inquire my name and profession and bounce their attention between the woman they were truly into and me.
I was no fool. It was all in the gestures: The way their hands accidentally touched hers when handing her a drink, the soft purr that lined the words they spouted, the longing embedded in their drunken eyes.
Perhaps it was the lack of vulnerability? Was I projecting too much self-sufficiency, a stare of stay away? Did my movement and gestures say, come over and speak to me?
I’d then turn to my right, to the most hardcore converted tomboy of the group. She wore a basketball jersey by day and a freakum dress by night. She was a size four, but she was also a burping, I-don’t-need-a-man, loud fool. Nope, it wasn't vulnerability.
Because of my unwavering ability to be invisible, the girls started to find new roles for me. Discreet text messages would pop up on my phone.
“Get him to leave me alone.”
“Distract me, he’s ugly!”
I’d put on my imaginary bodyguard suit and entertain myself for the night. I’d tell ugly and incessant men to beat it, using a portion of my why-didn't-you-notice-me anger. Soon, I wasn't just the big girl of the group, I was also the "blocker". Go figure.
On one of those uneventful nights, excluding the night the "blocking" turned into a parking lot brawl, one of the finest brothers of our campus rolled up to the bar. He came, he saw, and he conquered my roommate. Not necessarily in that order. She finagled him like she did all of her other men. He spent Tuesday and Thursdays in our abode, while her other fling got Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. When he came over, he engaged me. He thought it was dope that I could always be found reading or writing. He asked me for book recommendations and I lent him texts that would elevate his mind, while my roommate opted for a more metaphorical reenactment of the phrase. We spoke about his aspirations while he waited for her to get dressed. They barely spoke. She’d ask him how she looked and he’d say “great”; the next sounds would be muffled with headphones, because I didn't care to partake in the audio version, of their intercourse.
After she dumped him, he came to collect his things and his beautiful eyes were filled with sadness. “This is the last time I’ll be here,” he said.
I smiled, “I know. I heard. Hope everything goes well.”
Before he said goodnight, he spoke once more, “Were you at the club, the night I met her? It should have been you, you know. You’re everything I want in a woman.”
For a second I considered him. I wanted to believe his words, but suddenly my memories of invisibility and scarce acknowledgement kicked in.
“Goodnight homie.” I said.
I walked back to the room with the realization that I wasn't see-through, after all. Just fat.