I went out to lunch with an old high school friend the other day.
Right before we left, my friend pulled out one of the many copies of her receipt. On the bottom it said, “You are perfect, don’t ever change.” My friend blew it off. This is a normal occurrence for her. But for me, it is a stab in the heart. I have never seen that happen before, and it certainly hasn’t happened to me. As we walk out, I joke that I should have refused to tip since he didn’t hit on me too.
I can tell that she feels uncomfortable.
It’s not her fault that she was born with long legs, smooth pale skin and eyes that could pierce you to your very soul. She is beautiful. There is no denying that. Growing up, she would always compliment me and say I was beautiful, but I was never fooled.
I am the ugly friend.
I am the grenade a wingman jumps on for his friend. I am the epitome of the third wheel. My friend has jumped from relationship to relationship since high school. I can’t remember the last time she was single. But me? If you could be paid to be single I would be rich. Not that I haven’t had my share of guys, but it always turns out that they’ll fuck me but not date me.
I was always the fat friend. The loud, annoying friend. The bossy friend. You know the type. I have a nice face and big boobs, which was enough to keep me from becoming a total outcast in my youth. I spent my life in the middle of the social ladder, dreaming of moving up and terrified of falling down. I eventually found my life’s calling in the drama room. I made new friends and let my guard down. I stopped caring about where I was on the ladder.
My friend, however, she rose up from the bottom. She transformed from a nerdy girl with thick glasses into a tall, elegant creature over the course of one summer. She was an outcast thrust into a popular girl’s body, and she loved it. She relished in the way guys stared at her. She enjoyed the attention and still does. She knows how cruel the world can be to the average and the ugly, but she’s never had to survive in that world. She’s had the free drinks, the smooth pick up lines, the phone numbers slipped to her on a napkin. Her looks saved her before she really had to live. People love her because she is beautiful. And because of that, her beauty is her self worth and it shows.
To me, that is terrifying.
I haven’t had the dates, the attention, the free drinks, or my pick of the guys. I’ve lived my entire life in the shadows of pretty women. I’ve been pushed to the side and taken as the friend not the lover time and time again. I am not beautiful or charming. I don’t draw eyes when I enter a room.
But I have people who love me and I will never have to doubt that they love me for who I am. The people who talk to me do so because they find me interesting. The people who spend time with me do so because I am worth their time, not because I am beautiful. The world does not give me things on a silver platter. I have to work and fight for everything I get in this world, but when I get it I know I have earned it.
I would choose to be the ugly girl over being the pretty one any day of the week.
Beauty is on the surface. It has no real substance. And it will fade.
I may be the ugly friend, but the people who love me love me, not my appearance, and to me that makes all the difference.