This started out as a letter to a 16-year-old friend who was having a hard time navigating life due to a never-ending parade of crappy people. I kept being tempted to say something super patronizing like, “Don’t worry! It’ll get so much better! In the 3 months between High School and College, everybody becomes super mature and awesome and all your issues go away.” This is a total lie–everybody knows that this is a total lie–but for whatever reason, people keep on peddling it. Maybe because the truth is pretty defeating? ‘For the rest of your life, you will have to deal with people who annoy you, people who you have nothing in common with and people who straight-up make you feel crappy.’ (I don’t think anybody is putting that on a fortune cookie anytime soon.)
So, in an attempt to be honest without being incredibly depressing, I decided to consider the last time I felt pretty alone due to the people around me and then reflect on how I moved past it. That is when this ‘advice letter’ evolved into more of a ‘love letter’ for one of my favorite people–which actually seemed pretty worthy of some blog space. A couple months ago, I wrote a piece about honoring my muses, I suppose this is just another extension of that sentiment. So, without further ado…
The World is Filled with Boob-Lookers.
There was once a Professor who tried to seduce me. This was particularly troubling because he was not at all seductive. Hint: If you aspire to be a dashing, coy, manipulative archetype, you should probably learn to be dashing, coy and manipulative. As it was, this old and shaky literature creep was something like a wannabe perv with a screw loose. His attempts were almost comical, at least until he tried to creep his hand up my leg… because then no one was laughing. Least of all him.
Unfortunately, there was not just one stupid old man trying to complicate my life at the time. To compound my misery, there was also a stupid young man: a particularly crappy ex.
(Readers note: ‘stupid men’ tends to be a theme in my life. ‘a smattering of good men’ has occasionally cropped up as a lesser plot point–but those occasions usually get lost in the shuffle. But back to the Professor.)
His class met twice a week at an unbalanced round table in a stuffy, old classroom. The class was almost as dull as the jerk who presided over it–he forced us to read countless articles photo-copied from The New Yorker and chastised us about our generation’s limited attention span which was ‘tragically striking down the word count of journalism.’
I would very rarely look up during these readings out of fear that I would inadvertently lock eyes with him but on one such occasion, I glanced up and saw, to my relief, that he wasn’t staring at me. Unfortunately, he was looking at another girl–a curvy, clever, brunette, with a killer rack. I had anonymously adored this particular classmate ever since I saw her sneaking her ‘experts sudoku’ book between two of the photo-copied pages we were supposed to be diligently consuming. She caught me catching her, smiled, winked and dove back into her numbers game.
This chick was freaking awesome.
Incidentally, she also happened to be friends with one of my housemates at the time. So one night, I came home after my internship and found her making dinner in my kitchen.
She proceeded talking to me as if we had always been the best of friends. “Oh my god, I fucking love sudoku. I can’t stop. I’m fucking addicted. I would die of boredom in ‘boob lookers’ class without it.”
“Boob looker?” I said, surprised at her bluntness.
“Um, yeah, he looks at our boobs all class long. And he’s really bad at pretending like he’s not looking at our boobs all class long. You seriously haven’t noticed?”
“Yes, of course I have! He’s the fucking worst!”
Our shared hatred for the man who would never again be referred to as anything but ‘boob looker’ propelled the conversation forward but it soon became clear that Jennifer and I had a lot more in common than a shared geriatric-admirer. It also quickly became clear that she was about 16,000 times cooler than me… but I was totally okay with that.
She drank hard liquor, she had a kick ass tattoo, she cursed like a sailor, she was unflinchingly straightforward, incomparably authentic and filled with surprises.
In retrospect, that first late night in the kitchen with Jennifer marked a distinct turning point in my life. The curvy, clever, brunette with a killer rack from ‘Boob Looker’s’ class would go on to revolutionize my attitude, my perspective and my world.
In five years spent with her, I have learned that Jennifer is unapologetically brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous. She has found her light switch and it is ON and when she walks around all radiating and lovely, she gives everybody around her permission to be FANTASTIC.
And so they are. When most people are around Jennifer, they are pretty freaking fantastic. You could be the least fantastic human being on the planet but if you come within a certain radius of this girl, there is a high probablility you will be oozing awesomeness out of your pores.
Now this isn’t to say that she’s a Little Mary Sunshine. She has dark and twisty places in her past just like everybody else, she has good days and bad days, good and bad relationships, good and bad moods but she never tries to be anything other than exactly who she is and that is what makes her a rare and precious commodity.
A lot has changed since I first met Jennifer. Back then she was the sexy brunette, now she’s the sexy blonde. Back then she was in a complicated relationship with a dairy farmer from Ireland who loved rugby, now she’s happily dating an artist/filmmaker who loves to make her strawberry pie. Back then she was a student, now she’s a kick-ass caretaker & amazing writer who makes and sells the cutest freaking plush toys.
Of course the biggest change (for me) is that back then she was just the cool sudoku chick from ‘boob lookers’ class and now she is my inspiration, my always-down-for-an-adventure amiga and one of my dearest friends.
The point of all this, I guess–I’m not entirely sure, is that the world is filled with boob-lookers. Creepy professors, crappy exes and mediocre bad guys dominate the skylines: they are literally EVERYWHERE.
BUT if you pay super close attention, you can also occasionally spot a curvy, clever brunette with a killer rack and a surplus of sudoku.
These winners make having to deal with the ‘boob-lookers’ of the world well worth it.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves,
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
It’s not just in some of us;
it’s in everyone
and as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”