When I was in middle school, I got teased for being fat. A LOT.
“You are NOT fat!” my mother insisted when I cried about being teased (middle schoolers are assholes). “Those other girls are just jealous because you’re more developed than they are!”
I laughed bitterly, scornfully, and otherwise adverbially at her. To me, “more developed” meant one thing: bigger boobs. And I was not the most “more developed” girl in the seventh grade—not by a long shot. Despite my girth, I stayed steady at a B-cup.
For those of you who aren’t American or aren’t women, let me explain that reference thusly: most girls start off as A-cups. My best friend ended up as a double-D. B-cups? They are not exactly excessively large. They are not even average. And they certainly did not balance out the enormous hips I developed between the ages of 10 and 12.
It was those hips that had everyone, including me, convinced that I was a heifer of epic proportions. The other kids had never seen anything like me, y’all. My hips, and the thighs and ass that went with them, could stop middle school traffic. They were practically an institution—the other kids even named them (well, my ass, at least). But they were not a sign of being “more developed.” I never thought of them in those terms, even though as the years have gone on, my ass has stayed the same (literally), and everyone else has started catching up.
The thing is, big hips just weren’t part of the narrative of growing up. I mean, everyone knows the tragic tale of the prematurely big-boobed girl: the stares, the groping, the inability to find a bra that fits outside of a maternity store, getting hit on by guys three times your age, having every girl in class call you a slut and a stuffer, etc. But big hips? File it under “fat” and move on. Except it’s a little more complicated than that.
I was wearing a women’s size ten pants when I was ten years old. By the time I was twelve, I had jumped to a sixteen. When I was fourteen, I had, appropriately enough, yo-yoed down to a fourteen. And people were mistaking me for eighteen and offering me credit cards.
Whatever my actual age is, people usually tack two to four years onto that. I got hit on ferociously from the ages of twelve to sixteen, but then nothing afterwards. Why? Because due to that “add two or four” thing, once I turned sixteen ALL THE TEENAGE BOYS THOUGHT I WAS TOO OLD FOR THEM.
The other day I looked at a picture of myself that I had lying around and thought, “Wow, what was I when this was taken, seventeen or so?” THAT PHOTO WAS FROM THE SEVENTH GRADE.
It wasn’t my chubby little baby face that made everyone think I was so elderly: it was my prematurely matronly figure, and the prematurely matronly clothes that went with it (the days before Lane Bryant came to my hometown were hard for my people). If you looked close enough, you’d see my round little cheeks and my big wide eyes. BUT NO ONE WAS LOOKING AT MY FACE.
All I’m saying is, if you see a teenager with big hips, give her a smile and a pat on the back and take her to a bar so she can have a goddamn drink. Don’t worry; you won’t be charged with corrupting a minor because NO ONE WILL CARD HER.
UGH. THE HUMANITY.