My Limited Confidence Instantly Ran Away from Home

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, “Not for Ourselves Alone” is running a special series called 30 Days of Bodyshaming, designed to give a voice to the many different experiences of girls and women. This series will feature guest posts by professors, writers, a cartoonist, young girls, and mothers. Gut wrenching and honest, these stories are presented in an attempt to bring about a deeper understanding of the plight of girls and women as we make our way in world that, for us, is hostile at its best and violent at its worst.

by Rebecca Parmet

As a sophomore in college, the Sig Delts began tiptoeing, with a heavy foot, that I was exponentially over due for a night of lovemaking with a handsome blind date named Joey. I was an anxious virgin, wanting to contribute to story time with my hypersexual sorority sisters. As I heard about the hookups in the back of their Bubby’s hand-me-down BMW’s, I wanted to join their clubhouse of experienced womanhood. Their stories sounded weirdly romantic and mirrored the love I thought I tasted while soaking up HBO.

For someone with such a non-threatening name, Joey’s beard and presence made me embarrassingly nervous. He had a mellowed, comfortable confidence and his gait oozed experience, all making me crumble with shyness. He was tall and reminded me of my oh-so-kind childhood Rabbi with his Israeli, bourbon skin. The ladies told Joey he was to woo me into his bedroom after he showed off his herculean masculinity in beer pong.  It all sounds so premeditated and goofy now, but I was really excited and strangely felt like a proud feminist when he asked me out (to Chipotle!) before the big game. I prepped in the most strange and extravagant ways.

Cosmo articles made it clear that love is most abundant when you maintain hairlessness and a tiny build.

Both feats were ambitious for a chubby young adult with her grandfather’s Russian beard gene. I arrived at the restaurant wearing a little black dress and heels, even though it was snowy and before sunset. It was all very uncomfortable, emotionally and literally. The night proceeded as expected and I was infatuated with his high scores in the game. As his score increased, so did his intoxication. He escorted me to his room with a push from an aggressive hand on my lower back. I followed instruction found in the verbal eyes of my sisters. After we had apathetic sex, he full fistedly grabbed my stomach and shamelessly exclaimed, “look at this big belly!”, and then shimmied my body back and forth and giggled incessantly.

My limited confidence instantly ran away from home. It was the most influential off-hand comment I have ever been told. I criticize myself for allowing such a minimal, thoughtless comment invade my everyday interactions, but it is an irritating, daily piece of unsettled brain matter.

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Rebecca attended Michigan State University and is the secretary on the executive board of COPE. She is also the current manager at Curt’s Café South in Evanston.  Her commitment to serving the community in Evanston stretches back to her work for the Campus Kitchen’s project at Northwestern University.

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    Juliet C. Bond is a writer and professor at Columbia College in Chicago. Her first book, "Sam’s Sister," was published in 2005, and has sold over 50,000 copies. She went on to collaborate with Newberry winner Joyce Sidman to publish the stage adaptation of "This is Just to Say." Juliet’s shorter works can be found in "The Prairie Wind," at storystudiochicago.com and citymusecountrymuse.com. Juliet serves as the Welcome Coordinator for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Illinois, and has had the pleasure of working under the tutelage of award winning authors including; Jane Yolen, Jane Hamilton, Laurie Lawlor and Audrey Niffinegger. She chose the name for this space as an homage to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony whose hard work on gender equality serve as daily motivation to continue fighting for girls and women everywhere.

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