double take

This is an embarrassing story. But I’m going to tell it
anyway, because I swore I’d always tell all the things that happen, good, bad,
and slightly humiliating because they expose parts of myself that I would
really rather keep hidden away, and keep you thinking I am a nice girl with a
pleasant personality who can really dance, possibly like a motherfucker.

So I went to the dentist this morning. I am not an early
riser. The morning and I, we were never best friends, and we never will be. The
appointment was at 8:00 a.m., and I had to get up at 6:30 a.m., except I got up at 7:15 a.m., and
I was very late. These are the excuses I have for you, for not really thinking
about what I was wearing first to a dentist appointment, and then to work for 8
hours, and then to another doctor’s appointment because I am extremely
high-maintenance. What I wore, see, was a dress I like to wear out to bars, and
parties, and clubs, and the whorehouse. It’s a blue babydoll dress, and it is
cut pretty much down to my navel. Okay, not my navel. But close enough. It is a
dress that is not appropriate for the dentist’s office, work, or the doctor’s
office. It is–how you say?–boobalicious. Boobtacular. I got a lot of tits in
this dress.

I didn’t think about it at all, because I was so late, and
so not down with being alive at ridiculous o’clock, and so busy charging up
Powell Street, dodging tourists and hating the lack of coffee in my life,
because really, how fucking unfair is that? So when I got to the office five
minutes late, and tore off my coat to throw in the closet and realized that I
had just almost flashed the entire waiting room, I felt deeply, spectacularly,
wildly uncomfortable and pretty damn stupid, too. I did some surreptitious
tucking and lifting and yanking upwards, but all the yanking and tucking and
lifting in the world, it does not do much in this dress cut down to my navel.

My solution was to brazen it out. That’s right, people. Here
I am, in your dental office, and here too are my breasts. Please enjoy! Except I
booked it down the hallway and leaped into the dental chair and crossed my arms
over my chest and the dental assistant bibbed me up, and then I was decent. It
felt important to be decent, because my dentist is an awesome, extremely sweet
guy who is very fatherly toward me. Not in that condescending, there’s my
stupid little girl with her stupid little girl brain
kind of way, but just kind
and concerned, you know? My dad is not supposed to look at my boobs.

We fast-forward through the procedure (quick and easy, my ass)
and they un-bib me and I stand up and stretch. He turns from putting his tools
away, and he does a double take. An actual, literal, double-take. His eyes
dropped down to my breasts, and got big, and then he looked at my mouth, and
then he snapped back to making eye contact so desperately, I could feel the
waves of concentration and panic emanating from each of his little dentist
pores. I stood there, and chatted pleasantly with him, and realized, suddenly,
that I didn’t feel self-conscious, or stupid, or uncomfortable. I believed it. And I liked it.

I liked that look in his eyes. I liked the way I had
disconcerted him. I liked that instant of bone-deep interest, so to speak, that
spark of attraction from this previously unflappable man. I was standing there,
feeling unquestionably and without a doubt, sexy. Hot. Attractive and
attracting, in a way I had never felt before, with a rush of power that I was
definitely enjoying.

And that’s where the embarrassment comes in, on so many
levels. On a basic level, I mean, what the hell was I doing, standing in a
dentist’s office and feeling sassy at 9:00 in the morning? Discomfiting a nice
guy? And what was I doing, enjoying it? How was that possible, that I had
become that purely and utterly vain, that arrogant, so utterly convinced of my
own gorgeousness? That is not me. That has never been me, and it staggered me.

Do not get me wrong, please–through the whole of my life, no
matter my size, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt undeniably lovely, and
beautiful and attractive. I’ve felt crazy-sexy and unstoppable. But that word
there, "undeniable." That’s not actually true at all. At every
moment, even when I was feeling best about myself, there has been an
undercurrent of insecurity, of instability and unreality. That, at any moment,
someone could take that all away from me and refute that feeling I had. They
could point out that I was fat, and that would kick the support out from under
me, and send me tumbling down, with no hope of recovery at all. I could be
solid gold, from the tip of my head to the tips of my toes, but with a black
blemish of an Achilles heel, winking there, above my wedge sandals.

I would find someone attractive. They would find me
attractive in return. And that chorus in my head would start up in three-part
harmony–is it because they think I am beautiful? Or do they think I am
beautiful for a fat girl? It’s an
insidious earworm.

This was so different, this weird and ridiculous moment.
There was no doubt in my head, there was no one who could tell me I was wrong,
and shortly after I liked it, I hated it. I wanted to put on a
sweater–preferably a really baggy sweater that fell to my knees and not be
looked at, because this shit is dangerous. This is volatile. This feels deadly.
How do people go around having rock-solid, unshakable self-esteem, all the
time? I mean, I don’t suddenly believe that I am the shit and you can’t mess
with this, not at all, but people are reacting to me more positively with every
day that passes and you can imagine by now, I’m sure, how much that pisses me
off. And now, you can imagine how much I like it.

7 Replies to “double take”

  1. Oh my word, I’ve been there, sister. Except I think you had better self-esteem than I did when you (and I) were bigger, because I felt very unattractive and I projected that, I think, very loudly. So I rarely, if ever, felt sexy or anything even close to it.

    Fast forward to my weight loss. Whoa boy. They are coming out of the woodwork. I love it. And I hate it. I resent it. And I crave it. I feel shallow and egotistical. And yet I dress a bit more…well, let’s just say that I don’t wear tight slutty clothes, but I am wearing FITTED clothes, rather than big oversized clothes that scream Hide Me!

    And, yes, the men, they are pigs. I have a man at home, as do you, a really great one who loved me heavier and now thinner, and I am not swayed by this sudden surge of testerone that is so frequently thrown in my face (uh, that definitely didn’t sound the way I meant for it to sound…).
    But I do sometimes secretly enjoy it. A lot.

    I have gone back and forth, depending on my mood and my level of indignation. These men never looked at me before, but I was the same person then! Well, not really. I project something different now, and I believe the attention is both because of how I look but also the way I feel, and the ways in which that comes through.

    So, yeah, I love the attention, I hate the attention, I want to be above loving the attention, I feel I finally deserve–after lo these many years–the attention.
    It’s, um, you know, complicated, these human emotions.

    You’re not a shallow person. But you are a human being and we are sexual, sensual, pheremone-driven animals. You’re allowed to be a deeply thoughtful and intellectual chick who doesn’t mind a whistle here or a double take from the doc there.

  2. Wow. What a well-written, difficultly-honest, post. I feel what you’re saying, the complexity of who you were and who you are and not wanting to change and yet loving the change.

  3. OK, That was freaking Delicious!

    Been there, wanna go back there!

    Been a LONG time since mama felt SEXY!

    Ooooo, thanks!

  4. Not to worry. I do not believe, in no way ever in this world do I believe, that anyone at all has rock-steady unshakeable self-esteem. Ever. It’s like the alligators in the sewers. It never really happens and if it did it would be killed by someone with an assualt rifle. Alas for the alligators, and for us.

  5. “I could feel the waves of concentration and panic emanating from each of his little dentist pores.”

    I literally laughed out loud at that statement…..and kept laughing for at least 10 minutes in fits and giggles!

    I find it funny/strange that you describe it as embarassing, yet you liked it.

  6. Just remember, it’s a good servant, but a bad master. Use the power wisely, not just because you can, cos it’s not all about you. Seriously. It’s not.

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