BLOG # 3
At thirteen, Mara resembled a ten-year-old. Her sister Julie had just gotten her period at the age of sixteen, leading to an influx of tampon boxes being sent in the mail from all of the female cousins that could relate to being a late bloomer. She was 4’10’’, eighty pounds, and extremely flat chested. Calling them mosquito bites would be a compliment. Often at school the boys would compliment her. “You are so unlike the other girls.” “It’s weird how you’re like, you know, cool and stuff.” She was cool. She played the trumpet and would play football outside at recess. She had already traveled outside of the country and was in honors math.
Mara’s least favorite song was “The Electric Slide.” Every time she heard the song, it felt like a raccoon crawled into her stomach, got rabies, and died. Normally a stable, thirteen year old girl, Mara warped into something completely different as soon as the song came on. Irritable, angry, and fierce, she found it bizarre that she had such an adverse reaction to a seemingly simple tune.
At Danny Martin’s Bar-Mitzvah, all was going well until she heard those fateful lyrics. Excusing herself from the kid’s table, she ran out of the room before any boogy woogy woogies could take hold of her. She stumbled into the lobby of the Marriott and sat down on the welcome couch. Mara hated the thought of missing any crucial moments of socializing, but a girl had to do what a girl had to do. She looked down to check her brand new cell phone and when she looked up her heart skipped a beat. There he was. Mike Jankowski. Mara was in love with him. No other person in the world could possibly feel what she felt for Mike Jankowski. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t good at math or that he was shorter than the other boys. It was how much he didn’t realize how amazing he was that drew her to him. He looked around the room and then plopped down next to her on the couch.
“I hate the Electric Slide,” he said matter of factly. “I had to get out of there.”
Suddenly it all made sense. She probably hated the Electric Slide because somewhere in her heart she knew that her soul mate might hate it too. They sat and talked for about five minutes and then headed back into the reception room. This will be our little secret, she thought to herself. If other people know, they might want to come out and join.
Between December and May Mara and Mike were both invited to ten Bar Mitzvahs. At every single one, Mara sat patiently, waiting for the dreaded song to begin. Sure enough, each time the song came on, there Mike would be, seemingly waiting for her in the lobby.
During the final Bar-Mitzvah of the year, Mara knew that she had to raise the stakes. She needed to know if Mike felt the same way about her as she did him. She made the decision that during the “Electric Slide” she would ask him a very important question in the lobby.
Half of the reception had passed and the song still hadn’t come on. She put on a pair of the free sunglasses they threw out during the song “Shout!” and slipped into the back. Cautiously, she wrote down “Electric Slide” on the DJ request list and then headed back to her seat. Luckily, in the last hour of the party, the song was played and she could experience her favorite part of her friends’ coming of ages.
As Mike approached her, she knew that the past six months must have been as special to him as they were to her. She was ready.
“Mike?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he grunted.
“What do you look for in a girl?” Her heart was pounding. She hoped that he couldn’t feel the heat that was rising through her body. She licked her lips, hoping to make them look plumper as he answered. This was it.
“Cleavage,” he responded. “I like a girl with a lot of cleavage.”
With that, he was met in the lobby by Lesley Simmons. They left together and headed towards the nearest closet. As they walked away, Mara heard Lesley say, “Why did you ask me to meet you out here now? I love the ‘Electric Slide.’”
Sadly, I was inspired to write this post by the movie “Shallow Hal.” Please, stop groaning and judging. In one part of the movie, one of the characters refers to a female as having “Ugly Duckling Syndrome.” He explains this syndrome as girls who were ugly growing up and therefore had to rely on their social skills to get by. This inspired me to post this short story, based on one of my real life experiences.
Granted, I’m not saying that I was necessarily an eyesore, but I went through puberty REALLY late, forcing me to realize that I couldn’t rely on my looks in middle school. Other females could strut around with their newly formed curves and boobs, but I suddenly had to work for attention.
I feel that this phenomenon relates to this class because it highlights the idea of sexuality and aging. We’ve discussed societal norms as they relate to things all over the spectrum such as body type, race, sexuality, relationships, etc. Having gone through this history with delayed puberty, I think that I was able to focus in on the effect of feeling like an outsider in a certain sense and dealing with the crossroads of how to mold myself in order to fit in with the rest of society. This isn’t to say that I changed who I was as a person, but rather that I was struck with the limitations that sexuality and desire can bring. As a child, I never had to worry about things like body type, but ever since people started changing before I did, I was hit with it over the head and have never let the lessons go.