Queer/Race

“It’s Electric”

Posted in Uncategorized by Becca on April 20, 2010

BLOG # 3

SHORT STORY

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.

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4 Responses

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  1. shortstuff84 said, on April 22, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Ah yes, the age-old debate between inner and outer beauty. The truth is that people are attracted to physical characteristics, not personality. People want to be politically correct that these days, so they act like it’s not okay to be attracted to someone based on how they look. Personally, I think that’s bullshit. I can think of 2 guys off the top of my head that are sweet, smart, kind, generous, and so many other good things but I’m just not physically attracted to them. So no matter how awesome they are, I will never date them. Yeah it’s my loss but I’m just being honest. On the other hand, I have met countless dudes that are hot but their personalities sucked, so I wasn’t interested. Does that make me shallow? Maybe… but I see it as just not wanting to settle. I guess I identify with Mike. If someone asked me what do I look for, my answer would be “tall!” Yeah I know, it’s extra funny since I’m 5 ft 1 but I gotta have a tall guy (of course, an exception would be made for Johnny Depp). Is that so wrong to be attracted to a specific physical trait(s)?

  2. kriegerdeslichts459 said, on April 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I think this is actually a really cool post to have on here. It doesn’t have anything specific to do with queer or racial identities, yet it reflects something that affects us all as people regardless of our identities. I had a fairly normal puberty, but I definitely know what it’s like to be insanely jealous of the people who got by on their looks alone. The funny thing that I’ve noticed among my ultra-attractive friends is that they get really fed up with just being noted for their looks instead of their intellects and spirits. With me, I’ve always been an entertainer, so I’ve always been the awkward friend in the background cracking jokes. What I wouldn’t give for someone to be interested in me for my looks alone! I suppose the grass is always greener, right?

    In other news, well written, I enjoyed it!

  3. nr459 said, on April 28, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Coming of age, acceptance of oneself, and comfort in one’s own body are not only everyday concerns for late-developing teenagers, but everyone that cares. And not only cares, everyone that thinks about what others think of them. This is me in a nutshell. Not to say I was a late bloomer or an “ugly duckling,” but there are so many instances in life where you look to the person next to you and want something they have. Whether it’s their shoes, their teeth or their breasts, they have something you don’t. And to make matters worse, they seem to be ELATED with themselves. But over the years I’ve learned that isn’t true. It becomes a process of growing into your own skin, and that can take years and years. I’m 22 and I still don’t like who I am. The diets, the teeth whitening, the push up bras, the designer jeans all don’t seem to fill that hole.
    And though it is such a common topic, I really enjoyed the way you put it into adolescent story form. It was great!

  4. cni1 said, on April 29, 2010 at 12:50 am

    I loved the ending! I thought it was a very nicely written work.

    I’d also have to suggest, from personal experience the effects of societal values on a growing person. Physical appearances are an important aspect of this, but so are certain expectations set up by the people in your school and community. There’s that Audi (I think…) commercial where the different people say “I’ve been told..(X)” that exemplifies what I’m trying to say. Could Mike, as a character, like cleavage as a character trait, or is there some impact from teenage boys being expected to oogle boobs to be considered? That was the question running through my mind at least.

    I remember being in high school and told–more than once–by people I called friend at the time that the way I dressed and my geek ways would never make me appealing to men in general. One even berated me on how inappropriate it was to be able to physically compete (and outpace) with guys our age. There were several attempts at reforming me. It all went out the window, but I’d say there’s definitely more than one way to be the ugly duckling other than being a late bloomer.

    In response to shortstuff–I can honestly say physical traits have never sold me on any person. It’s always been about personality and especially whether or not said person cares about me. It’s not that I can’t recognize some people as physically attractive, it’s that “what’s within” is what makes a person more attractive to me. Whether or not this relates to my experiences as a teenager I suppose is up to psychology.
    So I’d have to disagree, and suggest instead that there’s a combination of looks-to-personality ratio that’s unique to the individual.


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