I had a friend that was once incredibly infatuated with a girl, and had been, for a few years. I would listen to him when he talked about her and even gave him advice — if it was good advice, I can’t even remember — but deep down I gave this maybe so-so advice hesitantly. As I would listen to him talk about her, I sat there and tried to see in her the things he did. And — it wasn’t just him. It was everyone. Everybody worshiped this girl. Everybody thought she was pretty (in that obvious way) and she was effortlessly thin and was a frequent user of the winky emoticon (is it just me or is this always a good indication of when someone is a flirt?), and I will give her the pretty thing, and the decent personality thing. And before you think that here I am making snap judgments about someone I don’t know, don’t. Because I knew her. We never braided each other’s hair and painted our toenails together but we were on okay terms, and was thus privileged a few years of observation.
Anyway, my point is that I never saw what these people saw in this girl. And for that I was convinced of 2 things: either there was something wrong with me, or I was just that big of a bitch (and can this ever be cured, I wonder?). And then I thought up another alternative: that everybody was just shallow. Or plain nonanalytical. Or both. I mean, look: it was either that I am just this big of a bitch for no reason or everybody is tripping straight balls when it comes to this girl. Maybe she exudes some kind of chemical hormone that I am immune to, or something. Anyway, even though I am aware of my own tendencies of taking the not-so-coveted seat on the Bitch throne, I wanted so badly for it not to be that. Just this once.
So one night, I had had enough, and I texted him. I was like, “Tell me you don’t think she’s superficial and vain. I dare you.” And it felt good to send it, because it was the first most brutally honest thing I’d said to him about her, until the second after, when it didn’t. Then the vindictiveness fades and you realize how this one sole act has just made you a bad person, perhaps forever. Because even if that person forgets, you will never (unless you are blessed with bad memory), and there will always be that lingering guilt.
I felt ashamed and guilty because I am not this kind of person that tries this hard to tear people down, and afterwards, as I waited in dread and shame for him to respond, I analyzed why I did what I did, and why I felt this desperation for the world to take my side on this girl. I realized it is not because of this girl, personally, but what she represents to me. She represents all of the girls I believe are always falsely idolized. Girls of looks and little substance. Girls who will always get the guy, no matter how much funnier you are, how much more earnest you are, or genuine. Girls who laugh over boys who think they have a chance. And I don’t want to get into looks, okay, but the truth is that they have it. They win, you see. You’ll work for it but they will win it all.
And the worst is that they are always the best guys. The well-meaning guys who deserve better. You will watch them get played with by these girls but what can you say? It is your words against words from a more attractive mouth.
He texted me, but not that night. He texted me later on. He said, “You’re right. She is everything you said.” But for some reason, making him admit that his Perfect Girl was no longer Perfect Girl (or rather, is Perfect But Superficial and Vain Girl) didn’t make me feel like I had won. Instead I felt even more guilty.
I started to text him back, to apologize, but I didn’t. I don’t know why. I think I wanted to accept it as a victory, even though it wasn’t, and that apologizing would make it not that way. Even though it never was.
We wouldn’t talk about it until the night he came to see me and say goodbye. We talked outside my house for an hour or two, and we stood under my porch light with all of the dead bug carcasses trapped inside, and I apologized to him. “I don’t really know what I wanted to accomplish with that,” I said to him, sheepishly. “It was… just bitchy.”
And he shook his head and told me not to apologize. He was like, “You were right, though. I had to think about it for awhile but when I did I realized you were right.”
And I just nodded. “Do you still like her?”
"No. I don’t think so."
It wasn’t that I had feelings for him. I cared about him, sure. But it was bigger than him, too, just like it was bigger than the girl. I saw this as symbolic. Maybe I thought that if I could make him “see” her crucial flaws that meant that all hope was not lost. I don’t know. It could maybe even be that she wasn’t funny enough for him. I wholeheartedly believe in funny girls. I believe funny girls are the best girls.
"Why did you send it, though?" he asked me. "It was kind of random.”
A barrage of thoughts shot through my mind. “I was just thinking about how you deserved better,” I said.
Better than just a narcissistic pretty face that owned a camera with self-timer, I wanted to say, but I didn’t. I think he got the hint anyway.
As I went to bed that night, I remember thinking about her and wondering, “I wonder how that must feel, never having to go to bed at the end of the day and pondering the possibility of ending up alone.”