Or, how I broke the heart of the first person who ever asked me out without realising
I was a typical geeky teenager. Had hardly any friends at school. The friends I did have weren't particularly close - they all hung out together outside school, but I never got invited. I invited them out with me, but no one ever wanted to come.
I went to an all-girls school, where I was constantly told by other people that I was ugly, unfeminine, "a lesbian", and that I'd never get a boyfriend. Even when I shaved my legs, this made no difference, because apparently I was supposed to do something to get rid of the black stubble. I couldn't shave my legs more often than once a week because it hurt to shave them even that often. I was "square". If I wore my school uniform socks pulled up, the way you were supposed to, other girls would kick my legs until they fell down.
If you have more than 20 people telling you you're ugly every single day of your life
, after a while you start to believe it.
When I was 17 or so, I asked out a guy that I knew from the Young Conservatives (Yes, we've already had the conversation where you mock me for that
, thank you). Apparently my attempt at doing so was so clumsy that, rather than just telling me no, he went straight to the local committee members and accused me of sexual harrassment. I was horrified, but no one believed me. Another guy that I had been flirting with in what I thought was a friendly way backed him up, and I was told to leave. (Leave the whole organisation, I mean - not just leave that one meeting :/ ).
So then I went to Imperial College, an all-science & engineering college, where the female-male ratio is "one to a million". Even there, there didn't seem to be many geeks. I'd walk around the chemistry department seeing girls in skirts & make-up, even high heels. (In lab
? Is that safe?). Dressed in my habitual uniform of a t-shirt, jeans and Doc Martens, I didn't stand a chance.
Except other people saw me the way my partners do now. And one guy asked me out. Trained to believe that I was ugly, disgusting, undesirable, I laughed
, knowing that he was mocking me. You can guess what happened. He, seeing me as an attractive, desirable person, thought I was laughing at him because he was so ugly and disgusting that he could never attain someone as wonderful as me. I had no idea that any of this was going on in his head, until several months later. By which time it was almost too late.