Awkward Things I Say To Girls


IT ALWAYS SEEMED LIKE THE RIGHT THING TO SAY AT THE TIME

“You have really good proportions.”

“Whoever designed this colorblindness test is dumb. How am I supposed to see a number when I can’t even tell these stupid dots apart?”

That’s what I was thinking to myself, not even remotely in the ballpark of understanding what was really going on. (I have since figured out the obvious.) This was tenth grade science class, and we were studying genetic disorders. People were doing class presentations.

Tenth grade means fifteen. Fifteen is the age when a person’s ambient level of life-long awkwardness is multiplied by approximately eleventeen thousand, which made me, at fifteen, an adolescent disaster explosion.

“Whatever,” I thought to myself. “I’ve never gotten those idiotic colorblindness tests to work anyway. I hope the next kid doing a presentation is good.”

I was in luck. Any time Chris got up to speak in front of people, I knew that funny things were about to happen.

Unfortunately, she is really short. That’s not the unfortunate part. Shortness, on her, has always taken nothing away from how ridiculously cute she is. The unfortunality comes in because her project was about dwarfism. In a cruel twist of fate, the cosmos, or the capriciousness of a cold, uncaring public school system, the shortest kid in the class was assigned the dwarfism project.

Now, seriously. The poor kid is trying to struggle through this presentation, teaching us about limb proportions and hormone imbalances, but because fifteen-year-olds also happen to be at or near their maximum asshole capacity, people were being not even close to what I would consider nice. I felt simply awful for her, not because it’s so bad to be small, but because it’s stupid for people to be mean about it. I should do something. I should say something! Because, honestly, she’s just a short girl, that’s all. She’s not afflicted by dwarfism. How do I know? Well, I’ll say why.

So, loudly, in front of an entire class of 15-year-olds with long memories and bigger mouths, I said the first thing that seemed right, which turned out not to be the right thing at all.

“Oh, Chris! I think you have really good proportions!”

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