Sunday, October 3, 2010
The Right Kind of Slutty
The armpits on my tank top were really long so I wore a pink bandeau underneath (because it totally matched the gigantic pink flower on the front of my tank).
& I was having a great day.
Because at recess, Nina Taimangung, a swarthy Guamanian with a chip on her shoulder, decided to call me a slut.
Nina was upset because she thought my bandeau was a bra and therefore wrongly accused me of choosing my orange tank top because it showed my bra. I had never in my life been called a slut. I'd never even heard anyone use that word in real life. I knew what it meant and I was taken aback.
The whole play ground was looking at me, waiting for my response.
"oh yeah? oh yeah? well...well, I don't like your earrings! so yeah!" was the best I could do.
"Bitch, you wanna' get your ass beat?"
And I swear, I almost pissed myself, right there on the foursquare court.
Fortunately, I was saved by the bell. Recess was over and I managed to camouflage myself in the swarm of kids rushing to their lockers.
At my locker, I tried my best to get my books together in a hurry but to no avail. When I closed my locker door, Nina was standing there. "I said, 'Bitch, do you wanna' get your ass beat?'" And I noticed Nina's click of ne'er-do-wells standing behind her. I took a moment to absorb the image of Nina's corn rows and gigantic hoop earrings. "Did you hear me, trick?"
"Y-y-yes, I heard you. Naw, no thanks. I'd rather not get beat up today."
"So then try not to dress like such a slut when you're at school, ho," and looking over her shoulder, Nina nodded her head forward before addressing her posse, "Let's bounce."
I sighed a deep breath of relief. Nina didn't know me too well.
I was a rebel. From that moment on, I decided to dress like a slut just to spite Nina.
Well, as slutty as my parents and the Killeen ISD dress code would allow.
& for the rest of my life, I dealt with the consequences.
Nina took notice, from seventh grade until sophomore year of high school, everytime she passed me in the hall, she'd shout "SLUT!" at the top of her lungs. Sometimes, she'd just walk behind me repeating it. And then in the summer before Junior year, Nina got knocked up after bumping uglies with her guy behind the local butcher's shop which was across the street from our high school. So I didn't see her for a long time. But other bullies were more than willing to take her place.
I was all too familiar with the girls who'd call me names when their boyfriends said I was pretty--I even stole one girl's boyfriend because she threatened to beat me up. I was shameless.
But I'd like to say this; being bullied and being labeled taught me a lot.
-It taught me to be proud of my body. No matter what, it's mine & it's the only one I'll ever have. My motto was "if you got it, flaunt it." And boy, did I. At 23, my motto has evolved, "If you got it, flaunt it--in moderation." :)
-It taught me that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. You think I liked being called a slut? Or worse, the fact that people believed it and it left room for other rumors to spread. Hell naw! Those were hard times (no pun intended...well, maybe) but I definitely developed a thicker skin.
-It taught me that the best kinds of rumors are the ones you start yourself. I was easy prey for guys who liked to lie and spread stories about me in high school. One poor sucker learned the hard way when I decided that since I couldn't beat his rumor, I'd start my own & I passed out flyers about his lack of bedroom skills. What did I say, no shame.
-It taught me that there is power in embracing your inner slut. Hey, strippers and call girls wouldn't make money if it weren't true. You can get far with a pretty smile and a short skirt. (It sucks, but it's the truth.)
-& Finally, it taught me that what people say about you doesn't matter as much as what you do. My parents were STRICT and while I was no angel, I didn't do half the dirt people pretended I did. I have strong morals and when people got to know me (and still to this day) they realized I was nothing like the rumors.
On my way to synagogue with my mother one morning a couple of years ago, we stopped off at a small gas station in Lampasas. (See, my mother's synagogue is in Austin and we have to drive through the very small town of Lampasas on the way from Killeen.) While my mom pumped fuel into the car, I went inside to pay and grab some coffee. I was filling my coffee cup and someone called my name from behind. I turned to see Nina Taimangung--all grown up and mopping the gas station floor.
"Wow, Nina. Hey."
"Whatsup? I'm surprised you remember me. You still in Killeen?"
"No, I'm in my second year of undergrad now. What about you?"
"I'm living here in Lampasas with my kids. Working here."
"Oh, that's cool, man."
"So what school you go to?"
"I go to A&M up in College Station."
"Eww, you're an Aggie. UT all day."
"Yeah I'm an Aggie & I guess we'll just have to disagree about that whole UT nonsense. But I'll tell you one thing, being an Aggie sure as Hell beats being a gas station janitor."
What did I say? No shame.