Boys Are Mean

Here are three things you need to know about me in order to understand why the following incident means something to me:

1. I have piercings. Eleven, to be exact. Five in my right ear, three in my left ear, one in my nose and two in my bottom lip. Why? Because it’s a personal fashion choice as far as I’m concerned. I used to be a sort of tomboy goth in high-school, wearing band t-shirts and black cargo pants all the time. Then I went a little emo in my fashion sense – tight sweatshirts with skulls on them and skinny jeans. Then I went indie, trying to find witty t-shits to go with my jeans and Vans sneakers. Now I’m sort of in between things, I guess. When I go out to a club, I try to look as goth as I can, because I go to music-clubs that have metal or dark electronic music. Day to day, though? I wear tank tops and regular jeans.

2. My weekly exercise is four extremely brisk walks a week. My speed is almost at five miles-per-hour. What do I wear when I exercise? Just a tank top and short-shorts, because it’s already very hot here. Also, and this is the weird part, I read while I walk. I physically take whatever novel I’m reading at the time, and bury my nose in it. I have good peripheral vision, and I’ve never walked into a tree or a person or a lamp-post or what-have-you. I DO know it’s weird, and even though I HATE the comments I get (“Woah, reading and walking, impressive!”  “What’s more attractive, your book or me?” “Hey, what chapter are you on?” “Look at her, she’ll kill someone like that!” – these are all quotes translated into English, and all are said with extremely mocking tones.) I’ve learned to live with them.

3. I’m seriously oversensitive.

I realize that I just wrote a lot more than three things about myself, but I’ll let them stand as it is. Three is a powerful number, after all. Now, to the matter of the title of this post.

Yesterday I took a walk in the afternoon. Towards the end of my regular route, I walk through this pathway that I love – it’s got houses tucked away behind walls on one side of it, and tall, thick trees in the other side. You can’t hear the traffic on that path, even though there’s a main road just over the wall of trees. It’s a place where lots of people run or walk, because it really is so pleasant, hearing the birds chirp away in the trees and seeing cats loll around in the sun. When I walked yesterday, though, I was alone. Or so I thought.

Towards the end of the path, three or four boys were sitting on a bench. They were probably eleven or twelve, but they all had that Israeli male attitude that lots of boys get here – it’s an attitude of over-confidence, of egos the size of the moon. It’s the sort of attitude that allows them to feel like kings of the world, and making fun of people doesn’t cause one twinge of guilt. But again, let me stress that these were kids.

As I walked by, huffing, puffing, sweating and reading, they started to laugh. As I got nearer one of them said “Yo, she’s a freak, be careful!” in a mocking, laughing tone [“freak” in Israel means anyone who has band t-shirts or piercings, basically]. I ignored them, although my face was burning with both anger and shame. When I’d walked past, one yelled that he could see my… erm, my behind. Maybe the shorts had ridden up a bit or maybe he was just making fun. Either way, I walked really quickly away from them. I read on, let the book and the motion soothe me, and got over it.

Today, I took another walk. Guess what? As I was walking up the last hilly part of my route, just five minutes from home, I saw a group of boys in the periphery of my vision. For a moment, I was thinking to myself “Oh no! Wait, it can’t be them again, these boys are quiet, they don’t sound raucous like that other group was.” Walking on blithely, I found out my mistake. As soon as I’d overtaken them, I heard “Yo! Look, she’s the same one from yesterday!” and “[Laughter] Reading again.” and “But she’s a freak, right?” and “But she doesn’t look like it!” and “Yeah, that’s what I said!” and finally, as I was ignoring them again and thinking that I must look like a right twerp, sweaty and red and reading, the last one said “[Laughter] She can’t here us again, see?”

I don’t know why this bothers me so much. For one, I feel hurt whenever anyone comments on my weird habits, but something about these boys’ pure malice as they talked about me loudly really got to me. Second, I guess I hate it that I never put any effort into what I wear anymore and prefer being comfortable to looking goth [which is still how I’d look if I had the money to go out and buy tons of new black items. But goth clothing is expensive, and wearing it every day takes effort]. Of course I know that it’s a silly thing to think and that if I’m comfortable, then I should stop looking for an “image”. Third – well, I guess I just am really oversensitive, and I let a few boys’ cruel remarks make me want to cry.

I do hope that I haven’t estranged anyone with this long, rambling post. You all know that I don’t tend to do this a lot and that I lean more towards trying to practice my creative writing here. But this incident was weighing me down, and now I feel all the lighter for having put it in words.

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9 thoughts on “Boys Are Mean

  1. Let me guess … they were human beings, right? 🙂

    First of all, five miles per hour? That seems pretty amazing to me. I’m somewhere in the vicinity of 2.5 miles per hour. I guess that is because I have a smaller stride and I don’t try to push it extremely hard. The physical exertion does turn me into a mouth breather, however, and I feel somewhat conscious of that, especially when I’m walking into traffic and they can see me better than I can see them.

    Have there ever been times you didn’t do what you wanted because you were afraid of how it would look? I find that sad and I can personally answer yes to that question. I work hard to try to not give a darn about stuff like that. So I salute you for being you. Would I read a book while I walk? No. But I’d never criticize you or make fun of you for it. My personal choice is music and I get extremely frustrated by the noise level of traffic – it gets so loud I literally can’t hear my headphones.

    Lastly, I think the mean behavior of the boys has nothing to do with you. You are just a random target. I find it interesting that it is a group of boys. My experience is that behavior like this usually happens when there is an audience for showing off. I’d bet it happens much less from a solitary person. Sadly the “following” instinct is quite high among humans and especially young people. The members of that group have to participate in the mean act or risk being different than the group and that takes more courage and integrity than most can come up with.

    Anyway, my point is that it is about them, not you. It is their weakness and has nothing to do with your strength. So I say walk on and continue to be yourself!

    🙂

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement ^_^. I do know that these boys probably won’t ever think of me again and that I was totally a random target, but it doesn’t make it any better when I’m in the moment… I guess that’s something I need to work on!

  2. Thanks for sharing. People, especially young boys, can be jerks. It’s bothersome but once you realize that their attitude is trivial, you’ll be less impacted by it. This is how thick skins are made.

    As for a style, that changes all the time. I suggest trying a different look on just one item of clothing. It’ll either inspire you to experiment more or reinforce your notion that the look you like is worth making the effort for. But take it for what it’s worth because I have to warn you, I’m a complete square about such things (or is the phrase tool?)

    🙂

  3. Venting is good! I am impressed with both the speed of your walking and that you can read at the same time. Dress for yourself, don’t worry about them or anyone else. Wrods are powerful and can hurt no matter who they come from. They were just being little jerkd probably trying to impress each other.

  4. It’s been said before and it’ll be said again but kids are so mean. I usually found girls to be meaner than boys and like someone else said above, I think it had less to do with you and more to do with showing off in front of each other. It’s to bad they can’t find anything more constructive to do with all this time they seem to have.

    I have thin skin like this too and if I heard someone making wise ass cracks at my expense, it would sting me too. I don’t know if this will help or not but I love you.

  5. Erin M says:

    Oh my gosh. I completely sympathise with you. When I was younger, I was teased all the time. (Now I hide in my room and try to be inconspicuous, so I don’t get teased so much anymore.) I am still really sensitive and self-conscious about everything, and the real downside is that I don’t really wear or do anything fun and crazy anymore for fear of being taunted.

    Boys can be really mean. Girls, too . . . Too many people are way too mean. =[

    Hugs! Stay strong and don’t let the jerks grind you down.

    Also, thank you for sharing; it’s tough sharing something so personal.

  6. Thanks everyone so much!!! You’re all making me feel much better about this whole silly fiasco [well, in my brain it was a fiasco].
    Also, thank you all for reading through the thousand words it took for me to express my humiliation :P. But truly, you’re all too kind, and I really appreciate your uplifting words.

  7. unabridgedgirl says:

    I am sensitive. A bonefide heart on the sleeve kind of girl. And I can understand where you’re coming from in regards of feeling upset. I think it’s horrible the way these boys treated you. I think you’re a wonderful person, with lots of flare and originality, which is something that is greatly under-appreciated.

    M.

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