Once Upon A Time, I had a boyfriend. He wasn’t a particularly good one, I wasn’t particularly into him, but other people seemed to think he was hot and I was really bad at breaking up with people, or just saying no thanks in the first place. So he was my boyfriend.
One night, we were going to a party. I was wearing a crop top. Now, I am, and always have been, a kind of hairy girl. So there was a small patch of dark hair beneath my belly button. Upon seeing this, my boyfriend informed me its presence was unacceptable.
Before we were able to go to the party, my boyfriend insisted on taking me to get a razor, and then shaving my belly for me. I should have dusted out of there at the first mention of this plan but, instead, I allowed it to happen, slipping into a sort of dissociated state. And then we went to the party.
We walked there. I simmered.
We arrived at the party. I simmered some more.
While everyone else presumably enjoyed the party, I stood on the periphery, not quite fully in my body, not quite sure what I was doing there, waiting until I got drunk enough to pretend I was relating to these people.
I got drunk.
I spoke to my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend, who coincidentally was the ex-girlfriend of a person I had very poorly concealed romantic feelings for. She told me she had broken up with my not-so-secret love because he didn’t like tattoos on girls and she wanted a tattoo. I would argue with him about this later.
In the meantime, I got drunker.
During a discussion with a group of male friends, something my boyfriend said sparked my repressed drunken outrage, and I argued with him publicly. This escalated and, in front of his friends, I slapped him and stormed out. As I departed, I heard my boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend say “I thought I was bad!”
I wonder, if she’d known the whole story, would her response have been the same? Maybe not. But maybe. Like, even if she hadn’t said it out loud, might the voice in her head have actually said exactly the same thing? She thought she was bad for breaking up with someone who wanted to control her body, but there I was clumsily and publicly shaming someone on the way out for trying to control mine? What a relief that at least she caused less of a scene with it than me? I fucking wonder.