It was year five, on the hallowed occasion that was a Casual Clothes day, and I was sitting with my class in the activity room at school. Jack*, my neighbour whom I had been absolutely infatuated with for the past two years, was sitting behind me with the rest of the coolest guys in our year level.
“Yeah, Sarah*’s so hot”, he said loudly; “just check out that checked vest she’s wearing- phwor!” Sarah, my best friend at the time, glowered proudly and spun around to join in with the conversation.
“What about Chloe?” she asked, giving me a nudge as I stared desperately ahead and tried my hardest to keep breathing.
“Nah”, Jack replied breezily. “She’s kind of cute, I guess, but I would never call her hot.”
Unfortunately, the ground didn’t swallow me whole, and I had to endure the rest of the school day in my stupid sleeve-burdened jumper, mind racing about how short I was, how plain, how brown-haired, how ugh.
That was the first time I had been told that I wasn’t a “hot girl”, a phrase that continued to hit a nerve all the way through high-school. In year nine, Joe* spread the word that Maddi* was really hot, and that she could easily hang out with his other gorgeous friends- if only she wouldn’t spend time with girls who bought down her aesthetic worth. In year eleven, Luke* bumped into me at the school swimming carnival- “oh woah”, he exclaimed, “I thought for a second that I’d bumped into some hot new girl- but it’s only you.”
Despite the sting that these words inspired, they’re actually one of the reasons that I’m the positive, confident person that I am today. You see, when I worked out that I wasn’t going to skate by on my looks (no matter what my mum or elderly customers where I waited tables told me!), I had to develop a thousand-watt personality to level the playing field.
I became a great listener, because it was something that people craved more than a pretty face. I practiced being an interesting, outgoing conversationalist- a skill that’s meant I always have someone to talk to at parties, even when a girl who’s just hit twenty thousand Instagram followers walks into the room. I built on my sense of humour, and laughed off any negative vibes that came my way. The funny thing is that at some stage, I lost some of my puppy fat. My teeth got straighter, my hair got less greasy, and who I was on the inside started to echo all the way out to my outer layer- I’ve seen my primary school darling Jack a few times since all of this happened, and trust me- he noticed too.
It’s not just me- I have a gorgeous friend who is hot as heck, hilarious and completely engaging- she used to be 46KG heavier, and her incredible personality got her noticed then just as her looks do now- and she’s got something tangible to back herself up with when we’re all old and wrinkly and equally un-hot.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Maddi- while she’s a very sweet girl, after a few minutes of looking into her beautiful doe-eyes people tend to wander away and find somebody else to talk to at bars and house parties – she’s simply never had to learn how to be thought-provoking, or exciting, or witty, and I feel so, so humbled that I have.
So please, don’t spare a thought for the un-hot girls, the ugly ducklings; because they’re going to be fine. They likely have an incredible range of personality traits ready to whip out when they’re needed- and after a while, you’ll see them for their insanely sexy dispositions; that’s worth all the pretty faces in the world.
Chloe Jane x
PS, names have been changed to protect year 5 / 8 /11 me’s identity- she already has enough to contend with!