terrible things men have said to me

The human body – a structure of bones and organs, and our generation’s biggest obsession.

I mean, it’s true, isn’t it?

Young people today (especially women) are constantly bombarded with one standardised idea of beauty – the sculpted, unattainable silhouettes we see everyday on the Internet – which causes immense pressure to look a certain way and fit into a certain mould; be skinny in some places and curvy in others – look like clones, basically. Remember when Marilyn Monroe’s generous, natural curves turned her into a worldwide sex symbol? What ever happened to that?

Despite the stuff I see every day online, I’ve always been a pretty confident girl. I’m aware of my ‘weaknesses’ but I was brought up knowing that those differences are what make you unique. I never once cared about what people thought about my appearance, personality, style, choices or way of living – that is until I received some pretty bold comments from guys that made me wonder…

Yeah, the Carrie Bradshaw kind of wonder.

As a writer, I believe in the power of words and the effect they have. The comments you’re about to read didn’t exactly stem from rationalised thought, yet they made me question the way I looked for the first time in my life. I started paying attention to my diet, my clothes size, other people’s body measurements, what they were eating and comparing my pictures to the ones I was seeing on Instagram. I’m sure you ALL know what I’m talking about – everyone has experienced the disease of comparison at some point during their evening scroll on Instagram! But when I realised just how much these passing comments were influencing my daily life, it dawned on me that we need to address the language we use and change how we speak about our bodies. RIGHT NOW.

So let’s start from scratch, and pick apart each of these hilariously awful comments I received from men I barely knew *rolls eyes*.

‘I’d like you with a few less kilos’

And the award for best bullshit of 2017 goes to! I should have seen it coming, but instead, my compulsive Cancerian trait of seeing the good in every person that ever lived allowed this comment to really affect how I felt about myself.

2019 me would have cut the cord straight away, but instead, the fragile old me kindly asked for more context in regard to the comment – naively hoping I had gotten it wrong.

Much to my dismay, he meant what he had said, and fortunately I was smart enough to stand up for myself and send him a big fat ‘fuck you’ text on WhatsApp. Boy bye.

‘I’ve dated much thinner girls than you’

This one completely blew my mind. I didn’t even know there was such a requirement to live up to in the world of dating – as if it’s not already hard enough to find a smart, good-looking person to fall in love with! Anyway, based on the way this guy was selecting his lovers, I think it’s safe to say he hadn’t chosen me for my amazing personality – brains over beauty? Don’t be silly! But weirdly, it took me quite some time to finally say ‘au revoir’ to this one. Don’t judge! Old me was still refining her fuckboy detector.

‘I can write down a diet plan for you’

How could I forget this guy – who, by the way, could have done with following his own bloody diet plan. At the time, I tried to convince myself his comment came from a good place…I know, right? Blame my star sign, or maybe I just didn’t want to admit that I’d, yet again, chosen the wrong type of guy. After I’d gotten over the initial shock of hearing this, I opened my laptop and Googled the average body weight for a 1.58m girl and disappointingly (man, I wanted to prove him wrong) I found out I was slightly overweight for my height. Shook. But then I thought, why force myself to fit into these standards? Would that make me a happier person? Nope. Would it have made him happier? Maybe. And with that in mind, I took a deep breath and accepted defeat. Another day, another fuckboy.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s dated a lot of bad guys. But the real issue isn’t the assholes I’ve dated, but rather our generation and the way we’ve been programmed to think. We are never satisfied with what we have, continuously looking for bigger and better things to stimulate our body and mind with. We criticise our peers for being superficial and empty, but we never really assess our own judgments. When did we get like this? This crazy mania of only wanting the best, only the perfect?

We experience the pressure of perfection all the f***ing time. I’m not the first one to feel pressured by what I see on my Instagram account, or on Facebook or TV. And worse still, this isn’t just about physical appearance, but also careers and life status. We are obsessed with achieving perfection — despite the conscious knowledge that we’ll never be able to actually achieve it. Your own ambition and success shouldn’t have to be compared or evaluated by society’s benchmarks. Because that’s what they are, benchmarks, set by people who have different perspectives, different mind-sets, different pressures of their own.

Now I am not suggesting we settle for anything less than what makes us happy and complete, I mean we need to get to know ourselves, and our own definitions of perfect – without being influenced by fuckboys and social media! Who you want to be, how much you want to weigh, only you can decide. There will be times when you will love the person you’re becoming, others where you’ll hate it and wish you could change everything. But hey, do all of that, experience all those emotions – you have time, and you have the power. Everyone runs at their own speed. The fuckboys you’ve dated probably won’t be waiting at the finish line (phew!) but the people who uplift and support you will – the ones who appreciate you for the great human being you are.

With each superficial guy I date, I remember this. And each time I heal and gain a little more self-confidence. I’m still learning how to improve myself on my own terms, build a healthier relationship with my body, to respect criticism and most importantly, to love the person I am becoming.

And to those who judged me – all I can really say is thank u, next.

Words: Ludovica Parisi

Illustration: Camilla Ackley