It was a windy night and my friend and I were wolfing down our tacos at a small local Mexican joint. It was 7pm on a weekend and so, very crowded. The restaurant, made up for four miniscule tables was overflowing; two skinny girls to our right, a group of guys on vacation from the States behind us, and inside a group of ladies so big, some were standing, seat-less.
We were in a hurry because we wanted to make it in time to a frozen yogurt place before the crowd got there forcing us to wait more than the usual thirty minutes.
“I want another taco” I said, jumping up from my seat. By the time I made it back, the warm soft tortilla held affectionately in my hand, my friend was getting up from her seat as well.
“I’m going to go try their new dish” she laughed.
Fifteen minutes later we had cleared the second round of food.
“I’ve been such a good girl this week, and I’m going to go for a walk after so this is totally fine” my friend said staring guiltily at her empty plate.
“I already planned on starting my diet tomorrow, so this is like my last meal” I nodded.
That was when I heard it, from the table next to.
“I’ve been on this diet for a week…” the blonde said to the other blonde.
And then I remembered the text my sister had sent me earlier that morning, do you know anything about the Cambridge diet?
And another text my friend had sent me later on that day. Officially off carbs, when we meet this week NO FOOD okay?
Were we all on a diet? Were we all so severely insecure and superficial?
I started thinking about it on the way to getting more food.
I thought about dieting and my looks every day, all day. I came up with plans and rules and starved myself. Except I didn’t care much about appearances and I didn’t look that bad. I was the kind of woman who lectured other women on wearing too much makeup and that natural was always pretty. I told people that skinny girls weren’t the only girls who were beautiful. I quoted things like “bigger books not boobs”.
So why was I so focused on looking good? I thought about what I wanted. Did I want to look better to attract the opposite sex? No. Did I do it to compete with the ladies? No.
So why did I do it?
And then it hit me. I did do it for the opposite sex and for the ladies, and a few more other people too. Being beautiful meant being powerful. It meant I had more control over any man that crossed my path. It meant respect from women (even though we women show respect in the most handicapped way…envy). It meant if I worked just as hard, I was more likely to get the promotion if I looked better than everyone else competing. It meant more Instagram followers. It meant going to the front of the line, in the most superficial, disgusting way.
But then, the truth is always ugly isn’t it? Even when you’re not.