Advice for young impressionable women

Let me tell you this, young ladies, you with the frizzy hair, or the bad skin, or the larger-than-fashion-pages bottom:

At some point, some suave sounding man is going to come up to you and make you feel like hes the only one that understands. Hell do it in one sentence, and you, possibly, will want to melt into his arms.

Let me clarify, young women. The sweetness he whispers is not succour, but poison.

You will be sitting, eyes cast down perhaps, feeling a little sorry for yourself, and he will approach you, and say, in a low growl; No one understands you like I do, or How beautiful you are – if you could but see it!

Slowly, he will turn this around, until it becomes (and Ive heard this so many times that I begin to think I must have a hat with I HAVE NO CONFIDENCE written on it) – You dont know how beautiful you are – I understand you, no one else does. You must shun those people who say you are not attractive – I say you are attractive, listen to me say it, over, and over, and over again. Trust. Me

And then he turns into a snake. And then he does NASTY SNAKE THINGS.

Let me explain. There is a certain kind of man in the world that slithers around, looking for an underconfident young woman. When he finds her, he slithers in, and nestles beside her, and does everything he can to both bolster her low-confidence (by telling her that other people must think she is unattractive)(You mustnt worry about people thinking youre ugly), while simultaniously raising his own profile (by telling her that hes the one in a million that actually DOES find her attractive)(I dont care about what society says is beautiful – I think youre amazing).

By this end – and I know, yes, that there are many many men who actually *dont* care what society thinks is beauty, Im not talking about you here, Im tlaking about those nasty abusive men who want someone to feel *very little* and beholden to them – and by the end of the conversation, the aim is that the slightly sorry and impressionable young woman will feel less about herself, but more about herself when in the presence of this complimenting man. She will bend over backwards for him. She will bend over for him. She will be silly for him.

Let me give you an example. Being me, and pretty, but chubby, and always chubby in some way shape or form, I have met many many many of these men.

They come over and expect you to sleep with them just for talking to you.
And theyre not chatting you up because they think youre attractive.
No, its because they know theyre too unattractive to do any better.
So they pick someone attractive but weak. Or just weak. And then they home in.

Last weekend, we were in Belgium, and in a very very lovely bar where, over the course of the evening, everyone started talking to one another. Beer followed beer, and the conversation became bigger, and, toward the end of the evening, I noticed one man kept trying to talk to me every time my beloved went to the bar, or toilet, or talked to anyone else.

Eventually, he made his swoop

You know, you shouldnt listen to people when they say youre unattractive I think youre gorgeous Really sexy I noticed you earlier I think youre just beautiful, all of you. you shouldnt care what other people say.

And you know what the funny thing is? At the time, I just said Oh, well, thanks, and turned around and talked to anyone else as quickly as I could. But the more Ive thought about it this week, the more annoyed Ive got, and the more the only possible riposte has formed in my head.

You know he said, You shouldnt listen to people when they say youre unattractive

You know? I should have said, but didnt, The funny thing is, they dont. They dont say that. Ever.

I dont have to listen to them say Im unattractive, because no one Does say Im unattractive. You know why that is? Because Im Not. Or if I am, theyre polite enough not to bring it up in some twisted Ill take advantage of you later kind of chat-up line.

And, also, Im not. So there.

Later, he tried to get us back to his flat, and my beloved fell over a table, just to preserve my honour.

But, seriously, and thinking back on it, I know this is the kind of man to be afraid of. The one that picks on your insecurities to flatter you and beat you down at the same time. The one who forces himself into the position of the knight in shing armour by telling you youre ugly and making you grateful for it.

There are lots of them. Honestly. I am away from them now, being tucked up in my enormous IKEA bed of smugness with my wonderful beloved. But I was reminded of them last week by this horrible, horrible specimen.

And if I could do anything – *anything* – to stop the me and my friends of ten years ago from actually listening to these slimeballs for up to ten years, then I would.

So if me ten years ago is reading:

Because you know what? No one does. And you arent. And you shouldnt. Because and heres the thing its going to take you at least ten years to realise Youre actually lovely. So there.

And thats my advice for impressionable young women.

Well, that and the theoretical avoidance of mooncups
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