Teresa Jusino, “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Getting Older”
I was never a “hot” young woman, and though I always had brain or my personality to see me through, I was also very easy for people to ignore. Intelligent women who aren’t conventionally attractive don’t really get to count. What’s worse is that it isn’t just men who ignore you. Sometimes other girls and women ignore you, too, for fear that your unattractiveness is contagious and will bring down their market value. Since you’re not considered “hot” enough to party with, you live less life, because fewer people want to live it with you, and you become less interesting to be around because there are no “exciting” experiences for you to share. This can really get into your head when you’re young, and becomes a vicious cycle:
I’m fat — No one wants to hang out with me or date me — I never do anything adventurous — I have nothing cool to talk about — I feel crappy about myself — I eat when I’m sad and lonely — I’m fat — No one wants to hang out with me or date me — I never do anything adventurous — I have nothing cool to talk about — I feel crappy about myself — I eat when I’m sad and lonely…
And then you look at the “lucky ones.” The pretty girls who are always getting stopped and whistled at. The ones guys stare up and down. The ones they holler after in the street. And you wish it could be you.
How screwed up is THAT? You feel less-than because you’re NOT being harassed. Jesus Harold Tap-Dancing Christmas!
And just because I never worried about turning thirty doesn’t mean that The Worry never affected me. I have plenty of friends my age who had the same concerns about turning thirty that Molly expresses, and then I’d get worried because I wasn’t worried. Like “Am I missing something? SHOULD I be worried?” My friends and I were engaged in a worry spiral that even the most level-headed 20-something would find it difficult to escape.