Occasionally, I get a real compliment which could be mistaken as an insult, or in some cases, as in the situation below, I get a detour. I thought this conversation was going to lead me straight into treacherous falling rocks, but instead, it quickly deeked onto a path which lead me to a gondola that flew me up the self-esteem mountain. (Did I drag that metaphor out too far?… You get it. Mountain.)
SETTING: In a high-school cafeteria. Several kids from varying social stratospheres are sitting spaced out at a table together during a “spare” or “open” period. Typical high school chatter takes place. Tall girl is sitting, listening, but not really engaged.
POPULAR BOY WHO DOESN’T USUALLY TALK TO TALL GIRL: Yvonne, you remind me of Ethel.
TALL GIRL: [Says nothing, as can only think of one Ethel in popular culture and looks up with a furrowed brow as she knows this is not a compliment]
POPULAR BOY: You know, from Archie.
TALL GIRL: [Sighs, still remaining silent, not wanting to encourage this conversation. Yes, I know Ethel from Archie. She’s a gangly dork who everyone runs away from in the Archie comics. Why would I encourage this conversation?]
POPULAR BOY: You know, she was a dork but then when she showed up at her high school reunion she was a supermodel.
TALL GIRL: [Oh. Dumbfounded and is struggling to utter something resembling A WORD in the English language. Quietly…] oh, thank you.
I remember being so confused. I was not part of the most popular crowd and got very little attention from boys. I never mistook this conversation for this boy liking me, but I really appreciated the moment he took to share this insight with me. I knew I wasn’t some kind of freak, but given my astounding number of boyfriends in high school (ZERO), I thought I was considered a different species as a girl who was taller than most of the guys.
So thanks. It was nice to hear. My supermodel career never did come to fruition, though.