In praise of ugly ducklings
By Rose Simpson
I just took the “what were you in high school quiz” on Facebook.
Not surprisingly, I was an ugly duckling. I can clearly identify with Rachel on Glee, or even Ugly Betty. I was a complete nerd. Ask my friend, Wayne.
Here is the evidence:
When I was in Grade Eight, I broke my front teeth playing murder ball. My dentist — who clearly rivalled Steve Martin’s turn in Little Shop of Horrors – put gold and porcelain protectors on my teeth, which I had to wear until I was 18. They weren’t like braces, they were more like something worn in a black porn video, a grill. In other words, my dental gear might have been more popular if I lived in the ‘hood, but I lived in the suburbs of St. Catharines, and they were not cool in any way.
I was a poor kid, so I didn’t have money to dress like the cool kids. I had to make do with two pairs of low rider jeans and a few of those tops that buttoned around the crotch. Also, hot pants. My hair was stringy and wavy and always looked messy. We’re talking Liz Lemon, here.
Instead of being a jock, I was a brainiac, but only a brainiac in the lower percentile — barely over 80 percent. I had no singing voice, no musical ability whatsoever, nor did I have any kind of coordination. Instead of being on the cheerleading squad, I was on the float committee and in the audio-visual club.
The boyfriend situation was not a good one. I fell for a boy who was Catholic and didn’t believe in pre-marital sex. I waited for him until my early 20s, then he dumped me to move to Quebec City, build bombs for the government and marry a school teacher. Therefore, I think I was the oldest living virgin in my high school, and part-way through university.
What else? I didn’t have a car, didn’t even have a driver’s licence. My idea of fun was to drink beer with my mother and the guys from the A-V Club on a Saturday night and watch soft core porn on Global.
For years, I stayed home on prom night, and did my friend Wendy’s hair instead. My date for the senior prom was blind.
Fortunately for me, I left the ugly duckling behind — after I had my teeth properly crowned and I grew boobs. But I still feel the same way about myself as I did in high school — never quite pretty enough, never quite good enough. Girls who are raised ugly ducklings still think of themselves in the same way, even if they grow up to be swans.