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Scared To Be Pretty

November 5, 2018


This is a strange world we live in.
I had a 30 year old man ask me out to dinner yesterday while at work.
I'm 18.
I was stuck shaking for the rest of the day.
What did someone twice my age see in a worn-out teenage cashier stuck working on a Sunday?
I figured it couldn't be anything good. Not that the uniforms were overly flattering of my body or anything, but I'll admit trying to keep my decent amount of junk contained is a struggle I go through every day. Not that you can see that much of it from the other side of the checkstand anyway.

It's not the first time an older man has commented on my appearance. But usually it's those sweet old grandpas who have already been through it all and are just wanting to make my day, waiting to join their wife after this life, or wanting to give me a warning about men in this world. According to one about a week ago, "All men are pigs and need to be trained." Little did he know all my friends are guys, and most decent gentlemen at that. I had nothing to worry about.

But this man twice my age had gotten to me. I was flushed and red cheeked as he handed me his business card and told me to "shoot him a text" as he walked out the door. I shoved the card in my apron pocket, not knowing what to do with it, and made sure the doors were completely shut before I turned around and yell-whispered to the next cashier over, Mariah, who had been on her phone the whole time and had paid absolutely no attention what had just happened. And continued doing so.

I resorted to a normal talking voice.
"Hey, Mariah!"
She still didn't look up.
I grunted in frustration and switched off my checkstand light.
"I need to call my mum," I mumbled to her as I walked past her checkstand. She gave me a small "mmm" as I practically ran into the bathroom and hit my mum's contact on my phone.

"What do I do? He's gone but what do I do?"

"Please tell me you didn't say yes." She gasped from the other side of the phone.

"No, I didn't. I feel so awkward right now. And scared."

"Just don't walk outside by yourself."

"I won't." I hung up, tried to calm myself down, and went back to my checkstand. Not that anyone here could protect me if anything were to happen. They use the smallest amount of staff they possibly can on Sundays. It was just me, Mariah, and Paula at the front, with a kid in grocery organizing the dairy fridge in the back, and he would get off in less than an hour. I asked Paula to walk out with me anyway once we got off, since we both closed together. She nodded her gray head, shuffled her aged body, and advised me next time to tell the man I had a steady boyfriend. Why didn't I think of that before? It would have been lying, but it would've kept him away and made the experience much less frustrating. A small fuzzy creature stirred in my heart. Maybe next time I would actually have a boyfriend. I smiled at that thought as my most recent crush came into my head and dwelled on that thought for a minute before deciding to text him about it and see his reaction. I calmed more after he replied "I'd come walk you to your car if I could." 
Yup, next time hopefully I'll have a boyfriend. My heart became giddy with the thought, and I decided to think about that rather than what had just happened. However, every time I heard the doors open, I couldn't help but turn and look to assure myself the man wasn't coming back in.

After about 30 different doodles, 2 swedish fish packages, and a reflection of my life, the next hour and a half finally came to an end. I nervously pulled out my till, counted the cash, and locked it in the safe room, then anxiously waited for Paula to hustle the last straggling customers through the checkstand line and out the door. 

"Thanks Paula," I said, following her hobbling figure towards the parking lot. She watched me walk to my car, glancing from side to side to make sure nobody else was in the parking lot. I unlocked my car, my hands shaking as I pulled open the door. I really didn't' want to get raped. It was my worst nightmare. I seriously had nightmares about getting hurt like that. I would wake up drenched in sweat, with my body shaking uncontrollably and my fingers digging into the skin of my forearms, leaving imprints of my fingernails in my skin. My legs would be tangled up in my sheets, and I'd always have a hard time freeing them from my covers.
I sat inside my car for a minute, making sure the doors were locked and nobody had somehow crept into my back seat. I needed music. I quickly flipped on the radio and waved to Paula as I scanned stations to find some song to make me feel better. I needed an aux plugin. Then I could listen to whatever I want.

I got to thinking, being deemed "pretty" by the world really isn't that great if I'm finding myself living like this. That man might not have had gross intentions. Maybe he simply did just want to go to dinner with a girl half his age. I shook some more. I wanted to be home, to be messy again and sit in my oversized hoodie and let my hair go wherever it wanted to go. To eat granola out of a cup on the couch and text my crush till I fell asleep. I drove home and did just that, waking up at 4 a.m from another nightmare, then listened to music until I drifted back to sleep again.

I shouldn't have to live in fear because of a quality of myself that I can't control. I shouldn't have to be scared of being pretty.


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  • November 5, 2018 - 1:59pm (Now Viewing)

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