I am an attractive woman.
In fact, I’d even go as far as saying I’m a very attractive woman.
And before you gasp in horror at my fucking audacity
To call myself a 10+,
Know my number isn’t a signifier of beauty, per se,
But of attractiveness.
Evidenced by the 10+ times some poor man has been so
Overwhelmed by that attractiveness
He has needed to comment on it, touch it, or outright take it;
Driven to madness to drive into my flesh
Because some part of mine got under his skin.
When I was 13 my grandfather said I would be attractive,
And taught me how to deliver a solid left hook
Because he knew things I didn’t yet about sex –
Namely that some men say a temptress can cause a tempest.
When I was 14 I suddenly looked 17 – so they said –
And I was pinched and prodded and passed around at parties,
Gaining entry into conversations with older men not because I could talk politics –
Although they loved the excuse to massage their patronising admiration
Into the small of my back.
Even politicians weren’t interested in talking politics with me,
Because when a Russian deputy party leader wanted me to stay in Moscow
After meeting me at a conference
It was my mother he asked, and not me –
But then again, maybe it was because I was 14.
When I was 15 my friends said I was attractive,
But not in the gentle, romanticised way they spoke about their prospective girlfriends.
I was in some different, rather lonely, league
Where the “intimidating” girls were placed-
“You’re the girl everyone wants to fuck,” the boys explained,
As they compared me to my best friend who “everyone wants to date”.
When I was 16 a man thought I was attractive enough to risk jail for –
Well, attractive enough to slip something into my drink
So he could try and slip his dick into me
In an alleyway behind the club he had sold me the band to get into.
A few months later my friend’s father said I had “grown into an attractive young lady”
And offered to share a taxi into town with me
When I was going home after a party –
I was surprised when he got out at the train station too,
And swerved me into the Waverley bar
To buy me wine and press his thighs against mine
And put his arm around the back of my chair
As he raked his eyes over my young body and told me
My friend – his daughter – didn’t have the same “fire” I did.
Just before I turned 17 another older man would let me know how attractive I was
By stroking the backs of my thighs or pulling me onto his lap
Whenever my mother and his wife were out.
I kept my trap shut because we were guests in their home
And it was only at 23 I found the words
To tell my mother I can’t bring myself to care
When she tells me his cancer’s getting bad now.
When I was 17 a teacher saw my attraction through my uniform,
And offered me lunches in his office,
Or after school –
So we could talk, just the two of us,
When I was 18 a friend of a friend was very attracted to me –
Enough to stick his tongue down my throat after I’d vomited,
And to try undressing me when I was a limp mess in my own bed
On the verge of passing out.
When I was 19 a new friend let me know how attractive I was
By locking me in his room and standing between me and the door,
Telling me in a soft voice to “just stay the night”,
Promising “we’ll just cuddle” every time he pushed me back
When I tried to duck under his arm.
When I was 20 an old acquaintance said I had gotten really attractive
And thought my kiss on the dancefloor was an invitation for him
To shove his fingers inside me
When I was standing in front of him at the bar.
When I was 21 a colleague hinted I must be attractive
When he said his friend had told him to fuck me.
And another was more blatant with his affection one night,
By repeatedly asking me for sex.
When I was 22 I could no longer cope with being seen as attractive,
So I gained some weight and wore baggy clothes.
I stopped wearing make-up and my lashes didn’t bat so easily
Without the black goo I used to dress them in.
But, apparently, I couldn’t change my “sexy little laugh”,
Or the fact that I was straight up “Down To Fuck”:
“It’s the way you look at men,” one male friend explained
When I couldn’t understand why another pal had thought it appropriate
To interrupt our conversation just to say:
“You know, I always wanted to fuck you.”
I shaved my head soon after that.
I’m 23 and sometimes I hate being an “attractive” woman.
Sometimes it’s downright terrifying, and not just at night –
I’ve been followed home in daylight, too.
I’m 23 and I find the effects of my “attractiveness” sickening;
My stomach twists whenever I think about my middle-aged cousin
Who demanded details of how I like to be fucked
From my then-boyfriend at a family party (oh, yeah.)
I’m 23 and I’m so fucking sick of only being seen as “attractive” –
Of one of the holes that’s a goal
And “worth” pushing social boundaries to achieve.
And I’m not just talking about consent – before we even get there
How about not following me to my bedroom after a party
To ask if I’ll fuck you?
And how about not pushing your way into my apartment
(Under the guise of a coffee)
Only to stare and tell me I remind you of an attractive woman
That you knew forty years ago?
I’m 23 and – I’ll say it – I have suffered because I am an “attractive” woman –
It’s bloody hard to respect yourself when others refuse to do so;
It’s damned hard to understand you inner self-worth
When the onus was put on your anus
And every other titillating, fetishised, fuckable part of your body.
And don’t even get me started on my Freudian cliché –
“Attractive” woman are my father’s great weakness,
And he has always been proud of how attractive the daughter of his mistress is.
I am an attractive woman and I was not made for your pleasure.
My person is not some unfortunate barrier between you and your orgasm
– Like the demonized condom I’ll bet you swear makes you soft –
Because I am a whole, not a hole,
And there are far more interesting things about my womanhood
Than how “attractive” I am on some bullshit scale of 1 to 10
That people use to justify being lost to their lust,
Just as my name is lost in the belly of that number
And the number of times my wholeness was lost
To another’s lust for my hole.