This Wednesday, I was lucky enough to be invited to an annual media party in Soho run by Say Media. It was held at Floridita, a swanky cocktail bar that had been taken over by Say for the evening. It wasn’t a blogger event but I was there to network and ‘do my thing.’
(Hopefully there’ll be more to write about this later.)
Today, however, I’m writing about something that was prompted by this evening out, but something that’s been on my mind for a long time.
Now it’s no revelation that I’m perhaps slightly bigger than your ‘average’ sized woman. I’m normally a size 18, perhaps a size 16 if I’m exercising, a size 20 at my biggest. But suffice to say, I’ve always been a plus size. I’ve mentioned it a few times on my blog and I don’t see it as a big deal and have learnt to embrace my curves over the years. My body confidence is pretty good. But I am no more of a woman, or any less of a woman because my arse is bigger than a size 10.
It just is what it is.
As I walked into the club on Wednesday, I didn’t care that I was on my own. I figured I’d probably only be one of a few, if any, that were on their own. I was wearing a gorgeous new red dress, massive high heels that were ever so slightly too high to walk in, but I felt good.
And then I went to the bar.
Being a free bar, and the average age of everyone there being 27, the queue to get a drink was ridiculous. I literally waited over twenty five minutes (I know! ME?!!) and the barman barely cast a glance my way. And for a minute, my confidence was knocked. It seemed everyone else was getting served bar me – pardon the pun.
Why was he ignoring me? Was I too old? Too fat? Did I look like I didn’t belong? Was everyone prettier than me?
In that split second, I didn’t stop to think that he was just over-worked and with everyone wanting cocktails, he probably would have gotten to me eventually.
It only takes a few seconds for that inner voice to ask those questions – and I’m sure I’m not the only woman who does it. Doubts herself. Even someone fairly confident like me.
I took a deep breath, pulled myself together, walked away from the bar and grabbed a large glass of wine from a passing waiter’s tray.
I walked around for a while and by chance, I found the person that had invited me to the party. He very kindly took me to the VIP area and introduced me to colleagues where I stayed for the rest of the evening. I was looked after, networked with some really cool people and didn’t give those earlier doubts another thought.
Towards the end of the evening, a man motioned to me asking if he could sit next to me. He was 29, very cute (I’d spotted him earlier,) and so of course, I said yes.
We began talking, sharing details of jobs, how we knew Say etc and then a young, thin, pretty blonde girl came and sat the other side of him. They began talking as my attention was also diverted by someone else talking to me. I figured that was the end of talking to this cute young guy but within a minute, the blonde girl had walked off and he was looking to talk to me again.
I quipped something about thinking he was in with the blonde but he said something really interesting:
“I just find women like that so boring. So generic. Nothing to say for themselves. Skinny blondes just do nothing for me.”
Now we all have our ‘thing’ … we fancy/find interesting certain types of people but I was really surprised to hear that what I saw as ‘the norm’ at this particular party – and I’m sure they were all lovely people etc – he saw as boring, generic and too samey.
He looked at me and said: “I love your red hair and pale skin. I love your shoes. I love that you look different. You’re a smart woman and there’s nothing sexier than that.”
He didn’t mention my big boobs once. At least out loud. Win.
It could be all spiel. But there really was no need for him to bullshit me – we’d only just met. I just found it a really interesting insight into how some men think. I think a lot of us (single) women presume too much about men – that all they want is a stereotype we have in our own minds of ‘the perfect woman.’ But that really isn’t the case.
We need to cut ourselves some slack. Everyone has something special to offer. Why do a lot of women put so much pressure on themselves to look a certain way? I don’t conform. I’m plus size, an (un)natural redhead and most of the time, I’m far too opinionated for my own good. But at 42 years old, this is me. I don’t have time to pretend to be something I’m not. I don’t have time to spend trying to get a six pack – I’m a single mum who works full time and, let’s face it, I reckon my tummy is beyond repair.
I think the point I’m trying to make is that I wish we could all just be more accepting of ourselves. I know a lot of women who spend their days talking about dieting, when they’re smart, gorgeous, feisty women who really don’t need to worry about that shit.
I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea – and thank God! – wouldn’t life be boring if I was? And I understand why women are so down on themselves a lot of the time, but if I had my way, I’d be a mantra in every woman’s head who ever doubts herself (like I did that night,) and tell them it’s good to be different and believe me, you don’t have to be thin to be gorgeous.