D.U.F.F.

also known as, “Designated Ugly Fat Friend.”

I wasn’t always a D.U.F.F. Well, not to the extent that I am now, anyway. I once worked out four times a week. My legs were muscular and toned. My stomach was almost flat, which in turn made my breasts look larger. I never had hips or a nice ass, but back then, my ass was a little less flat. My face was thinner, more angular. But even then, people paid no attention to me. No one asked me out. No one eyed me or said hi to me.

My friends Megan and Susanna are not D.U.F.Fs. I am their D.U.F.F. Susanna is small and has the epitome of “birthing hips” and a voluptuous chest, and long, long blonde hair and blue eyes. She actually does look better without makeup. Her skin is the most perfect I’ve ever seen. We made out once. Megan is a little taller and works out all the time. She has a nice ass and toned legs and large breasts. Her face is nothing special, but she has that non-threatening, flirtatious, nice-girl vibe that people really like. She’s had lots of boyfriends and hook-ups.

It must be nice to peak the interest of not only men, but also women, I think. It must be nice to be perceived as attractive. It must be nice to get invited to social events. It must be nice to have a partner who loves you for who you are.

A few nights ago, Megan and Susanna went to an…”upscale” frat party. If you can call it that. The point is, everyone dressed up to get beer funnelled into their throats. Susanna’s boyfriend is in the frat, which is why she went. But she attempted to set up Megan with one of Ethan’s friends, even though Megan has a boyfriend. Megan went along with this, despite expressing her feeling uncomfortable with the whole thing. She just can’t say no. Ever.

Bennett brought up a good point last night, as we sat in her car and smoked our cigarettes: even though we’re the single ones, Susanna still chose to set Megan, who is taken, up with someone over us.

It was probably never even a thought in her head.

And all my life, with every friend I’ve had, I’ve asked, “Do you know anyone you could set me up with?” The answer has always been no. Whether that’s more so because of me than the other person, I don’t know. But damn it, stop being greedy and just introduce me to your single friends so maybe I can get somewhere in life.

As I was wrapping my friend’s Christmas presents today, Susanna sent me a text with a picture of a note from a guy named Steve who goes to MCC. He wrote down his name and number. Because she smiled at him. Because they made eye contact.

This has never happened to me. Nothing even remotely close to that has ever happened to me. But it’s nothing that unusual for Susanna. Or Megan.

So, here I am. The D.U.F.F. Eternally making my friends look even better by comparison, eternally alone in my D.U.F.F.-ness.

-Zara

“Nostalgia is a dirty liar

that insists things were better than they seemed.”
Nostalgia hits me in waves, and no, it doesn’t just hit me, it whacks me over the head. I know the memories are not always good memories. Too much alcohol, toxic friendships, and poor choices. The longing for the simpler yet terrible time of being 18: driving to the shady Chinese place in my Buick, the restaurant that never closes, adjacent to the street notorious for prostitutes, to buy five dollar packs of Senecas and hiding (failing to hide) my smoking habit from my parents. Longing for the days of community college and wet winters. That’s today’s nostalgia. Missing a bitter past, a dark past. Drinking stolen wine on my elementary school playground and drinking so much I fall in the woods, vomit over the railing and into the creek, lie on my back and stare dizzily at the stars. Sitting in Wegmans at midnight, using cheap crayons to color in shapes and cartoons meant for children because there’s nowhere else to go.

I was a child then but the days of being a child are gone. I think about graduate school, the bills I have to pay, building credit, the friends I call my best but never see. I feel disjointed from them all. The bitter nostalgia is in my mouth today, drying my tongue, and yet no tears to weep for the losses. I make dentist appointments and pay for prescriptions and have an addiction to coffee and the past. A year ago I spent my days looking for a part-time job but still got by, smoking outside in the bitter cold with my writer friends from school as a chunk of snow from the building above collapsed next to us, talking about our poetry class, worrying about grades. I am out of place in my current world. I fear it will always be that way. I will always be too far from the people I care about, and them too far from me. I don’t respond to messages and I have no motivation. I drink less, I analyze more. Nostalgia urges me to hold onto the past with a tight grasp and never let go and I abide by that instruction. Nostalgia is my authority.

I think I have learned from the past. I’ve learned to not let men take advantage of my weakness, but I’ve also learned to never let them get too close because of my own mistakes. I’ve learned that saving money is hard, and making money is harder. I’ve learned that a rejection letter is better than not trying to get published at all. I’ve learned that some friends are better left distanced, and some friends leave you and there’s nothing you can do about it. I’ve learned that medication can help. I’ve learned that the older you get, the less people judge based on appearance but more so on who you are as a person. I’ve learned that life is mostly doing things you don’t want to do but doing them because you have to.

Nostalgia is a dirty liar. But nostalgia wins every time.

-Zara

Dream, Analyzed.

I had a dream that Regan from The Exorcist and I were somehow in the same place, interacting. She had attempted to kill her mother and was drenched in blood, holding a knife, while telling me about this portal in the bathroom that leads to an alternate universe. I think that’s what was happening. It might not have been in that order. Anyway, in the dream, I wanted to write a screenplay about this portal, so I went into the bathroom to see it. If you pressed against the wall, it sort of opened up in a very mechanical way, but I was too afraid to go inside, although somehow I caught a glimpse of what was in there. In the bathtub, a pool of watered down blood swirled into the drain and was gone but something written in blood remained. This frightened me, but I still wanted to write a screenplay about this. Regan appeared again, completely covered in a white sheet, still holding the knife, talking about her apparently failed matricide.

When I woke up I really needed to pee but I was afraid, in my half-unconscious state, to go to the bathroom.

As much as I love dream interpretation, this is an easy one:

1: I saw a DVD for The Exorcist at Big Lots last night.

2: I think about killing my own mother. Less than I did even a month ago, but I’m sure it’s still there in my subconscious.

3: I’m going to get my period soon. Makes perfect sense to dream of blood.

4: The image of a woman being wrapped in a sheet is an image that Rene Magritte painted frequently, and as I am a big fan, that image seeped out of my file cabinet and into my dream.

5: I’ve dreamed about weird, boxy spaces and other dimensions since I was a child and it’s never been pleasant. Can’t explain that one, but it’s a recurring thing.

Alright, enough stalling. Time to do some actual work.

-Zara

Tuesday at Work, Play-by-Play.

5:37 pm. Pull into the employee parking lot and light up a cigarette, but I only smoke half of it. I smoked too many in the hours prior. Check Instagram. Not enough people liked my latest post. Bastards.

5:53 pm. Walk into work, past the man in the big coat eternally ringing the bell back and forth in front of the cherry-red kettle. I’m glad he’s at the other entrance. The last time I passed one directly, coming in from a smoke break, the dude told me to have a good night and then said something else that I could not make out. I stride through the lingerie, a sea of beige and seashell pink. Name brand bras. Who cares. I punch in, sit down next to Dorothy. I like Dorothy. She works full-time as a lunch lady in her grandchildren’s high school and she’s the most level-headed employee at my store.

6:00 pm. Sarah, one of the managers, gives a brief overview of yesterday’s and today’s stats and whatnot before leaving to go talk to the one of the guys who’s working on the roof of the building. Whoop-de-doo. I put my coat in the designated coat room, right next to the men’s restrooms. The interior smells like cheap perfume and BO. Then I bolt to the ladies’ restroom because I’ve had to pee for about 40 minutes. Why did I wear tights.

6:07 pm. Go down to denim, oh, excuse me, contemporary. Jacinta greets me in her usual dry yet chipper manner. The place is a fucking mess. Tables trashed, sale racks torn apart like we cater to hungry lions, not upper-middle class women. The rolling rod and the back register is full of clothing but she tells me the dressing rooms are cleaned out. Thank god. Except after she leaves, I discover those are trashed too.

7:27 pm. I finally finish clearing out the dressing room and somewhat organizing the rolling rod by brand. I put all the pants away. On sale? It’s not marked, I don’t care. While I’m there I straighten up the tables of jeans. I contemplate putting more clothing away before recovering, or doing the reverse. I decide on the reverse. Between all this I make some sales, a couple large ones too, but that doesn’t matter much.

I tackle the sale rack on the center pad first. Not much on the floor, thankfully, but a lot of stuff half-off the hanger because we have shit clothes and shit hangers. It doesn’t take me long. I move on to the Free People sale racks. God, what a mess. Their clothes are even worse when it comes to falling off hangers. I put it back on, it falls right back off, I give up, desiring to lie down and die in the dressing room. As that song “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” plays I imagine stabbing customers to death, laughing as gore soaks my clothes. I have to get down on my hands and knees to retrieve the abundance of abandoned shirts beneath the racks of clothing. This is it. Retail has sucked away my pride.

8:40 pm. It’s just me and the new girl, Taliba. She doesn’t even speak – she whispers – but she’s nice so I let it slide as I ask “What?” over and over. I close the two registers in the Ralph Lauren section because of course she’s never closed a register before, this is her second shift, and no one has trained her. I don’t get paid to train people, but here I am. I tell her I’ll be back around quarter to ten to help her close her two registers.

9:45 pm. I close both my registers in less than five minutes. I’ve mastered this. Sarah gives the call out that we close in fifteen minutes. I go to Taliba and instruct her. She takes all the pennies from the back register out and lays them on the counter, counting them in groups. Fuck, I wanna leave, dude. I count the rest of the coins and the bills. Bam. Done. Boom. I let her do the front register on her own, but I have to remind her to count the rolls of coins too. She doesn’t even know what we do with the envelopes. Poor thing. I wanna leave.

10:03 pm. Coat on, bag in one hand, envelopes in the other, I bring the green packets to Sarah and clock out. I text B that I’m leaving. I just want a beer.

10:25 pm. Sitting in the parking lot of Applebees. I wanted to go to Fairfield’s because all I really want is a beer but they closed at ten. There’s been an invisible hair stuck in my eye for an hour. The cigarette I’m smoking is phenomenal.

I don’t want to repeat this again tomorrow.

-Zara

Nothing New.

I’m not sure if I want to be alone or with someone else right now.

Work was pretty decent. I finally got a credit (actually, I got two), which means I get to keep my job for the foreseeable future and I got ten bucks, which means I won’t feel guilty the next time I buy myself coffee.

This dude is texting me and he’s kind of drunk and he’s telling me I’m too tall for him. Shocker.

Speaking of height, I keep wearing my heels to work because they look the best and despite being 5’11” without heels, I enjoy being even taller.

I’m pet sitting at my neighbor’s house. Bob’s Burgers is on. I brought the last two beers with me but I kind of wanna drink more than that. I feel depressed and I shouldn’t, and again, I’m unsure if I should just sit here and be depressed (and I SHOULD work on this huge paper due Monday…) by myself or invite my friend over.

Anyway. I don’t know. Here’s a song by Johnny Cash I’ve been listening to on repeat.

-Zara

Online Dating (Or Rather, Not Dating)

“I like girls that don’t feel like they need to wear makeup. Just saying, you can be beautiful without it.”

“It is a hectic stressful job but I love it because it is a huge adrenaline rush. and I can fuck around most of my shift.”

“On a typical Friday night I am…

no, no, saturday nights @ lux
ill see you on the dance floor..”

Just a few examples of things I’ve seen on profiles. There are worse things. I can’t find them.

  1. If you’re a heterosexual male and you say something about women wearing or not wearing makeup, you need to stop and think about that for a second. Will it benefit you from saying it? Most likely, no. It angered me. Then again, I’m a raging, pansexual feminist.
  2. This quote came from a short string of messages between me and this grubby looking character who quit an RN program because he didn’t “understand it”. I don’t know man, but the desire to be able to “fuck around” a lot during your work shift should not be the driving factor of what you choose to do in life. I quickly ended that conversation after he sent me his phone number. Why are boys so goddamn pushy?
  3. WHY does everyone go to Lux? I don’t go clubbing. I don’t know if it’s a good club or a bad club, all I know is that it’s a club downtown in my city so it can’t be that great. Also, dancing? Really? No.

I have been on this godforsaken website for three years, off and on. I went on my first date via this site when I was 18. That was a bust. Man, was a he a pretty boy, but what a douche. Here I am, aged 21, still single as ever.

The boys get offended if you don’t respond to their message after ten minutes. I’m not kidding. They’ll send you a passive aggressive message after you haven’t replied, as if they’re just sitting in front of their screen waiting for the notification to pop up all the while jerking it to anime or god knows what.

The girls never message me back. What’s that, you also like St. Vincent? Let’s talk about that. NOPE. Or they’ll chat with you for like, half an hour then realize, for some reason, you’re too boring/negative/who cares.

I work with a girl who’s on this website. I thought she was straight, which is always a letdown, because straight girls are always the ones I find myself attracted to. Well, straight girls always really like me. I haven’t met many bi/pan/lesbian women in my life and I mean the two girls I have gone on dates with…well, if you’ve read my posts, you know how those went. Anyway, my coworker is on this site and told me her username and I looked her up. So we’ve been casually chatting on there, just about stupid shit. Her orientation says “Questioning”. Does this mean I have a chance? Maybe. She “loves” me, but every straight girl loves me.

Regardless, I told my best friend/coworker B to put in a good word for me. Plug me. Advertise me. Because I need all the help I can get at this point. None of my friends ever want to set me up with anyone (I get it, I’m the token unattractive friend) and I don’t meet anyone through school. Or work. Because I work with only women and they’re all middle-aged or straight or both.

I’m just lonely and fed up with this futile game.

Z