The Best Mild Insult That Nailed Something About Me So Well I Actually Loved It

by The Hairpin

Once, as we stood in line for coffee, my boyfriend at the time plucked something off my sweater and said, “If you weren’t always so linty, you’d be totally out of my league.”

Until that moment, I had only thought of my lint quotient in a moment-to-moment way, as if every time I felt the need to de-lint, it was just a one-time incident. No, I realized. I am one of those linty people. And it reminded me of other times I’d been vaguely insulted or teased in a way that revealed me to myself.

A whole different boyfriend once called me up to say sad things after I had moved out. “I just miss having you here,” he said, and I waited for more, soaking it in and feeling vindicated and desirable. “I miss looking across the room and seeing you there reading.” Go on, I thought, and he did. “… Just sitting there with your book on the couch… all hunched over.”

Part of me wanted to point out that he was doing it wrong. Shouldn’t I be portrayed as full of charm and grace if he wanted me back? A larger part of me felt very seen. I know I have terrible posture when I’m “relaxed,” it just never occurred to me that someone could miss not an idealized me but the actual, slumping me.

And perhaps my favorite of all, from a hairstylist. It was the first time I went to him, and the mutual friend who had recommended him came with. I sat down and we all chatted while he played with my supercurly hair, lifting pieces of it this way and that.

“Some people have such great natural curl,” the stylist mused to my friend as he lifted pieces of my hair this way and that. I smiled at him in the mirror, but then he continued, “… and some people are just completely fucked.”

That actually made me like him. I felt understood. — Bonnie Downing

sachar mathias: the thing about is that it’s not cheaper than duane reade
sachar mathias: and you have to pay shipping
sachar mathias: and wait longer
Yonatan R.: you’re talking like candace bushnell
 — Sachar Mathias

In college I interned at a magazine’s fashion department, and while I was there, the fashion director started doing these little blog posts where she would feature one of her personal favorite closet items. One week it was a pair of cropped pants by a fancy designer that were just basic pants but cost about $400. Usually the PR people would send me a lookbook image of the item that we’d run with the post, but this designer didn’t have one, so I had them send over a sample pair so we could shoot them in our studio. We shot them flat, but then the photographer was like, “These are looking really dumb flat, could you just put them on and I’ll just shoot you from the waist down?” It was really getting down to the wire, so, regrettably, I agreed. It was also kind of weirdly thrilling, like “Oh, really? You want me to model? Well OK, I guessssss.”

Now, let me point out that I am NOT the ideal model for a cropped pant. I’ve been a competitive runner for most of my life and I’m only 5’4″ so my legs are more of the tree stump variety than the branch. I know this and am totally comfortable with it, but it’s the kind of thing that’s only OK when I think it in the privacy of my own brain.

So anyway, as soon as the post went online I naturally refreshed it with vigor to see if any model scouts had commented on how great the model looked or whatever. But you can probably imagine what ensued. Here are some excerpts (all of which are still available to me whenever I need a good cry, because the INTERNET IS FOREVER people).

-”they don’t look very good on that girl in the pictures.. no offense…”

-”I have to agree that I am more shocked by how bad these pants look on the model than the price (which is way too much, as everyone said).”

-”365 bucks for a pair of pants that make a models thighs look fat and give her cankles? If pants don’t look good on a models body, I doubt the average person can pull them off.”

-”I don’t know how $600 cotton pants are considered “well-priced”. And I don’t even want to know how I would look in them when even the models in the pictures are looking short and stumpy.”

At first I was like “Heeyyy, you guys! Be nice!” Five minutes later: “That one commenter is such a jerk!” Ten minutes later: “They just don’t know the REAL me,” *sniffle.* Twenty-five mintues: *SOB* *mashing keypad in an attempt to dial Curves* *SOB.* I vowed to never read comments again and also to become a hermit scrooge who hated humanity, because no one could commiserate with my cankles.

I simmered in bitterness for about two weeks before revisiting the scene of the crime. As I was rereading the comments I realized, “You know what? So true!” If I had been reading this post thinking the magazine hired and paid this girl to look hot in the pants (rather than her being an unpaid intern just trying to do her job) and she didn’t, I would totally be peeved. And if I was a commenter and didn’t know that there was a real human obsessively monitoring the comments sections I would have said the exact same thing: For $500 I wouldn’t want my legs to look like a chubby teen boy’s, either! Because those pants really did look heinous on me. — Emma Barker