Read One To Watch Online

Authors: Kate Stayman-London

One To Watch (5 page)

BOOK: One To Watch
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Hey OMBeauties! Okay, I need to level with you: I’m smiling in this photo, but I’m not feeling great right now. I went on a Tinder date tonight—my first date in a while, in fact. As you can see, I wore my patented First Date Uniform: faded black skinny jeans and a form-fitting V-neck top from Universal Standard that miraculously flatter curves on
every
body, Stuart Weitzman ankle boots fabricated in the Technicolor floral tapestry of my fantasies, and bright-green statement earrings I found at a street market in Barcelona last summer. I wear nearly this exact outfit on every first date (future suitors, be forewarned!), because I find that when you’re stressed and anxious about meeting someone new, having a go-to look that makes you feel comfortable yet confident, laid-back yet sexy, can alleviate some of the nerves.

And beauties, I
did
feel great tonight—until I walked into the bar my date had chosen.

Usually, when I go out with dates or friends, I’m the plan-maker. I pick the restaurant or bar so I can make sure it has comfortable seating (seriously, can we ban bolted-down booths forever?); I order the car and pay the surcharge for a sedan or SUV so I won’t feel cramped and claustrophobic in the back seat of an itsy-bitsy hatchback.

But tonight, my date was pumped to try a chic new cocktail bar in our neighborhood: a crowded haunt with cozy little high-top tables for two sprinkled throughout the narrow space. The entire time I was there, I felt like a pariah mumbling, “Sorry, excuse me,” to every person I inevitably bumped into, praying I wouldn’t accidentally cause even a drop of drink spillage, feeling like no matter where I stood, I was always in someone’s way.

Going on a first date can be scary for anyone, but I find that for me, natural insecurities can spiral into an echo chamber of all the horrible things society has ever implied (or outright declared!) about my fatness. Even though my date tonight didn’t say or do anything to make me feel unattractive, being in that bar surrounded by thin people (ah, Los Angeles), it was perilously easy to backslide into this ubiquitous idea that I’d be so much happier if only I looked like them. As though if I could make my body fit on one of those tiny barstools, I’d be in a perfect, fulfilling relationship instead of forcing myself to get through this date, wishing I could just disappear.

Of course, I know that none of that is true. That I can’t change my body type (and don’t even want to!), that thin women are no more happy than I am, that these insecurities are seeded and tended in my brain by the weight-loss industry, which profits from our collective self-loathing to the tune of $70 billion every year—despite the fact that 97 percent of diets fail. (Side note: What if we put all that money toward solving actual health problems instead? Could we cure ovarian cancer, like, tomorrow?) I
know
all of these things. But sometimes, like tonight, I just can’t feel them.

Okay, beauties, enough rambling from me—I’m off to bed. Thanks for keeping me company; you guys brighten up even the dreariest night. More soon.

xoxo, Bea

Comment from Sierra819:
Sorry your date was a bummer Bea!!! But you look amazing!!!!

Comment from djgy23987359:
youre lucky anyone would date you go see a doctor before the diabetes kills you

TEXT MESSAGE TRANSCRIPT, OCTOBER 3:
BEA SCHUMACHER & MARIN MENDOZA

Marin
[10:53pm]
: Just saw your post—you ok?? How was Kip??

Bea
[10:56pm]
: Hey, I’m fine. He was fine. It was all fine.

Marin
[10:57pm]
: That’s the most terrifying the word “fine” has ever sounded.

Marin
[10:57pm]
: Do you think you’ll see him again?

Bea
[10:59pm]
: No, it was awkward. We didn’t really have anything to talk about.

Marin
[11:00pm]
: Give me a break, you could banter with a cardboard box if you had to.

Bea
[11:02pm]
: I don’t know. I just felt like there was lead in my chest, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Maybe it was too soon.

Marin
[11:03pm]
: Ugh, I’m sorry babe. Do you want me to come over?

Bea
[11:04pm]
: You’re an angel, but I’m okay. I’m gonna kill the rosé in my fridge, watch some old eps of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and go to sleep.

Marin
[11:04pm]
: Yesssssssss I love this plan!! Watch as much Rosa Diaz as possible and become a queer woman so you never have to date men again!!

Bea
[11:06pm]
: Is that how queerness works?

Marin
[11:06pm]
: Listen, was I born gay, or did Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You *make* me gay? It’s literally impossible to know.

Marin
[11:06pm]
: Get some sleep, and don’t stay up until all hours drafting emails you’ll never send to you-know-who, okay?

Bea
[11:08pm]
: I won’t. I promise.

UNSENT EMAIL FROM THE DRAFT FOLDER OF
[email protected]

FROM:
Bea Schumacher <
[email protected]
>

TO:
[no recipient specified]

SUBJECT:
[no subject]

Dear Ray,

I don’t know what to say to you, but I feel like I have to say something.

I still miss you. So much, not every day anymore, not every minute, not like it was, but when I remember for half a second how good it was, God, I’m just gone. Isn’t that ridiculous? That after all these months and years of you jerking me around, disappearing from my life and dropping back in when it suits you, of doing anything and everything I could think of to put you out of my mind, you still infest my flesh, my blood, like you’re some vital chain binding me together. And I fucking hate you for it, and I fucking hate myself for being party to this absurdity. Because, what, what, am I an idiot? Am I this pathetic that the second a smart, handsome man shows me attention, no matter how bad he is for me, no matter how deeply I know it, I fall for him anyway?

I feel like you’re a pit I can’t climb out of. The clawing and craning skyward to try and find some shred of light is so exhausting, and it’s so much easier to let the ghost of your arms pull me down and down and down. If I let myself remember how you taste, my breath gets hard, my body heaves. If I let myself consider you inside me, I can’t function.

I don’t know how I handed you this power, it makes me so insane that you have it. And I fucking know, I know it’s probably just me and my own shit, that you don’t have a damn thing to do with it. You’re just some vessel holding all my sadness, glowing with the nuclear energy of my loneliness. If I try to imagine you letting me go, I don’t feel free. I feel untethered, unbound. Like I’m nothing and nowhere.

But if I imagine you holding me, I crumple. Ray, I’m running out of ways to exist.

This sounds so crazy, I know I sound crazy. I’m not sending you this. I would never send you this. But God, Ray. Don’t you miss me? Not this mess I am now, but the me who was, until recently, your best friend?

I don’t know where I am, Ray. I don’t know where we are.

TEXT MESSAGE TRANSCRIPT, OCTOBER 14:
BEA SCHUMACHER & MARIN MENDOZA

Marin
[4:15pm]
: So tonight, 7:30? I’ll bring wine, you order takeout?

Marin
[4:16pm]
: I’m kind of feeling that good bougie Thai place, the one with the crazy pad kee mao? But idk I could be talked into burgers. OOOH OR DONER

Bea
[4:22pm]
:?????

Marin
[4:23pm]
: IT’S MAIN SQUEEZE PREMIERE NIGHT BEA OR HAD YOU FORGOTTEN

Bea
[4:26pm]
: I … had forgotten

Marin
[4:26pm]
: Well great news we’re watching at your house so there’s no appropriate way for you to cancel.

Bea
[4:27pm]
: I’m gonna order vegan

Marin
[4:28pm]
: Ugh don’t be spiteful. See you soon!!

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