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3:19 a.m. - 2012-06-03
Doctor, Doctor...

Okay, you know my thing with tiny women? How they beat the crap out of my self-esteem simply by existing? Those tee-nouncy itty bitty women who make me feel like a sexless oafish joke? On Friday the shoe was on the other foot. Astonishing. Didn't bring me any pleasure either.

See, the director of Wolf's counseling program retired some months ago and since then there's been this scramble for subs until a new one could be hired and it was a mess. They finally hired a new director a couple weeks ago and on Friday we got to meet her. About my age. Thin, meh looking, about 5'4". Good shoes, nice suit, really bad posture. Speaks unaccented English which was a nice change. (What is it with pediatric mental health people and the terrible foreign accents?) She's going through Wolf's file and getting up to speed, seemed straightforward enough, but she kept cutting her eyes at me and flinching. Not a lot, she didn't crawl under the desk or anything, but she was obviously rattled on some deep fundamental level that had nothing to do with taking on a new job and having to meet a honking buttload of new patients and their parents. I didn't twig it until we were finished and I stood and stuck out my hand to say thank you and good-bye. Massive physical and sexual insecurity of the most irrational and unpreventable kind. It was coming off her in big smelly waves. And suddenly I knew, I knew a chick who looked like me, some tall bosomy Amazon had made off with her high school boyfriend. That her best guy pal in college who she'd had a huge secret crush on had always gone for the Barbies. And never, ever saw her as a girl. Not once.

I knew it, I felt it, and man, I was sorry for her. Been there, done that. Sucks rancid wiener.

It was astonishing because for one thing I don't think of myself in terms of being attractive anymore or being a 'type' that men might go gaga over. I'm so old, so married and so off the market it never occurs to me that anyone other than Mick ever even sees me anymore. I think of myself as having joined the invisible sisterhood. That ghost brigade of women who buy stuff while cashiers talk around us as if we're not there, the servomotors who ferry elderly parents to medical appointments and know their medications and hand over insurance cards, the organizers of family reunions and creators of scrapbooks, we wear sedate modest dresses of lilac and mauve to the weddings of our children and nieces and nephews, and even though we're smart and wise from experience nobody ever listens to us. We're invisible.

Astonishing because this woman is a doctor. She'd graduated from college and graduate school and medical school and had done her internship and residency in psychiatry and then went on to specialize in pediatric psychiatry which is even more time in and quite intense, and as she told us during our initial introduction she's spent the last ten years doing in-patient service, and the diplomas on the wall were from Columbia. And this educated woman with the chops to take on the directorship of a special ed program that covers three counties' worth of kids with all kinds of issues and disabilities, this woman was flinching away from me. From what women like me represent to her in that deep murky hurtful place where we're all still 15 years old and dying inside from our first broken heart.

What could I say to her really? "Hey, Dr D, relax. Because guess what? I get it. I'm sorry that women like me make you feel like shit. You wanna know how many times I've gotten the chuck for some 5'0" 98lb size-zero cutie-pie with a squeaky Minnie Mouse voice? Lots. Often. Too often. It ain't all skittles and beer here in the Land of the Amazons, trust me."

But she's Wolf's doctor and we were there for him. And even if her education hadn't closed her mind to things like intuition, hearing with more than one's ears and being receptive to what's said beyond the spoken word I'd have been intruding on something that's hers. A private grief. A personal hell each of us has, yet is uniquely our own. Everyone has a thing which undoes us. An Achilles' heel about our desirability and sexual worthiness. Something everyone from Homecoming King to 3rd oboe in the marching band has gotten their teeth kicked in at least once about. There's no arguing with it. It is what it is.

If I could have though, if circumstance had been different and we'd had the freedom and time I'd have taken her out for coffee and on our drive over to the coffee shop I'd have played this:


30 years out and high school's never over, stupid, eh? ~LA

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