Chapter 1: "Worse Than Being Fat"

Call me Alice. I hate the name because of all the jokes, but I have long since given up on trying to get people to call me Allie. I suppose the best place to start is in high school. All my life I was a skinny, boyish-looking tomboy. Red hair. Freckles. I looked like the front cover of a copy of Huckleberry Finn. I always wore a boy's shirt and jeans. I let my hair grow, though. I had hair down just long enough to encircle my sharp, pointed chin. I never wore makeup because my first experiment in junior high school with makeup had given me a face full of zits. It turned out that I was allergic to nickle, which contaminates a lot of cheap makeup. One bad experience was enough to turn me against makeup since I didn't like the idea of a whole bunch of goop on my face, anyway. Strike one. Without makeup, I looked rather plain indoors, although every once in a while a boy would stare at me outside when I stood in the sunlight. I used to wonder if it was the red hair or the freckles which made a boy occasionally stare. I didn't know I was pretty. I was totally clueless.

I was a geek girl. I was a straight-A student and first board on the high school chess team. Being on the chess team is about as low on the social ladder as you can go. I didn't know that then. Strike two. Boys don't like smart girls.

Did I mention that I was skinny and boyish-looking? Puberty seemed to have passed me by. I entered high school in the tenth grade five feet zero inches tall and 100 pounds on the dot. I left high school in the twelfth grade five feet zero inches tall and 100 pounds on the dot. My chest was flat, my hips were straight, and my butt was nearly nonexistent. Strike three. Most boys won't look at a flat-chested girl. That was true then, and I'm sure it's still true. The only curve on my entire body was a tiny, round bulge right below my belly button. It disappeared beneath my clothes, and nobody knew it was there but me. Most girls, I knew, freaked out if they found the tiniest bulge, but I didn't care. I usually ate lunch with the boys in the chess club as I didn't really have any female friends. Years later I found out that every single one of them had a crush on me, but I didn't know it. They were all too shy to flirt with me. One of the boys carried a pocket chess set and a chess clock in his book bag which he carried everywhere with him - even to lunch. Sometimes I played a game of speed chess with him or one of the other boys in the school lunchroom. Sometimes we attracted a crowd of as many as fifteen spectators watching us play. Sometimes two of the boys played. When they played my eyes sometimes wandered to the girls watching us play. My eyes would run over the body shapes of the other girls. I was envious of most of them for their figures. I was most envious of a fat blond cheerleader with her cute, round babyface, big breasts, full hips, and expansive backside. I now know that I was probably the only girl envious of her because all the girls in the school thought that she was pig. She was popular with the boys, though. She had her pick of the jocks in the school. I was actually amused at the jocks always staring at her chest. They didn't care that she was fat. Not with those big F-cups wobbling on her chest. It was the girls who stared at the thick roll of fat right below her waist that wrapped around her body from one hip to the other. Some of them said nasty things to her, and I would occasionally see her biting her lower lip trying to avoid crying. One day while leaving the cafeteria, she whispered that she wished she had my figure. I told her I'd be glad to swap with her if I could. She looked shocked. I told her that the only thing worse than being fat for a girl was to be flat-chested. I pointed out that she had lots of boyfriends. I didn't get my first date until I was in college.