18 Jan

So over the weekend, I was looking for a new book to read and stumbled over a title called “The Duff” by Kody Keplinger.  DUFF stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend…. and this struck a chord with me.

Even though this was a YA novel that wouldn’t normally appeal to me at all, I wanted to read it based on the anagram alone.

You see, I was the DUFF. Of course, I didn’t know that phrase, so I used to just call myself “the hot chick’s friend”.  You know, the one the guys would talk to in an attempt to get closer to the hot girls. 

See, we had a group( I wouldn’t say clique because we had friends outside the group) but we were a group of four with different interests, different taste in boys and different backgrounds at home.  What held us together?  I could never pinpoint what it was that made us want to hang out and be bored together. 

So the group had a girl who resembled Salma Hayek in her “Fools Rush In” days, a blonde version of Sandra Bullock and a pretty girl from PR who ended up on prom court.  (See Lela, I corrected, not homecoming court)  One was athletic and smart, one was so wholesome she could sell granola bars and the other one had even teachers tripping over her. 

So where did this leave me?  I had unruly hair that couldn’t be tamed, could never stop biting my nails, and a penchant for wearing boys clothing.  I can count the number of boyfriends I had on one hand and the only one who didn’t cheat, was too old for me.  We broke up amicably with no regrets but other than him… well boys were just one more thing I didn’t understand.  I had plenty crushes and lots of guy friends but never got the guy, or any really.  I was destined to be in the friend zone;  I was the one they spilled their relationship secrets to, the one girl they didn’t have to watch their words in front of.

So then I got older and didn’t want to be invisible all the time.  I learned to pluck my eyebrows correctly, manage the mop on my head, lose a little weight and buy clothing that fit me. …

and then what?  My confidence still never extended outside my bedroom door.

It became obvious right away, I knew how to change my look but still didn’t know how to act. If I got asked on a date, I would say yes even if I didn’t like the guy, just because I had never been asked.   It would be awkward because I wouldn’t be able to relax, I have never mastered the art of small talk. So instead, I learned to make the first move but only after guys that I was lukewarm about.  I still couldn’t go after the ones I would like so much that it would crush me if they turned me down, I’d had enough of that.  And I still got turned down, a lot.  Even when our group of four moved to different parts of the country, I still managed to make friends with the hot girls.  No matter where I went, I was the DUFF.

Don’t get me wrong, I did eventually get asked out by a very nice boy and we had a charming if nonconventional date that ended with eating ice cream in a Walgreens parking lot and a lot of laughing.  Although he was younger than me and it was probably the best date I ever had, we never did go on another one.  Destined to be friends I guess.  

So now I’m older and wiser and still have seriously hot friends and these kinds of things don’t bother me anymore.  I still go out in jeans and flannels, I just learned to have them fit better.  I did manage one night to have a guy approach me and tell me he would like to buy me a drink.  The bartender was already pouring me one and I told him thanks but I already had one.  He leaned over and told me I was beautiful and he didn’t come across skeevy about it.  He was good looking in a normal way, maybe a little overweight but with a friendly smile that showed off his dimples nicely.  If I wasn’t with a completely awesome person, I think I would have kissed him.  I know I was beaming when I thanked him.  Having him tell me I was beautiful without trying to come on to me made my night.  One, it never happens and two, it’s not the same as someone calling you hot and attempting to kiss you.  It didn’t matter to me that the guy wasn’t “Romance novel” hot.  He may have even been the “DUFF” of his group, but he did seem kind and decent and respectful and that mattered more than anything. 

I can just say, I think most females, no matter who they or how they look  has probably felt this way before.  I know I looked at my friends and couldn’t stop comparing myself.   It’s easy to seem flippant now because I have someone remarkable, but I don’t know if I could get back into the dating scene without a minor panic attack.  I admire the courage it takes to put yourself out there and unfortunately, it doesn’t get easier with age. 

The thing that does come with maturity (I was going to say age, but those words are not interchangeable) are people putting more emphasis on conversation, personality and growth.  There is wonderful scene in a Doctor Who episode called “The Girl Who Waited” where Amy says:

  “You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they’re as dull as a brick? Then there’s other people, when you meet them you think, “Not bad. They’re okay.” And then you get to know them and… and their face just sort of becomes them. Like their personality’s written all over it. And they just turn into something so beautiful.”

This definitely happens.  

So screw being the DUFF.  THIS HAPPENS. People are not beautiful for how they look, its all just siding….  I’m sure anyone who ever thought themselves the DUFF overlooks the flaws in others without a second thought, I know I did.  I just wish I had done that for myself a long time ago.

 Kody Keplingers book can be found here:

P.S.  I can’t help it, everytime I type DUFF I think of this:


Duff, the beer that helps people sleep with the DUFFS.



6 Responses to “The DUFF”

  1. Lela January 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    You know, before I dive into how honest, real and downright unfair the whole DUFF thing is, I wanted to take the time out to say that Mickey me fooled. She says she had unruly hair and wore boy clothes, but in my eyes this girl was edgy, and had style. I was always so jealous of her clothes, jewelry and makeup. I honestly had no idea that she considered herself the hot chick’s friend. If someone would’ve asked me then who our DUFF was, I would’ve told you we didn’t have one of those in our group.

    The funny thing about the whole prom court and teacher thing is that before I got to Mickey’s high school I couldn’t pay the cute guy to look my way, nor did anyone in school outside of band know who I was. I was the duff. I was painfully shy, chubby, had pale greasy skin, freckles, giant metal braces and the kiss of death, I was first chair for the saxophones section in our marching band, and was also in jazz band. I attempted to be cool a few times. Once I wore a Starter Bulls jacket to school (everyone had a starter jacket back in the day lol), one of the cool kids grabbed it off my chair and stomped on it a few times during class. I acted like I didn’t notice, as there was nothing I could really do about it. I just sat there with the tears burning in my eyes. That coupled with being shoved against a few lockers to be told how ugly you are, my early high school years SUCKED. There was also one afternoon when we had a free period, some guys decided to make a list of the hot girls and the hot dogs. Guess which list I made?

    Thankfully my sophomore year I got mono (mono really WAS the best diet ever), the braces came off that summer and then we moved. Thank you Jesus. I hid my saxophone in the back of my closet and did my best to dress better than I had previously. The last two years of high school were far less painful. I met some of the greatest people ever, and thanks to Mickey I learned how to do my makeup. Being named to prom court was one of the greatest feelings this little hot dog could’ve ever asked for. If only those kids from my last school could’ve seen it. Assholes.

    Well now I’m grown, divorced and fat again (my weight is an ongoing battle). Once again the DUFF, once again invisible. I live in Trampa, FL. Home of fake tans, and size zero perfect hard bodies. There are places I just can’t go to without having to fight the urge to break a glass and either slice my wrists with a shard or pop someone’s silicone. I think the most upsetting thing about being the duff is the way you are treated. Men assume that as the duff, you are desperate. So either A, they are afraid to make eye contact for too long out of fear they will come home to you hiding in their bushes, or B they assume you will buy any and all lies fed your way to get the quick lay. Really, I see how perfectly sane women end up hoarding cats.

    • Mickey January 20, 2012 at 4:05 am #

      Ha! we all had our posturings, you hid your saxophone and I played badass to keep from getting picked on. This is exactly why I say how terrible being that age was. No matter where we lived being ourselves wasn’t enough and I refused to let these people see me cry. What you saw as edgy, others found weird, which was still preferable to things I had been called before that. I feel like every girl has been part of one of those stupid lists and I personally don’t wish anyone to have to be a part of those. It made me sad to see that some these ” entertainment” mags will do a list of top five ugliest actresses in Hollywood…. Really? Because when I when I am watching a well written, superbly acted movie, all I can think is,”Gosh, I wish all these people looked hotter.”
      We all know it easier to dirty down a pretty person, but I am sincerely glad certain movies have remained dinstinctly British. Could you even imagine the casting that would have happened in Harry Potter? Instead of Maggie Smith, they would have picked someone like Julia Roberts. Remember our conversation about the White Witch and how she would have been botoxed to hell with fake boobs, a fake tan and porn star makeup. I am not saying that British TV and movies don’t hire hot people, I just think the attractiveness is more accessible and much morr varied. I like when I see someone playing a mother who has a smile that crinkles around her eyes when she looks at her pretend children.
      I digress though, of course. I understand the ongoing weight struggle, I do it too. I am currently having a good year but even then all I ever managed to get up to is ignored. I was always invisible. It was the most I could hope for. Not being picked on, but being invisible. If you look back, even though you say you couldn’t pay for the cute guy to look at you, I know after we met that ALL the cute guys would have paid to look at you… Maybe that came out wrong. I went from an ugly girl to an ignored girl. The guy at the bar was the first one to say
      anything to me in six years time. Funny thing though, I did get hit on later that same night by
      a guy who assumed I was desperate though too.
      This is why I am always trying to drag you up here, where we are pasty and hide our flab beneath clothing. Plus we could hang more often. Then again you seen the people I hang with already, all size 4’s or under. I just don’t go to beach with any of them.
      Last summer I had a bunch of people tell me how white my legs were and I just shrugged. Really, its now 6 months later and who cares now?
      You know I still think you are beatiful and on top of that, funny, sensitive and love good food. Hey, I am going to go there because life is too short to only eat celery stalks. We need to spend it with good eats, good friends, our families and not focusing on the negative.
      I am very tempted with saying none if us the duff, but more accurately, everyone is the duff. Every stinking person to has ever been made to feel bad or got dumped or was ignored. We are all like that inside.
      Now instead of regular cats, can we get a few of these:

  2. Lela January 20, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    *starts the slow clap*

    LOL you can go there. I do love food. I make no apologies for it either (well maybe to the scale and my jeans).

    We were all duffs, I like that. I am thinking that the average woman probably felt like that duff at some point in life. I mean it is true, someone will always be prettier, smarter, funnier blah blah. I wonder if Charlize Theron ever felt like a duff?

    I DO remember our convo about the White Witch! And if you’ve seen Once Upon A Time then you know that’s exactly what we were talking about. The blue fairy had triple Zs, pumped up lips, fake tan and God knows what else, don’t get me started on Red Riding Hood… I thought of our british tv vs. american tv convo the moment I saw those two. That and “guess we all know how YOU got the part”… I chuckle at the thought of Harry Potter in America. I could see them casting Julia Roberts as Magonagle Thank God for the Brits!

    After rereading what I posted, it sounded in the end like I’m all sad about life. Not the case. I am happy. My love life sucks yes for the obvious reasons, but I love my job, the house is in my name, the car is in my name, my bills are paid and there is food on the table and a giant tv. Life is pretty damn good.

    I’m sure I will look back on myself at 80 (and you will too) and realize that I was way to hard on myself in my younger years. I need to learn to love the skin I am in, now. After all, pretty soon things are gonna start to shrivel up and dry out… I do kinda look forward to getting old and being that crazy old lady who pinches the butts of young men and tries to to walk out of best buy with large appliances or tvs. Oh and goes to the beach without shaving anything in thong bikini’s. Worn backwards.

    • toonerdygirls January 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      sounds better than being a slim jim with air bags. i know we will look back on ourselves when we get older and think that, doesn’t seem to always help in the now. I was super appalled at some girls here telling me that on jersey shore they let the bar know when an ugly girl shows up… and i was super duper appalled that people here found that funny. all i did was feel bad for the girl. this is when the “point of view gun” from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy would be useful…. on like… EVERYONE.
      I am also pretty sure this is why shirts like this exist: (humans make me sad),436267445
      you did seem sad at the end, I don’t want you to be sad, you are awesome and the world is.. well….. possibly acting out the prequel to the movie “Idiocracy”.
      we’re going to be ridiculous old saggy women on the beach at that age. how do you even get sand out of wrinkles?

  3. Lela January 24, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    The only way to get sand out of wrinkles will be with a pressure washer.

    People really do suck. I cannot believe the whole letting the bar know an ugly girl showed up. That is JACKED. What is even more jacked is normal people finding that funny, and thinking that is okay. And why not let the bar know when an ugly guy shows up??? Such total BS. Things like that remind me of that scene in Never Been Kissed. Remember the part of the movie where she is ready for her big date to prom? And when he shows up not only does he show off his actual “pretty” date, but he throws eggs at her??? WTF That part makes me SO SAD. And yet, there are people out there who find it things like that humorous. Disgusting.

    I digress. Yeah, maybe when we get old and gray we can appreciate what we don’t appreciate now. It would just be easier for me to appreciate myself if everyone else around me was fat. That would do wonders for my self esteem and self worth. No longer would I have to wear a tshirt and basketball shorts to the pool! I can wear a tank top without worrying about my arms flapping when I wave good bye! And shorts! Hi!!! Its hot as hades in Florida. It would be kinda nice to wear shorts again.

    I digress again. I’m ordering that shirt.

    • toonerdygirls January 24, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      even family guy knew:
      Meg: Uh, hi, do I know you?
      Ugly Girl: some company hired me to stand around you all day to make you look better.
      Meg: that’s ridiculous. I don’t need-
      Guy: Hey Meg, did you get less ugly?
      Meg (pulling girl closer): Yeah!

      that part in NBK is ridiculously sad, because she was so happy about it… and now those guys wear Ed Hardy. a sure sign that they are not fit to date.

      you need to move. srsly, most of the country is overweight if not obese. The avg size for a woman is a size 14! that’s avg! You just must live in an area where the concentration of skinny people is high… so… where is the concentration of heavy people? Texas? let’s move there.

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