When I was 13 years old, I met my soulmate. Scott was my 20-something-year-old summer tennis instructor. In my mind, I was perfect for him. And he would surely become my husband one day.
We had a lot in common. He was in law school at the time. Both my parents are lawyers, so I could definitely help him with his homework. Scott looked like a beach vacation. He had sandy blonde hair that flopped while he ran after a short ball at the net. He had bronzed, sun-kissed forearms and a thick layer of zinc oxide on his nose — those were really the only body parts I could get my eyes on given his knee length tennis shorts and tall white socks.
I was not the journaling type. But that summer, I filled an ENTIRE journal dedicated to Scott and I’s life together. We even got married on the beach at sunset holding our tennis racquets.
I was convinced that, deep down, despite our age difference, he was super into me. Consider the evidence: he laughed at all my jokes, and he always called on me to demonstrate my backhand to the other kids. He gave me a HUG one time after I won my match. AND one time, he even told me he LOVED me… Ok, well…he said he loved my overhead smash, which is basically the same thing.
It was my mission that summer to make him realize what I knew to be true. That I was his ideal woman, and all he needed to do was see it.
I did everything to get him to notice me as a romantic possibility. I volunteered to be the ball girl, I cleaned up the Snapple bottles and Snickers wrappers left by my messy teammates after snack time. I begged my mom drive me to practice early so I could get some quality one-on-one time with him. I would sit by myself at the picnic table and peek through the chain link fence at him practicing his serve. I loved those moments before practice when it was just us.
We had a big tennis tournament coming up and I vowed that would be the day when he would FINALLY see me as his soulmate.
The match started at noon, so I began my beauty regimen at 9am that morning. My mom didn’t let me shave past my knee, but I made sure my ankles and calves were smooth and sophisticated.
I spent an HOUR in front of the mirror piling my hair into the PERFECT messy bun. I even put on a spaghetti strap tank-top to show off the straps of my new training bra. And last but not least, it was time to bust out the body glitter.
I put that stuff EVERYWHERE. I caked it onto my eyelids, I smeared it on my cheeks, I layered it on my lips (despite the warning label to not ingest this product), and most importantly, I lathered it on my beginner-level cleavage. So his eyes would be immediately drawn to my radiant sternum.
My mom dropped me off at the tournament and I ran as fast I could so I could get a spot next to Scott at the picnic table. But he wasn’t sitting in his usual spot. Where was he!? And then I saw him. Scott — MY SOULMATE — was off to the side talking to ANOTHER WOMAN.
I immediately lined up my teammates for questioning and learned that she was the au pair of one of the boys on my team. Her long, tan legs were smooth and hairless — she was DEFINITELY allowed to shave all the way up. She had NOT been dropped by her mom, and apparently she was also in law school.
I decided to stand near them so I could keep an eye on the situation. And I wanted to be nearby in case Scott needed me for anything.
I made sure I was standing in pool of perfect sunlight so that Scott couldn’t help but notice my alluring glow.
And then, the moment I had been waiting for my ENTIRE LIFE.
“Hey Emily!” This was my cue. I bounded over to him. “Yes, Scott!!!”
“Ummm…are you wearing body glitter at a tennis match?”
The leg woman next to him started giggling and put her hand on Scott’s arm. “Oh that’s adorable!”
I could hear my teammates snickering behind me. A red hot flame sparked inside my stomach and I could feel it rise up into my face and burn my glittery cheeks.
HE KNEW. EVERYONE KNEW. THEY KNEW WHAT I HAD DONE. They knew I had planned for this moment and they knew I had FAILED to win his heart.
I WANTED TO DIE. Or run into the woods and hide and wait for my mom to pick me up.
My fists clenched as I turned to sprint away and burst into angry, mortified tears — but I paused.
NO. I don’t have to hide.
I…I am awesome. My messy bun is awesome. I’m wearing my first REAL bra, I got a spaghetti strap tank top, smoooooth hairless calves, and they, too, are AWESOME.
I turned to him. “No Scott, I’m not wearing body glitter. You must be seeing my naturally sparkling personality.”
And I strutted onto the court for my match.
In that moment, I let Scott go. And that was Ok. I was going to be OK.
I guess he wasn’t meant to be my soulmate. Maybe I don’t even have a soulmate. If I do, I won’t need body glitter to get him to see me. But I might wear it anyway. Because it’s AWESOME.