I want to share this with all of you because it's an answer to that age-old cliche' of the beauty concept. If you need further proof that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL no matter what anyone else thinks, this is it.
Coffee Shop Tales: The Story of “The Ugly List”
I used to be a writer for one of my university’s publications. It’s been past a year and a half since I wrote anything that I wanted to share, but I witnessed this particular event and it got my words flowing again.
Let me start by saying that we’ve heard that age old adagě of insults; “That’s what ugly people say to make themselves feel better.” I haven’t read, found, or heard the best comeback to that statement till the day I decided to treat myself to a hot drink at a nearby Starbucks.
I sat alone at a table with a dog-eared novel and my cappuccino with extra cream and brown sugar. It was one of those transitional weather days, so a lot of people were in the coffee shop to get their caffeine fix. What rudely grabbed my attention away from my book was the presence of two obnoxious boys standing in line, both with huge headphones on, blasting music into their eardrums. They most likely had no clue that they were talking loudly to one another because of the pumped up volume of their tunes, but what that was the least of everyone’s worries. Given their loud braying, EVERYONE in Starbucks could hear them.
Their conversation went like this:
Guy 1: “Dude, we goin’ out to get some chicks tonight?”
Guy 2: “Of course. And we’re not just gettin’ some girls we’re gettin’ SOME!” (high-fives with Guy 1)
Guy 1: How do you get to tap that thang on the hottest girl around? I’m all up on a honey and I see you walking past with one of them ladies who look like they should be in Playboy!
Guy 2: That’s coz I got standards. I ain’t gettin’ with anyone who’s on my Ugly List.
Guy 1: You got an Ugly List?! HAHAHAHA, man, that’s dope! Who’s on it?
Guy 2: Well, there’s those girls who look like they’re straight up outta the mud pits! Like, they don’t wear makeup or nothin’! They look like freaks! All pale and oily, with frizzy hair that looks like a demented Chewana thing in Star Wars. Then there’s those ladies who got so much zits, there ain’t no room for any more on their faces. Even their zits grow zits, man! I’m tellin’ ya, there ain’t no worse nightmare than having one of those zitfaced cratered freaks try and talk with ya, never mind flirt.
Guy 1: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! So true! How do you even tell the ladies that they look better WITH makeup on. Thought chicks dig it when you tell ‘em they look pretty without that gunk!
Guy 2: Best way to play safe man, you tell ‘em that they look good either way. With or without makeup. But just so you know, a girl without makeup looks like she just crawled out from under a grave!
At this point, there were plenty of frowns and annoyed looks being thrown their way. Believe me, I nearly choked on a mouthful of that cappuccino I was drinking when I heard that last quip. My hands were itching to throw something at them, but the two boys continued to yak it up like there was no tomorrow. Think the insults ended with that last comment? Think again.
Guy 2: And don’t get me started on a chick’s body after she gives birth! Flab everywhere, man! Pregnancy totally ruins their figures! That’s why my Dad isn’t into my Mom anymore. She wanted two kids. She’s still trying to lose all that weight she gained when she got pregnant again. As if I wasn’t enough!
Guy 1: You mean she’s still a heffer?! That’s sick, man! Ain’t she heard of liposuction?
Guy 2: Yeah, she has. But she says she wants to lose weight the natural way. Whatever. She wanted to get knocked up. Let her deal with the after-effects.
These two boys didn’t notice that the girl standing in line in front of them hung her head, ashamed. There was a little boy with her too, and I saw him shift the envelope he was holding into his other hand and reach out to take the hand of the girl.
And, as if they still thought no one could hear them, that horrendous conversation continued:
Guy 2: But the chicks definitely on my Ugly List are the desperate ones. Like the ones who are so flattered guys say hi to them, they wig out and think they’re Prom Queen.
Guy 1: How do you know if she’s desperate?
Guy 2: Easy, man! She’ll love any kind of attention from a dude. They’ll jump on any chance that comes their way. Just watch.
To my, (and I’m pretty sure everyone else’s horror too), I saw Guy 2 tap the shoulder of the girl in front of them and say,
Guy 2: You stuck babysitting? Why don’t you ditch the kid at daycare and come hang with us.
Guy 1: *guffaws*
The girl (who I swear didn’t look a day over 18 , and later I confirmed to be 22 years old and a victim of date rape when she was 16) opened her mouth to say something but the little boy who was with her beat her to the punch.
Little Boy to Guys 1 and 2: She’s my Mom. And no, she can’t hang with you because she’s with me today. I want to buy her her favourite frappuccino with the prize money I got from winning the art contest at school. *holds up the envelope he had in one hand*
Guy 2: Haha! You’ll grow up to be such a loser! Who spends money on their Moms?!
Little Boy: I do. You should try it sometime. And as for your enumeration of all things “ugly” (the kid even did the air quotes gesture!), maybe you should include yourselves on that list.
At this point, I even managed to murmur “Oooooooh, BURN!” in the general direction of the two boys. I was even pleasantly surprised when the little boy continued to stand up to these two bullies.
Little Boy: And don’t you even dare talk to my Mom again! I think she’s the most beautiful girl in the world without makeup on.
The little boy’s Mom had tears in her eyes, but she stood proudly by her son’s side. I’m sure she and everyone else could see her son was holding his own.
Guy 2: Just proves you’re a total idiot, kid. That’s what ugly people say to make themselves feel better.
At that, I was already getting up out of my seat. Boy was I ready to give these two guys a piece of my mind and come to the defense of the young mother and her child, but I stopped short when the little boy grinned and replied with one of the best comebacks to that cliché of an insult.
Little Boy: And that is what you so-called “beautiful” (he did the air quotes gesture again) people say to make yourselves feel better because you know you’re ugliER.
My action of getting up out my seat turned into me willingly starting a standing ovation for that one little boy. As soon as I started applauding, EVERYONE at Starbucks, even the baristas and employees behind the counter, joined in.
I scooped up my coffee cup and started to make my way over to the mother and the little boy to congratulate the child on standing up for himself and his Mom. I was beat to it again by a respectable-looking man in a sharp suit and salt-and-pepper hair. He gave the little boy a high-five and said, “Keep your prize money for another day. Your Mom’s frappuccino order is on me. I told the barista to give you both a couple of slices of chocolate cake too. Enjoy. You deserve it, kid. You’re a hero!”
“Thank you, Sir!” The little boy shook the hand of the man.
The man turned to the little boy’s Mom. “Keep raising him the way you are. You’re doing it right.”
His parting words for the little boy?
“I’m going home right now to tell my grandson about you. I hope he’ll grow up to be as brave as you are, little hero!”
I stood there taking it all in, the mother crying and hugging her little boy and whispering something only he could hear. The two obnoxious guys turning red with humiliation making their way out of the coffee shop. I finally got a chance to speak to the young mother and her son, and I knew what I wanted to do.
I told them. ”I used to be a writer, and what happened here today with you and your son gave me enough inspiration to write again. Will you let me share your story?”
The little boy’s eyes widened. “Really, Miss? You mean it?”
“Of course. You were so brave to stand up to those two losers. There are no words for how much you impressed a lot of people, but I can try and come up with something, with your permission of course” I turned to the young Mom.
She smiled, tears still glistening at the corners of her eyes. “We’re honored, Ma’am.” She shook my hand.
“The honor is mine.” I inclined my head.
By the time I left the coffee shop, my brainstorm was in full gear. I knew I had to let the world know how much this one little boy inspired me.
So ladies, take it from that kid. You’re beautiful, no matter what you look. And for that wonderful compliment to come from a child, well, you know it must be truth.
And there you have it. That kid is really a hero. Let me show you some of the picture comments this story got so far:
It took me a while to understand this one, but I remembered that Franchesca Bruni form the movie "Casanova" was a brilliant writer who advocated women. She used the nom de plume' Bernardo Guardi in order to ensure her work would be published in a very masculine-favoring society.
Here's a couple more that I got a kick out of: