With the onset of Week 5 self-loathing, ELLIE PITHERS attacks the Petite Girl.
It’s around this time every term, when you’re straddling the terrifying abyss between weeks five and six, that your self esteem is at rock bottom. This is when you begin to loathe anyone who looks thinner/more alert/happier than you. My hatred is aimed solely, however, at Petite Girl.
In Boy World, Petite Girl is Dream Girl. She has such teeny hands that yours appear Huge and Manly in comparison. She doesn’t eat much, so you always feel macho when you compare meals with her at Hall. Perhaps her best attribute is her pitifully low alcohol tolerance – she’s a complete lightweight, so she never puts you to shame.
Petite Girl is so perfectly obliging that she can be photo-shopped in to any vaguely romantic moment, since her minute proportions make her the obvious choice for the role of ‘weak, ailing woman’ versus ‘strong, strapping man’. Swinging her off her feet and holding her above your head for requisite mutual stare of adoration as you frolic in the winter snow on the Backs of Trinity? Check. Carrying her in your arms as you head for home after a particularly exhausting dancing sesh in Fez? Check. Sitting her on your knee as she gives up her seat on a crowded Friday night in The Eagle to the nearest Bigger, Taller girl? Check Check Check.
Petite Girl is dainty, graceful and lithe. She is Audrey Hepburn burning her soufflé in ‘Sabrina’. She is Natalie Portman facing the Jedi Council in ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’. People stop to help her pick up the shopping she has dropped on the pavement, because she is so helpless. Dinner ladies give her extra portions in the canteen, because she clearly needs fattening up. Club bouncers check her ID with amused expressions. Old ladies smile at her, young children gaze at her.
But let’s not get too starry-eyed. Let’s bring Petite Girl back down to earth, and imagine what she represents for the L.A.D.s in College: an endless source of banter. Her feet are size 4, for Christ’s sake! Her clothes are child-size, her handbags drown her, and when she wears her gown to Formal, she looks like Hermione Granger, circa 2001. Just look at that cute little chin you can cup in your hand! Behold, that charming little waist you can span with your hands! Consider the infinite amusement that can be had when you mimic her high-pitched laugh! She is the favourite prey of every torso in the College Bar because she is the Platonic Idea of femininity – with a girl this tiny, what more could you want?!
But shed some thought, my dear readers, for Tall Gangly Girl. Too heavy to occupy the knees of any male friend, she is doomed to a fate of standing about in pubs, clubs and other social hubs, waiting for some guilty onlooker to finally acknowledge that despite being Tall, she is still just as weary as any other girl. Tall Gangly Girl is slightly hapless and occasionally clumsy – but if she drops her file, you won’t be helping her retrieve all those lecture notes that have been lodged in various shrubs littering the Fellows’ Garden. With legs that long, she should be able to run after those A4 pages herself.
And woe betide Tall Gangly Girl when she pops on a pair of heels. She won’t be getting any chat in the College Bar, oh no. Because when Tall Gangly Girl is suddenly a foot taller than you, there is no way in hell that you will ever approach her to have a friendly natter about the rising prices of a G-and-T. You definitely won’t challenge her to a straw-pedo, because she will definitely beat you, and you won’t casually drop into conversation the stunning goal you scored in the College Mixed Lacrosse match earlier that day, because she plays two Blues sports. Maybe if you just ignore her, you can also ignore that assault on your masculinity that her height poses.
So, revellers, the next time you are out and about and Tall Gangly Girl is chasing after her Sainsbury’s-Be-Good-to-Yourself tangerines, which have rolled into the gutter as a result of a split in her woefully inadequate plastic bag, please stand guard by the rest of her shopping until she comes back. If you see her looking lonely as she towers over the masses at the bar, invite her to sit down (emphasis on the action of ‘sitting’) with the rest of your posse so you can view her at eye-level, rather than staring straight into her chest.
And maybe, if you’re feeling really kind, you could even utter those immortal words that Tall Gangly Girl has been waiting to hear for the majority of her life so far: “I prefer tall girls.”