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...now, not three years later, I am a bitter, leggy blonde, and the few male friends I have are the ones left over from those old days.

My skin was and is clear; my features were and are even, but I am missing fifty of the extra pounds I carried around in high school and during my B.A.. My personality remains the same. I didn't lose brain mass; I lost unsightly fat. My opinions remain constant, with one notable exception: people piss me off a lot more than they did then.

It's really funny, in a sarcastic sort of way.

When I was a bitter, purple-haired grrl who got tattoos to look tough and was bitchy to women I was jealous of, I used to call thin girls "eating disorder girls" and slotted them all in the same category - my nemeses.

When I was a bitter, purple-haired combat boot, black-shapeless-dress wearing womyn, I threw myself at men and often received "let's just be friends" in response. In hindsight, I'm glad of it. Some have become trusted, valued, important people in my life.

I'm glad I have them, because every man - without exception - who I've met and tried to sustain contact with in the past three years has gone about things entirely differently. They want to "date" me upon meeting me. This is a source of constant confusion. My relationships with male friends are, without doubt, far better than those I have with my ex-boyfriends. Perhaps because I was a bitter, purple haired fat girl, and I had plenty of male friends, I knew what this "dating" thing meant - it meant they wanted to possess me, before they even knew me.

I may meet more men these days but that's where the simple part stops. I find a whole new range of insecurity, jealousy and impatience to contend with from the men who do make it through the DMZ of my ego. Ditto for the women, for that matter.

Why, when I was fat, were people kinder? I'll leave that up to everyone to decide for themselves.

When I responded to Never frown; you never know when someone's falling in love with your smile I had the feeling that I left one crucially important aspect out, and now I realise what it was.

I don't want a boyfriend. I want a male friend who I can know get to know and trust well enough to become a boyfriend.

I'm not bragging; I'm complaining, and yes, I know, fat is a state of mind...whatever.

Whywait, I think you are me (well not quite but listen...)

Most of my life I have been overweight, at school I wasn't too fat, I still got teased though. So I started to starve myself when I was 15 and dyed my hair bright red. I hid behind the red hair, believing that having red hair would stop people teasing me about being fat, and I was right.

I became really thin when I was 16, but by this time most people at school didn't like me anyway. I was fainting and having blackouts a lot of the time, and it was around this time I realised that I was losing weight for nothing. So it piled on again. Then I decided to get my first tattoo, I too thought it would make me look scary. It also gave me an excuse to myself why nobody ever seemed to want to be my boyfriend.

I left school, went to University. I thought that people at University would be old enough not to judge me on my looks. I was wrong of course. I ended up with loads of male friends and not too many boyfriends. I had countless one night stands, to make myself feel better, and hoped that one of them would turn into a boyfriend. One or two of them did, but not for long. I got three more tattoos and countless piercings, to make me feel better about myself and to draw the attention away from my weight problem. It worked but I was still desperately unhappy.

If you have read my other nodes you will figure out that I left one University to go to another. Just before I went to the second one I went to a slimming club. I was 7 stones overweight.

A year on I am still a stone overweight but I am losing that too. Men like me now, but I don't really have that much confidence. I don't even want to go out with them because I know that had they seen me before, thay would not want to be my significant other. I still see myself as the fat Gillian, because nothing else has changed, I am still that Gillian and I really hate people who couldn't see through that before.

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