I readily admit that I was one of those atrocious little girls who fetishized their own sexualization. I painted my lips to look fresh-bitten, hitched my skirts up around chubby knees, and practiced throwing my curls over a freckled shoulder and beaming with such a precocious sweetness that a grown man would have no choice but to become marvelously besotted with me. I fantasized about white stocking-clad legs hoisted over broad shoulders, candy-apple red nails fumbling with button flys, and big rough hands tangled through my pigtails. I had eyes for my English teachers, bought my clothes vintage from the thrift store to prove I was an old soul, and was convinced that Nabokov’s Lolita was a grand romance.
I faced the usual roadblocks that all girls in that situation do: the debate over dressing older than one looked or playing the underage card. I was confused as to whether or not my age was to be acknowledged outright, or merely chalked up to some vague factor of desirability. The women on magazine covers and the silver screen were dewy-skinned, round-faced, and doll-eyed like me, so why was everyone so unnerved when I showed off? In a world where sex appeal was what ensured a girl’s future, why wouldn’t I set my sights on an established adult who could spoil me with gifts and cultured outings, who knew what to do with this body of mine? I simply had to bewitch a full-grown man before whatever that special something was that lived in my teenage skin dried up and evaporated, leaving me twenty and practically ancient.
It was only through the grace of God that I didn’t get myself into serious trouble, that and a childhood in a town without a man in it interesting enough to warrant my hazardous, earnest affections. I grew out of my evening strolls past the village tavern and proclivity to learn tartishly over pool tables when taking a shot, grew up, grew strong enough to stop mourning the loss of my baby fat, grew wise enough to welcome my womanhood. I look back on my hazy, dangerously sentimental adolescence with embarrassment, and sometimes I laugh about it, but then I grow pensive when I remember that I left a lot of good girls behind in the trenches. There’s a whole generation of Lolitas out there, lingering after hours by their teacher’s office, flashing a bit of thigh to their parent’s friends at the dinner table, drifting through poetry readings and art galleries in hopes of catching a worthy eye. There’s a whole island of lost girls out there who’d rather die than grow up, because we, knowingly or not, have taught that their youth is their only and most precious commodity.
— S.T. Gibson (via urbanendling)