The D.U.F.F.

Because, in another effort to lower my expenses, I cut my cable package down to the bare minimum, I’ve been grateful to have Amazon Prime where I can access movies that are free to me.

Unlike my favorite book genre, which is suspense with a heavy nod to psychological thrillers, I like my movies to be more relaxing – like chick flicks, rom-coms and comedy in general. I have found that it’s become more difficult for me to stay seated in one place for more than 45 minutes at a time, and I like being able to stop and restart movies when it’s convenient to me without worrying that I’ll have forgotten something in the part I watched that will make me struggle with understanding the part I’m about to watch.

The latest movie I watched was called “The DUFF”. It took place around the characters’ high school years but that made it easily entertaining while having a surface story line. Pretty early in the story, we learn that “DUFF” stands for “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”. The character who was labeled the “DUFF” was neither ugly nor fat…she was simply a girl who didn’t give in to what was “cool to wear” and makeup and being a cheerleader and hooking up with the football team captain, etc., etc., etc.

I was pretty much of a wallflower except around my chorus and band mates. I got bullied by two different males during those years – I remember both of their names to this day and the way in which they bullied me. I never got asked on a date, so I don’t know if my parents would have allowed me to date (I think probably not). Obviously, I didn’t have a boyfriend. I was never asked to go to prom. And after all of these years, I still don’t think my best friend from high school (who remains a beloved friend today) really understood how having her for a best friend was the reason I survived those years. She was pretty, smart, well-liked and talented enough to play the female lead in our junior AND senior school musicals!

I posted on social media, as I often do, about the movie I’m watching, and I did so with this movie as well. Along with a photo still from the movie, my words were “this could have been me in high school”. Two wonderful people who know me from my high school years quickly spoke up to assure me that I was not ugly nor perceived as fat. There were a few adjectives of a positive note, but both of them mentioned that I was ‘funny’.

I don’t remember being funny. I don’t think my self-deprecating skills had developed that early in life. I know that, while my sarcastic wit was probably beginning to form by then, it was in its early stages and not something ready to be tried out on someone.

The end of the movie is a sort of happily-ever-after, and the two “cool-ish” girls she had been friends with finally told her that they never thought of her as the DUFF and were sorry if they made her feel that way. They liked being friends with her because she was smart, and funny and not afraid to be herself. I’m not certain I was truly myself during those years, since my mother ruled everything I did, everything I wore, everything I ate, and had angst over the fact that she wasn’t sure my best friend was someone I should have been best friends with (we won her over halfway through senior year).

And as I look back now, many years older and hopefully wiser along the way, I’m okay being the DUFF. I’ve kept close to some of the people I admired and befriended during those years (see my previous post about only having 12 other people, with whom I’d lost contact, from my class that I would want to see again). I’m okay with the fact that, while I wasn’t favored by the masses, I was loved by a few very special people. Thank you, Kimberly, Marti and Chip for those days way back when and for still being part of my life all these years later!