"I'm butters" said my teen.
Now I know I'm biased but my teenager is the most beautiful girl in the world. Bar none. Actually I'm not biased, this is pure fact.
"You are gorgeous" I say soothingly.
"No I'm not. I'm fat. And I'm short".
There's no point lying. She is short. But she's not fat. Not yet anyway. She probably will be later on, just like me. To be honest, I don't think I'm fat, but other people do. I look at all the women we are told we are supposed to look like and think 'Where's the rest of you?'. They look like half people.
She talks about the teasing at school, because of her height.
"Basically the deal here is that you aren't average. You want to be average. There's such an emphasis on being average, but it's boring." I sayI try to think of someone short, not too great looking but with such personality you don't even notice. I hit upon...
"Look at Danny Devito! He's short but I don't think he's ever turned in a bad performance" I tell her brightly.
"But has he got a girlfriend?"
"Yeah. He's married and everything" I say
The teen thinks for a bit.
"I expect that's cos he's famous. I'm not famous. No one is ever going to like me. I've been single for two years."
"You are 15! Someone is going to like you. Of course they are!"
"No never. No one's ever going to like me. I'll be a virgin when I die"
This conversation was provoked by the fact that she liked a boy. He seemed to like her. In fact she started liking him because she thought he liked her.
She thought they were close. He would text 'I love you'. Even today, when 'I love you' and relentless hugging is common currency between friends (not the seldom uttered tight-lipped words that slipped out by mistake, of my youth), texting that phrase to the opposite sex means something.
My teen talked to me about this as we drove...
"I didn't know what was going on, so I took the plunge and texted him: 'Are you into me?'" Tears trickled down her downy cheeks. "He said 'No. We are just friends'."
I recognised this feeling so well...
"I really hate that. When blokes you fancy just want to be your friend. When they flirt and confuse you." I commiserated. "They are power tripping"
"I know" she sniffed.
"I mean my attitude, in the words of Jayne County, is: 'If you don't wanna fuck me, fuck off'" I joked.
We drove in silence, bonded in mutual misery.