#HERstory: How I Became a Hoe
People are such assholes. Forever judging books by their covers, never having any interest in even reading the Cliff notes. Perhaps it's because digging deeper into the cause of one's actions requires compassion that people aren't willing to feel for a stranger. It's easier to simply say "she's a hoe," than to wonder why she's so seemingly comfortable sharing her body with so many people in a short period of time.
I think the term "hoe" in itself is judgmental. Who says I have to adhere to your morals and only sleep with one or two people at a time? But for argument's sake, let's all pretend we think a hoe is an actual thing, and it's defined by a person who sleeps with several people in a short amount of time. Here's how I joined the club.
When I was 7, the doorbell rang. I answered, and on the other side was a woman whom I'd never seen. I yelled, "mama, there's a lady at the door!" I was then told that this stranger was my mother, and that parents "took care of me because your mama couldn't." That was the kid-friendly version of "your mom is on crack, left you and your little brother with us, and we weren't going to put you up for adoption, so here we are." So my parents were my grandparents. That was confusing, but not life-ending. My (grand)parents' youngest son, my uncle, was only 4 years older than I was, so he was more like a big brother. And like an annoying little sister, I emulated him. I tried to walk like him, talk like him, I followed him around everywhere. I did whatever he told me to. My mistake.
One day I followed him and a group of boys in the neighborhood to the back of an abandoned house. He told me to pull my pants down. I wasn't sure why he would tell me to do that, but he was my fake big brother so I did it. Then the other boy did. Four boys, one girl, genitals exposed. You can fill in the blanks.
I didn't tell anyone. Wasn't even sure how to process what had happened. I knew I didn't like it, but I didn't even know what "it" was. So I pretended nothing happened. The next day, we were playing freeze tag around the house, and one of my uncle's friends touched my butt. I turned around, shocked, and he said "I heard you let ___ hit it." I ran in the house, told my (grand)mother what happened. All she did was make me stay in the house, which told me it was my fault that this happened. I was the only one in trouble. Nothing was the same after.
By the time I got to 7th grade, a few things were certain to me: I was ugly, I was black (as in, my complexion was comparable to asphalt and that was a bad thing), my hair was nappy, I needed better clothes, and nobody liked me. So imagine my pure shock when this cute 8th grader asked for my phone number. I thought it was a cruel joke, but he actually called me that evening. I'll never forget what he said: "I don't know why everybody says you're ugly. You're not ugly." I answered, "I know." But on the inside, I was asking him, "I'm not?? Really??" Nobody had ever told me I wasn't ugly. Hearing the words was like a high I had never experienced. Wow, someone doesn't think I'm ugly. I don't know what's wrong with him, but I like this feeling. So whatever I need to do to keep feeling it, I'm gonna do it.
When he asked me to meet him after school so we could have sex, it didn't really seem like a big deal. He said I wasn't ugly; he called me and talked to me. He must've liked me. So at 12 years old, on a floor in a back room at school, I lost my virginity. It didn't even hurt (which I guess is more insulting to him?), it didn't feel good. It was just this 6-minute action that felt like nothing other than this cute boy who said I wasn't ugly, paying attention to me.
By the fourth time we intentionally missed the bus and met in this back room, people began to notice. My daddy realized I wasn't calling to say I missed the bus until 20 minutes after the bus would've left. And every time I missed the bus, this same boy missed the bus too. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on, and when they did, I was the hoe of the school. What hurt more, though, was his reaction to the drama: “she was so ugly, I had to put a paper bag over her head!”
By 9th grade, I was skipping school to take the city bus and meet boys from other schools to have sex. Once I was at the library to meet this one guy, and his cousin was supposed to be meeting another girl. Well his "date" never showed up. So the 3 of us go into a dark, dirty boiler room. The cousin was supposed to be playing lookout; instead he wound up just looking at us. So I thought. While my "date" was hitting it from behind, I reached back and felt his face; it was the cousin. He wouldn't stop. I was anally raped. Again. You know what the craziest part was? When I got home and saw all the blood in the toilet, I called my "date" to tell him. I said "nothing but blood, David." I was actually telling this boy that his cousin raped me as if he wasn't in the room. And continued to talk to him after. He was the most attractive boy who had ever called me; I couldn't let go of that feeling.
Then something intriguing happened: I graduated high school in May, and by September, the same boys who used to make fun of me, were suddenly saying I looked good. What happened in 4 months that transformed me into someone attractive? The cutest boy in 12th grade, now a freshman in college, said "you look good" to me and didn't laugh after. So when he asked me to perform oral sex on him, I put my hair in a ponytail and got to work.
It was a drug. Hearing that I was pretty; knowing that I was the only thing that mattered for the duration of the encounter. I felt wanted. Someone wanted me. Deep down I knew that I wanted someone to want me for my mind, but someone wanting me in any capacity was more important at the moment.
I was addicted to that drug until I finally reached my bottom. By 20, I was having sex in cars, empty office buildings, strangers' houses...wherever the guys wanted to meet. Then I had a one-night stand with some guy whose name I don't remember. Problem is, I didn't realize it was a one-night stand. I would call and text him, pretending we had anything in common. Then he finally texted me and said "STOP TEXTING ME. DAMN. I DON'T WANT YOU." The 4 words that hurt more than anything: "I don't want you."
It finally hit me. None of those boys really wanted me. They didn't want to take me out. We didn't talk on the phone. They called or texted me when they wanted sex, and I didn't hear from them after the deed was done. Would anyone ever want me for something other than my body? I didn't know. But I did know that I was done making myself available to any boy who asked for it. I had to at least mean more to myself. Luckily I left my hometown at 22 and moved to another region of the country, where I could start over and nobody would have to know about the countless number of people I'd given myself to. But whenever I'm home and I happen to run into someone from school....I know what they're thinking. I know how they see me. How they'll always see me: the ugly girl from school who was a hoe. And nobody cared why.