Double Standards

See that girl sitting over there?
Rumor has it that in the ninth grade
she and a senior boy with a movie poster face and a Hollister body
went at it in the bushes at Sarah Something-Or-Other's 18th birthday party
but you see, what really happened was,
she was standing by the house and he offered her a drink
and poor girl, she never saw it coming,
didn't know that he'd decorated the beer
with the most delicate lace
and as soon as she was too confused
to introduce herself like her Mama always taught her
he took her
and now she has a dozen diseases with painful names
and maybe a baby– who knows?–
because of all of the guys
who call her easy
and, like the senior boy at Sarah's party, never bother to learn
that she goes by Chastity.

Then there's the wrestler who hasn't gained weight in three years.
Every day he steps on the scale
and stares at the number
and tries to fight back tears
because he's trying, really, he is,
he's trying so, so hard to lose the extra one, two, three,
ten pounds
because when he looks in the mirror all he sees is a monster
with sausage fingers and tree trunk legs and a beach ball belly,
never mind the fact that he's the heavyweight champion,
he just wants to be skinny
or skinnier
but nobody listens and everyone laughs
because boys can't be anorexic, right?

And we can't forget about the boy with the lines on her wrists.
They've been there since last October
when her older brother moved out and left him there alone
to deal with the whispers of the other kids who hate him
because he likes to call herself Mary– not merry m-e-r-r-y, because who could be happy with a life like hers?, but Mary M-a-r-y, because he's liked boys since middle school–
and oh, how cruel of you all
to call him those names
because I don't think he's queer, no,
I just think he's different
and different is good sometimes
because if we were all the same
we'd be just like you.


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