When you grow up, but your school bully doesn’t
Is it bad I feel sorry for him? Perhaps some toxic patriarchal value I’ve absorbed to the point where I pity men who were utter bastards to me? Anyway. I met an idiot from my past today and this is what happened.
Bing. David Banton has commented on your status.
“ur statuses are stupid lol i fucking hate them lol”
A level of verbal articulation that hadn’t improved six years on, if we’re totally honest. I open the notification, intrigued. This was the kid who had been known as ‘Creepy David’ at school. He used to play the guitar in a bad hat and talk in a fake Essex accent to impress the girls. It lasted about a term. After that, they rolled their eyes when he wheedled up to them behind a floppy fringe. We all had one.
Likewise, I was the weird, nerdy, gay ugly girl (haha, classic) and it was very, very funny to mock me for that. It’s hilarious, she’s worried about being late for class. Ha, she wears her skirt long and doesn’t wax her eyebrows, even though she’s 14. How weird, she likes books and isn’t a twat to Mrs Robinson. She loves physics lessons. Freak. You know the drill.
Anyway, like anyone over the age of 16, I gradually moved away from people who thought being able to read a book was stupid. And with it, the people who mocked you for that kind of thing sort of dropped off. Anyone who mocked me for being studious or uptight at university was met with a disinterested shrug. You just learn not to care. People who are nasty for the sake of being nasty are mentally 12.
So, David was a jerk on one of my posts. My friends all thrashed him for it and he went away with his tail suitably between his nasty legs, but we were all surprised that such an endangered species still existed: an adult bully. Not like a sociopath who cleverly destroys your life at an intermediate level, but an average, run of the mill ‘ur stupid’ bully.
Because when you are 22, you just can’t, as an adult, go around calling people’s work stupid or making nasty remarks without looking like a fucking twat. No one thinks you are edgy or saying-it-like-it-is, we all just sort of watch you with a stunned “what a prick” expression. That sort of thing results in HR meetings or a tiny social circle. If you want to be nasty, you have to be covert. You have to have a fake twitter account or subtly hint to a colleague that Sandra stole your stapler. Open cruelty is just not on the itinerary.
David is still making fun of my accent (RP English) on my posts and being a twat, but it doesn’t seem to have sunk in. No one cares anymore. No one is hurt. The only pain we feel seeing silly remarks on statuses is from cringing. I’m totally okay with someone I feel nothing but bemusement for calling me a weirdo or ‘gay’. It’s just…kind of sad.
Again, I have to ask: Is it okay to feel sorry for your childhood bully?
Names have been changed.