Though short on physical strength, one thing I have never lacked is female attention. Starting around fourth grade, I would hear about many girls having or having had crushes on me, even when I had never spoken a word to them.
Ellie later became my first girlfriend of any substance. She was my first kiss, and the first girl I pined over for any length of time after breaking up. She’d had a crush on me for at least a year before I ever noticed my own interest in the opposite sex.
She wouldn’t be the only woman I’d fall for who far outclassed me physically.
Some ten years later, I met Isabella. Izie. The greatest love of my life thus far, and today one of my closest friends. She was nearly six feet tall, less than three inches shorter than me. She was slim, all muscle. At the time we met, she weighed more than I did.
Less than a month into our relationship, I ended up clutching her hand, not with the intertwined fingers of lovers strolling side-by-side, but with the mirrored stances — elbows planted, fingers clutching table’s edge for balance — that can only signify an arm wrestle.
Readers most likely see where this is heading. After all, we may have very well been in different weight brackets if this were an official wrestling event. The odds were against me from the beginning.
But something I’ve yet to reveal is my left-handedness. And within the contest of arm wrestling, there is a special brand of humiliation reserved exclusively for the minority southpaw. That is because there will always be a handicapped party when a left-handed individual faces a right-handed opponent. This inevitably brings about the seemingly merciful but truly sinister post-match offer to even the stakes.
“I beat your weak arm with my strong arm, so it’s only fair that I give you the chance to do the same.” This is sound logic. But as a child I learned all too quickly that the consequence of losing that second match far-outweighed the meager consolation prize of ending up even.
All that to say, I could never win with my goddamned left arm either.
The time with Izie was no exception. I don’t think she wanted to beat me any more than I wanted to be beaten, but she wasn’t the type to go easy either. I’m sure she would’ve seen that as highly disrespectful, akin to forcefully slapping me in the face with my own hand, while taunting stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself.
Two back-to-back decisive defeats. Mercifully swift as usual.
Ellie had been left-handed too, the only other lefty in our class throughout elementary school. Ironically enough, she and I never had the occasion to pit the strength of our favored left arms against one another. This was for the best. I doubt I could have coped with that level of humiliation twice in one lifetime.