Message from a Guy who Pantsed Me in Junior High
It was a sunny day in 1987, I was in 7th grade, and standing at one of the doors to my school absentmindedly staring outside at the tarmac. The school mostly consisted of unfriendly upper middle class white kids who’d known each other since kindergarten. Suddenly my cheap shorts (which had a loose elastic waistband) and underwear were jerked down to my ankles, exposing my genitals. A popular girl who was outside facing in my direction saw it. I was thunderstruck with shame; both in having been victimized and also at the exposure of my undeveloped Korean body, which I saw as inferior.
I turned around, and crouching behind me was an 8th grader, his eyes narrowed into slits behind the coke bottle lenses of his aviator glasses, his grin/sneer exposing his braces like a teen Cheshire cat. He was an Asian “brother” from an upper middle class family. He wore name brand clothes. Although not tall or facially handsome, he’d played sports since he was a kid. His parents drove an Audi. Something of a cartoonist, his crude comics featured grotesque depictions of people of color.
Actually that incident was pretty mild compared to the horror stories of what upperclassmen did to “frosh” back then, especially small and awkward ones like me. It was also mild compared to the brutal abuse I’d undergo later in Korea. But at the moment it was one of the most painful experiences I’d had in my life.
Afterwards both him and I acted like nothing happened. The default of contemptuous tolerance re-established itself, with me the awkward, struggling outsider and him somewhat higher on the food chain.
35 years later, I checked out this man’s Instagram. He seemed to have a decent life: he’d gone to grad school at Duke and lives in San Diego working in academia. He had a wife and kid. The fact that he had a partner was a bit disappointing; I was somewhat expecting him to be an incel. I posted a number of comments asking him why he’d pantsed me and he actually responded:
I don’t know if this a real apology or just BS to protect himself. At least he didn’t threaten me like some other people did.