When 22-year-old Oxford University student Louisa Manning went to a university ball last Friday night, she had no idea it would elicit a rare opportunity to get revenge on the man who bullied her in school. It all started when the man approached her at the ball, and the proceeded to ask her out on a date on Facebook following their interaction. Although they recognized one another as former schoolmates, the man made no mention of the fact that he had once bullied her for "being ugly" at age 12. She recalls being referred to as "hairy," or "manbeast," terms that would go on to shake her confidence for many years to come, and eventually prompt her to starve herself by skipping dinner or eating very little.
Naturally, then, Manning was shocked when her bully took an interest in her some eight years later, although she has some ideas as to why. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Manning describes her initial reactions to the man's advances:
I was pretty pissed off he asked me out, to be honest. It really made me angry that now I’m attractive, he instantly wants to jump into bed with me.
For the record, Manning now looks like this:
Although she says she considered turning the man down, Manning saw this as an opportunity to seek closure, and a little justice. She agreed to meet him at a restaurant for dinner, but arrived early to arrange a secret plan with the waitress. When the man turned up at the restaurant, Manning told the waitress to hand him a letter she had written, with a picture of her at age 12 attached. Here are its contents:
Hey [name obscured],
So sorry I can’t join you tonight.
Remember year 8, when I was fat and you made fun of my weight? No? I do – I spent the following three years eating less than an apple a day. So I’ve decided to skip dinner.
Remember the monobrow you mocked? The hairy legs you were disgusted by? Remember how every day for three years, you and your friends called me Manbeast? No perhaps you don’t – or you wouldn’t have seen how I look eight years later and deemed me fuckable enough to treat me like a human being.
I thought I’d send you this as a reminder. Next time you think of me, picture that girl in this photo, because she’s the one who just stood you up.
Ah, sweet, sweet justice. After uploading the note and picture to Facebook, Manning even received a personal apology from her former bully:
Hey… For what it’s worth, I was actually here to meet up looking for a chance to meet up looking to make friends, not because you are very good looking. I guess I had it coming though, and certainly don’t blame you for standing me up.
I can’t change who I was 8 years ago, and I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending that it didn’t happen, but I hope you believe me when I say I’m a completely different person now. I can only apologise and wish you the very best. I guess I won’t hear from you again but I mean it when I say that I hope you have every success you deserve.
While this guys shouldn't have had to be prompted into an apology, it's both heart-warming and vindicating to see a subject of bullying finally get an opportunity to stand up to her tormentor. Although the bully's words certainly cannot compensate for years of shattered self-confidence, at the very least Manning can rest knowing that he has finally been made aware of the emotional damage of his words, which were said eight years ago, but still carry a painful echo in the present. One can only hope that her fellow bullying victims are granted similar moments of justice in the future.
Images: Louisa Manning/Facebook