Many of us can recall all too well the cruel pranks of high school, some of which leave a lasting impression years after the final bell.
For 26-year-old Anthony Bayer, this was the humiliating time he invited a girl to a formal dance only for her to reject him at the last minute, slamming the door in his face as he stood at her doorstep with his new suit on.
Bayer, from Queensland, Australia, was all too used to nasty jokes and constant rejections, having struggled with weight issues throughout school. But this horrible, Carrie-esque prank left him, in his own words, ‘heartbroken’.
Bayer, who weighed 157kg (24st 10lbs) at his heaviest, couldn’t believe his luck when the popular girl in question agreed to go to the dance with him, and went all out to impress her.
According to Bayer, he had fully believed the girl would simply reject him outright when he asked her to be his date:
I really liked this girl at my school. She was very popular, and all the guys thought she was the hottest girl in our grade.
I thought she was really pretty, and I must have been crazy, but I decided I’d ask her to the school dance. It was my final year of school, and I just thought ‘why not?’.
I was anticipating for her to reject me straight away and just laugh in my face. But amazingly, she said yes, I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited for the dance that I bought a new suit, got a haircut and hired a limo.
Sadly, his joy was short-lived as the girl had only agreed to accompany him as the set-up for a truly despicable joke:
I wanted to impress her. I nervously drove to her house, walked up and rang the bell. She opened it and just said ‘sorry, you’re too fat to fit through the door’, and slammed the door in my face.
I was heartbroken. I went back to the limo and cried my eyes out. But then I gathered myself, and thought, well, you have a suit on so you might as well go to the dance.
But I had a terrible time, and everyone laughed and bullied me when they found out what happened. It was horrible. I sank into a major depression after that, which lasted years after high school ended. I never thought anyone could love me and that I’d be alone forever.
Anyone who was ever bullied at school can no doubt relate to that cold sense of dread, which can linger long after a particularly dreadful moment. Fortunately, Bayer has managed to push through this upsetting time and has completely turned his life around.
Looking back on his formative years, Bayer believes his weight issues were down to his ‘addiction’ to unhealthy fast food.
As a teen, he would gorge on two footlong meatball subs washed down with a large bottle of Coke for breakfast, followed by a KFC burger meal and a pack of Magnum ice creams at lunchtime. For dinner, he would chow down on two large pizzas and a second large bottle of Coke.
All in all, he was eating his way through approximately 10,000 calories each day, and in 2014 he was warned he was on the verge of developing type two diabetes.
This stern wake-up call pushed him to make some crucial lifestyle changes – hitting the gym and making some much-needed changes to his poor diet. He has since managed to drop an incredible 60kg (9st 6lbs) and five clothing sizes.
I didn’t know how to eat properly and didn’t care. I was addicted to fast food. I never thought about my health until my doctor said I was about to get diabetes. I broke down in tears and realised I needed to change my life.
I stopped eating fast food and began cooking for myself. I also stepped foot into a gym for the first time back in 2014 and haven’t looked back.
Now healthy and happy, Bayer has no problem when it comes to asking women out on dates:
I was always rejected and would get laughed at when I approached girls. But now women are asking me on dates all the time.
I went from having three matches on Tinder when I was fat, to now having over 1,000 matches with girls. It’s crazy.
Bayer has even been asked out by the same – now apparently remorseful – girl who bullied him all those years ago:
[…] About a year ago, that same girl who was so cruel to me before our school formal, somehow got my number through my Instagram page and sent me a text apologising for being a bully and asked if we could go on a date.
I couldn’t believe it and didn’t even reply. I’ll forgive, but I would never forget.
Now looking forward to a happier future, Bayer hopes to help others achieve a similar positive outlook through his very own personal training business, aptly called Transform Your Future.
If you’ve been affected by bullying and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Bullying UK (Part of Family Lives) on 0808 800 2222. The helpline service is open 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.