My ‘love bite’ birthmark has made my dating life hell
'People who don't want to go anywhere near me because they think I'm already in a relationship.'
‘Would you be up for me paying you for certain sexual favours?’ a stranger asked university student Mollie Burkitt on a bus, as he looked at her birthmark.
‘I was like “Where did you get that idea from?”‘ Mollie recalled.
‘He replied “Oh well you had a hickey on your neck so I thought that you were doing that kind of stuff.”‘
Mollie, 20, was born with a birthmark around the size of a £2 coin on the left side of her neck and, as it’s faded with age, many people now assume it’s a love bite.
The 20-year-old alleges that the strawberry nevus birthmark led to her being called the ‘school slag’ growing up. Now, Mollie says she struggles with ‘weird’ men while working as a part-time cocktail waitress.
Mollie, from Lincoln, said: ‘When I got to secondary school, my peers would turn around and be like “Haha, she’s got a hickey on her neck”.
‘In Year Nine I only really had a vague idea as to what they thought it was.
‘”She’s the school slag” is what they’d say. Obviously, I was definitely not the type of person to be going around and doing that, but they thought I was based on the birthmark that I have.’
As a child, teachers at school would reportedly ask Mollie’s mum about her daughter’s safety and if anything was going on at home.
The 20-year-old said: ‘In primary school, we would get teachers asking my mum “Is this child okay? She looks like she has a hickey on her neck. Is anything happening at home?”‘
‘I think my mum felt quite embarrassed to be honest.’
But Mollie didn’t just suffer at school, her birthmark has caused issues at work, too.
‘When I was 17, I got a job and it was an online interview, so they hadn’t actually seen me before I turned up,’ Mollie explained.
‘I turned up and on my first day I got pulled into the office and they said they “can’t be seen having people working for them that look like they sell themselves”.
‘She was basically telling me I looked like some sort of wh*re. I wasn’t expecting her to say that at all. She asked me to cover it up and when I said it was a birthmark she didn’t believe me.’
Mollie said part of the issue is the birthmark has faded ‘to the point of looking more like a love bite’ over the years.
‘It’s the right size, the right shape, the right colour for somebody to class it as a hickey,’ she added.
Her ‘love bite’ birthmark has significantly impacted her dating life too, with Mollie saying potential dates believe she has a ‘high body count’ or ‘gets around a lot’.
Some even believe she already has a partner who she’s cheating on, so Mollie has resorted to keeping a folder of pictures on her phone, to prove that it’s a birthmark she’s had since being a child.
Mollie, who now studies human biology, said: ‘It has really affected my dating life.
‘If I go on a night out, there’s quite a lot of people who don’t want to go anywhere near me because they think I’m already in a relationship.
‘I’ve only ever been on a dating app once but when I put a picture of my face on there and it had my neck in it, I’d quite often get messages saying “Are you on here because you’re cheating?”‘
After years of covering up the mark as a child, and even considering having laser removal at just 13, Mollie now fully accepts her birthmark.
Instead, she now shows it off online in the hope of encouraging others to not cover their insecurities.
‘It used to really bother me,’ said Mollie, ‘At school I tried covering it with makeup. I had a conversation about having it removed with my mum in year nine.
‘My advice to others would be don’t cover it up at all. When I was a kid I used to cover it up and it just made me feel more insecure about it.
‘Ignore what people say, don’t cover it up, just let it be there.’
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