Sars (of TSFKAMBTV fame) has written a great essay about teenage girls and how cruel they can be. I never really experienced much of what she’s talking about. I wasn’t part of the popular crowd, but I didn’t rebel enough that they singled me out or anything. I was smart, and – while they didn’t reward that trait – they at least respected it (especially when they’d get assigned to work with me on a project). I had my persecutors though. In my case they were the non-popular kids, the ones who are all dropouts and single mothers now. They picked on me because I was a “brain”. One low-life stole my brand new Umbro shorts (which I’d saved up to buy) out of my gym locker. I knew exactly who’d done it, but I didn’t say a word. These were the kids who hated anyone that they perceived “above” them, and unlike the popular kids, I didn’t have the group armor or the ability to look down my nose at them. I was vulnerable and they knew it. I had a scientific calculator stolen as well. I used to honestly wish that I wasn’t so smart. Can you believe that? That a person would honestly wish to be less intelligent? Nowadays I can’t. Nowadays I’m different. I haven’t run into many of these people since high school, but on the few occasions that I have, it’s been a delicious experience. “Oh, you’re still working at the air conditioner plant? Yeah, I got my degree from Notre Dame, lived in London for two years, and recently moved to Australia. Have a nice life.” Yeah, it’s mean, but I feel a little occasional revenge is justified, don’t you?


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  1. you pretty much summed up my own adolescence right there. do all kids suffer like this through junior high? yet one more thing to worry about when mulling over the whole issue of having children. i remember my own mother doing everything she could to protect me, build me up, all of it, but how much can a parent do to keep that kind of torment at bay?

    my mom actually told me the other day that my #1 tormentor from junior high didn’t get knocked up at 17 like i’d thought/hoped, she actually got out of town and became a forensic scientist.

    the crazy thing is, hearing about her achievements as an adult made me think of her as one, rather than the cold-hearted bitch she was fifteen years ago. in that moment, i let go of a lot of the crap i didn’t even know i was still holding on to.

    although now i’m pissed her job is cooler than mine. 😉

  2. Forensic scientist? Bah. Your job is cooler. You get to work from home, for chrissakes! 🙂

    None of my tormentors will turn out to be a scientist, I’m sure. My school didn’t have a real high college acceptance level. Most of the “smart” people from our class that I’ve talked to are teaching or working with computers or something. I can’t imagine any of the assholes turning out better than them.

    I think everybody’s junior high years suck. It’s only a matter of degree. I don’t think anybody in my school ever did the shit mentioned in the article. Some of those girls scare me.

    Actually, I changed schools in the seventh grade. I was totally looking forward to it; I thought that I could completely change my persona and join the cool clique if only I wore the right jeans and hairstyle on the first day. Instead I still got it all wrong, and I went back to being a nerd within weeks.

    Did you notice any of this crap at Notre Dame? For the most part, I didn’t. There is, though, the eternal SMC Chick/Domer Chick antagonism. Perhaps we’re just perpetuating these dumbass junior high attitudes all over again.

    You know, recently I made a little mental note to myself to try to be more generous towards my fellow woman. I was at the pub and I found myself making snarky mental comments about all the little women’s college girls who’ve invaded the neighborhood (the school year has just started). And then I suddenly thought that that’s really, really unfair and unproductive. It’s a huge barrier to forming close friendships with other women. Why the hell do we feel threatened by each other? I’m not even single anymore! I’m not competing, yet I cut down anyone and everyone to preserve my own fragile self-esteem. It’s really crappy. I’m trying to change. Does anybody else do that too?

  3. I have a very jaded, pessimistic view, so please bear with me.

    I try, I really do, but I see so many women who are just plain crazy. I mean, neurotic to the point of insanity. And if they’re not neurotic, they’re jealous and obsessive and practice duality like it’s an Olympic sport. I try not to judge, I try to be friendly and open, but it’s hard when the other women are glaring at you because they think that you want to get up on their man, or when they’re outright flirting with yours. And I don’t even care about THAT. I just don’t like the whole thing, the way they look you up and down, sizing up the “competition.” And then most of the time they’ll sniff dismissively and turn back to their other little backstabbing girlfriends to talk about you.

    God, I hate fake bitches.

    I’ve rarely met (in real life) a friendly, down-to-earth woman. I can count them on one hand (maybe two, but that’s stretching it a bit). And even then there seems to be an overall distrust and reluctance to become friends or to confide in one another. At least that’s what I’ve noticed on my part. I’ve been fooled so many times. I’m very cautious now. Maybe that’s why I don’t have any real girlfriends.

    I’m positive that part of the reason I don’t have girlfriends is because of my attitude. That doesn’t mean I cop an attitude or anything, but people notice when you’re being guarded. Really, I’m picky, not to mention shy to a fault. I wouldn’t know what to do if I had a girlfriend, anyway.

    But I remember what it was like to have a best friend, someone to confide in, to laugh with, to share secrets with, to finish each other’s sentences. I get lonely for that a lot.

    But I’m really busy, I guess… I don’t know if I’d have time for needy girlfriends. So it’s all for the best.

  4. God. I just read over my last post… It’s horrible and depressing.

    I’m really sorry about that. I guess that’s just a sore spot with me, and I didn’t actually realize HOW sore until I went back and read the above.

    It makes me want to try harder, too, to change my outlook. How lame is it that almost all the people I like best in the world are people I’ve met online and will probably never see in real life?

    God. I need to put down the computer and step away. And then get out of the house.

  5. personally, i’d always been more comfortable with guys friends up until college because i felt that i could trust them more. i was so blessed at ND to fall into a group of girls who weren’t competitive about guys or grades and didn’t have major self-esteem issues or eating disorders. i never thought i would meet women who were so sweet and yet so crude (in a good way) at the same time! god bless weasel football!

    to answer your question, kris, i think i did notice some of the back-stabby stuff at ND, but always from a distance. those walsh girls seemed like a mean bunch to me, but then of course i didn’t bother to get to know [virtually] any women outside of PW so how could i possibly know?

    i distincly remember my mother telling me “none of this will matter in five years” as i was dealing with the worst of the junior high crap. i hated her for saying that because when you’re 13, five years seems like forever.

    but when those five years rolled around and i was having the time of my life during freshman year of college, her words came back to me. and i realized that she was right. i do think that dealing with all of that bitchy nonsense at a young age really makes me appreciate and value genuine relationships—especially those between women—but that was a pretty high price to pay for perspective.

  6. Wow. I read the essay, the NYT’s article, and all of your responses, and my head’s swimming.

    I think I had a similar jr. high experience as you, Kris: mostly under the radar. Looking back, however, there were those one-off tormentors and all of that catty behavior really did exist.

    I was “dumped” by my best friend in seventh grade which was unbelievably painful, and it took 2 years to find a new close girlfriend (the one I stay in touch with today). The same thing happened to my mother when she was a girl, which confirms the universal nature of this behavior, I suppose.

    At first I was thinking that these experiences were confined to junior high. That certainly was the worst of it, but I still don’t have many close girlfriends; certainly no one local. I don’t know if it’s because I never learned the right rules of girl behavior, or I, like Moire, and am also too shy and picky. (To answer your earlier question, Kris, I find myself doing the same critical comparison stuff too, which I hate).

    I really do like women. A good woman friend is a great thing. I just think that it’s a hard thing to find.

    Another rambly, depressing post, but it does make me feel better reading about how so many others share the same experience and thoughts.

  7. We should all feel good girls, because at least we have other women to talk about this with now. (I could be pessimistic and add that it’s only because we’re all faceless and anonymous, and if we ever met I’d be intimidated by you all, but I won’t.) So let’s start feeling the love. We’re past most of the bad shit, and we’re trying now.

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