A Self-Commentary on the Phenomenon known as the Shy Girl
I remember I was told that when I finally got to high school, I would never have any friends. At first, I laughed at my brother, because he was always a jerk, and he was always saying stupid things like that. I couldn't help it that I was five years younger than he was, and besides, getting a C average in high school didn't mean he was a genius. So there.
He was right.
I never got invited to sit with people at lunch. The other students in my classes just ignored me unless they wanted to cheat off me. I became the silent specter in school, always just visible on the fringe but never quite in the spot light. At the rate I was going I was next in line for "Shyest" in the class.
It wasn't something I cared for.
I floated my way through school, I was verging on Salutatorian by the time I was in tenth grade, and no one even knew my name. I took to walking home because the idiots on the bus would throw things or try to put duct tape in my hair. I stopped going to the library after hours because all the popular girls would sit and giggle in the corner.
I went to the dances to silently laugh as people made fools of themselves on the floor while secretly wishing I was strong enough to be just like them.
My brother went away to college, so that left the house pretty much to myself until six or seven at night. I didn't mind being alone, but I always got my homework done before eight, which left me with nothing to do. I started talking walks, or sitting on the lawn with a good book. It was peaceful, silent.
And then the new neighbors moved in.
Lesson Number #188: The Male:
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on Idiots and Immature Jerks
Mom made me introduce myself to the new kid next door. We were complete opposites in every way. He wore eye liner, black clothes that hung off his overly thin frame. I couldn't tell you if he was cute, I don't know enough about the physique of the male species.
He liked to sing, I like to draw. He liked to talk, I like to read. I was polite, and he...was not.
He swore every other word, sang badly and talked like he was from Boston or Long Island. (His accent was so thick I couldn't differentiate between the vowel sounds.) His name was Ken. I hated him. It was all right though, because we hated each other and we could live with our mutual hatred. It meant our parents stopped trying to get us to date each other.
Maybe we were united in that - the horror, the abject horror of his mother, Mrs. Rhinebeck, trying to set us up on a date. For once I was in complete accordance with the opposite sex. Flee.
We took off, together, and ran down the street to the park and finally away from each other after offering the other a shy, horrified smile. And that was the end of my brief affair with Ken, the next door neighbor.
For the next year, anyway.
Lesson #173: The Female
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on The Cheerleader.
Liz Borden was the lead cheerleader. She was blonde, beautiful, tall and slender. All the boys in the school wanted her, all the girls wanted to be her. Men snuck into the girls locker room just to see her change.
She is everything I am not. We had one class together, she spent most of it kicking the back of my seat and passing notes to her idiot jock boyfriend in the other row. It became the established pattern that if one of their stupidly tossed notes landed in, around or near the general vicinity of my desk, it was suddenly my job to bend over and retrieve it for them, and discreetly hand it to whoever didn't throw it.
It took the better part of a year before I figured out the projectile missile ranges from either desk before I started picking the right half consistently.
It was an interesting lesson in aerodynamics at least. For an English class.
Liz and her boyfriend Scott were the 'perfect couple'. At least, that's what they wanted everyone to think. It wasn't until I walked into the gym to get something out of my locker that I realized not everything was happy in Popular Land. (A land I'd seen from the bow of my ship but never set foot on.)
And believe me when I say I never want to see another man's naked ass again.
I didn't tell Liz Borden that her boyfriend was screwing the second string quarterback on the football team. I think she probably already knew.
But it didn't stop me from going around humming "Lizzie Borden took an Axe" for the rest of the semester.
She was just dense enough not to get it.
Lesson Number #123: The Dating Game
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on the idiocies of human nature. And sex.
My brother, the all knowing, all seeing older brother, told me that I would thirty by the time I got my first kiss. (He's wrong, which I took great pleasure in telling him.) I wasn't thirty. I was twenty but that is so not the point.
After seeing Scott and Aaron having sex on the bench for the basketball players, it made me start to wonder what the fuss was all about. Every where you went in the halls there was some girl bragging on how much of her boyfriends penis she could take in her mouth - which just sounded plain unhygienic, or the girl who whispers secrets about the size of this or that persons 'shlong.'
(I claim no reference to this word, it's not something I would ever say. The hilarity of her comment though is greatly lessened unless the ridiculous thing is used.)
Sex is important. It doesn't seem like it, but it is. If you're a virgin, instead of a badge of honor on being clean, you're stamped with a mark of loserdom. Like I needed another one.
So I keep my mouth shut, and try desperately hard not to go to any parties where games such as Truth or Dare, Seven Minutes in Heaven or Truth or Shot are played. Which brings me to my next point:
Lesson Number #98: The Party
A Sub-Commentary by the Author about drinking games, and drunken morons.
I went to my first party at eighteen. Mom told me I had to go, and so I drove there myself, fully expecting to use it as an excuse not to drink the laced punch. I sat on the couch and watched everyone else fight over Liz Borden - who by that time had broken up with her very gay boyfriend Scott- and laughed when Ken, my idiot goth neighbor lost.
Unfortunately since he saw me looking, he came and sat down next to me.
He opens his line with a normal hi, which was safe enough. I returned his greeting and I gave him a slight smile. (Remember the difference between me and the male is I'm polite and he isn't.)
We chatted a bit about other things, making fun of the idiots on the 'dance floor' (which was really the dining room floor without the table) and that's when I realized I was having fun. It was a concept I hadn't been expecting!
That is until he offered to get me a drink. I asked him if it was laced and he said yes, so I gave him my driving excuse. It worked but only just.
I think he got the message that I wasn't interested and he caught someone else's eye and went to bother them.
I'm going to pretend I didn't feel the tiniest bit jealous when that person turned out to be Liz Borden's best friend.
(Yes, damn it, she's prettier than I am. Shut up!)
I ended up driving him home slobbering drunk and smelling of sex, the cheap vodka someone dumped on his shoes on accident and really bad perfume.
No one can ever say I didn't do the male sex a good deed.
Lesson Number #82: The Prom
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on stupid high school rituals. And peer pressure.
I went to prom because our favorite gothic reject didn't have a date. His mother made him ask me. (How kindergarten is that anyway?) Okay so my mom made me say yes (also, I know, kindergarten.) I went all out, or rather, my mother did.
New shoes, new hair, new nails, new make-up and a stunning dress. I looked awful.
Scrawny Idiot picked me up at six, we went to dinner and shared awkward conversation where we both promised not to irritate each other too terribly, and then went to the school.
It was nice to have my picture taken, I only wish I didn't look so dumpy next to him. The scrawny idiot filled out. He still wore better make up than I did. (I'm a girl, can't I complain when boys are prettier than we are?)
We danced a little, but mostly stuck to the walls. Scott found me sitting there and made me dance with him, which was okay I guess, since he was gay and wasn't coping a feel. He was nice enough, I'd never talked to him before, and he actually thanked me for helping him out in English class.
I didn't know what he meant since I'd never spoken a word to him before now. He told me that he used to throw his notes to Liz at me so that I'd hand them over and it made him feel like she and I were the ones passing the notes.
I told him he was welcome. I danced with his boyfriend next, Aaron, who is really rather charming. He dipped me at the end and I think I actually laughed.
When I went back to the Scrawny-Idiot-Who-Isn't-So-Scrawny, he was scowling at his punch. So I asked him to dance with me because he isn't very attractive when he scowls.
The dancing didn't help. He took me to after prom, which was nice, since there was edible food and drink, and a pool (which I avoided. Swim suits + me laughable). But there was a movie room and a nice big field. So I took the blanket from my car, a book and some of the food from inside and curled up in the field to watch the stars.
I was alone. After being surrounded by people all night, I at once realized how lonely being alone really is.
Lesson Number #75: Graduation:
A Sub-Commentary on even more dumb high school rituals and the futility of speeches.
At some point, I landed Salutatorian. Nice. It meant I opened graduation. Less nice. With a speech. Even lesser than nice.
I don't do speeches. I don't even do presentations. I don't do the people thing. They have eyes and they'll be watching me and it's just not going to happen.
Okay, so I have no choice. I wrote myself a speech, and I in a rush of words, air and panic, managed to stumble my way through opening the graduation ceremony. People clapped but just like I could never be sure if they were actually complimenting me when they said I looked nice, I couldn't tell if they were clapping because they liked me or because they felt it was appropriate to the situation.
Ken was clapping though. I mean, Scrawny-Idiot-Who-Looks-Good-In-Green. I mean...Scrawny Idiot.
Liz Borden was the Valedictorian, which was expected. Her speech wasn't much better than mine, she looked nervous and ill prepared. Everyone cheered though, which was also expected.
The rest of the ceremony took fourteen years to complete and I felt like I should have finished college by the time we got to the last student receiving their diploma.
And then it was over - high school. I wasn't sure what to do after that. I think I just stood in the auditorium and stared at the image of the mascot over the basketball hoops. All that time here, and it was over.
Scrawny Idiot came over to me and asked me a question, but I don't think I heard him. I let him lead me away, and he was whispering something.
It was then I realized that I was crying.
Lesson Number #48: Life
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on summer jobs, minimum wage and College.
Scrawny Idiot and I got hired at the local DQ for the summer. It was a minimum wage shit job and I hated it. It took away from my reading time and I had a lot of work to do before college started in the fall.
And my brother was home. Joy of joys. He of course got along fabulously with Scrawy Idiot. I would often find them in the living room watching some mindless sort of television where all that happened was sex, drugs, car chases and if the mood struck them, gun fights.
I was never much for television. My brother tried to get me to sit with them but I couldn't handle the stupidity or the IQ levels of Scrawny Idiot and Moronic Wonder.
By this time, I'm glad to work at the DQ because it meant that Moronic Wonder couldn't bother me about...everything. I mean it, everything. My brother can find the smallest insecurity inside you and make it the biggest deal you'll ever have to deal with.
Until he can find something new to bother you about.
So the DQ became a haven. And I was no longer making minimum wage. That was good.
Scrawny Idiot kept calling me but I kept ignoring him. If he got along with my idiot brother, then there was no way he could get along with me.
Lesson Number #31: College
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on life in a dorm. Sorry, did I say life? I mean hell.
Her name is Charlotte. But for the sake of writing purposes I'm going to call her Psycho Bitch. I'd prefer to live with Scrawny Idiot! She's messy, stupid, unkept and worst of all, she drinks, smokes some drugs I'm not sure I even know the names of and stays up with the lights on in the room until 4 or 5 in the morning.
I am so done with this shit.
Lesson Number# 30: The Single
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on living in a single. 'Nuff said.
I moved into the only single our dorm floor offered. It was nice, quiet and lacking a Psycho Bitch. Everything is neat, and clean and neat and clean. All right, all right, I'm done obsessing. The girls across from me are nice, Anna and Lucy. They don't get nicknames, they haven't pissed me off yet.
Shy Girl and Butch Dyke are obviously sleeping in the same bed - I'm getting good at this noticing thing since Scott and Aaron. (Who are doing well, if you want to know). I don't spend a lot of time with them, but Shy Girl and I study together on Thursdays.
Scrawny Idiot calls on Tuesdays.
Moronic Wonder calls on Wednesdays.
Mom calls all the time.
Lesson Number #27: Vacations
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on how not to spend Winter Break.
Scrawny Idiot asked me out on a date. I can't believe his nerve. It's bad enough he hangs out with my brother, but now he's even started making fun of me like him? I think I went a little hysterical on him.
I shouted and railed and screamed. It felt good. He walked away a little stunned, but I think I got my point across. He won't make fun of me like that again.
...Only now he won't talk to me at all, and he avoids me when he's over here. Moronic Wonder has a startling moment of clarity and lapses back into being my brother to tell me he wasn't joking around with me.
Well, there are worse ways to spend winter break. I could have actually broken his heart.
Lesson Number #13: Heart Break
A Sub-Commentary by the Author on first kisses and how they aren't so bad as kisses go.
Last night I went to the local club with Shy Girl and Butch Dyke. I was half-assed dancing in the corner when someone grabbed me. I almost screamed until I realized it was Scrawny Idiot.
On a second glance I realized it was Scrawny-Idiot-Who-Wasn't-Being-A-Gothic-Reject. On a third glance I noticed that it was Scrawny-Idiot-Got-Hot.
So that was how I got my first kiss. It wasn't romantic or anything. Music didn't start playing, the world didn't move and my knees stayed firmly locked.
Consider my girlish fantasies utterly shattered.
Lesson Number #9: The Dating Game Take Two
A Sub-Commentary the Author on the first date complex.
Scrawny Idiot took me to the movies. He took me to dinner. We took walks in the park at night, he even packed a picnic lunch and we sat in the park at four in the morning and ate lunch food. Apparently he knows me a little too well.
I don't like this dating game. It's confusing and stupid. Liz Borden had it way too easy. But Scrawny Idiot isn't going away, so I guess I have to make the best of it.
The question remains: why the hell did you pick me Ken!?
Lesson Number #2: The Author
A Sub-Commentary on the Author by Scrawny Idiot.
When I moved into the house next door five years ago, I thought you were some punk ass little 8th grader who needed a swift kick in the rear. Then I got to know you, and I realized you really were a punk ass little 8th grader who needed a swift kick in the rear.
Of course then we went to school together and you were the untouchable one. The secretive wall flower that everyone liked. You were so busy watching us that you didn't see us watching you back.
Lizzie Borden? She dyed her hair brown because of you. Aaron came out to his family because of a conversation he had with you. And me, well, you already know all about me. The Scrawny Idiot.
That's not a very nice nickname, although I suppose I could have been Butch Dyke or Psycho Bitch.
So, I'm adding my two cents to your obviously open journal.
I love you, Author. Now stop writing about me.
Lesson Number #1: Marriage:
A Sub-Commentary by Gianine Swift and Kenneth Rhinebeck.
Gianine Swift and Ken O'Conner cordially invite you to their wedding to take place on August the 22nd, 2008. Gifts not needed.