I don't think I've ever hated anyone as much as I hate Elsie Rivers.
Everyone hates Elsie.
If a visiting student were to ask why she was hated so much there would be no legitimate response.
No one really knows why they hate her.
They just do.
It's like having the latest oversize Coach bag or the newest style of Ugg boots.
It's a basic of life at American High School. Everyone relies on the price and brand of their handbag to make friends.
Elsie carries a brown pleather bag.
The girls of America High only wear their hair long and straight. The majority of the girls have varying tints and shades of platinum blonde. Yes, apparently, platinum blonde has tints and shades.
Elsie's hair is curly and bright red. The "it" pair of shoes are Jimmy Choo heels. Only black, no other colors. Everyone who is anyone owns at least 7 pairs of the same shiny, black, 3-inch Jimmy Choo heels. They wear them to school every day. Except for Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, they wear Puma sneakers. Those come in red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. Cliques have different corresponding colors. Different cliques get unreasonably angry when other different cliques wear the same color Pumas.
Elsie wears brightly colored converse sneakers every day.
Except on the warm days when she wears dirty white flip-flops.
Every girl in American High owns exactly 8 shirts. 5 designer labels for during the week, 2 for the weekend, and 1 just in case and of the designer shirts are damaged or stained. The designer weekday shirts all scoop too low and ride too high. They must be from big name designers. They all have to be a cool color (white, blue, green, purple, every color in between) and they all have to hit just above the belly button (that way your $35,000 diamond encrusted belly button ring is perfectly visible. At least one of the shirts has to be rhinestone studded in a corresponding color, but you may not wear more that 2 rhinestone studded shirts in any given week.
The weekend shirts are either tanks or camis. One of them must have lace trim and one has to have a vintage necklace design down the front. These weekend shirts must be any warm color – red, orange, yellow, black. The one extra shirt can be anything as long as it doesn't have lace, ruffles, studs, eyelets, smocking patterns, sleeves, logos, designs stripes, buttons, creativity, pleats, or knitting. It is simply a replacement until you can get your hands on a designer shirt.
The basic cornerstone of every American High closet is the micro-mini skirt. They are worn at all times. They must hit no lower than the middle of your thigh. They must be pleated, ruffled, or straight. They must be plaid, jean, or one solid color. They must coordinate with your designer shirt. On the weekend, they may be angled and the lowest point may fall no longer than 2 inches above your kneecap. They must coincide with your weekend shirt or else there's no reason to wear them.
Elsie wears rock band t-shirts and skinny jeans in all colors of the rainbow. There is no official dress code at American High. But there is one code everyone follows.
Everyone hates Elsie.
We hate the way she dresses and the natural curl of her fiery red hair and her colorful converse sneakers. We hate her outgoing personality ad dark sense of humour and we hate her green eyes and pale skin and freckles.
We hate her because she's different.
Because the rest of us work so hard to achieve what we like to think of as "perfection."
Perfection, per-fek 'shon, n. State of being perfect; an excellence perfect in its kind. Orange skin, shiny hair, designer nametags, 3-inch heels, shallow boyfriends.
The American High students base themselves off of the way they look. As long as you own a coach bag and a flat iron, you fit in at the top of the delicate ecosystem of American High.
It's hard to be the one sore thumb that sticks out in a crowd of designer thumbs wearing expensive diamond rings. But Elsie doesn't really mind being the heart of everyone's hatred.
Elsie doesn't worry about perfection. She doesn't care that her shirt doesn't have Christian Dior across the chest that her Converse aren't black and shiny and raised 3-inches. Elsie ignores the mean jokes and whispers spoken about her. Elsie pretends not to notice the mocking stares of the American High student body. Elsie stands tall. Elsie marches down the hallway confidently. Elsie goes on being Elsie, the girl who everyone hates.
Elsie cries every day after school.
Elsie knows that being different comes with a heavy price. Because in American High, there is no beauty in standing out. Elsie knows it's like being a sunfish in a pool of hungry sharks.
They'll devour her.
Tear her to pieces.
Rip her to shreds.
That's how they got the others to change. Dye their hair, fake tan, shop in designer stores.
The need to fit in.
If American High wasn't to damn judgmental, Elsie might not be hated so much.
Ahs she hates being hated.
Who really cares?
Who needs fancy purses and straight blonde hair and 3-inch heels and 5 designer shirts that have only designer labels and plaid, pleated skirts that coordinate with the stupid designer shirts and lack of dress codes?
Who needs that?
Who wants that?
How can anyone truly want that?
Hi. My name is Elsie Rivers, the most hated girl in American High.