Wednesday, 19 July 2006

The cool people

Last night, after J and I had enjoyed a lovely two-course dinner (courtesy of J and Waitrose) and a board game (which I of course lost) in the garden, I came inside to find a message from my ex-flatmate on my phone.

So, are you a Heather or a Veronica?

"Yet another lovely summer evening, yet another lazy pint," it read.

"I have to do my therapy homework," J said. "You should go."

So while he was upstairs struggling to deconstruct his unhelpful thought patterns which lead to stifling feelings of social inadequacy, I headed off to see my friends.

By the time I got there, it was already quite late, but the Thames looked quite glorious in the late night sunset, and my friends were already quite well underway to becoming ridiculously drunk.

One of them, a very extroverted girl who works for a major national radio programme, was talking about how she used to be really shy and insecure around people her own age.

"I was terrified of cool people," she said. "The cool people were always so witty, they always had such sharp comebacks.

"Even though the popular girls in my school were no Heathers, I was still mortified at the thought of meeting them outside the classroom."

In junior high, I was lucky enough to be among the 'cool' people in my class, and not only that, my group also contained the cleverest students, and so managed the rare feat of being loved by teachers and feared by co-students.

We were never really mean to anyone, we didn't bully them, we just dominated every classroom discussion, got the best grades and therefore got away with murder, went to the coolest parties at the weekends and generally ignored anyone we deemed less clever and interesting than us.

I didn't consider myself one of the popular and cool people until I was told at the age of 24 that we were 'the cool people' and had 'bullied' other less clever kids. It still baffles me today.

Maybe we shouldn't have posed people questions we knew they couldn't answer when they were doing classroom presentations... But we just thought that was their own fault for being too lazy to prepare properly.

Anyway, when I went to high school, separate from my old friends, I largely stayed out of socialising with my fellow students. They were largely American, and really, it was like being in a teen movie. "Clueless", eat your heart out.

For the first time in my life I experienced people who actively were seeking to be 'cool' by striking fear into others. Being 'cool' or 'popular' was a goal in itself, and more important than anything else.

It was amazing to see how there were all these very shallow and boring stereotypes available, and people were just dying to fall into them. Even the 'outcasts' were clichee outcasts. It was a rather sad situation.

I was generally respected because I had, as opposed to most of the US girls, a neat ability to befriend guys and say 'vagina' out loud without blushing. It didn't really take much.

Yet I still cringe when I think of the horrible social hierarchy that reigned there.

Sometimes when I read people's bitchy blogs, I have to think of the (exceedingly crap) film 'Mean Girls', based on the book 'Queen Bees and Wannabees'.

It's as if people haven't moved on since high school; they are still obsessed with judging other people because deep down in their self-obsessed and warped teenage mind think that other people are obsessed by judging them.

Or so it seems. But it's not how it is.

Adults are preoccupied with whether they'll be made redundant or have their contract extended, whether they can overcome the sexual abuse they experienced as children and how they'll put the next meal on the table for their kids. Generally.

Most teenagers, fortuately, move on.

My friend said there was a moment, at 24, while travelling in the Middle East with a group of students in their late teens, when she found herself singing at the top of her (very good) voice in a restaurant.

"I realised I hadn't thought about whether other people were staring at me," she said.

"And, more importantly, I realised I didn't care.

"I had come to the stage where I thought, well, cool people, I have standards too. How about you make an effort to live up to my standards, rather than me being paranoid."

And on that note I promise I will forever stop chasing readers for my blog.




Bonus Technorati tag:

9 comments:

  1. No need.

    We'll chase them for you.

    OE

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  2. Well, kiddo, I have to say I agree. But a little bold-faced self-promotion works wonders for self esteem as well.

    Hang in there...
    Sudiegirl

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  3. "So while he was upstairs struggling to deconstruct his unhelpful thought patterns which lead to stifling feelings of social inadequacy, I headed off to see my friends."

    An american who understands irony?

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  4. Oh my god! Heathers... I forgot theat Shannon Dorothy was ever that chubby.

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  5. STILL whining about your review. Thought you were SO over it. Well at least you made a new little friend, SudieGirl goes around and consoles all the other losers.
    How cute.

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  6. What? you were chasing readers? And I've just been chasing beers...

    Have fun while I'm away, and behave yourself with those Heathers of yours x

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  7. Omg, Anonymous! Thought you were SO cool that you didn't care what other people thought of your reviews... Or maybe you're not in league with the Heathers. Which hopefully you're not, because we all know what happened to them. They grew up to become fat, boring housewives whose guys cheated on them because all they could talk about was gossip.

    And Dorothy; I have to say that I forgot about her altogether; fat or not fat :o)

    And, of course, thanx for the support, ONE and SG!

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  8. Anonymous? Hahahahahahaha! Don't you have enough Balls to post your name with that petty little whelping? Grow up children, and leave your parent's basement sometime in your life. If your life really revolves around attacking other online your self esteem must be exceedingly low. Stop attacking others and focus on yourself. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel if you can find another way to feel good other then trying to drown others.

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  9. Hey, I happen to like bottled water. I bid on your rent offer; I don't care if it does bankrupt my credits.

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Thanks for not just lurking..

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