Remember when you were a kid and everything was awful and you wanted to die? In hindsight, if you had known what you know now, things would not have been that awful – but unfortunately, you had to through all of the horrifying stuff to get to certain realisations. Here’s some of my life lessons:
1// Wear dresses and grow your hair: When I was 12(ish), I was, for reasons that have evaded me by now, waiting for my friends who were peeing in the bathrooms of a local sports center. They were in the stalls while I was talking to them through the door, otherwise minding my own business. Then a cleaning lady walks in and hell broke lose. Screaming and nearly beating me with a broom, she chases me out of the bathroom shouting “THIS IS THE GIRLS’ BATHROOMS, YOU PERVERT!” I’m speechless for a good 30 seconds until I regain my posture and angrily open up my jacket (which was admittedly greatly oversized), flashing a pair of boobs “I AM a fucking girl!” Shamed, the lady scurried off…. but fuck! Not having any of that ever again…
2// Be attentive at the dinner table: I must have been around 13-14, it was my brother’s birthday and I was greatly distracted; first I spilled hot chocolate all over myself and then I magnificently knocked over my brother’s birthday cake – boop and it was squashed on the table, sad and disfigured. I never knocked over a cake ever again.
3// Be attentive in conversations (don’t nod at things you don’t know about): Some time around 6th or 7th grade, all the girls were getting their periods and after gym class is was LITERALLY ALL THEY FUCKING TALKED ABOUT. Me and my best friend were the only ones who hadn’t gotten it (although I’d, at this point, been endowed with a disproportionately huge rack that sprouted out of nowhere, rendering me an unwilling sexual object by the age of fucking 12) and it was getting a bit awkward. As if period was a holy grail of the adulthood everyone seemed to be craving….
Clueless as I was, I’d never actually paid attention to their conversation because… duuuh, you bleed from your vagina?? WHAAAAAAT. So when one girl spontaneously asked if I was using “pads or tampons”…. well fuck me, I don’t know? So I said “pads, definitely pads.” And then I had the unfortunate pleasure of having to PUT THE THING ON. IN FRONT OF EVERYONE. Thank fucking god I didn’t say tampon.
Seriously, puberty… Fuck.
4// Always lock the god damn door: I once found myself in an unfortunate relationship which didn’t get any better when this one time, we were in our underwear, debating what was gonna happen next, when my ex’s step dad barged in and started to rant about something regarding his mother.
I jumped under the covers, but it was too late. Mortified, I had to listen to a middle-aged man tell his step son off IN MY UNDERWEAR. The dude refused to leave. Da fuq.
Lock, lock, lock, lock, fucking lock, always fucking lock.
5// Don’t gamble on your bladder capacity: There was one time when I was in 4th or 5th grade, I was always pushing my luck with peeing at school. I’m not sure why, it seems silly now because I don’t remember the bathrooms as particularly filthy (which I know is the problem at other schools). But in any case, I would always hold it in until I got home.
That is, until one afternoon, we were waiting for the bus to take us home and playing around outside. The details are a little vague, but I remember laughing really hard and then…. OMFG, peeing my pants. I stopped dead in my track, horrified. Had to sit quietly, pretending nothing had happened, all the bus ride home. Not sure if anyone knew… but this is why you should NEVER HOLD IT IN KIDS!
6// Some girls are out to get you. For no particular reason: When I sprouted boobs, it seemed as if they arrived from one day to another. All my clothes got really tight, and I had constant pain and itching. Puberty. SERIOUSLY. One day, my mother got me a bra. It was my first bra, it was black and huge, covering my entire chest but with laces on… now I think about it, extremely inappropriate for at girl in the 6th-7th grade.
This must have been a Friday and in February, because my classmates and I were attending a birthday that same evening. Naturally, I wore the bra. This is what girls do – “I’ll wear this new outfit at another time” said no girl ever. I also had to tell my friends of course, because, honestly, this was a pretty big deal for me, having worn ill-fitting sports-bra-like contraptions up until then.
I got into the room and walked over to my friends. Not a lot of kids had arrived so I took the liberty of opening up the conversation with “guess what I got.” There was this one girl who was the “popular one”, who I happened to be friends with. In hindsight, not sure why. She stepped forward and in a shitty voice said “let’s see it.” I was insecure and ridiculously eager to please at that age, so I remember lifting up my shirt.
Shouldn’t have done that. Said girl literally screamed “oh my god are your breasts that huge?” I blushed and made up lame, useless excuses – “the bra makes them look huge…,” “it’s padded,” “I gained weight… since…. yesterday.”
For reasons that completely evade me today, that same ‘friend’ spent the whole evening talking about my boobs and convinced a small group, that we should lock ourselves in the bathroom and play strip “poker.”
Just to get me in my bra in front of boys.
So she could laugh.
Some bitches…. can’t trust them. Happens all the time.
7// In matters of the heart, be as clear as possible the first time around: Once I was dating a guy – I know, wild. He was a nice person (still is!), but I wasn’t that in to him after all. So I asked him very politely if we could stop dating.
He agreed, OR SO I THOUGHT.
Because the following Monday at school, he told a guy, who told a girl, who told me, that we were just “on a break.”
I was 15. Girls at 15 don’t “have breaks.”
So I had to break up with him again. This time, a lot less politely.
“Hey dude. I understand you’re confused? Well let me make this clear. Not gonna happen. Nope. So stop saying stuff to people.”
I don’t like to humiliate people. I still get into situations like this, but this very situation was step one in the process that made me extremely no-bullshit-y.
Be clear girls (and boys!). Makes dating a LOT easier when you don’t have to guess what the fuck is going on.
Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to put words to that mess of emotions that pulls you in all kinds of directions. But if you don’t know what you want, maybe you know what you don’t want. Like “I don’t want to date you, boy.” Start there. Avoid embarrassing double-break ups.
Safe dating. It’s a choice.
Kate Nash! On top of a lovely soft singing voice, she writes lyrics that tell stories of moments and experiences that describes very vividly some of those little tiny bad emotions that I sometimes get.
Check me out
I’m so happy by the sea
I can tell all my friends are jealous of me
But they don’t know how I feel inside
They don’t know how I feel
They don’t know I pretend to smile
When I look at the stars at night
Too emo? Fuck it. The act of living is sometimes delivered poorly. I save my best performances for when it really matters.
I started thinking about the paradox of female friendship after watching this bit:
Chris Rock may be over simplifying the realities – but he’s on to something: women are each other’s closest friends…. and even closer enemies.
Growing up, you learn you should stick to your own kind. Girls quickly catch up to the importance of bonding with other girls and to divide them into levels of friendships based on trust, interest, distances, sexual preferences and so on.
As you reach deeper into puberty, things get more complicated. Our primal instincts for mating and princess fairytales forces our need for sisterhood into a new stage of trust/distrust; we are overwhelmed by emotions as our bodies start to transform with breasts and pubic hair and menstrual cycles. We realise that spending enough time around specific girls and it’s a social blood bath for a week every month, like clockwork. We also realise that one of our greatest sources of fulfillment, confidence and purpose lies in the gaze of our sexual counterparts. We realise that our best friends are also our competitors. I can skim through my history of female friendships and isolate a single denominator for every time I’ve lost a friend, or a friendships has deteriorated into obliteration: Boys.
Both sexes are competitive, but compete at completely different levels. Whereas men compete in a (figuratively or not) potentially violent display of power (think of animals, huffing and puffing, jabbing at each other to asses their level of strength, skill and overall desirability), their attacks are just skin deep.
As Louis C.K. puts it “boys fuck things up.”
“Girls are fucked up.”
Sure, women will compete on their exterior; weight, height, curvaciousness, cup size, fashion sense, thickness of hair, length of nails…. but we also compete on shitty sub-levels and alternative universes and imaginary stratopheres. We compete in ways that cannot be measured or quantified. We compete with people, who have no fucking idea that we’re competing with them – with people whom we’ve never fucking met!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the female competitiveness stretches beyond the time and space continuum and will continue to fan out as long as we have a vagina, building up relationships and breaking them down in an endless cycle of feminine consciousness. It’s mad. But we can’t help it. I theorise that there’s an instinct to nest and mate inside the mind of most girls, which, depending on its strength, will define their level of competitiveness with other girls. It’s sad to think that women are so primitive, that their most basic sense of fulfillment is, one way or the other, based on their perception of sexual desire. If you’re a feminist, your brain is probably exploding right now (and with good reason). I’m not even convinced that this theory is what I really believe. But to be fair, I often reduce men to their most primitive level, so who would I be, if I couldn’t do the same to my own sex?
Anyway, for the sake of my argumentation, let’s assume that the root of all women-on-women hatred lies at the foot of the tangible or imagined effect of men. For the sake of the argument…
When I was a young girl… When I was 14, my best friend – and my fiercest competitor – got her first boyfriend. I wanted to kill myself. Not only did I find him completely unworthy, but I was insanely jealous that he could lay claim to her attention by showing up with a cock. I felt abandoned and hurt. And let’s face it: I was, despite his undesirability, furious that she’d achieved the unwavering attention of a boy before me.
Her and I… till this day, I’m not sure why we were friends. We fought ALL the fucking time and measured every lousy achievement against each other. It was ridiculous, I see that now. The boyfriend thing drove a huge wedge between us. Like, huge. Like, it took me seven fucking years to get over it. Every cell in my body had to be replaced before I could look her in the eye and not feel resentment for the perceived betrayal. What I see now as a classic case of Women Hate Women (WHW).
As a chronic single, I have, on top of the whole “competing with your girl friends for the pick of the penis litter” a whole sub-derangement regarding female friends and their respective partners. I realised that women, as soon as they get boyfriends, are not necessarily your friends anymore. They become “his girlfriend.” You are degraded to “social network” – the person responsible for picking up the pieces if things go south. The one who cluelessly has to give out advice on how to handle the birthday/ family get-together/ possible adultery/ dietary restrictions/ annoying pet peeves/ discussions of marriage, children or mortgage. The one who reluctantly gets dragged along to wedding dress fittings, baby shopping, baptisms, divorce lawyers…
And as much as I fight this assumption, I have to (partially, and with reservation!) admit to the following:
I have no problem being single, but rubbing your happiness in my face = not cool. And why? Why can’t I, as a women facing my equals, just be happy for them?
BECAUSE THEY HAVE UNLIMITED ACCESS TO SOMETHING I WAS GENETICALLY PROGRAMMED TO WANT: BABY MAKING MATERIAL.
Wow, did I just say that?
In comparison, there is none of the psychopathic competition between a girl and her guy friends; an equilibrium arises if you become each other’s respected confidant, and you can trust that they’re telling you the truth – because they have no reason to lie. THEY ARE NOT YOUR COMPETITION.
They is another WHW paradox of female friendships; women lie to each other, often, for a variety of good or bad reasons. Even if they don’t, they think they do, and will always stare the other bitch down with intense distrust. Some girls have a sixth sense for bullshit – but they won’t tell you that they know. They want you to come clean. They want you to incriminate yourself. Breakdowns taste so much sweeter. You would think as you grow into an adult and get a grip of yourself, that these things will change; you’ll become more relaxed, learn to accept yourself and your strengths and limitations. You’ll become more open and won’t need to compare yourself with others because you know who you are. You just want your own thing.
Who are we fucking kidding here.
As women age, they just add more layers of ridiculousness to the competition. I still compete with that girl I used to be friends with when I was 14. We’ve taken completely different directions in life, and to be honest, we see each other so rarely that it’s bordering comical that we still whip it out and start measuring.
Facts of life…….. We look to our friends for improvements, for new ideas to make ourselves more desirable, for reassurance that at least THAT segment of the opposite gender will find me more attractive and I won’t die alone in a pit of cat hair and vibrators. We don’t hate each other on purpose, but the combined insecurity of a girl, interacting with other girls who all have something that you don’t have… It fucks us up.
So we look to our friends, we compare, we COMPETE, cash in confidence when we perceive that at least THIS particular quality of ours is unmatched by our peers. You just need to pray that your quality remains an asset and doesn’t accidentally turn you into a pariah. Girls are mean and they will not hesitate to destroy you in a single word if you let your guard down.
So, what did you learn today kids?
Boys are evil. Nah, I’m kidding. Although boys are the root of our problems, women’s real problem is themselves. It’s you biological urges. It’s your need to position yourself in your pack. If we disregard technology, medicine, society… all that information we use to justify our superior position on this planet – we ARE just animals. And animals have one prerogative: Survival.
Even against your own kind.
Basically: socialisation in an all-girls environment is fierce competition; envy takes the most ridiculous forms; the grass is always greener on the other side (even if you’ve seen the grass and it’s totally not greener); I don’t like children and still I have a desire to procreate (WTF); women are insane no matter what age; that whole ‘don’t covet your neighbour’s..’ it by far the hardest of the 10 commandments; I am a horrible person; the fear of social exclusion will make us do the most outrageous things and engage with the most ridiculous people.
Phew, it’s tough having a vagina.