There’s been a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth around here lately over the often-unbelievable cruelty of children. Which is true. Kids are ruthless little bastards. Teenage girls are also ruthless little bastards, only with 97% less repentance, remorse and body fat.
I wasn’t really any different. If I’d learned anything from Allison, the Original Queen Bee to my Wannabe, it was how to be a Mean Girl. So after reading Part Two you probably won’t love me so much. But I don’t care because I think the shirt you are wearing is totally ugly. And didn't you just wear it last Thursday? Jesus.
I had absolutely nothing to do with boys for the rest of elementary school. Boys were yicky players of sports who would hit you in the head during dodge ball or grab your crotch as you came down the slide and this was if they LIKED you, so pffft on them.
I transferred to a new school for seventh grade. It was, like every school I went to, a small and very strict Christian school. (The mouth I currently speak with and yes, even kiss my mother with, developed much later. A simple “Oh my God” would get your ass fucking TANNED at these places.)
I met another Amy at this school. She was Amy Elizabeth to my Amy Beth and we? Were totally popular. We were both funny and super-skinny and could do awesome things with our bangs, a curling iron and some Aqua Net.
We created a cartoon character named Elvin Pretzel, an Elvis-like rock star who still lived with his mom and had bad BO but was still “the hottest thing to hit Memphis since Roy Orbison.” We also wrote, composed and recorded a highly-ambitious musical production called “Les Miserables: Elvin Style” and its sequel, “Les Miserables II: The Hunt for Jean Valjean.”
We found each other beyond hysterical. (I have obviously not changed at all.)
We were The Amys. Even though seventh graders were the baby scumbuckets of the school, everybody knew The Amys. We were cute and funny and knew all the best crank calls and could keep a prank going for weeks. (We kept telling everyone about The Best Movie Ever called “Red Rain” that they just HAD to see and we’ve seen it like, five times already and you’ve TOTALLY got to go this weekend, promise? And of course the movie didn’t exist. We just used it as a cover for when we got caught gossiping about somebody. Some girl’s dad was in rehab for cocaine? Oh no, not you. The main character in Red Rain. It’s so sad. You should totally go see it.)
We could also be incredibly, unbelievably and relentlessly mean to other girls. Two in particular. One of which went to Penn State and I recognized. I looked her up in the student directory and emailed her and asked if she was the same girl I went to junior high with, even though I totally knew she was. I was hoping to soothe my conscience and apologize for being such a bitch. Her response: “Nope. Not me.” I definitely deserved that.
Anyway. I’ve digressed to gresses unknown. The point is: I had a friend named Amy.
Sometime before Christmas, Amy was approached by a boy who was friends with a boy who liked me. Did I like him?
Amy and I didn’t talk about boys much. I believe she had a crush on an older boy and I’d long stopped viewing boys as part of my species. (Particularly seventh grade boys. This was during Gulf War I and all the boys thought saying “I scudded” after they farted? Was the funniest thing ever.)
But Amy reported back to me and together we determined that it would be a good move for me to like this boy back. His mother was the band conductor and Amy and I were angling for the banner girl spots in the marching band. He was incredibly smart and bookish but not completely nerdy. He was top-tier honor roll (the school had three honor rolls to distinguish the brilliant from the super-smart from the merely dumb lucky). He had curly blond hair and glasses that were not altogether awful.
I cannot remember his name. It was either Mark or Matthew or something Mish. We’ll just call him Markthew.
Amy scurried back to Markthew’s minion and ta da! A seventh grade “item” was born. We had never spoken before, and really wouldn’t afterwards either. Amy joked that she should have negotiated a dowry.
I was pleased and waited for the making out to begin. The clandestine meetings out behind the gymnasium and the gifts and the whatnot. We said “hi” in the hallway a lot and one time he gave a note to his friend to give to Amy to give to me. He always required two layers of insulation in any relationship dealings.
One time, I sent a message across the proper communication channels that maybe we could sit next to each other in chapel. Amy had already devised a plan of bringing a jacket along to drape over the armrest so we could hold hands. I got a long letter from him explaining why he just couldn’t sit next to me in chapel (ever!) or talk to me in the hallways (EVER!) that didn’t explain anything. But it did talk about how much he liked me and how pretty I was. Swoon!
And then he gave me a Christmas present, live and in person! It was a box of turtles (the candy, not the…oh you know. Shut it.). He delivered it to me just after the bell rang for Christmas break and I was packing up at my locker. He said, “Here.”
I stood up to thank him and realized that I was at least half a foot taller than him. Oh my god.
Amy and I discussed it in much detail over Christmas break.
I’d say stuff like, “I just don’t feel very fulfilled in this relationship. He’s so closed off, you know?”
She’d say things like, “You need to be with someone who appreciates you. I just don’t think he really appreciates you.”
And I’d say, “But I don’t want to hurt him. He’s so sensitive.”
And she’d say, “He’s not taking your feelings into consideration though. He just ignores you and expects you to be happy when you’re doing all the work.”
(Thirteen-year-old girls and Oprah. Bad, bad, bad.)
I also turned 14 and got my first period over Christmas break. I was way too mature for him, obviously. It was time to move on. Adult relationships. Actual talking and kissing. Markthew had to go.
Amy, of course, delivered the news. By the time I’d made my final decision our opinions of him had plummeted. What had we seen in him? He was short and kind of pudgy and he stammered sometimes when he answered in class. He played the clarinet, for fuck’s sake. Plus he hadn’t even attempted to figure out a way that we could possibly arrange to maybe kiss. Totally. Gay.
So Amy marched up to him before homeroom and told him, “Amy doesn’t like you anymore.” And then marched off.
It was a success. Everybody knew by second period. Markthew disappeared. The next day, he wore black and kept telling people that his girlfriend totally "dumped him like trash."
“Girlfriend!” I shrieked when someone reported this to me. “He was scared to death of me the whole time we went out and now I’m his girlfriend? Puh-leeeze.”
It wasn’t long before another person approached me to report that someone else liked me. (Again, he was either Mark or Matthew. Mattark, then.) Since the friend reported directly to me, cutting out the entire buffer layer of Amy, I took this as a good sign. Plus? This guy was tall. Tall!
Mattark talked to me. He called me on the phone. We had absolutely nothing to say, but still. Talking. He walked me to class and sat next to me in chapel EVEN THOUGH we were in separate homerooms and technically supposed to sit with our homerooms. He was a badass. He came over to my house once but my parents kept us under constant watch so there was still no kissing. But he made an attempt and that made me happy.
Meanwhile, Markthew was coming undone. He quit band. (Band!) He mouthed off to a teacher when he didn’t do his homework. Amy and I had to tread lightly around him because of his mother and our upcoming marching band banner girl appearances, but we were still Mean. Amy would randomly tell him I liked him again and then pretend that he was making it up when he mentioned it later. He became a regular character in our comic strips…complete with mouse ears, a tail and a penchant for choosing cheese over females. He got suspended for two days after being heard to say the word “bitch.”
The honor roll for the second semester came out in June. I’d moved up the honor roll to the top tier. Amy cracked the middle tier. Markthew’s name was nowhere to be seen.
“We’ve destroyed him, Aim,” Amy marveled. “Totally destroyed him.”
We both stared at the list for awhile, giggling and feeling immensely pleased with ourselves.
Next up: Amy gets her bitchy ass knocked down a few hundred pegs.