Friday, March 11, 2005

were you popular in high school?

i was reading suburban bliss and, in the most recent post, melissa reflects on her unpopularity in high school.

so, how do you know if you were popular or unpopular? what's the litmus test for that? isn't that a little black-and-white? i mean, every school is so different and i'm sure criteria varies wildly, right?

for instance, my boyfriend for much of high school was the student body president and on the golf, tennis, and cross country team [football was not cool]. popular?

...but, turns out he was a closeted homosexual. well, maybe not that closeted. people would ask, "he's your boyfriend? isn't he gay?" unpopular?

i had plans most weekends -- friday with friends and saturday with boyfriend-of-the-moment... popular?

...but instead of munching love's salads with lite ranch and watching 80's chick-flicks in the basement with the cheerleaders i hung out with during the day, i shotgunned beers with the boys basketball team. unpopular?

my older sister relishes taunting me by saying with much venom in her voice, "you were in a clique." really? i couldn't name three girls i could consider myself cliqued with. maybe people who didn't know me thought i was probably in a clique. i have no idea.

when i think of the dreaded clique, i think of this group of girls my year who self-aggrandizingly dubbed themselves "the twelve-pack." they were a group of athletes, ranging from volleyball players [big bangs and frazzled perms, goopy blue eyeliner rimming eyes, jeans and gymshoes] to tennis players [past preppy and into matronly, thick chunky bodies with thick, chunky pageboys held in place with thick, chunky grosgrain ribbon]. i guess maybe they were the alpha group? maybe i was a beta.

there are a lot of popularity quizzes out there, but they're all written by disgruntled middle schoolers. i guess i know that i was unpopular in junior high, at least until i grew my hair from the wispy buzzcut to the standard issue north shore permullet [permed in the back, feathered on the top]. but consider this: don't most junior high girls feel like losers? junior high is hell on earth. i'm saving up now so i can ship my future children off to boarding school at the start of sixth grade.

were you popular? how do you know?


Jamie said...

I went from totally UN-popular in JrH (and yes, it was hell on earth...I was in the computer club for God's sake) to sort-of-popular in HS. I was firmly entrenched on the bubble between the A and B lists. I hung out with B-listers (whom I still call friends today) but had occasional social/educational interactions with the Elite as well. All I remember is thinking, God - I hope these 3 years go quicker than my 3 in JrH. I also had braces soph./jr. year, which greatly decreased my cool quotient.

Blind Camel said...

Very interesting post, Paula.

And I'm with you -- I can see how somebody might think I was popular in high school, but I can also see how someone could make the case that I was a dork. I was definitely more popular than some kids, but less popular than others. I know this: Life has never seemed easy.

Di said...


You always had your own style. Sometimes that equates to being more of an independant instead of what is considered popular in high school. I didn't know about chugging beer with the basket ball team (!!!).

I'm the last person to sympathize. I was just an artsy fartsy weirdo dancer and artist.


Casey said...

Hmm... I played in a big rock band and we won battle of the bands. That should qualify me for instantaneous ultra-popularity, right?

But then we thought we were cool, and had horrible songs like "Rebel Angel" and "Walls of Endless Echo" which, with a little hindsight, makes me a hugely popular dorky loser.

All I know is I was cool enough to marry you, and that's all that matters!

p said...

momma, i never exactly said, "bye! i'm off to go slam some brews with the ballers!" as i skipped out the door. 'member all the weekends i hung out with danny taylor and mike falk at the bahr twins' house? well, we would drink beers in the basement while the twelve-pack would kibbitz in the kitchen. sorry to give you the rude awakening! :o(

p said...

queso, you're probably right that we might not have been friends in high school -- some of your adolescent hijinks make a beer-shotgunning party sound like a meeting of the 4h club -- since i was apparently the female equivalent of alex p. keaton.

thank you for the nice message, bun'. :o)

Anonymous said...

After reading your post, I think I might have been in the Twelve Pack's equivelent across town. Not so much by choice, but by default. I was a member of "The Crew" in high school. We were 10 girls who ruled the school. We consisted of the captain of every sport, the president of every social organization, and basically the head of everything at our school. However, in retrospect, we were mean! We debated for days over weather or not we should let a certain girl in or not. Over weather or not she was "good enough." Today, I am already fretting over weather or not I want my kids to be popular in jr. high and in high school. Yes, it makes it easier to get through that part of your life, but typically the popular kids have good looks and not much else. They typically go on (at least in my high school) to get knocked up early and/or work at the local 7-11. The geeks all go on to become friends with Bill Gates. I am also having the current debate in my house as to who we would rather hire at JJ. As you know, we employ about 25 high school students. I want NO MORE pom-pom girls. I have fired them all. They are too busy and can't get off their cell phones long enough to work. I am determined to hire only geeks who have no lives. Eric says I am wrong, and just because you are a "loser" doesn't mean you're a hard worker. I'm yet to find the answer, but I do beleive the more popular you are, the less work you actually want to do.

p said...

i crack up at the acknowledgement of a clique being a secret society. i mean, if you're cool and you know it and you happen to have a group of friends, fine. seems normal. i can't imagine actually being like, 'should we let her hang out with us in the theater foyer? no -- she only has one forenza v-neck sweater and it's, like, orange! eww!' ha!

Di said...

It has always been my observation that the truly popular kids are the ones that get involved with all of the activities in school and are the highest achievers. I think that is why you see eating disorders amongst the popular girls because this behavior seems to be connected to perfectionism and over-achieving.

Is the steriotypic "mean" popular girl actually truly popular? I think that we have to differentiate between popular and cliquish.

I do think that if you want something done - go to the person who does it all.