While I Still Don’t Look Like A Model, I Am Closing in on Hairy Old Grandma

junior high001

A group of girls–some of them my “best friends”–wrote this note and gave it to me in junior high.

As much as the words still make my stomach hurt (do we ever lose touch with our 11-year-old selves?), and as much as I fall to my knees and thank the sky gods for the fact that my middle school daughter’s life, according to all observations and firsthand reports, is free of this kind of venom, I can also concede that this note is, in its way, normal. I’m not the only one who went through junior high and was the recipient of this kind of Girl Group Mass Attack. The term for this kind of stuff, incidentally, is relational aggression.

I tend to prefer the term soul-shredding bullying, but that’s just a matter of personal preference.

What’s amazing to me, as I consider the contents of this note, is that I can recall incidents of girl-on-girl cruelty in later years that were actually worse—and it’s a sad story, indeed, when junior high isn’t the peak of immature, uninformed judgment. At least the above summary of my flaws and deficiencies addresses the whole person. Not only was I a fat, tall, ugly, hoggish hairy old grandma, the authors of the missive also took into account my weirdness, meanness, insanity, and retardedness—spooning a healthy dollop of “stuck up” on top of it all. I give them credit because they really were considering the entire package and not basing their assessment sheerly on the superficialities of appearance. Had we taken the note into a courtroom, I daresay the accusers could have drummed up significant evidence to prove their claims about my weird, mean, stuck-up insanity. The word “retarded” is loaded with enough complexity, however, that I am certain I could have successfully counterargued that point.

Eventually, after a flurry of notes and tense exchanges, we all reached a kind of détente and were able to move into sixth period, and seventh grade, as “friends.” The arc of decades since the early 1980s has tacked on a few interesting codas: Jennifer, the “stuck up little rich brat,” has become a Lutheran pastor and adopted a daughter from China; Lori, the “very weird fat slop [sic],” still lives in our hometown, has never married, and appears, from a quick Facebook stalking, to take great pride in her motorcycle; Debbie, the “very fat boy who plays with girls and wear’s [sic] a bra,” appears to live in our hometown and work at a local college; of the accusers, two of them are my friends on Facebook and have become teachers (and in a terrible irony, the head note-writer did almost “drowned” in a lake) while the third married a boy from up the street, became a doctor, and moved to Switzerland. In addition to the three who signed their names to the grievance against me, Jenni, Lori, and Debbie, there was also a nebulous “bunch of others” affixed as a final signature. It’s hard to gauge how Bunch of Others is doing 35 years after Notegate, but I feel confident that at least a couple of them now fill their days with full-time Internet trolling and flaming (“u seem to be confusing education and intelligence. you cant even hold to an argment with out going off track and your basic ten year old math is still f***ing stupid to apply too this situation you fat headed little clown. btw your name is clown from now on ok clown?“).

As it does, life, with all its relational ups and downs, carried on—and although I didn’t have the tools yet to understand that cruelty and anger are offshoots of pain, and I didn’t really comprehend that the target of vitriol isn’t actually the source of the problem but, rather, a convenient repository for the attacker’s issues, I look back now on the artifacts from those years and see it all plainly. Just look at the interplay of agony and affection, for example, in a yearbook message the head note-writer later penned:

junior high002

Because I was young and in the midst of figuring things out, though, the lessons I took from Girl Attacks weren’t ones of compassion or empathy. Instead, what came out of Girl Attacks were strategies of coping and defending, and I’m here to tell you that coping and defending is exhausting work.

I suppose that’s why heading off to college seven years later felt like a most-welcome liberation. Not only did college present a chance to be new again, it also released me from all the various friendship contracts and treaties that had been drawn up over those early years of drunken nights at the drive-in, stolen boyfriends, changes of zip code, and divergently trending report cards.

It’s not that the first weeks of college were easy. Oh, no. Often, I felt lonely and unsure of how to make connections. I would leave my history class, during which the professor had spent more than a few minutes predicting the ways our collective idiocy would play out over the term, and then head to the student union to check my mailbox (empty, unless my mom had written to tell me about symphony concerts or my grandma had penned a note with details about the first frost of the year). After that, I needed to…well, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do to get through those late-afternoon hours. My Indian tapestry and Paul Klee print were already hung on my dorm room wall, and there were only so many times I could play my Howard Jones cassette tape (a super cool girl from Boulder who lived down the hall had this new thing called a “CD player,” but I was still rocking my boom box) while tamping down the urge to sing along loudly “What is loooooooooove, anyway? Does anybody love anybody anyway?” I knew I couldn’t break into boisterous song and the usual maze of accompanying dance steps in the presence of my college peers, these strangers, lest they witness the weird insanity that could be mistaken for retardedness.

Naturally, I had to watch my behavior in that carefully decorated dorm room, as my roommate and I were still figuring each other out. She seemed nice enough, and the fact that she’d brought her hot-air popcorn popper from home opened quite a few doors in JocelynLand. Initially, we worked diligently at Becoming Friends and Facing This New World Together. We’d pop some corn, melting butter in the little “dish” on top, and we’d sit on the grungy carpet and lean against the cinder block walls of our shared room, comparing life stories. As I say, she was plenty nice. And, well, popcorn popper.

There was, however, a kind of reserve in her that kept me from unleashing all my very best weird insanities. She was a petite, gentle, quiet girl. She was extremely pretty. She also had to be smart, or she wouldn’t have been there. She took her classwork seriously.

Unfortunately, she took her lip gloss even more seriously.

What’s more, she was tidy, proper, the kind of 18-year-old who kept her shampoo and conditioner in a basket with a handle and who wore her robe tightly belted on her way to and from the shower. Me? I’d slop across the hall to the bathroom in a big t-shirt and some sweats, juggling handfuls of hygiene products haphazardly. I didn’t plan out my outfits or sit up straight at my desk when I studied or go to bed at 10:30 p.m. When, one night, a random guy from the other end of the floor offered us some ramen noodles that he’d made in his hotpot, she quickly said, “No, thank you. I’m fine” at the same time that I bellowed, “WHAT ARE THESE RAMEN NOODLES OF WHICH YOU SPEAK? WE DO NOT HAVE THEM IN THE LAND FROM WHENCE I COME. Give them to me now, and then give me more!”

Neither of us was doing anything wrong. We were just…different.

Different was okay, if not particularly relaxing or fun.

Then, a few weeks in to fall term, my roommate invited me to come for a walk downtown with a group of freshmen girls from across campus. She’d been hanging out with them a bit and seemed, in her understated way, to be excited about them, especially because they lived in a “cool” dorm. They knew guys who were athletes. Something about the promise of these girls set her former-high-school cheerleader self to thrumming. The plan for the afternoon was to wander through the stores on the main street, maybe get something to eat, and just enjoy an off-campus afternoon of hanging out. Pleased by the invitation and the possibility of new friendship (and perhaps a stop somewhere for popcorn), I tucked in beside my roommate as we headed out to meet the group across campus.


The whole thing made me sad.

No one was unfriendly. No one was unkind. Everyone handled the pleasantries acceptably.

But no one was actively friendly. No one was clearly kind. No one was interested in talking to me beyond the pleasantries.

To put a finer point on it, no one was interested in me. They were interested in each other and the magical synergy that came from Them as a Collective of Tiny Cutenesses. No one seemed to think my ham-fisted jokes about mannequins in shop windows (“Good thing she’s got a lot of personality ‘cause she sure doesn’t have a head on her shoulders!”) added to the group’s magic.

At some point, maybe a half hour in, I stopped trying, stopped attempting to edge up to the two walking shoulder-to-shoulder in front of me, stopped attempting to compare classes, stopped asking questions about where they’d come from. Even the warm, slanting sun of September couldn’t keep me from being frozen out. At least in junior high, when I was ostracized, the other girls saw me, acknowledged my existence, and then rejected it. Being ostracized through pure indifference was new to me; particularly galling was that, before receiving this version of “go suck a lemon,” I had taken out loans and driven a thousand miles.

Eventually, we all meandered back to campus, them full of the delight of burgeoning friendship, me empty and subdued. At dinnertime, I hardly had the energy to add milk to my second bowl of Captain Crunch.

That night, back in our room, I decided to tell my roommate how the afternoon had felt to me. At least honesty would give us a way to connect to each other with some meaning.

When I told her how left out I’d felt and how I couldn’t understand why no one wanted to walk with me or talk to me, a look of confidence, even wisdom, hit her face. It was as though she knew something I didn’t; she was going to explain, and that would help me.

“The thing is, you have to look like a model in order for these people to like you.”


Well, now. Huh.

Implicit in her explanation was the idea that I had, by being me, disappointed her. She had a vision of her college friends, and if my galumphing self was loitering on the sideline of that imagined 4×6” photo, she would need to pick up her scissors and trim me out.

When my roommate said those words and attempted to convey (her) reality to me, I had a moment.

All the years leading up to college had sent a similar message—that looks equaled character, that looks brought power, that looks should, naturally, reap rewards. Of course good looking kids were the popular ones. Of course good looking kids should be aped and admired. Of course, it was considered a “win” if a good-looking teenager liked me; that friendship made me feel worthy…of something.

By the age of 18, I hadn’t parsed out what all this admiration of pretty people truly meant. All I knew is that the world kept telling me it was better to be pretty because that meant you were better.


Everything that had brought me attention and acclaim was distinct from appearance. I did pretty well at playing musical instruments. I had good ideas. I could relate to a variety of types of people. I could memorize a speech and present it to strangers. I was easy at experiencing and sharing laughter. I had an intelligence suited to traditional education. I tested well. I was game for adventure.

On one hand, receiving praise for these gifts was lovely. On the other hand, receiving praise for things Not About Looks, when clearly good looks were the ultimate goal, was devastating, a donkey kick to the gut. Somewhat grimly, I continued to curl my hair each day, at the same time nurturing a little tendril of hope that somewhere an alternate view of success existed.

That’s where the promise of college revealed itself: by heading away from my hometown to a place where the criteria for being part of the club were entirely intelligence-based, I was stepping into a new life, one where the things I was good at were the things that were valued. College was going to redefine the terms of “winning.”

Yet now college was shaping up to be a continuation of the same, tired game.

In junior high, I bought into the game of cruelty; irrationally, my heart, head, and stomach believed that the observations made by The Note Writers had some merit, that they might actually be seeing me really clearly. From those early periods of conflict, I learned skills of coping and defending. By age 18, I was ready to find a less-enervating strategy. I was ready to challenge my heart, head, and stomach to try out moxie rather than capitulation.

I was ready to reject the basic premise.

I was ready to disengage from the dialogue.

I was ready to be done.

And there it was: a glorious moment of clarity. I let my roommate’s sentence work its way through my mind. “The thing is, you have to look like a model in order for these people to like you.” It was more ignorant than the junior high note, in truth, because it set up Winning Life as nothing more than a struggle to be physically attractive.

This–“The thing is, you have to look like a model in order for these people to like you”—was completely one dimensional.

Fortunately, I knew, at age 18, that I was multi-dimensional, what with being weird, stuck up, insane, mean—and perhaps more importantly, I was kind; I made the people around me feel good; I asked smart questions and listened to the answers; I was an expert at peeing in the woods; I was a brain trust of “Facts of Life” trivia.

And, yes, my nose was prominent enough to become a topic of some people’s conversation. My mid-section tended towards sofa-like softness. My breasts were far from pert.

If face and body were the criteria for success with my roommate and her new pack of friends, then I could only fail with them.

As it turned out, I wasn’t ready to begin college as a failure. I thought about it again: “The thing is, you have to look like a model in order for these people to like you.”

The thing is, no, I didn’t.

The upside to that sad afternoon and startling evening conversation was that these events released my roommate and me from trying to create something artificial with each other.

As the term continued, she deepened her friendships with the Beautiful People, and I deepened my friendships with the crew who lived in my dorm.

Just before winter break, my roommate told me she planned to move out—as there was an opening across campus, in the dorm where the cool people lived. I wanted to swoop the back of my hand across my forehead and shout “WHEW!” but instead I remained impassive and said that seemed like a good decision for her.

Then she left for the library

and I ran, my big nose, belly, and breasts in balance with each other, down to the other end of the floor I lived on.

I had news. There was someone I had to find. I needed to tell her—

I needed to tell her that she could move in with me, that we could blast The Pretenders before dinner, that we could sing along loudly with Alison Moyet (“Midddddnight…it’s rainin’ outside…he must be soakin’ wet”), that we could make up nicknames for every third person we saw, that we could dance until 2 a.m., that we could stagger down the main street of the town, holding hands and laughing—

I needed to find the new great friend who had confirmed for me that college was, indeed, going to be a whole new world—

she had asymmetrical hair (weird!), the sharpest wit I’d ever met (mean!), had dated a guy with blue hair in high school (insane!)—

she was so flawed as to be beautifully perfect.*


As time passed at college, I would occasionally encounter my former roommate. We would exchange all the acceptable pleasantries without being interested in each other. Even more interestingly, two of the girls who had been part of the pack that day downtown ended up being not at all what they had seemed. Over time, they and I became part of the same large swirl of pals. Now, decades later, one of them has been through the wringer, and the other is a yoga teacher (not a scary one) and a highlight of my Facebook life.

The afternoon when I felt they were ignoring me was, for them, a time when they were excited to get to know each other better. They were just into each other. It had nothing to do with me, and the furthest thing from their minds was the idea that I didn’t look like a model. Both my roommate and I had been unpacking the baggage of junior high and high school into our perceptions of them; since we two were toting around dramatically different luggage, the contents spilled out into mismatched heaps.

Now, every time I post something on Facebook, and one of those girls who hurt my feelings so badly in 1985 comments enthusiastically and positively that she loves me, I blip back to elementary school, to junior high, to high school, to college, to graduate school, to my current work life. As I flash through the profound aches and wild joys all mixed up together, I think:

“The most amazing part of life might just be that we manage to live through it.”



*Wouldn’t it be something if I’d written all that in a note, folded it into a triangle that could be finger-punted like a football, and slipped it to her as we passed in the hall?











24 responses to “While I Still Don’t Look Like A Model, I Am Closing in on Hairy Old Grandma”

  1. Lil Avatar

    I can’t get over that you know what happened to people you went to junior high with. And that you’re still in contact with people from university. I find that completely mind boggling. Wow.

  2. Erin Avatar

    This post brings back a lot of memories…unfortunately I might have been the writer of such notes. I wasn’t always a very sweet little girl! I don’t recall being picked on, but seemed like I was always on the fringes of most groups, always doubting that they liked or even noticed me. I think that’s what made me a bit of a mean girl – the idea that being the first one to strike was better than the possibility of being struck at. I’ve apologized so many times to one girl I was especially mean to that I think she thinks I’m nuts. I still feel bad about it though.

  3. C-leen Avatar

    HEY, I caught your note. Thanks for finger-punting it at me. Lurrrrve you.

  4. Robin Avatar

    Good stuff, my beautiful friend. The theme of our parallel lives continues as I had a very similar experience in 6th grade. Literally showed up to school one day and the group of friends I thought I had wouldn’t talk to me. Then, when one of them (her name was Andrea) accidentally slipped and talked to me, she explained that the ring leader (Michelle) would be really mad if she found out, so could I please not tell her. Apparently my infraction was some imagined slight to Michelle, so I was out. Overnight. Plus, I was “fat.” I had always felt on the fringe anyway, but it was a pivotal moment for me. I never looked at any of those girls the same way again and a year later I left public school and went to a private girls school with uniforms and a few wonderful misfits who are still my friends to this day despite my complete and total departure from So. Cal. after high school. It’s funny, but much of my diffuse yet persistent dislike of Southern California probably traces back to that moment. There is residual mistrust of the kind of culture that would treat me that way. In any event, hurray to you for surviving and thriving and finally calling the bullies out. Too many of us have endured the same thing. You are fabulous.

  5. Becky Avatar

    This made me tear up. My frosh roomie, whom I love, was also a cool kid. I was not. Took awhile to find my niche. your post brought back a lot of good, bad, challenging memories.

  6. Kimberly Robinson Avatar

    Though I carry no written evidence, I still have keen memories of school unkindness, fortunately way over balanced by a lot of better experiences. The class reunion, a couple of weeks ago, was all about the love. I was paired with a random roommate my freshman year that made me feel like an outsider and I still remember the unbelievable relief when I was moved out of the triple with two such girls and found “my people”. There would be other betrayals. Nothing is quite so unsettling as lacking the wisdom to discern to what degree others assessment of you is true or false. One of the things we forget that wasn’t so great about being young. And being able to wrap those memories in mercy, one of the best things about being older.

  7. chlost Avatar

    You’ve painted such a vivid picture of college life….it brought mine back to me. I am a “bit” older, and my freshman year in the early 70s was spent in a new-fangled college dorm which was *gasp!* co-ed, intellectual and full of the weirdoes at an otherwise rather placid, religious-based college in the middle of nowhere. My roommate was the first vegetarian I’d ever met. Drugs were openly exchanged and enjoyed (one of the women on our floor is rumored to have died of an overdose of heroin a few years after college). The woman down the hall whose sexual ecstasy was hard to miss was somewhat appalling to me. I felt very naïve, inexperienced, stupid and straight-laced. Looking back, it was an amazing learning experience, but I changed schools the next year.

    This is what college is for-learning about life and our place in the world. I feel badly for the young people who are missing this as they are encouraged to skip college for technical schools or community college. Living with people whose life experience is different than your own broadens your own life. Even knowing the modus operandi of the self-described “beautiful people” is valuable.

  8. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    Oh, I remember those slam books–and how NASTY we acted, cutthroat and MEAN. I never saved a shred of that stuff, thank goodness (one perk of moving every 3-4 years, I guess).
    But unlike you, I found kindred spirits right away in college and never got snubbed by anyone I wanted to be friends with. How painful.

  9. Chickens Consigliere Avatar

    You found your people…and they found their people….and then you sort of all found yourselves and realized you are really not that different even if you are very different. That’s beautiful.

  10. lime Avatar

    i was quite impressed that you knew the whereabouts of the jr high mean girls….ah but then the growth and reconnection makes sense. i’ve never been back to a high school reunion and couldn’t begin to tell you where people are or what they do.

    college was where i found lasting, enriching friendships with people from all over the world and in my own backyard. honestly, i got along with guys so much more easily as friends than i did with girls.

    but managing to live through life….that is not to be underestimated.

  11. vagabonde Avatar

    I read your post with much interest. I just finished a book entitled “Cultural Misunderstandings” explaining the difference in culture between the US and the French – and it is immense, much more than people think. What you wrote proves it to me in a way. I was never so close to girls in school, for example I never had a girl stay overnight or even visit my home, and we never wrote notes about anyone. We had no prom, no football team or any other team in my French high school. At college, I knew hardly anyone as making friends is not easy in France, but never missed it because I was not used to have any. I do not know anyone from my high school or college now. We don’t have “reunions” and no one keeps records. It must not have been fun for you to be with these types of people – I can see that looks are big in the US, in my school the “in” type was the super intellectual, the one who could philosophize easily, or read a lot – so different! Looks were not so important then.

  12. Ann in NJ Avatar

    I was never in the “in” group (too tall, too big, too smart) but was lucky enough to have found enough kindred souls along the way to not experience such outright cruelty as your note. But my best friend in high school (male) confided to me one slightly drunk night that I would have been his girlfriend if I weren’t fat. Ouch. However, I am still on my first marriage and he’s on his second (that I know of), and I wish him no ill at this point.

    I’ll admit to being highly amused that “tall” was such an offense – I am close to 6ft in all but the thinnest of soles, as are most super models!

  13. Meg Avatar

    The universality of these “finding your own peeps” experiences is astonishing to me. I can still feel my own heartache from long ago. As I watch my daughters deal with mean girl shenanigans, I want to grab those girls and shake them. But I stop myself. Mostly due to fear of legal reprisal. I keep telling my daughter that she will find her tribe, it just may take effort and time.

  14. Meg Avatar

    By the way, Olay makes a nice cream that will address the “hairiness” issue.

  15. kmkat Avatar

    I also had a junior high *experience*. My school was tiny, only about 30 kids in my grade. One day the cool girls — all four of them — decided not to talk to me any more. Bam. Happily, we moved a year later and found better friends.

  16. Sharyl Avatar

    What a wonderful post, and I’m over the top impressed that you still have that note. You’re such a gifted writer and a strong person. And that quote from your first roommate is a jaw dropper.

  17. pam Avatar

    My parents were part of the “Parents and Friends” committee of my ‘girls only’ high school – the parents were all close and socialized frequently, throwing we girls, who couldn’t stand each other, together. Very awkward.
    We were in different year levels to start with, which was an area not to be transgressed, and embarrassing.
    Life takes strange twists and turns however – the most aloof and ‘cool’ elder girl who had an older boyfriend at the time, and found it beneath her to talk to us, married him. He died at a tragically young age a decade later from cancer.
    A friend, Narelle found herself one of the reluctant daughters in this parents social group. She was very fashionable (I never had the money to be in that group with clothes, records, dances, make-up and fashion), I was bookish and my parents figured the library was free!- Narelle was in my home class, and friendly and although she was caught up in the boy-crazy dating group of our home class (again, I was too shy) she later married, had two children and a fierce battle with OCD, committing suicide leaving family heartbroken.
    People’s lives digress so much from those teenage years – I am not one for school reunions to find out how, but I know that those I’ve envied at times can be wiped out by an event in their lives – and there are local and national celebrities here in Australia that can attest to the fact that the wave of success can be the same one that dumps you painfully where you don’t want to be.
    My mum berates herself that she was a mean girl, spiteful at times as a pre-adolescent and she still beats herself up about it and she’s in her mid-eighties! I think she’s been trying to make up for it since around the age of 15 or thereabouts!!!
    Wonderful post Jocelyn.

  18. Maria Avatar

    Ugh.Junior High.I was terrified when my daughter chose a Catholic junior high after a grade school life in a gentle Montessori. Catholic girls can be vicious. She did get some heckling for making the varsity basketball team and causing one very mad girl not to make it. But, she endured, as you did, by just being herself and refusing to be anything else. I was one of the lucky ones. I glided through junior high, senior high, college, med school with ease. And it was all because I would always rather read a book than socialize. I was a self made loner and somehow this made me madly attractive to everyone. Nothing like someone who doesn’t care if you like them or not to make them want you to like them SO much. Along the way in my life, I have found a very small circle of friends. A friend from med school who now has a partner, a woman who I met when we both volunteered as kindergarten lunch ladies at the Montessori school that our daughters both attended. In fact, she uttered the name of my blog, except she muttered under her breath, “Just eat your damn cupcake, Richie!” And a few others. But my circle is small. Yours is an ocean! Thank you for this lovely article. It made me ache a little with jealousy at the way you just throw yourself into life so carefree and sure footed.

  19. Friko Avatar

    As it does, life, with all its relational ups and downs, carried on—and although I didn’t have the tools yet to understand that cruelty and anger are offshoots of pain, and I didn’t really comprehend that the target of vitriol isn’t actually the source of the problem but, rather, a convenient repository for the attacker’s issues, I look back now on the artifacts from those years and see it all plainly. Just look at the interplay of agony and affection, for example, in a yearbook message the head note-writer later penned:

    Sorry, I don’t usually do that, but that paragraph has gone straight to a wounded heart.
    Mine. If what you say is true, then maybe I found an explanation for what happened to me very recently.

    As for you and your experience? You’ve moved on. Moving on feels good.

  20. pia Avatar

    Wow Jocelyn brilliant.

    I thought I was the most unpopular girl who ever lived in junior high. Later I learned so much about the girls and their insecurities. Much later, sadly.

    I did look like a model in college. It made me very popular. I loved it and distrusted it as the same time.

    But they really liked me because I too was kind and apparently it showed. Still I was scared of my own shadow to be clichesh.

    We all knew each other through our 30’s–lived in NY–hung out at the club the boy I briefly married owned.

    Now he’s my mentor.

    They thought I was sweet. Girls thought I was wonderful but I was cruel to people from my past and girls I didn’t like. I spent decades being sad over that. Apparently nobody noticed my cruelty.

    The last thing I am is shy. I like the person I turned into.

    Life is weird.

  21. Deborah Avatar

    I’ve been pondering your former roommate’s reply for a while, and keep coming back to what might be a different interpretation than yours. If your recollection of what she said is absolutely accurate and she did indeed say ‘these’ people, that puts quite a distance between her and them. As much as she may have wanted to be accepted by them, it leaves some room to suggest that she knew very well how shallow and unjust their judgement of you was.
    I was an outsider for virtually all of my school life (‘too tall’ rings a few bells!) but I think it probably suited my introverted nature. Junior high was when it bothered me the most, and the day after high school ended I felt completely liberated, but I was fortunate not to suffer more than the run-of-the-mill cruelties that kids can visit on their peers. Jeez, the worst I can recall is having somebody snap my bra strap and hiss ‘Flat-chester!’ My university experience was in my home town, so no roommate tales there, which has often made me think I missed out on some essential rite of passage. I love the way this story came full circle – and are you reeeeeeeally an introvert???

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      I totally agree that my roomie’s phrasing gave away her feelings of that group being “aspirational” for her. When I look back on what I know of her home life before college, I can see the roots of her desire to “fit in” with “the right kind.” We all were what we were, so I don’t condemn her. Age 18 is teetering on that cusp between childhood and adulthood.

      As far as extrovert/introvert goes, I teeter on the cusp there (Do you like this transition from the last point?). I used to be more extroverted; as I age, I see more and more of the introvert coming out.

  22. A Cuban In London Avatar

    A couple of things that stood out in your post: you still get on with people from secondary school and the closing quote to your beautiful post. I love that quote. It’s not different to what blokes go through but I admit that having met my fair share of girls, having had my fair share of girl friends and having had my fair share of girlfriends (same phrase, different meaning) I know where you’re coming from.

    This is the stuff that gets distributed on smartphones and Blackberries nowadays. I’m glad you came through. And I’m also glad your daughter is not going through a similar situation.

    Greetings from London.

  23. Bijoux Avatar

    I’m sort of surprised that people are surprised that you know what happened to all these girls. It’s called Facebook and class reunions! Anyhoo, I’m more surprised you kept the mean note as I’d have burned the damn thing long ago.

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