Mean Girls is an awesome film. Most Millennials can quote one or two things from it at the very least. Some people even tried to make fetch happen – it didn’t happen.
Some girls in my school tried to make Mean Girls happen. They wanted to be the Mean Girls. They experienced joy from recreating Mean Girl moments through manipulation and back-stabbing. I was part of them for a time. I was a bit of a Cady.
They were also a group of three; I was number four. I wasn’t much of a girls’ girl and I certainly wasn’t good at being a teenage girl in the mid noughties. I was very terrible at it actually – I plastered my face with Dream Matt Mousse and circled my eyes (badly) with black eyeliner. These were the early days of my Body Dysmorphic Disorder and like any anxious teenage girl, I just wanted to blend in.
Getting into this particular clique was a great improvement on my social status; at the time I had lost all of my primary school friends and gained one good friend in return. But having one good friend to rely on didn’t seem like enough when in a school for girls, so of course I tried to gain more friends, and consequently try to look less of a loser.
The girls in the clique were gorgeous of course – puberty had treated them well; it had been generous to them in fact; and they all had long dark hair with either an olive or dark skin tone to compliment. I obviously looked like I didn’t belong – with my terrible choice in glasses, my skin so pale it could have been transparent, and a body similar to an ironing board.
I was invited to join the group after hanging out with them a little (and by hanging out, I mean sitting next to them in class a few times). My verbal invitation came because I was the funny one – something I had trained myself to become from an early age in order for people to like me.
The group had a typical dynamic – one alpha female, three loyal subjects. I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to have three people fighting to be my favourite, but that’s what our ‘Queen’ got to enjoy. Watching us fight it out like the scene at the watering hole.
Our Regina George (it wouldn’t feel right just saying Regina) changed her favourite a few times, though mostly it was our version of Gretchen. Sometimes I got to be number two – winning the seat next to her in class a couple of times, which was basically like being given a gold medal and watching the other two competitors get a piece of coal.
We took part in several schemes against each other. I was just as bad as the others at time. One sleepover Regina George felt that Gretchen was being annoying, so that night she was our prey. I put her underwear in the freezer (much to my mum’s disapproval the next morning) and we put her hand in warm water during the night (though no wetting the bed happened).
Whatever Regina George wanted, we did. If she thought my music taste wasn’t as it should be, our version of Karen would insult me as we shopped in HMV for the new Indie album that I wanted. If Regina George didn’t like someone, we didn’t like them. We were parrots, repeating the same bitchy comments about someone else just to get her to like us the most.
At one point we had another girl join us. It didn’t last long as she was smart enough to get out early. She told me in confidence that she wasn’t going to hang out with us at lunch times anymore, but not to say anything to the others. Yes, that’s how scary it got. Not in a physical way, just in an emotional back-stabbing kind of way.
I kept my promise. That lunch time when Regina George and Gretchen asked me where the other girl was, I shrugged my shoulders. I must have done said shrugging rather terribly, as they must have clocked on that I was covering. They hatched a plan, just for fun.
The four of us hung out at lunch time, Karen wondering off to get another cookie (most likely – the cookies at school were amazing. They were the staple of all of our diets).
“God Karen is so annoying,” said Regina George.
“Yeah, I hate her,” said Gretchen.
“Me too,” I said, after they had both looked at me for a response. Then the smiles crept on their face, and I knew I was in the shitter. I just didn’t realise how much.
Karen came back to our table. Gretchen and Regina George, like the lovely friends they were, told Karen how I said I hated her.
Looking back at it now, I wish I hadn’t been such a push-over, and wish I had told Karen that they had said the exact same things as me, but I was so desperate to stay in the group, I said nothing about what had actually happened. Throughout the rest of the lunch time, Gretchen and Regina George happily accused me of being two-faced to Karen, telling them that I hated her. Naively, I had at first denied the charges, leading them to call me a liar.
A day or two after said lunch time, the scariest girl in our year shouted at me down the hall calling me a bitch. It turned out that Regina George and co. had told Other Girl that I had told them that Other Girl had left because she hated the group. I didn’t even see the point in fighting it – who were they going to believe, the pretty clan of girls or the one loser girl who had just been chucked out from the group for being a liar?
They called me a liar and a bitch for a couple of weeks, even bringing it up in their answers when putting their hands up in class, just to twist the knife a little more. Thankfully, I still had my good friend by my side to sit with. I feel bad now for having to lean on her so much during all this BS when we were 14 years old. Good Friend actually ended up becoming very close friends with Regina George years later – I had moved on to a very different group of friends by that time.
Though I utterly adore Mean Girls, and could quote them forever as the limit does not exist, it certainly inspired some bitchy evil within my group of friends. Thankfully things never got as bad as the film – there were no bus incidents or drug dealer accusations – but unfortunately there was a Burn Book, though I never saw the contents.
I was never myself when I was in that group of girls – except when buying a CD, which I got stick for – and that was probably part of the problem; I should never have tried to be something that I wasn’t. I shouldn’t of let the haters stop me from doing my thang.
I certainly learnt an important life lesson about not being a bitch. I didn’t want to be a life ruiner, ruining people’s lives. I hope other girls took a leaf out of Janice’s book and wore wigs made out of their mum’s chest hair.
Sorry I’ll stop now.