Friend, Cliques and Popularity
A clique, as we all know, is a group of tightly woven friends who pride themselves on simply being together at the exclusion of everyone else. The only thing more uncomfortable than approaching a clique (usually a group of giggly or snobby girls and self-intoxicated guys) is being shot out of a cannon directly at a brick wall. Had I only been shot at brick walls as a teenager, I might be a little happier today. I've noticed that friendships in general are a lot easier to form and maintain for guys than they are for girls.
If you're worried about a teenaged son or daughter who doesn't seem to fit in...take heart - and read on:When I was already a mom with kids of my own, I re-met Anne, a girl who had been in my fifth grade class and every class after that, but who had been so quiet that I barely knew she existed. She came over for dinner one night with her kids. My husband asked her how she had liked the kids at the schools we had gone to together. Her answer was simple - - but to me it was stunning. "I didn't have anything in common with them," she said. Here we were, two girls in the same school who both felt out of it. But I had blamed myself. I thought must not look right, act right, BE right because I wasn't popular.
There was one boy named Elliot who was in my classes. He was a smart kid. I would call him almost every night to help me with my homework. We went through algebra, trigonometry, and calculus together. We laughed a lot on the phone, making fun of our teachers. We talked about the books Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. We talked about our parents. But I never ever considered him a potential boyfriend. Even though he was fun on the phone, Elliot was basically a nerd. He was short, he wore white socks, had braces, played the oboe-and got good grades. I also got good grades. But for some strange reason, I tried to keep that a secret from my friends.
There she is. All smiles and charm and wide gestures and tilted head. Sparkling eyes, loud-ish giggle. Great clothes, great style, great posture, probably great looking. Of course, you can barely see her because she is surrounded by what looks like a bunch of Secret Service agents, but you know she's there. Everyone does. She is the popular girl. And while you may make fun of her, you and your best friend, when you are sure no one can hear you - how shallow or petty or fake she is, I'll bet that for at least five minutes every day, you wish you were her. Or at least, her best friend. Someone who slept at her house sometimes, tried on her clothes.
Hey, you know everybody wants to be cool. We wanna look cool, have cool friends and do cool things, but did you ever wonder where the term "cool" came from? What does "cool" really mean? Anyway, when I asked my history teacher if I could do my term paper on "The History of Cool", she kind of stared at me, rolled her eyes and walked away. So rather than waste this very cool theory of mine, I figure I'd share it with you. The history of cool is like the history of the bagel--everyone wants to claim they invented it. So I figure my theory is as good as any. As I see it, somewhere around the Paleolithic Era (that's Stone Age for you illiterates), the idea behind the word "cool" came into being.
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