I remember in the eighth grade, there was one girl that I knew in my class, but I went swimming with her and some friends once and she was really starting to fill out. I always thought she was attractive since then, but because she always dressed in black and never showed off she was very unpopular. I remember a conversation about it, when the guys were all sitting around drinking one bottle of beer (between us, not each — hey, we were 14 and living in suburbia) and talking about girls we thought were cute. “Tara? She’s hot,” said one guy. Everyone nodded their head in agreement. Everyone gave the name of the girl they thought was good looking, and I figured I had a couple of words to say.
“Melanie,” I said. “She’s hot. I saw her in a bathing suit, and she’s got really nice boobs.” (Boobs was a pretty good determinant of who was hot back then when I was 14.)
Everyone looked at me with the same amount of disgust as if I was just saying that my own mom was hot.
I kid you not — my next statement was, “No, I’m joking. She’s ugly.” The disgusted looks faded away, though they thought I was pretty blind and couldn’t be trusted on to make decisions on who was good looking or not.
So anyways, there ya have it — the power of popularity made me eat my own words. Even though I liked this girl, I would have to NOT like her from that point on to be one of the guys.
Though privately I thought of her in that swimsuit. What an idiot I was.
And with good reason too — we rarely talk about the good things because that seems like rubbing it into someone’s face. I rememeber back when I was in grade 9, my best friend managed to get a girlfriend, and we were talking about it on his porch steps one time. “Yeah,” he said, “she comes over here for lunch, and she always gives me a blow job before I go back to school. If we have time, we fuck.” And there’s me, no girlfriend, no hopes of GETTING one, and listening to my friend talk about how wonderful his sex life is. I didn’t want to hear it. Now if he was sitting there saying, “My girlfriend is really selfish. Last night she started a fight over something stupid.” I’d be a lot more interested. I don’t know if this says something about human nature being more interested in negative aspects of people or it says something about me.
I also wanted to say something about those “good girls,” the ones that never dated, studied hard… after I was out of high school for a few years, a lot of those girls turned into really beautiful women, far sexier than the “popular girls” of high school. When I was in Canada I often ran into people from high school, and it’s amazing how things change after high school. The most popular girl married right out of high school, and had three kids within three years, and was living with her mullet-haired husband in a low-rent district. And another girl I never noticed in high school was turning heads afterwards.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, sometimes listening to other people is not a good thing. I like the speech Al gives in the second panel, kind of implying a regret in high school for worrying about popularity, and what was important in high school not being important after graduation. Because, it’s not. I hope that gives hope to people out there who are agonizing through high school.
The last panel is a little bit of fun.