Disclaimer - This post contains a bad word (or two). I blame The Gord.

Every morning I hoof it to my bus stop and every morning I miss my bus.  In the time it takes for me to stand around and wait for the next one, I do a lot of people watching.

My bus stop is opposite the Palmerston North Girl’s High School.  Like all other New Zealand schools, they have to wear uniforms that take you back to the jolly old England of the 50’s.  The wool plaid skirts hang down to the calves.  Completing the outfit are an oversized sweater and giant sensible black shoes.  All the girls look the same.  But no amount of forced conformity on the outside can change the social structure of high school, or as I remember it, Hell.

I watch as  they walk to the campus.  You can immediately spot the popular cliques.  Even though they look identical, you can see in their body language that they want to be seen.  Their walk is relaxed, sometimes with even a hint of a swagger.  They speak to each other loudly, often laughing.

Then another clutch of girls walk by but they’re moving much faster and in a tighter formation.  Arms crossed across their chest, they seem to talk fast and giggle nervously.  This must be the group of friends that cling together knowing there’s safety in numbers.  Not popular, but if their luck holds, they fall just under the radar.  If they can’t see you, they can’t pick on you.

And then you have the girls that walk alone, usually behind a pack of other girls.  It’s mostly the overweight girl, the ethnic girl, or one that seems shy and mousy.  I have a feeling they would give anything to fall under the radar.

I belonged to the second group described.  I had my two best friends and I clung to them for safety.  My only desire was to go by unnoticed and not get picked on.  I hate confrontation and do poorly under stress.  In other words, I was a choice target for anyone needing prey.

My sister, well, she had her own rules.  She was unflinching in her personality and ran with a crowd just as unflappable as herself.  She was unapologetically studious no matter what level of peer pressure.  Back then I thought she stopped just short of painting a giant target on herself.

But now she’s grown and still unapologetically studious.  She married a man of equal intelligence and ambition.  They are what is now considered “hipster geek chic”.  And what an ironic turn of events this is because geek chic is so totally in.

Everyone wants to be a geek.  TV glorifies impossibly smart minds on shows like The Big Bang.  Movies like The Social Network make the masses want to go out and be the nerd that changes the world.  All the popular kids want to be the socially awkward kid, to be the kid that’s impervious to the pressures of conformity.  Nothing could be greater than being the goddess of all girl nerds, Tina Fey

I wouldn’t describe Steve and myself as hipster geek chic.  We’re more of a “weird and wonderful” sort.  And with that title comes the responsibility to fall ass-backwards into life experiences.  It’s this kind of living that allows a screenwriter to keep pushing forward and for a professional student to enter her 22nd year of university study.

And so I now look back at high school in a detached, anthropological way.  But to all those popular cheerleaders and prom queens, I say get fucked.  My sister would say it, but she quite simply doesn’t have the time.  Also, she doesn’t use that kind of language.

But I do.

And so I say again (but in Kiwi) to those that pick on the ones that seem like easy targets, oi, go get fucked, aye mate.  And this is from someone that’s about to go weigh sheep.

You got it, the weird and wonderful one.

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