Stupid Girls

Aged nine and able to converse like an adult in complete, coherent sentences — thereby becoming the only child of that age I could ever stand to be around — she did dance routines to Pink tracks, bowing at the end with a Josephine Baker’s confidence and flourish.

When she got her own kitten — now a whopping yellow tom — she wanted to be a vet for a while. Then I think the idea of studying psychology took hold briefly; politics interested her, and in junior high she lied about her age trying to get a fundraising job at the Human Rights Campaign. She actually enjoyed math class — something I never could — and  one year her science teacher was her crush, a woman with a no-nonsense butch personality.

She dyed her hair purple or red, I forget which, as soon as she was allowed, and got interested in body art. Not news that thrilled me, but she seemed to have a plan in mind; she mused about opening a tattoo parlor that would support an avant-garde art gallery. She signed up for AP art history, and surfed the state university sites all last fall, putting together a course schedule for a business major with an art minor. A well-off relative committed to closing the funding gap if she applied for grants. “Do I need to take French III over again?” she debated, that being a class where her grade wasn’t going to look impressive on a college application.

The hair dye changed every two weeks. I told myself teenagers are teenagers; after all, she could still deliver a rousing speech about the evils of rape culture, and was already dating both girls and boys — not someone you expect to succumb to the Barbie mentality of coiffures and outfits. Still, I wished she would spend more time surfing Wikipedia and less deciding on a pair of earrings at Etsy. Occasionally she wanted to come along as a guest to my gym, but seemed mainly interested in the tanning booth. I started hearing things like “salon” instead of “art gallery.”

This summer, headed into her junior year, she blew off summer school classes that turned out to be necessary for advancing to college. “I’m going to beauty school. You don’t need college for that,” she shrugged.

What the f&^! happens to women??

Beauty school? Hair, nails and toxic fumes, shortening other people’s lives and her own in the name of a fake standard of appearance — a career (if you can call it that) for gum-chewing trailer trash.

I wouldn’t have ever known about that Pink song, if it wasn’t for her. I’d lock her in a room and play it nonstop for a week, but I think there are laws about that.

But then I’m stupid too. I let myself imagine that this high-sounding blah you hear about making a difference in a child’s life actually had something to it.

I’m going to be in a pretty crappy mood for a few weeks, I’m afraid.


20 thoughts on “Stupid Girls

  1. There may be hope yet; she seems the explorer type and she may yet change her mind and return the her roots whatever colour they may be.

    • Well, I would trust your thoughts on this more than most, Paul, given your line of work. But it’s so discouraging.

      Boys slack and drink beer, but girls turn into plastic imitations of people and it depresses the hell out of me.

  2. I agree with Paul. Completely. So what if everybody plays the fool some time?

    It’s Gigi, with a slightly different spin. I’ll write new lyrics for “Thank Heaven for little girls.” Judi Dench will rework the old Maurice Chevalier role. It’s gonna be great.

    • The little girl was nice. Smart, sassy, intellectually hungry. Right up through junior high, more or less. Even through last fall, despite silly pink stripes in her hair and low rise jeans; I understand that being teenage brings this out in people.

      The nearly-grown woman is someone I don’t know. It’s like she died or a pod person took over and buried the smart kid under someone who goes on idiot diets, spends all her time fussing with her looks and has no intellectual curiosity or ambition. I want everything that I felt for the last eight years of knowing her back so I can use the energy for something else.

  3. I don’t know the girl, Sledpress, but this is just disturbing.

    Last night, I was reading the 2010 report of the American Psychological Association on the sexualization of girls. The executive summary is here and you can download the full report from the sidebar — if you haven’t already read it.

    This puts me in mind of a young friend of mine who has her undergraduate degree in physics. Her ambition, besides getting her doctorate, is to get a boob job.

    • At least I haven’t heard anything about that.

      If she were only sexualized, I’d invoke memories of the stuff I got away with in high school. Um, junior high. While the guy involved was playing Bach on the piano. It’s the complete abandonment of anything resembling a worthwhile use of a human life and mind for a career in vapid fakeness, for a horizon lower than the curb across the street.

  4. I can certainly understand why you are so disturbed, Sled. However, this young woman has her whole life ahead of her … and you don’t know what awaits her down the road, or what you might have given to her that she will look back on ten, twenty, thirty years from now. I think of adults who had huge impacts on me that I didn’t recognize or use until now … and they’ll never know, and God knows what kind of impression they have of me as an adult. I still feel the sting of the number of adults who were cheerleaders for me in high school, only to express huge and shaming disappointment when I dropped out of college. I’m not saying you would ever do such a thing to your formerly-independent-minded protegee … just that influence, like any other thing one gives, must be given with the knowledge that there may never be any visible return. You just have to trust that when you give gold, it accumulates interest in an account that may be very secret and kept so far offshore that nobody else knows about it.

    • Those thoughts help, David. Thank you.

      I can’t help taking it personally. It’s like she’s pissing on everything that I ever considered valuable, in general and about her.

  5. Oh, ow. That is truly disappointing. Does she know how you feel? Would it help at all? When someone changes so drastically it would seem as if you wouldn’t be able to talk to them any more… Buy maybe some of that exploring adventuring intelligent girl is waiting inside the woman to come back out and play…

    • The whole thing really trickled into place by degrees; first it was sort of furtive obsessing about her weight and anticipation of being old enough to be allowed to use cosmetics, and then less and less excitement about learning things… I think something happens where girls decide they won’t ever get anywhere by using their brains, and that’s sad. But not necessary. They have to see it’s not necessary.

      And I’ve been so angry since learning that she blew off those classes, I don’t dare talk to her.

      • That may be where you miss the train. Not approving a person’s choices should not become a rejection of the person herself. She makes you mad, tell her…lovingly. I know you can, sensitive as you are and don’t shake your head.
        Take it as a free professional advice.

        • I know that’s what anyone would say, especially someone with your experience. She doesn’t need someone yelling at her; she’s had enough of that in her life that it won’t make any difference, other than that it would probably hurt more coming from me, since I’ve never done that.

          Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m capable of talking about this with her without becoming incandescently angry. She’s betrayed herself, thrown away everything I (and the people who actually care about her) ever tried to do for her; she’s betrayed her whole gender by deciding to throw away her prospects and her life like this. And I think a lot of it is about spiting her parents, who have probably earned it, but in the end they’re not going to be the real losers. I want to slap her until her head rings, which means I really have to just turn around and walk away.

          • You are, through this exchange, letting steam out already; that less pressure when you come to it. Give yourself a good work out before meeting her, get exhausted first. And remember she does not need a judgment, just a listening ear and a sounding board. She is probably as confused as you are about herself and maybe just as mad.
            Isolation is the last she needs even though she may not act like it. Brace yourself like when you get ready to dive in a cold lake…Oh! You may not have one in Virginia.

          • I don’t think there’s enough time in the world to let out all this steam. I let myself care about a young person once in my life, knowing they are mostly ungrateful, self-centered wretches and hoping I’d stumbled across one that was smart enough to be different, and this is where it ended up. My stupid and hers; I’ll upchuck if I try to swallow any more of it.

            She doesn’t want anyone to listen to her. If she can make a decision like this, then she doesn’t care in the least what I think and I can save the trouble. It’s awkward, because I know her through my cute engineer friend, who’s functioned as a surrogate parent to her for years and appears prepared to continue despite this, so I can’t just disconnect the way I would like to. It’s going to kill a noticeable number of date nights, but then I have a lot of books in my house.

  6. Don’t give up, think of it as a hibernation. Keep sending her intelligent books on all kinds of subjects. I didn’t really come into myself until my late 30’s, but I kept reading in the midst of all the other crap.

    • Her whole life has been spent under the influence of parents whose only emotions toward their children were destructive.

      She’s had a troop of cheerleaders who thought she deserved better and have hung in there, at varying costs of awkwardness and personal expense.

      She’s decided to throw herself away and let her parents win. No good deed goes unpunished.

  7. Pingback: Raised beds made from Chinese shipping pallets « heretherebespiders

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s