Tag Archives: mean girls

Sleepover Part 3

Sleepover Part 3

We scurry about BG’s room, gathering up various pens, pencils, metallic paint pens and scraps of paper.  We WILL deliver that autograph on Monday morning.  We scatter about the room, each of us intensely practicing our Olivia Newton-John autograph.  Every few minutes someone will say “I got it!” and hold up their specimen only to crumple onto the floor in failure after  close inspection.  The problem is that all of us write like third graders because….we are third graders. We must employ someone who doesn’t write like a child. BG’s brother is out because even though he is in fifth grade, his chicken scratch looks worse than ours does, and also we don’t want to interrupt the I’ll-impress-them-with-my-weightlifting session he is doing in his room with the door open just for our benefit.

We know that BG’s mom won’t sign for us because she is a very uptight and serious woman so our only hope is her dad. We sit around and try to figure out how we will get him to sign this autograph without having to fill him in on the whole story. We know he won’t be a willing accomplice if he knows we are plotting against this particular neighbor because they are golf buddies. No one comes up with a good plan, so we continue to practice our fraudulent signatures. Our scheming is interlaced with a series of phone calls from both sides, in which the calling party quickly hangs up after the phone is answered. Two hours into the war, the phone calls mercifully come to a standstill.  Lucky for us because this is the same time that BG’s mom calls us all back into the dining room for more birthday festivities.

We traipse back to our seats with the only light being the glow from the nine candles that are sticking up out of the Rainbow Brite adorned cake.  We sing “Happy Birthday” to Birthday Girl and she blows out the candles, probably spraying her pizza sauce flecked spittle all over the cake, which I am now supposed to excitedly eat. It’s hard eating something that someone has spit on when your mind works the way mine does. But I know that this is all protocol and it would be rude to not partake so I try to scrape off the top layer of icing (using the real excuse that icing makes me sick) and eat the rest while distracting myself with the pile of gifts that have now been placed in the center of the table.

We chatter on, talking faster and overlapping as the sugar hits our system and the plates are taken into the kitchen to clear the way for the gift opening ritual. BG’s dad gets out his huge 35mm camera and positions himself on the opposite side of the room, ready to click every moment of unwrap.  We all watch as BG’s mom picks up each gift, asking who it is from and then repeating what was just said, as if she is speaking a language that is foreign to BG and so must have an interpreter.

BG opens the first card with a look of disappointment as no money comes fluttering down. She pretends to read the card and places it on the table, making eye contact with the giver as she carefully begins to unwrap the affiliated gift.

A Hello Kitty stationery set! Complete with fruit-scented markers and tiny envelopes!

“Thank you so much! I love it!”  says BG, a little too fervently, making me wonder if she really does love it or is trying not to hurt the giver’s feelings.

By the fifth gift, BG has thrown out all gift opening etiquette. She opens the cards just long enough to wait for the cash to fall out (if there is any)  not reading the card at all and then tears into the neatly wrapped presents, barely hiding her disenchantment as she is given things that she didn’t really want.  The dining room floor and table are both covered in colorfully crinkled paper.

The take was huge.  Along with the stationery set, BG’s loot included: Three packages of dessert shaped novelty erasers, a stuffed unicorn, a fake gold bracelet with her named etched on it, a Hello Kitty mini purse, two ET posters, an ice cream cone pillow for her bed, a basket of various gummy candies, three pairs of Jem socks (truly outrageous),  my Rainbow Brite paint by number kit, a monkey puppet with googly eyes, and from her parents, a Michael Jackson doll, complete with sequined glove (which was actually a sequined mitten. I remember this because I also got an MJ doll for my birthday and was very frustrated when I saw that not only was it a mitten, but once taken off,  it was nearly impossible to put back onto his tiny microphone-clutching hand.)

We helped BG take the loot back into her bedroom.  Everyone oohed and aahed and passed the presents around for post-giving examination.  Having long given up our quest for the perfect autograph, we finished watching and singing along to Grease and then head back into the living room where BG’s dad has fallen asleep in his favorite recliner while watching the sports recap on the news. He jumps awake as he hears the group descending upon him like a herd of girly geese. BG asks if we can watch a movie and he says, “yes”, stumbling out of his recliner, wishing us a good night and retiring to his room.

As soon as the coast is clear, BG punches the buttons on the giant remote and suddenly we are watching a horror movie about a Medusa-like villain with live snakes sticking up all over her head.  We unroll our sleeping bags and huddle together, munching on gigantic bowls of chips and pretzels, even though thirty minutes earlier we had finished off two-thirds of a pizza-sauce-spittle-flecked sheetcake. At some point during the evening our numbers have dwindled for a few different reasons:  someone got homesick, someone got mad and was still pouting in the bathroom, and someone threw up (I usually fell into this category if I ended up leaving the party. Pizza sauce did not and still doesn’t sit well with my stomach.) No slumber party is without drama in one or more of these categories. Someone will always be crying or sick or just grumpy.

Soon after the movie began, the weaker girls start drifting off into dreamland as the stronger ones are enraptured by the movie (or in my case, just too scared to fall asleep around this group of girls for fear that they might do something mean to me, as I have often heard rumors that this was their M.O.)  Out of fear that this monster might somehow jump out of the console television and into our lives, no one says a word as our eyes are glued to the screen, periodically jerking our heads around to see what made the noise behind us.

By the end of the movie, I am the only one still alert.  I look at the sleeping bodies that surround me and I am suddenly very awake and very aware of how much my tummy hurts from the acidic pizza sauce I devoured earlier. Great. Not only am I wide awake but I am also in severe pain.  I lay there very still, trying not to move because one of the girls, in her sleep has taken me on as a stuffed animal and has her arm draped over my neck with her face a mere two inches from my own. I can smell her Doritos breath and I suddenly make note that Doritos breath is very similar to the breath you have after you throw up. It’s doubly horrible when it’s being piped directly into your nostrils.

Fully awake and in severe stomach pain, I lay there for the rest of the night, trying to fall asleep but unable to because my mind is now wandering around like a kid unsupervised in the hallways of my mind.  My thoughts drift from focusing on remaining still to avoid an awkward moment for myself (the living teddy bear substitute) and the hugger to mentally willing the hours til morning to fly by so that I can pack up my gear and go home.  Just as I am thinking I might have to initiate a move and wake her, the hugger changes position and I am free. I quickly take advantage of the freedom and get up to go use the bathroom, which I forgot to do earlier because I was trying to seem as if I was really into the movie.

Upon my return I grab a magazine out of the rack and situate myself in the recliner. It is here that I remain until morning.  One by one, starting with BG, the girls begin to stir and sit up.  They look around at each other, doing those slow blinks that you do when you’re not yet fully conscious. No one speaks for several minutes. Finally someone asks me how long I’ve been awake and I tell them I never went to sleep.  No one says it but you can tell they all think I’m some sort of nocturnal weirdo.  BG clicks the tv on and we all just settle back into staring at the Smurfs while we (or those of us who slept) are trying to gather our bearings.

Slowly we all begin to come out of our sleep stupor (although mine would be a lack of sleep stupor).  The back door opens and BG’s dad pops in with a giant box of donuts from the bakery and two gallons of chocolate milk.  We grab our donuts and go back to the Smurfs.  After the sugary goodness of the donuts has had time to hit our system and begin to flow through our veins, we began to talk to each other. Soon everyone is chattering and laughing but no one mentions the night before.

For some reason, at every sleepover I’ve ever been to, there is that morning weirdness.  Everyone remembers everything that happened the night before but there is that underlying knowingness about not talking about it.  No one talks about the sudden departure of the homesick.  No one talks about how we heard her dad going about his business quite loudly in the bathroom.  No one mentions the lengthy conversations about boys.  No one says a word about our phone war with the other sleepover. We flit around these topics the morning after and no one knows why.  We all know that we remember the previous evening but we pretend, for now, not to. Secretly though, we have stored away the entire evening.

Parents begin to filter in to pick up their daughters.  Girls gather their possessions and scramble to the car to wait while her mom has a long drawn-out conversation with BG’s mom. She is nearly asleep by the time her mother gets into the car and zooms home. And each and every girl will spend the afternoon recuperating in front of the tv, drifting in and out of much-needed sleep.

Sleepovers are an essential element of growing up as a girl.  Love them or hate them, you must at some point participate. While the details vary, the vital elements of a sleepover NEVER change:

Someone will always end up in tears.

Someone will always go home sick.

There will always be pizza for supper and donuts for breakfast.

There will always be at least one time when the party is divided into an argument and people take sides, with the Host always being the one to be the mediator.

Boys will always be discussed.

And come Monday morning, the hallways of the school will be filled with exaggerated accounts of the party and how much fun was had (in order to make the other sleepover jealous of what they missed).

But no one will ever mention the non-existent Olivia Newton John concert.



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Sleepover Part 2

Sleepover Part 2

We mull over our ideas of retaliating against the Lewton party and decide that the only way we can win this is to assure them that our party is WAY better than their party. But how to accomplish this? Then, as we watch Olivia Newton-John wistfully croon “Hopelessly Devoted To You” I am struck with a brilliant idea: We will call them back and tell them that we are going to an Olivia Newton-John concert. Nevermind that ONJ would never tour through our tiny town, population 3,026.

Birthday Girl picks up the phone and slowly dials Tricia’s phone number. She knows it by heart because up until three days ago, they were best friends. But then, because Tricia wouldn’t let BG hold her new Cabbage Patch Kid during recess, there was a giant rift in the friendship and Tricia’s invite was revoked. Scrambling at the last minute to show BG that she didn’t need her friendship, Tricia decided to have her OWN sleepover, even though her birthday was four months away. She invited her friends, some of which were also Birthday Girl’s friends, putting them in the awkward position of having to choose sides. Most had sided with BG, either because their moms made them since they had already bought her some Jem (who IS truly outrageous) socks, or because, like me, deep down they were frightened by the power that BG wielded around the third grade hallways. One false step around Birthday Girl and you were wearing the elementary equivalent of the scarlet letter.

Time seems to stop as we all hear the phone ringing on the other end. Finally someone picks up but it’s not Tricia. Tricia is too smart to answer the phone. She makes her dad answer it and yell down the hallway that she has a phone call. She asks him to find out who it is. He asks us. We panic and immediately hang up the phone. Close call.

This is going to be harder than we thought. A hush falls over the room as we sit and weigh our options. Beth keeps watch out the window because Tricia’s bedroom is directly across the cul-de-sac from Birthday Girl’s. She reports back that she can see shadows dancing in front of the half-pulled shade. Are they celebrating a premature victory over us or are they dancing along to Tricia’s Joan Jett album? We surmise it’s a victory dance which raises the stakes on this battle that we must now win.  Defeat is not an option.

We turn off the light in BG’s room and open our shade. We all line the window and watch a few minutes in silence before dialing again. The line crackles a bit as we all huddle around the receiver to try to hear the other side of the conversation. After a few rings, someone picks up. There is movement on the line, some shifting of body weight and a few hushed shushes before someone says,


“Is Tricia there?” BG says with a steady voice.

A tense moment of semi-silence. Some shuffling around and barely audible whispering before the answer finally comes,

“What do you want?”  We don’t know if this is Tricia herself or one of the many minions she has at her disposal. We don’t care because we know that every girl in that room will be in awe of us when we drop our bombshell.

“We just want you to know that we know you called us. And to let you know that our party is way better than yours. We went to see Olivia Newton-John tonight.” (Doesn’t matter that it’s only eight pm, the time when most concerts START or that we are at least two hours away from any venue that could quite possibly house such a superstar.)

“Prove it.”

This throws a wrench in our otherwise seemingly air-tight plan. How can we prove that we went to a concert that doesn’t exist?

“We got to meet her and got her autograph,” Birthday Girl blurts out in a moment of sheer improvisational genius, hoping that this will be sufficient.

Silence on the line, they are contemplating their defeat.

“Well, my dad’s taking us bowling.”


We won! Bowling compared to an Olivia Newton-John concert wherein we met her, talked to her and got her autograph (And that DOESN’T EXIST)? We began congratulating each other, all of us talking at once. We immediately put on Olivia Newton-John’s Greatest Hits Volume 2 and begin to dance around to Physical, even though at nine years old, we still thought it was a workout song. Our excitement about winning is dashed by the burgeoning realization that we just made a statement we can’t possibly prove….

Unless…..we can. 



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Back to School

Back to School

This time of year always puts me in a “what can I share with the younger generation” kind of mood.  I see the school supplies popping up on the shelves (I will buy massive amounts of Crayola crayons after the back to school rush is over.)  I smell the diesel of the buses as they drive their routes a few weeks before school starts.and I can almost feel myself slipping in the puddle of urine pooling at the feet of the scared kindergartener.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t take away a lot from my textbooks. Oh sure I got the basics down: reading, math, basic science and “don’t touch yourself in public” but there were a few key things that really have stuck with me. Since my education was probably very different from yours, we may not have learned the same things,and you may now have kids that need some advice,  here is some of what I learned.  I hope in return, you will share with me, some of what you learned:

* Don’t swallow the fluoride treatments.

* Don’t eat Oreos before the fluoride treatments.

* Don’t put stickers on the inside of your desk.

* Don’t punch your best friend in the stomach in front of the teacher.

* If you have to choose between two sleepovers, stay home. It makes your life easier on Monday.

* Stay away from the mean girls.

* Don’t swing on the girls’ bathroom stall doors like Tarzan. Someone will tell.

* Don’t give someone a best friends necklace when someone else thinks they’re your best friend.

* Always be ready for a pop-fly.

* When playing catcher, stay low.

* Don’t get sent to the hall for talking when the principal is coming down the hall.

*Don’t knock down the school Christmas tree.

* Stay with your class when you go on a field trip. They may leave you behind.

* Don’t quote Rainman. You will not remember that year of your life.

* Unless you enjoy the sound of your knees and ankles popping every time you bend, don’t do a lot of slapstick falls.

* Don’t wear tear-away pants around the college theatre group. It’s too tempting and too drafty.

* Always have finger puppets in your backpack for easy re-enactments.

* Don’t be sorry, be better.

* Fake it ’til you make it.

* The lady talking in the booth behind you at Denny’s IS NOT the voice of Piglet.

* Don’t try to roast Nerds candy over an incense stick (I don’t know why I tried either…but it was nasty.)

*Don’t show your irritation towards the lady who is testing you for kindergarten when she asks you what you consider to be stupid questions.

*The wiffle ball game is NOT over until it’s too dark to see the ball and someone starts crying because they were conked in the head with it.

*Don’t panic that you don’t know all of the continents before you’ve even learned about them.

* Never eat corn dog nuggets and Twizzlers all day. You WILL throw up.

*If you forgot to wear your jewelry, Pizza Hut forks bent around your wrist are not a good substitute.

*Unless you want a smooshed nose, keep your eye on the ball.

* If you’re going to draw on your walls, don’t use Chapstick.

*Standing on your chair while your English teacher is writing on the board is not a good way to make your peers laugh.

*Never fall down stairs unless you mean to.

*Don’t punch the neighbor kid in the gut for standing on “your property.”

*Being offered pot on your very first day of sixth grade in a new school is indicative of how the rest of your year will be. CHANGE SCHOOLS. FAST.

*Do not giggle when your teacher stands between you and your best friend with his hand down the back of his pants during math class.

*Wire coat hangers do not make good toys.

*Enjoy fried cheese for lunch. Later on in life, your body will plump up if you eat this way.

*Leading the cast in a rousing game of spoons backstage will cause some of them to miss their cues.

*If you get bored in a conversation, you can always just fall down to stop it.

*Junior College is like a second Senior Year.

* If you mix gum and Starburst and try to blow a bubble you’re going to have a mess. And, it doesn’t clean up easily.

*If you are President of your Student Government at Junior College, go fishing with your dad instead of giving the commencement address. The school will frown upon this but later in life, you’ll be glad you spent the time with your dad.

As you or your child heads back to school, you may want to go over this list, or even print it out to share with him or her.

Or you might not. It’s probably best not to give them any ideas…



Posted by on August 15, 2011 in Jenn's Tear Out Pages


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