Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fair is a place where fat men in overalls throw cow chips for prizes

posted Sat, 27 Nov 2004

I love high school movies. I always identify completely with the smart, chubby, nerd girl – the one who never gets asked to any high school dances. I wasn’t – except for one ROTC dance that Mike N. asked me to. I didn’t want to go with him and I am still surprised he even asked me because he never showed any interest in me except for that dance. He must have been ordered to take a date. Maybe he was working his way through every girl in our chemistry class. Anyhow, I turned him down with a really lame excuse – “I don’t really get into that military stuff.”

It can still be very painful to watch the nerd girl, though.

Hello! My father was career Air Force! Who was I fooling? Anyhow, Mike, if you are reading this now, I am sorry I wasn’t kinder in saying no – and I am really sorry that my other best friend in high school, Jackie, overheard you asking me and laughed. I am sure Jackie is sorry, too. She is the mother of three teenage boys and would be very upset if any girl treated her boys that way, but even before she had her kids, I know she regretted reacting as she did, because we talked about it. But let’s face it – you were sort of a jerk in high school. I don’t know how you are as an adult, but you can’t expect to be obnoxious to girls in chem lab and then expect them to want to date you.

Anyhow. Even though I know the nerd girl part is right on the mark, what I want to know is if the popular girls really exist the way they are shown in the movies. Harpo and I are having all sorts of movie adventures now that he is the owner of a TV and VCR. We watched “Bring It On” this afternoon. (We also watched “School of Rock,” sure to be a classic of the genre along with “The Blues Brothers” and “Spinal Tap.” If you haven’t seen it yet, get it and then you’ll get this blog.)

In high school movies, like “Bring It On,” “Heathers,” “Mean Girls,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Drop-Dead Gorgeous” and the like, there is always at least one absolutely gorgeous girl who is perfect in almost every way. Do they really exist? I am trying to remember.

There were some very pretty girls in my high school. They are still pretty – I saw some of them at my 20-year high school reunion a few years ago. I was hoping they would have become dumpy and matronly, but unfortunately, it was the girls who were kind of dumpy already in high school who became dumpy adults. It must be only in movies that the ducklings turn into swans. I was very disappointed on behalf of the ducklings.

One of them, Elaine, was not only just as gorgeous as she was in high school, but she also had a PhD. And she was always nice – and was still nice. Darnit. There was nothing about her I could dislike, so my envy was petty and mean. Why couldn’t my envy be based on something substantial?

But the fun thing about high-school movies is that I am now far enough away from high school that I can sort of enjoy the triumph of the gorgeous girl almost as much as that of the nerd girl. Sure, the nerd girl has first place in my heart. “Never Been Kissed” was the perfect nerd-girl, English-major fantasy movie – a copy editor goes back to high school knowing what she knows now and gets the cute guy, who is captivated by her mind more than anything else (which is a major part of nerd girl fantasies, because it is not our looks or bodies that have ever been our weapons).

And it seems that most high-school movies are written by nerd girls, so the gorgeous girls always get some sort of comeuppance in the end. Works for me.

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