A couple of weeks ago, Gwen and I were standing at the cash register at Baby Gap minding our own beeswax when a mini-Mean Girl made her grand entrance. Build a Bear box in hand, this four year queen bee wannabe zeroed in on Gwen and headed straight into Gwen’s personal space. I stood back and watched as she belly bumped Gwen and then held up her Build a Bear box in some sort of weird pre-school challenge. Her face was a mask of nastiness as she moved her gaze to me and brazenly stared me down with her very adult expression. In fact, I imagine that if she was a full grown woman she would have been saying, “Yeah, that’s right bitchez! I got a Build a Bear…wanna go?” I swear. I’m totally not exaggerating.
I was slightly shocked and looked up at the mother who proudly stood back watching her precious little ball of love. Immediately I had Mommy’s number. She was a Mean Girl grooming her spawn to follow in her evil footsteps. I knew her well.
I spent a portion of 10th grade dodging a psychopath Junior who told me she was going to kill me on a daily basis. To me she was an Amazon, but then again I was 5’2” and weighed all of 95 pounds. This girl, who was definitely not right in the head, was sicked on me by two Mean Girl twin sisters in my own grade for some (still) unknown reason. Finally, at a basketball game I was summoned out to the hallway where the crazy Amazon and The Nasty Sisters were waiting to “kick my ass”. I remember thinking that they were all a bunch of idiots and go right ahead…we’ll see what happens to you for your random act of violence…until I was saved by a bigger and older friend. Those were the days, huh? Before “Bullying” became a buzz word.
That same year, on the cheerleading bus two more junior girls suddenly felt the need to grace me and my friend with their presence. As they sat in the seat across from mine, they turned to me and said, “You know, we used to want to kill you, but you’ll suffice.” I think I was supposed to be thrilled that the most popular girl in the 11th grade and a member of her posse were kind of deeming me socially acceptable. This might have been my invitation to become their lapdog. Perhaps they were ready to put me through their snotty hazing ritual meant to weed out those girls who they deemed “sufficiently acceptable”. The reality of the situation was that I didn’t give a shit and my response to their statement pretty much let them know that. Needless to say, I was back on the Kill List within minutes. When it came to this particular group of girls, I kind of liked being on their Kill List and didn’t feel like I sold out to be one of their herd. I’m proud of 15 year old me and my big mouth.
But that brings me back to the mini-Mean Girl encounter in Baby Gap. I try to stand back and let nature take its course in situations like this. Typically, Joe walks away when confronted. I don’t get that at all. Gwen stands up to the challenge. I get her.
As mini-Mean Girl continued her weird ritual dance of harassment via Build a Bear box and space invasion, I sat back and let Gwen do her stuff. I mean, if the mother is observing and not stopping her little animal’s bad behavior then I’m free to unleash the wrath of Gwen, right? Fair is fair. I’ll give Gwen some credit. Initially she stood back and simply looked at the girl as if she was a filthy animal, but three space invasions into the encounter Gwen let it rip. I saw it coming; my own little Norma Rae made it quite clear that backing off would be a really good idea right about NOW. As I leaned on the counter watching with satisfaction, the Mean Mom’s head whipped around, shocked that someone would dare respond to her daughter’s challenge. As soon as Gwen loudly uttered, “Stop touching me. I don’t like your face!” Mean Mom angrily met my gaze. My eyebrow rose in challenge and I welcomed her comment. She moved on with her little angel. Having observed the whole interaction, the lady behind the counter looked at me and whispered…”Well, weren’t they special?”
So here’s a little pearl of wisdom that I will share with my girls when the time is right: Mean Girls never go away. They will cross paths with you throughout your entire life. They’re a sad, nasty bunch. I was reminded of this last year when I encountered the most vicious of Mean Girls…the 50-something Mean Girl and her harpy real estate broker who I was forced to endure during the sale of our house. The ones who felt the need let us know that they were the Big Fish (in a very small pond). The same ladies who neglected to remove a childish Mean Girl rant about my family and home before they forwarded the e-mail on to our broker. Yup, they were a special treat.
For some reason, I’m not worried about Gwen…I’m even less concerned about Kate. Somehow, I don’t feel that they’ll be intimidated by the Mean Girls they encounter either.