Last night, while meeting with my critique group, we got into a discussion about being "popular" in high school.
From T's point of view, the popular girls were mean and put other people down in order to reign their queendom. S also remembered popular girls being mean and even recalled a day when she sat at a lunch table with some popular girls, and all at once, they got up and left.
G saw popular girls as the smart, pretty girls. And J, through her daughters' experiences, recognizes popularity as her daughters' athletic tomboyish girlfriends.
"They're confident, smart, and competitive," J said. "People are drawn to that."
Well before our conversation, G had asked her daughter, "What makes someone popular? Is it how much money they have? How attractive they are? How smart they are?"
Her daughter looked at her like she was nuts. "I don't know Mom. It's not like that. There really aren't any popular kids at my school."
G had laughed, fully knowing that her daughter and her friends were the coolest of cool. Even if they didn't see it.
And as an adult and a mom, T, who had never been popular growing up really wanted to crack the popular code. She still wanted to know, what was it that made the cool kids cool?
"It's completely subjective," I said. "My friends and I were popular in high school. But I was never mean to anyone. Sure, if you came at me, I'd fire back. But I'd never purposely put someone down. That had happened to me when I was younger. I wouldn't do that to someone else."
"Did you get good grades?" G asked.
"No," I giggled. "We were way too busy having fun to care about grades. But remember, it was a long time ago. We didn't have to care about school. You didn't have to be a genius and a peace prize winner to get into college."
"So what do you think made you popular?" T asked.
"Being nice. Friendly. Being like, 'hey come on! Let's go have fun...'" I mocked my spazzy high school voice.
It was after 11:00 PM. Someone yawned. We'd been discussing popularity for an hour. But on the way home, I continued to think about it and realized the subject was question worthy.
What did (or does) being "popular" mean at your high school? How did or didn't it affect you?
4 years ago