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The Mean Girls Club
Sitting on my living room couch in the fall of 2004, I watched commercials flash across the screen. The typical advertisements for furniture, shampoo, and cars never seemed to end, and I groaned, wishing that Lizzie McGuire would come back on. I picked up the clicker. I was about to put an end to the ads when suddenly vertical, pink letters zoomed across the screen. I paused, and slowly lowered the controller. Unconsciously, I tilted my head to read the huge letters next to four teen girls in pink mini skirts and high heels: MEAN GIRLS. “So this must be what everyone is talking about!” I whispered to myself. “And this is why Bria and Christina are making that club.”
Scribbled across Monday, October 10, 2004 on my calendar, were the giant words, “Monday recessâ€”Mean Girls Club tryouts!” Only the girls who wore clothes from Limited Too and Abercrombie Kids, and had the meanest comebacks could join. I had spent the night before researching comebacks until I found the one that I would use in my try-out: “You’re so ugly you make babies cry.” My outfit was perfectly designed for the day: pink socks, pink skirt, pink jacket, and a pink headband. As I turned away from my mirror that morning I felt confident that I would make it in.
Every girl in our grade stood nervously behind the abandoned swing set on the recess field. The two girls who had originally come up with the idea for the club were positioned in front of us, hands on hips, ready to explain the rules. Bria had shoulder-length dark brown hair and was naturally short, but today, white, glittery high heels pushed her up on her toes. Her high heels seemed to make her say, “Not only am I tall, but I’m mature and cool enough to wear these.” Christina had stringy blond hair and a big nose. She had once told us that her nose wasn’t big, “It was just Italian.” And not only was she Italian, but she had her clothes imported from Italy, which made her instantly trendy.
“The club isn’t based on the movie,” Bria explained, “It’s just a really good idea we came up with. You’ll understand when you hear the rules.” She turned to Christina and smiled self-assuredly, brushing her brown hair aside. My eyes followed her fingers into her pocket from which she pulled out a tube of sparkly lip-gloss, ready to be applied.
“If you pass the try-outs and get into the club you have to follow all the rules,” Christina informed us as she placed her hands on her hips, sticking one hip out to the side. “The most important rule is clothes.” Her eyelids were highlighted with light blue eye shadow and her blond hair had been curled that morning. “Each day you have to wear something special or else you can’t hang out with us at recess. Every Tuesday we wear pink; every Wednesday we wear our hair in a ponytail; Thursday we wear high heels; Friday we wear headbands; oh and Monday we wear skirts; so I guess most of you wouldn’t be hanging out with us right now.” Christina looked at us pitifully. The girls in the line murmured quietly to each other. “This club is an even bigger deal than I thought,” I whispered to Devin. “What are we going to do if we don’t make it in? Who will we be friends with?” Devin nodded as her lips moved, silently practicing her comeback. I sucked in a gulp of air as I turned to see Christina eyeing us.
“Listen!” Bria demanded. The line instantly became still. “The next rule is that you can’t date any of our ex-boyfriends, because friends don’t do that.” Bria smiled, revealing pink braces, and feeling very mature.
“But we don’t even date, we’re in fifth grade.” One of the girls pointed out. “Yeah!” I agreed, whishing that there weren’t as many rules. Bria and Christina ignored us.
“And the last rule is that each year we have to be in the talent show and dance to Jingle Bell Rock, just like Regina, Cady, Karen, and Gretchen do in the movie.” All the girls in the line edged back from the swing set, terrified at what was being said. They thought that being in the club would be an easy way to feel accepted; they weren’t expecting that it would require so much.
Satisfied, Bria and Christina picked up their judging clipboards, ready to begin. We all looked at each other wanting desperately to fit in, but not to join.
“Isolde,” Bria and Christina chorused, “you’re first!”
A gawky, timid girl edged her way out of the line and cautiously approached the judges while they whispered furiously.
“Isolde, you’re not even wearing cute clothes,” Christina decided, “And you can’t wear your hair in braids; it just doesn’t work with your facial structure. Oh, and stop wearing that shirt, it’s so last year.”
“Basically you have to promise to change your looks,” Bria added while popping a piece of gum into her mouth.
“Okay, so what’s your comeback?” Christina asked impatiently as she smacked her own gum. Isolde stood still; her forehead wrinkled with surprise. The line of girls stretched their heads to hear the conversation, but not daring to step forward.
“I…don’t know,” Isolde looked at the ground.
“What do you mean you don’t know. Haven’t you prepared?” Christina pursed her lips, as if she was a model posing on the runway. I shrank away towards the back of the line; I didn’t want to witness this conversation. My cheeks flushed red for Isolde.
“I know it, I just don’t want to say it.” Isolde told Bria and Christina. The line nodded in agreement.
“If you can’t even say a comeback, then how can you be in the Mean Girls Club?” Bria and Christina crossed their arms in unison, while their eyes pierced through Isolde. Suddenly, Isolde became angry.
“Why are we doing this, it’s so stupid! We’re not allowed to have clubs, and even if we did this is the worst one ever!”
“You’re just too immature for it; this is a sophisticated Mean Girls Club.” Bria interrupted as her shoes twinkled in the sunlight.
“I think you are the ones who are immature.” Isolde snapped back. We looked at each other in surprise, shocked that anyone would insult Bria and Christina.
“If you can’t handle it then leave!” Bria shouted out, brow furrowed, shocked that anyone would insult her.
“Maybe I will!”
“Good! Don’t come back!” And with that Isolde gasped and ran sobbing down the hill. Bria and Christina looked at each other. They never intended for this to happen.
Without knowing what to say Bria and Christina became one of us, just two other girls in the line. When the other girls realized this they quickly dispersed, many turning to find Isolde. I was left with Bria and Christina who looked like they were about to cry as well. I didn’t want to approach them, but I desperately wanted to know what would happen to the Mean Girls Club.
“This was going to be such a fun club and now it’s ruined for ever,” Bria whined. “It’s not going to happen?” I thought to myself, “But I want to be in the Mean Girls Club.”
“And we’re going to get in so much trouble if Isolde tells the teachers.” Christina said as she sighed and sat down on one of the rusty swings. Bria followed. They looked up to see me staring at them. “Leah, we would have let her in,” Christina told me. “We would have let all of you in; it was just like a game. It’s fun to pretend to be in a movie.”
Five years later, Bria, Isolde, Christina, and I sat down to lunch at Isolde’s house. We soon together found ourselves talking of the proposed idea of a Mean Girls Club. Bria and Christina both agreed that the idea was ridiculous.
“We wanted to be in charge and we saw that everyone loved the movie. We thought that making the club would be an easy way to become popular.” Bria laughed as she told us that she hadn’t even seen the entire movie. “Fashion and popularity seemed so important then,” Bria explained while wearing an outfit of jeans and a sweatshirt, hair in a loose braid.
“I can’t even imagine that happening today. If Mean Girls came out now, the club would never have happened.” Isolde told her friends.
“I don’t know, it is kind of happening, even now. Not in a physical club sense, but everyday people are trying to make it in; it’s like school itself is a try-out for some imaginary club. We really are still dealing with the Mean Girls Club of life, no matter how corny that sounds.” Christina said as she carelessly dipped her spoon into her yogurt. I nodded in agreement.
“So we’re still trying to fit into a Mean Girls Club?” Isolde wondered aloud.
“Doesn’t it seem like that?” Christina asked, while she twirled her spoon in the thick cream.