Knowing Your League in High School

By Allison Parks

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Thinking of asking out that special someone?

Don’t do it.

You’re unattractive.

I don’t want to be a traitor to my gender and all, but you hag-beasts need to listen to me closely, carefully, and do as I say. The wisdom I am about to bestow upon you will save you years of torment, humiliation, and therapy. At this point, I have bit my lip on this topic for a solid decade. The truth has always seemed too harsh to say to an individual friend, so I will express it to an ambiguous group of strangers.

Long story short: Jake Ryan and his red Porsche are not waiting for you outside the Weight Watchers meeting and never will be. Do you smell what I’m stepping in? Tom Brady is not going to look past your acne, rolls, and dig through your mounds of body hair to find the beautiful soul that lies within. Here is a typical scene which hurts to remember, but should serve as a cautionary tale. In high school I had this friend, Bernadette. Now, I loved Bernadette—she was very fun and funny, and we spent lots of time together prank calling, watching Power Rangers, and other fun stuff—but Bernadette happened to be head-to-toe awkward, with her hunch back, long monkey arms, Miller’s Outpost frocks, and thin, clown-orange, bacon strip hair. Naturally, like many other girls, Bernadette had the hots for a hunky football star named Bobby. Bobby was a wet dream and clearly, 600 percent out of her league.

One day Bernadette had the brilliant plan to ask Bobby on a date. She proposed this to our group of hag-friends in the janitorial supply room we frequented during morning breaks. Unanimously, everyone thought it was a fine idea. I, however thought it was suicide, but remained quiet, not wanting to hurt Bernadette’s feelings. I could already foresee the potential humiliation as being on par with a nude tap dancing routine at the big game rally. Tiffany was the loudest proponent of Bernadette’s date plan. Tiffany was the lone hottie in our group of pubescent monsters. She would prance into the janitorial supply room in her new size two Mudd jeans stuffing her face with three-packs of doughnettes, oblivious to the divine blessing of her hummingbird metabolism. The rest of us stared at her with devastated jealousy, choking back tears while smoothing the ruffles on our Lane Bryant jumpers.

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Don’t Do It, Weinerdog!

One sunny afternoon Bernadette, Tiffany and I were hanging out in Tiffany’s castle trying to help her decide which of her seven suitors to choose as her latest boyfriend. Tiffany lived across the street from the high school, and on this particular day we could see football practice letting out early.

“Bern! Bobby’s over there, you should go ask him out!” squealed Tiffany. To this day I don’t know if she was pure evil or extraordinarily naive. I winced with horror and prayed for poor Bernadette to chicken out. “Really?” asked Bernadette, her eyes sparkling as she uncomfortably adjusted her headgear, “I don’t think he–”

“Do it now! When will you catch him alone again?!” urged Tiffany, shoving her out the door. Tiffany and I stood on her lawn. I watched in terror as if a sheep was about to be slaughtered, while Tiffany bounced around with anticipation and delight. Bernadette’s pigeon toe’s scuttled up to Bobby with the grace of a Dungeness crab.

“Sup Bobby?” I heard Bernadette say in her mannish baritone voice. I knew she was using the word “sup” for the first time in her 15 years and it sounded so clumsy I wanted to weep. Bobby stopped and stared at her, baffled, as if a Billy goat had just spoken to him.

“Uh, hey,” replied Bobby, looking back to his friends in an attempt to flee the scene. “Um, I….” groaned Bernadette awkwardly, fiddling with the Siamese cat magnets around the waist of her scoliosis brace. “I was wondering if,” she paused for a moment to scrape Clearasil off her chin. “Would you…” she paused again to pull a maxi pad wrapper off her “I love Zach Morris” tee, “…like to go out sometime?”

I cringed and looked down at the lawn. Tiffany gazed at the two with eagerness and delight.” Who are you?” asked Bobby. “Anyway,” not giving her time to respond,”um, I like someone else, but thank you.”
Bernadette waddled back to us, nearly in tears. Needless to say, this was devastating and permanently scarring for poor Bernadette.

Over the years, I’ve witnessed countless other gawky girls hang themselves in a similar fashion… with love notes, humiliating love poems, invitations to the big dance, marriage proposals, and so on, and so forth.

And now, I am here to save you from such humiliation. Maybe you are thinking some of these foolish thoughts: “At least Bernadette let Bobby know how she felt, she put her self out there, and maybe he could have liked her but was afraid to say something.” The answer is NO. No, no, no. If Bobby had the slightest interest, on the first day of school he would have grabbed her by the scoliosis brace and made a woman out of her. Poor Bernadette only humiliated herself, embarrassed me on her behalf, and became the laughing stock of Bobby and his friends. She had no chance. Never ever.

Moral of the story: In high school, never tell anyone you like them. Sit in your basement and slow dance to posters of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in your Tiger Beat magazine like I did.###

All contents © 2006 by Gene Mahoney