Ancient Aliens and Mean Girls
I attribute all my current successes to Ancient Aliens and ancient aliens. By Ancient Aliens, I mean the show of course. The one with the guy with the hair that’s trying waaay too gimmicky hard. The one that makes you kinda believe in ancient aliens by asking you questions like: Could it be that possibly maybe somehow, some way, this totally unrelated-to-aliens thing was implausibly but completely caused by ancient aliens?
By ancient aliens, I do not mean the show but the actual possibility that a race of extraterrestrials did in fact maybe visit earth and influence it in some way. Yes, I am one of those people; the kind that rolls my eyes at Gimmicky-Hair dude while contemplating everything he says anyway. I ponder aliens because I am a geek. A female geek. A “feek” as my male geek friends lovingly call me as we discuss whether Medusa and the Minotaurs were legends or possible human/animal hybrids created by aliens.
How can people NOT ponder aliens I wonder. Nature is rife with oddities so bizarre I can only think of aliens when I see them. The Starfish for example. Besides the star reference in its name, look at that thing. It just looks alien and it can regrow limbs. How alien is that? Butterflies from caterpillars? O. M. and G. A chrysalis is so alienesque a thing that it’s in almost every single scifi movie ever made.
But, as I do at least seventeen times a day, I’ve digressed into my alien fixation. Which, by the way, in case you didn’t know, being the owner of an alien fixation does not help one’s popularity. Not that I care about being popular. Although not being the too-quiet, small-boobed, feek girl totally overlooked by everyone except my tiny nerd group might be nice. But enough about the downsides of being me. Back to the topic of my successes. My success story starts with two major life mistakes I made in the summer of my fifteenth year.
- I decided to get fit
- I decided to become cooler
I know what you’re thinking. Getting fit is an admirable goal, not a mistake. While that may be true, it is also true that admirable goals can sometime ruin your life. Just like mine did. Here’s the thing: when you live in the deep South, in the middle of Atlanta, Georgia in the summer you really only have two choices when it comes to exercise:
- Exercise in an air-conditioned place like a fitness center that costs a lot of money to be a member
- Or exercise in an air-conditioned house that contains expensive exercise equipment that costs a lot of money to buy
I think you can infer the problem. Yes, I was a teenager, and my craptastic position as a cashier at YEAH! BURGER barely earned me enough to pay for the gas to drive to and from my job, much less a membership at what my dad referred to as “Ego Temples” and always added “Hey, if you want exercise, I got plenty of yardwork for you to do”.
So to fulfill my dream of becoming fit–
which to me did not mean stuff like kick-butt maximum volume of oxygen consumption or left-ventricular strength but the other reason most people exercise: to look sexy
–and becoming magazine-girl-sexy or at least non-squishy, I decided to start swimming laps at the free community pool. Here’s the negative of swimming daily in a community pool: the pool maintenance dudes aggressively chlorinate the water as a means to counteract the large quantity of kid pee. Chlorine, if you were unaware, exists for two purposes:
- To kill pee
- To kill hair
So nearing the end of that summer of fitness/would-be-sexiness, my hair had the same texture as Petting Zoo Pig Chin Scruff.
Therefore, two days before the start of my sophomore years in High School, I made a singular decision. In an attempt to compensate for my hair’s newly-acquired dried-and-deadish-straw-likeness, I made the gloriously epic mistake of thinking blue hair dye would conceal the damage and simultaneously make me look as cool as a long-haired, blue version of the coolest of cool pop stars, P!nk.
I read the directions on the box. The wise little words told me if I wanted the prettiest shade of blue, I’d need to bleach my natural groundhog-colored locks to a more favorable platinum color first. So I wisely followed the wise little directions and I wisely doused every follicle on my head with peroxide. Then I wisely watched Ancient Aliens to pass the time needed for the peroxide to turn my hair from Groundhog to Gloriously Golden. Then I wisely lost track of the time as I pondered whether it could it be that possibly maybe somehow, some way, this totally unrelated-to-aliens thing was implausibly but completely caused by ancient aliens?
Then I wisely smeared blue goop in my nuked-all-to-hell hair. Then I wisely washed all the goop out and wisely aimed a blow-dryer set on full heat at my head.
Then I wisely watched my hair pretty much break in half all over my head. AND wisely turn the color of two-day-old guacamole.
My dad, never one to spend money frivolously, felt so bad for me he took me to a fancy beautician in the exclusively upper class Ansley Park area. She tried her best, really she did, but the only solution turned out to be a haircut very much like the pop star that I had thought I wanted to emulate. Turns out P!nk rocks the boy hairdo waaaaay better than a normal, quiet, not glamorous, not edgy, not much of anything feeky teenage girl.
My plan to be magazine-girl-sexy and cool for the new school year had failed on a grand scale. I started class as a guacamole-colored-boy-haircut-incredibly-insecure wreck. Here’s a big shocker, boys and girls: guacamole boy hair earns you a place at the bottom of the bottom of the High School Mean Girl food chain.
Here’s another shocker: life at the bottom of the food chain sucks. Majorly sucks. One continuous and relentless reel of uninspired insults and uncreative nicknames flung at you whenever enough people are around to overhear to make it worth the Mean Girls’ efforts.
God, I missed my earlier Overlooked Status. God, what I wouldn’t give to be the invisible alien-fixated feek again. I was now as visible–and as despised–as a poison dart frog. But not nearly as attractive. On the toad/frog attractiveness scale, I was a straight up Oyster Toadfish, also known as the Ugly Toad for obvious reasons. Google it. But have a bucket ready in the likely case that you hurl.
My dad told me to wait it out. He told me my harassers would tire of their own bullshit and life would soon go back to normal. My dad is right about a lot of things. Turns out, The Twisted Psychology of Mean Girls isn’t one of them. Three months into my sophomore year, the harassment continued unabated. And my self-esteem was eroding under the onslaught. The appropriate metaphor would be Wave Erosion, a term I know and one the mean girls probably don’t because I am a feek and they are vanity-obsessed, cruel female douches. They’re fouches–a term I just made up and will now use forever.
The day that changed everything began even suckier than usual when Ms. Neidermeyer switched our seating arrangement for the usual reason that teachers switch seating arrangements: to break up two or three people who talk to each other incessantly. Unlike some schools that allowed phones in the classroom and consequently had exactly twenty-eight kids texting for fifty-five minutes straight for each and every class, our school had a strict oh-no-you-don’t policy. A rule that forced fouches to communicate their meanness verbally rather than via texts, tweets and subtweets.
So Ms. Neidelmeyer successfully foiled our class’s fouche’-huddle, but in so doing, she sat two of the fouches, Taylor and Jamie Lynn, on either side of me. I was now surrounded by fouches in full, bad-mood fouchtastic mode.
Jamie Lynn leaned forward to look past me and at her BFF-in-fouchery Taylor. “Oh look,” she said, “we’ve been seated next to Sludge-Hair Boy from Planet Looks Like Your Anus.”
As far as insults go, this was one of her more inventive ones. I almost felt like giving her kudos. And I would have–if a kudos was a thing you could ram down someone’s throat in the hopes that it would prevent them from ever speaking through that mean thing in their face called a mouth again.
They continued in this fashion for most of the class period, their insults rapidly degenerating in originality as they maxed out their meager stores of creativity. To distract myself from their barrage of crap, I let my mind wander to the common metaphor of ugly chrysalises giving rise to beautiful butterflies. Then I let it wander to starfish losing something vital and regrowing it.
“Did you have to pay extra for the Puke-colored hair dye?” Jamie Lynn said. Then apparently tired of being ignored, she snapped, “Hey. Hey Sludge-Hair, look at me when I’m talking to you.”
My mind wandered to ancient aliens and Minotaurs and Medusa and without thinking, I blurted out, “I would but I don’t want to be turned to stone.”
The room went silent for a beat. And then everyone, including Ms. Neidermeyer, although she tried to hide it, busted out laughing.
Jamie Lynn cast a nervous glance at the laughers. A glance that spoke of a sudden and complete loss of street cred. “I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”
Now I did look at her. In fact, I turned full in my seat to face her. “Of course you don’t get it. And that’s what it comes down to. See, my hair will grow back. But your female douchery, the personality equivalent of an STD by the way, isn’t going away. Ever.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have compared her to an STD. Maybe it was a mean thing to say. Maybe I should have retained my stoic silence as I had for months. A lot of maybes. But weirdly, my Ancient Aliens-inspired comeback earned me the respect and instantaneous friendship of a ton of people that, unknown to me, had been waiting for someone to stand up to Jamie Lynn and her fouche-patrol.
Fouches that never bothered me ever again.
Today, my hair has grown out long and shiny, even if it’s still Sepia Groundhog. I grew three inches and, rather late, bloomed a pair of boobs that, although they might not bring all the boys to the yard, would definitely invite in a fair share. I am now at the university and doing well. And as you can probably guess I am studying…
What? Were you thinking something different?
You see, I had fallen in love with that butterfly metamorphosis cliché. And as for the starfish one, I snuck an aquarium into my dorm room. Guess which of its residents is my favorite? Yep, I named her Phoenix the Starfish, who I’m sure the Ancient Aliens Gimmicky-Hair dude would say was really probably maybe quite potentially an ancient alien.