Welcome to My Awkward Past
In the game “cheetahs”, you spend the entire afternoon pretending you’re a cheetah and walking around on all fours in circles in your backyard, trying to be all slithery like a cheetah by sticking out your shoulder blades, and crouching down in tall grasses to hide yourself. If you want to spice things up, you can pretend that a you’re being chased by an elephant… this is an acceptable modification to “cheetahs”. You can also play “Princess and Cheetah”, but you have to have a sister who is willing to walk around the backyard pretending to be the princess, while you walk around pretending to be her pet cheetah. This is also acceptable.
But the basic point here is that I was a loser with no friends. Overweight, self-conscious, awkward, cheetah-obsessed… you know. Just a huge epic loser.
Epic losers do not often get invited to parties or sleepovers or anything along those lines. Usually, you just hang out at home with your parents, pretending you’re a cheetah. So on the very few occasions when I DID get invited to these things, I would get pretty excited, and try really hard for people to like me, which would actually intensify my losery characteristics, and would further solidify my status as “epic loser” in my Grade 6B homeroom class.
This one time, a bunch of girls were having a sleepover, and they had the generosity to invite me. Let me tell you… I was pretty excited to be included in this event. Although Grade 6 “Dancing to CeCe Peniston in the Unfinished Basement” parties usually cast a wider net when it came to invitations, SLEEPOVERS always had a carefully edited invite list… which meant I rarely got invited to them. So I was excited.
This particular girl had a hot tub and a pool, which made the status of the sleepover skyrocket… I mean ME? Awkward, fat cheetah-girl? At a pool-party-SLASH-sleepover? Wow.
For anyone who doesn’t know, here is the mandatory schedule for a girls’ Grade 6 sleepover in the late 80′s / early 90′s:
6:00 – 7:00: Discuss boys you like
7:00 – 7:30: Order and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken
7:30 – 9:00: Discuss boys you like
9:00 – 10:00: Play the board game Girl Talk while discussing boys you like
10:00 – 11:30: Watch the movie Grease
11:30 – 12:00: Discuss boys you like
12:00 – 1:00: Make up complex dance to Backstreet Boys/*nsync song
1:00 – 5:00: Discuss boys you like
5:00 – 9:00: Sleep
So, naturally, we decided to sit in the hot tub during the prescribed 7:30 – 9:00 pm “Discuss boys you like” timeslot. Now – since I had virtually no friends, I was not used to being open and honest with other girls about the boys I liked, so I was resistant to this whole discussion. However, as time passed, I started to feel more and more included… and more and more cool… so I finally, after months and months and months of keeping it a secret, told a bunch of other girls which boy I had a crush on.
SIGH! What a release! I had been able to confide in some friends! They accepted me! I was one of them! Be still my beating cheetah-heart!
So, the next Monday in 6B homeroom, I’m feeling pretty good. You know… slightly less losery… slightly more included in the social landscape of the 6th Grade. My teacher asked me to help her “hand out papers”. Basically, you walk around, handing out scrap papers to the class for them to write on. This was a coveted position - it gave you a higher degree of access to the boys in the class as you walked by their desk and accidentally brushed their arms while handing them their paper.
Suddenly, one of my newfound sleepover friends walked up to me and whispered aggressively “I WANT TO HAND OUT THE PAPERS”. I was feeling overly confident… you know.. being newly cool and all, and I said “But teacher asked me to help!”
She paused, looked me straight in the eye, and squeaked “If you don’t let me hand them out, I’m telling EVERYONE that you like [name of the boy I liked, who I now forget]”
I could feel the combined shock-hatred-disappointment in my throat, seeping through my body. I was devastated. The ONLY time that I had EVER told anyone who I liked, and it was about to blow back in my face like a horse’s fart.
My cheetah hunting instinct started to bubble in my solar plexus. I was SO mad. SO mad. I wanted to fucking kill this girl. So I did the next best thing.
I took the huge pile of scrap paper, pulled my hand back to wind it up and gain momentum, and slapped her across the face with them SO hard that the pile of sheets exploded and separated upon impact, blowing into the air and fluttering throughout the entire classroom dramatically. Everyone looked at us.
Yes. I hit that bitch.
That was the last sleepover I ever got invited to.