Monday, May 12, 2008

What's the Deal with Frenemies?

Studies have shown that amongst male children, bullies attack from without the social circle; but with female children, bullying occurs amongst friends. [I'm not going to cite it. Go google it.] What are we doing to our girls to make them so competitive at such young ages?

I've only ever had one frenemy. Heather (yes, her name really was Heather!) was one of those girls who needed to be skinnier, sexier, badder and faster. And, she needed to be the center of male attention at all times. In retrospect, I think we can all agree that it was a self-esteem issue, but in high school, we used other words.

She would get jealous and vie for the attention of any male that paid attention to another girl. And, given that she was faster and badder, she usually got it. Now, to put this into the proper perspective, bear in mind that we were not casual acquaintances. There were four of us girls who were inseparable. We were "bestest friends." [that was also the first time I had 'funny' feelings about a girl (not heather), but that's another story).

I didn't really notice her, um, "problem" until I had my first real boyfriend. (this is code. It means the first guy I had sex with). Before he and I got together, she would vocally disparage him and make it incredibly clear that she found him unattractive. But, that changed after Cherry-Popper and I started going out. (I know it's not a very classy blog-name, but it's the best I can come up with, and I don't want to use his real name since he got the link to this blog via MySpace. Now you're all going to my MySpace page to figure out which of my friends he is. He knows who he is. Hi! How're you doing? I hope you don't mind the story of our adolescent lust and angst being shared on these pages! I am trying to protect your privacy!)

So, one Cherry-Popper and I were an "item," as my mother would say, she changed. She totally came on to him. Interestingly enough, he noticed this, noticed it was a pattern for her, did not pick up her bait, and talked openly with me about it. (hi! are you still reading this? You were pretty enlightened for an 18 year-old guy!)

What I didn't realize at the time was how sad this was. There was such a disconnect within her own mind between her self-worth and her own desires. She could not be interested in a man based on her own level of attraction; she could only be interested in a man based on her need to win his attention.

I can't imagine doing that to my friends, or having friends who would do that to me. Even in the past, when Wonder Muff and I have found ourselves attracted to the same guy, we dealt with it. (as in, Tom is moving to LA so we both make out with him at his going away party? Only in Northampton!) Neither of us has ever tried to "steal" a boyfriend from the other. Of course, who would want to have a boyfriend who is a possession that can be "Stolen" anyway?

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