Kristy, Casey, Maralyn, and Toni were the first Mean Girls I met in college.
The four travelled in a pack. They were loud, outgoing and popular with the guys. Looking back, they were “Party girls” who knew and dated a whole lot of guys on campus.
My Junior year, I elected to study for a quarter in Mexico City. My friend, Susie, joined me.
There was a huge Going Away party for us. A dozen friends saw us off at SFO with signs, gifts, and balloons. Hours later, we arrived in Mexico City to start our foreign experience: our Mexican holiday.
The small campus was relatively new with tree-lined paths and grassy knolls and dancing fountains. We learned the pathetic cafeteria was best when it served tea, bread, jam and quesadillas. Bananas, apples and packaged cupcakes were our go to /safe foods.
On the second day of exploring campus and finding classrooms, Susie I ran into four other kids from “our school.” We had no idea there were other “Cardinals” in Mexico. I recognized two of the girls. We approached them to say hello and introduce ourselves.
The four were cool, bordering on rude, to our introduction. We walked away both commenting, “How rude!” A week later, another Cardinal, Johnny B, arrived and joined that group. However, he was very friendly to us. The Mean Girls were aloof and rarely said “hi” the entire quarter.
Baffled and bored by their behavior, we didn’t engage. We might see them as we traveled through Oaxaca or San Miguel de Allende and wave hello, they would ignore us or nod.
The time in Mexico was magical-we had amazing classes, outstanding field trips, a bunch of new friends- many were Internationals – their parents were diplomats or heads of large corporations. We were invited to gorgeous homes -all of which had maids and cooks and chauffeurs! Thankfully, we enjoyed some of the best meals we had in Mexico.
After we returned to school– once in a while, I’d see the group. Johnny B was always fun and amusing. The Mexico Four were mildly nicer.
Once, I was invited to a birthday party for Kristy, the wild child (20) with a preference for vodka rocks and Marlboro cigarettes.
The party was in her dorm room. Her bulletin board was decorated with multiple black-and-white pictures of her hanging off of guys at parties. On her desk wall was a calendar- a quick glance, it looked like she was monitoring her Period. I’d never seen a girl display this information in public. As a rule, we hide private stuff like that. Not her. Strange.
I had a flood of friends, who – by definition, were smart, fun and kind. There was not a mean girl in my world, except for the Mexico Four.
Flash forward, two decades and a friend was taking her son to kindergarten and ran into Toni, amongst the clutch of moms.
My friend said hello to Toni who snapped “Don’t you dare tell anyone we went to school together or that we are the same age,” and walked off.
Last Christmas, I was at a lovely party and ran into Casey. I reintroduced myself and said I didn’t think we’d seen each other since Mexico. She looked at me, maybe through me, and said, “Oh. Hi.” I smiled and wished her a good evening.
So if you’re wondering if a zebra can change it’s stripes or do mean girls change? Take it from me, Mean Girls are forever.
Unless something magical or tragical happens, mean girls, sadly, remain the same.
Prove me wrong