Catty is as catty does

| Staff Columnist
Mary: “She totally wasn’t cute. Maybe they’re just friends?”

Kate: “She was pretty cute.”

Mary: “She was not cute!”

Kate: “She was totally cute.”

Ashley: “What was wrong with her, then, that made her not cute?”

Lindsey: “She was hooking up with Alex!”

Believe it or not, what is transcribed above is not, in fact, dialogue from a B-list teenybopper movie, nor is it a scene from an equally teenybopper TV drama. It’s not a bad excerpt from chick-lit, it’s not the climax of a fifth-grade-health-class-let’s-all-get-along skit, and it’s not the product of my imagination. It was my night last night.

Let me start from the beginning: I started off my evening standing in front of a mirror for a good 20 minutes, trying to choose the perfect pair of shoes to wear out to dinner. Ordinarily I reserve this kind of obsessive-compulsive materialism for special occasions—I was, after all, only going to the Cheesecake Factory, with a boyfriend who probably wouldn’t have noticed my shoes if I’d worn neon-green Crocs four sizes too big with pink and orange propellers sticking up from the toes—but for whatever reason, I wasn’t feeling the ballet flats. I tried on every pair of shoes in my closet at least twice, without even questioning why I felt compelled to look perfect.

When I got to the restaurant, I was glad I’d put in the effort: the waitress, while not overtly flirting with my date, bordered on overtly catty in the way she treated me. She dropped my menu on the silverware instead of handing it to me, she “almost forgot” to take my drink order (there were two of us at the table…), she rolled her eyes at my choice of entrée, and she took 20 minutes refilling my water glass despite the fact that there were only two other parties seated in her area. My consolation? I was out on a date in the perfect pair of pumps, and she was at work in an ill-fitting sweater. So there.

Skip ahead: about 11 p.m. I was all but asleep, curled up with a book and a blanket and fully intending to call it an early night, but decided last-minute to go out with the girls. I threw on a pair of jeans and headed over to their apartment, but as I stepped into the entrance hall of my building I crossed paths with a couple of heavily made-up girls in micro-mini dresses and elaborate jewelry, who gave a somewhat disdainful glance at my wide-leg jeans and baggy camisole. I thought seriously about turning around and changing.

Skip ahead again: in the course of my night out with the girls, a friend of mine encountered a boy she liked with another girl, in a questionable situation. Her reaction, the conversation transcribed above, illustrates perfectly the point I wish to make: what the hell is wrong with us?

I can’t help but notice of late that the title “catty” is often all too well deserved around here. We all want to deny that we’re stereotypical girls, we all pretend that our friends and ourselves aren’t like that, but at the end of the day we still snicker when someone mistakes tights for leggings (P.S.: don’t). And I mean, that’s fine, say what you want among friends, go ahead and judge my baggy camisole if you want to—I should be a big enough person not to care. That said, I think it would serve us all well if we’d tone down the competition and back off the judgment every now and then.

Having an ill-fitting sweater is not a character flaw. Choosing not to jump on the micro-mini dress bandwagon does not mean that you can’t go out for drinks with your girlfriends. Kissing a boy on whom someone you’ve never met may or may not have a crush does not make you “un-cute.” I, for one, am going to be trying a little bit harder from now on to keep that in mind.

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