The Others

Boys are funny creatures. I remember in high one of the so-called “popular” lads taking a shine to me. Now, our group of friends was not what you would call cool: to be honest we couldn’t be bothered with all that popular stuff and much preferred to hang out at our friend’s place, occasionally eating ice-cream and often playing computer games. And constantly eating chips, cheese and coleslaw (a local delicacy and, by all accounts, fatty heaven).

I realise that description has probably left your ears ringing with the word ‘losers’, but you will have to believe me when I say that we weren’t.


Anyway, this lad seemed to be giving me a little more attention than normal.


They did call me by my nickname but it was so wildly unimaginative that I refuse to eternalize it here. But it was not terribly inventive or witty; trust me.

“I really fancy you.”

Not only is my home town famed for its chip shop delicacies, but we are also hopeless romantics.

“Whit?” came my terribly intelligent response.

“I pure fancy you. You’re sexy.”

Now, just to go with the whole ‘loser’ label (I’m sure you still have even it though I asked you not to), I was also a girl who wasn’t used to boys coming on to me. Especially one so brazen.

If I could have alerted Jane Austen, this young man would have been positively locked up with only paper and a quill in which to structure his defence.

In saying that, I had humour and a quick wit.

“Yeah, whatever.”

Ok, so not a particularly sharp wit.

But this lad became insistent and I quickly learnt that something was amiss as his heartfelt confessions of affection were very public. He was always in sight or hearing of one of his pals.

It did cross my mind that this lad actually had genuine feelings and he went home every day after school and weeped gently into his pillow at such heartless dismissal.

But I doubt it.

Besides, I did kind of enjoy the opportunity to publicly deny the popular lad as his declarations became more incessant. It got to the stage where I didn’t even pause in walking by and just threw a sarcastic “right, ok” over my shoulder.

My thoughts has always been that when popular folk were talking about whatever it is popular folk talk about (it saddens me to think that chips, cheese and coleslaw probably wasn’t involved), this lad sat gloating to his friends about how he would get the so-called ‘unpopular’ chick to fall for him – or that she would get all giggly and shy and admiring at such a popular, ‘lovely’ boy showing her affection. He would have fun with that.

Crumbs. If he was chocolate he would eat himself.

I am aware that all this is speculation on my part and always has been.

All my sarcastic comments did was frustrate him as he clearly was not getting the reaction he expected.

Eventually, one day I had enough.

“>enter witty nickname here< I really fancy you.”

(He wasn’t very inventive either).

“Yeah, whatever.”

(And neither was I).

“No, honestly- I really fancy you.”

This time I stopped.

“Sure. Stop being a tube.”

“No, really, I fancy you.”

I told you folks from my neck of the woods are hopeless romantics.

The lad was sitting next to one of his guy pals and he was clearly listening in. Good – I wanted an ‘on high’ witness.

“Oh yeah – and who dared you to say that?”

And there it was – out in the open. What I knew and what he had hidden. Out. The gloves were off.

“No-one! I fancy you.”

You know, they might be popular but they suck at lying. I guess I should respect him on some level for showing loyalty to the sacred popular folk conversations- even if they are severely lacking in fried foods.

“Yeah, whatever,” I slung over my shoulder as I joined my friend.

Ok, I know I could have said something much wittier, but I was a young teenager and I can safely say that I would react much differently now. I hope. I’m proud of myself anyway, don’t take it away from me.

Oddly, instances of public devotion quickly ceased from that quarter. And, double oddly, the lad in question seemed to have a certain respect for me then – even if he still was a numpty sometimes.

YUS! Populars: 0, Others: 1

One of the greatest achievements of my school years. Except for exams and lasting relationships. Obviously.

For someone who genuinely had no interest in being in the popular group, I did enjoy getting one-up on one of the ring leaders; as well as foiling his great plan to embarrass the short, unfashionable one.

There; I said it.

What is popularity anyway? In my experience it is a title often self-given and smothered in make-up, square jaws, gossip and perfectly trimmed hair.

How dull.

Ok, so maybe The Others are a bit more au naturale, unkempt and are more likely to be smothered in chip shop fat. But it is much more fun. I wouldn’t change a moment of my high school days – even though we didn’t have the label that many young people seem to chase.

When you are older, what will popularity get you?

Trouble, upset, betrayal, a hefty bill from Loreal and, if you cave to the pressure, an alcohol problem and an S.T.I.

Or, even worse, leader of the Conservative Party.

So, I call all of you to charge your glass and rise with me in toasting that great tradition that should over-rule all else. A group that has saved more lives and delivered more intervention than the NHS. The group we should all strive to fall into.

To: The Others.



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