Friday, September 16, 2011

Gamma Girl Justice

The definitive gamma girl, Diva has hit on a new way to respond to immature fifth grade boys who aggravate her. Not sure what, exactly, a gamma girl is? Here goes: First (because they are always first) are the queen bees. They rule the school with some combination of money, looks, unshakable confidence and an arsenal of offensive weapons - rumor, gossip, poisonous looks and the ego-shattering snicker. Meet the alpha girls.

An alpha girl could not be what she is without her beta girls. Betas want desperately to be alphas but fall just short in money, looks or confidence so they compensate by attaching themselves to an alpha and providing support services. They are the remoras to the sharks, but their bite can be even worse if they're really determined to inch their way up.

At the bottom of the pecking order, but never entirely beneath the notice of those at the top, are the perennial losers. They have less to boast about in looks or money and often suffer from a profound lack of confidence. Add to this a weight problem, bad hair, an embarrassing incident from first grade or the wrong choice of branded sweatshirt and you have the omega girls.

If this sounds a tad extreme, you've been out of fifth grade too long. What you remember about high school? It was all determined back in fifth grade.

There are some individuals who manage not to be sucked into this vortex of rivalries and insecurities; who exist outside of its structure. They are frequently the "artsy" girls; sometimes the exceptionally athletic girls. Either way, some attribute of their’s gives them a kind of carte blanche to drift more or less unconcernedly through sharks, remoras and catfish as though there are no other currents or unspoken rules to concern them. They make their own rules, their own friends, their own fashion statements. Think dolphins.

So, Diva is very definitely a gamma. She's friends with almost everyone. She's funny enough to deflect most pettiness, kind enough to defuse most jealousy, confident enough to stand up for herself and others. But no one gets through school without some pain and aggravation and this has been thoughtfully provided by a handful of boys. At ten and still somewhat inoculated against her charm, they make fun of her height. Her long skinny legs. Her name.

Whenever it gets her down, I want to help her, protect her. And I want to squash the little *#@s that make her feel bad. I go into a kind of bent-nose routine:

"Point dis little piss-ant out to me. You want I should take care of him for yous?"

"Ima" (looking stern).

"Okay, I won’t do nuthin’...I jus’ wanna put a face to da name of da kid dat's messin with my baby."

"Ima." (more sternly but smiling now.)

Shifting back to Ima, I say, "Look Honey, if you're being picked on or bullied, you can go to a teacher about it."

She casts me a pitying look. "Ima, that just makes things worse - and they get sneakier."

Back to bent-nose. "Okay, can I at least give him a really mean look when he walks by?"

"No Ima! Honestly, who's the grownup here? No, I'll handle it."

But she's also watching me like a hawk so I really can't give the little brat a dirty look. In any case, she's steeled now, and ready to do battle. Boys, you are messing with the wrong chica.

The three little bullies are friends. They play football and baseball together at recess. And here’s where she found her opening. She and her BFF - who also comes in for more than her share from the same trio - have taken to plunking themselves on the sidelines for each game. They are loud, funny and rousing. They attract a crowd of other kids, who join them. They have attached themselves to the “team” and the boys can’t shake them.

“You cheer for them?!” I asked incredulously.

“No. We cheer for the other team; we boo for them .” She smiles radiantly.
“We’re Booleaders.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"boolearders" .... Yes, yes I like it "2-4-6-8 the other team is real great!" Camps with bears ;-)