I was definitely not cool in high school. I wasn’t beaten or bullied, and never brushed my teeth . No, it was worse. Much, much worse: I hung out with my art teacher on lunch break. Okay, it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. My friends hung out with her too, and we did our hanging out in the art room, where we never got sunburn and could catch up on our paintings. Plus, Ms. Halliwell was the raddest teacher around. She used to bring her three enormous dogs to school and hide them out the back of the classroom, and would walk around literally throwing paint at all the kids’ masterpieces she didn’t like. She was so enthusiastic about her work that she had a heart attack in my final year, and she was only like, 45. At least I hope eccentricity was the reason. #Art, ya know?
Of course I sometimes wanted to be one of the popular kids. Mainly because they were friends with the older popular kids and the older kids had access to The Pavilion, which had a microwave and a hot water jug. Screw those nylon Prada backpacks — a hot styrofoam container of two-minute noodles was the biggest status symbol around. But where are those girls now? This study — helpfully interpreted on Business Insider for those of us overdue on our Wiley Online Library subscription fees — knows where they are.
The study says “cool teens” who exhibit “pseudomature behaviors,” like kissing, touching, and operating microwaves, are more likely to get into drugs, alcohol, and criminal behavior later on in life. “It appears that while so-called cool teens’ behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool,” Joseph P. Allen, psychology dude at University of Virginia, said. Here it is in chart form:
The finding comes from a 10-year study in which researchers followed 184 students as they progressed from age 13 to age 23. The students were also chosen from one public middle school in the southeastern United States, which doesn’t seem entirely legit for such an important study. So I analyzed my own data, aka Facebook. This probably would have been easier if I was bullied or beaten and therefore had clearer memory of what the most popular girls’ names actually were, but I racked my brains and stalked my friends’ mutual friends and found some revelatory data. Here’s where we’re at nine years later:
1. HBIC of the Mean Girls. The meanest of the mean: Uses “lol” and “lmfao” frequently, has bad eyebrows and two kids, still lives in my hometown.
2. Religious fake-nice cool girl who was really good at singing: Still annoyingly hot, has a well-paying but really boring-sounding job, is inexplicably wearing a Native American headdress in her banner picture.
3. Vaguely mean girl who thought she was really hot and had a really whiney annoying voice: Posts generic quotes on sunset backgrounds frequently, and belongs to some truly horrendous car enthusiast Facebook groups with “Dirty” in the name. Has a kid who’s name I can’t pronounce.
4. Girl I remember being popular and only clicked on because : Works in a chicken shop.
I stopped stalking pretty early because I realized I don’t really care if Stacie still works in that call center and it also felt more trolling than important scientific research. Anyway, science might also regard it as more successful to have a kid and a stand-alone house rather than three roommates and a crippling brunch habit, even if you do use “lol” relentlessly, so science sounds like it might be a little contradictory. And if anyone did succumb to a nasty drug habit, do you re-he-he-heally wanna know about that? Guess I’ll have to hold out for the high school reunion.
So keep doin’ you, nerds — not because kissing will ruin your life, but because being tight with the teachers is rad. As Clueless demonstrates, it can even get you better grades.
On the flip side, I’d pour out my soul to know what THESE kids are doing now: