February 15, 2011

YET PEOPLE THINK GOD KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING?:

My Rayannes (Emma Straub, January 24, 2011, Paris Review)

All teenage girls are at least half-lesbian, always admiring their friends’ still-shifting bodies, their superior wardrobes, their make-up application expertise, their better luck with the opposite sex. Teenage girls curl up together like newborn puppies, painting one another’s toes as if they were licking one another’s ears. If you sit long enough in any Starbucks, or loiter outside any high school, you will see girls climbing onto one another’s laps, kissing on the lips. They aren’t hitting on each other, not precisely, though they are in a constant state of arousal that borders on the insane. No other love is like the love of a teenage girl, all passion and fire and endless devotion—at least for a week.

There are many painful, moving stories about female friendship out there—Amy Hempel’s In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson Is Buried, Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty, Thelma and Louise—but even the most beautiful stories about teenage girls fail to capture the obsessive, all-encompassing infatuations I remember. That is, all except one: My So-Called Life. It began on the air in August 1994, the summer before my freshman year of high school, and it was as if someone had placed a mirror inside my bedroom and broadcast it on television. I was Angela Chase, more so than everyone else who was sure that they were Angela Chase. I was a freshman in high school and deeply in love with every doe-eyed boy at my school. I parted my hair in the middle and wore a choker made of string. I got pimples, cried for no reason, and (once Angela introduced them to me, I will admit) danced around my room to the Violent Femmes. And like Angela, I had my Rayannes.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 15, 2011 6:18 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« PLASMATICS: | Main | DEMOGRAPHICS IS DESTINY: »