By Lacy Schoen
Do you know a mean girl? Perhaps you are one. If so - keep reading because I am about to expose your lack of game. If you are a female that embraces other females and helps them succeed - you go girl! You have game, because you are doing good work for your gender. You are what I lovingly call a “Bestie!”
Besties know the catty type - the vicious carnivore that will claw at some fictional flaw in you, leaving you bleeding in a social setting. Case in point. I like to shop anywhere. I can find almost any wonderful frock or bobble at any store. Sometimes…
dat-dat-dat-daaaahhhhhh…I score a fashion find at a thrift shop. I always get couture compliments, so apparently I know what I‘m doing. One day I mentioned a certain store in a group of gal pals, and mean girl turned up her nose and said, “I just can’t shop there. I‘m afraid of bugs.” GASP! Then STOP… for the deafening silence that killed our gal pal buzz after this comment.
So my brain jumped to the most important immediate action - take that wench off my Christmas card list! Then I did a double take to observe her “get-up” and thought, “Maybe YOU ought to wear bugs. You might turn an eye!” I sometimes think evil thoughts about mean girls, but I never say them. They are purely for my amusement. But I definitely felt the acute urge to poke mean girl in the eye.
Besties pay only compliments publicly. If a constructive correction in required, it happens in private. Example. Bestie One says to Bestie Two, “Follow me to the bathroom.” (I always know that my girl is going to have my back when she initiates a bathroom trip in this manner.) She opens the door, and lovingly pulls me by my arm toward the mirror, stretching to grab a paper towel along the way. Then she gently whispers, “Honey, you have a bugger in your nose.” Now there’s a girl that has my back. Friends for life!
My Besties and I regularly engage in a bitch fest over the “divide-and-conquer” Attila-the-Hun mean girls. I call these girls Hunees. Get it? My Besties think that’s too nice, but it allows me to refer to them on the down-low. “Incoming Hunee.” Translation. “Watch your back!”
As if glass ceilings weren’t enough for us to deal with, Hunees aggressively undercut you to elevate themselves. In a business meeting, they pull back their invisible slingshot, and, without warning, peg you in the reputation to make sure they stay one step ahead. Hunees can even be top professionals - brilliant, beautiful, admired. But, they are narcissistic. They think there is one space at the top - and it’s theirs! They don’t understand that the more women that succeed - well - the more women that succeed! Ummmm…simple math? This part of the brilliance equation escapes them.
This is why I love the “Good ole boys club.” These guys are smarter than mean girls! They support and defend each other. They build a ladder to success and help each other up the ladder. Good ole boys rarely insult each other - publicly or otherwise. Rarely do they delve into private issues. If they do criticize, you’d be hard pressed to be within earshot. They are extremely loyal, and all men benefit. Does this sound like a bad thing? I think it’s a good thing. They have game on us!
There’s another type of mean girl that is more passive than the Hunee. I call this type the Jellyroll. Seems appropriate for the morning business meeting, doesn’t it? Not so much. These spineless females see you going down in flames. They don’t comment. They don’t interfere. They just let you crash, watching the smoke trail with pleasure. They don’t take one ounce of accountability. Later they’ll say, “I saw that going bad.” Or, "I knew that idea would tank.” They know you are about to burn at the stake, and they do nothing. They put their hands over their eyes, and watch through their fingers.
If you‘ve just committed professional hari kari, a Bestie will find a way to help you. When she does, you catch on and follow her lead. She is saying, “You just blew it. Let me get you outta this mess.” The wimpy Jellyroll thinks she has no stake in the game, but the Bestie gets it. All ships rise.
So I say, down with mean girls. They are the weak, soft under-belly of the female gender. Luckily, Besties are growing in numbers. We have the wisdom of our male counterparts, the strength of our female talents, and there is a market for our club. Just look for our sign. “No mean girls allowed.”
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