Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Forever Friends

Aside from helpfully selling any personal data you may have recklessly uploaded, there seems one other main feature to facebook. Reconnecting you with all those people at school you didn't like enough to keep in contact with when you left.

I went to what was, and still is considered an excellent school. A highly academic girl's grammar school. So academic that one of their first tasks was to ensure we could all spell 'grammar' properly. Oh, and to remind us on a regular basis that [we] 'were the top 2% girls'. And don't you ever forget it!

Other things considered most important were that we all had regulation colour socks, and to the point of teachers searching through the cloakrooms obsessively, the correct colour coats. Woe betide any girl unlucky enough not to have wealthy parents, a non regulation coat (navy blue only) would reward a girl with daily lectures until they broke and put constant, hysterical pressure on their cash strapped parent to replace their existing, perfectly acceptable but not navy blue coat.

Such care and attention to detail over appearance made it rather easy on occasion to get drunk, smoke fags and the occasional spliff on school time. We learnt very early on that such transgressions would be ignored in favour of a lecture about wearing earrings. Along with the music teacher's interesting ideas about 'gels' not being able to sing with jumpers on, or without sitting on desks so legs were visible along with the view up our skirts, or the numerous odd reported assault.

Bullying was the order of the day, you either sunk or swam, the idea of reporting such problems to a teacher being as laughable as the idea they might give a damn about it. The only things the teacher's were really interested in were ensuring the police attended rapidly to remove the pre pubescent little boys hanging around outside the school before they "carried us off and did unspeakable things" Thus successfully planting the hope in our boy crazed heads that we might just find out what those things were. The vast majority of course having done so long before 16th birthdays came around.

Fortunately the years of uniform obsession are long cosigned to the past, the only clues remaining my constant fear of 'scruffiness'. Oh and the regulation house gym knickers which were almost as big on me at 18 as they were at 11. Until facebook.

So last night I went to meet up with a girl I'd not seen since leaving school. We were never the closest of friends, both just trying to survive the school experience the best we could. I'd had to cancel a previous arrangement last week as my hips were bad, and I was a little nervous about seeing someone from school now I'm cripped up.

I shouldn't have worried, it was a lovely night. We caught up on the events in our adult lives, and reminisced about the horrors of a school interested in nothing but appearance and results.

Perhaps in another 15 years or so a few more of us 'top 2% girls' will have managed to achieve the level of career success our peers from the local secondary modern have done.

19 comments:

Trixie said...

I see girls school all over the world are the same! lol.

I went to so many different schools, travelling around, I don't even remember any names of school friends!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Trixie: It would seem so! That must've been tough having to start all over so often x

Emma said...

I suppose I am still kind of sceptical about the whole facebook thing, I sometimes see old school friends when I go to mums, in fact my oldest school friend walks mums dog.

But there are plenty I didn't feel I had much in common with a school so no idea how we would get on now...xx

Bollinger Byrd said...

school friends.... ugh... couldn't go there. It was shite at the time and can't see anybody being any better now.
bbx

Marla said...

I am glad meeting up with an old school friend went well.

I can't imagine going to a school where I had to wear a uniform. Glad you survived.

Mr. Nighttime said...

"The vast majority of course having done so long before 16th birthdays came around."

What was I reading a few years ago about many British girls losing their virginity by the age of 14? Or was that Irish girls?

There are very few people from my school days, other than the one or two that I am still friends with, that I would like to keep in touch with. I am just glad I didn't go to an all boys school, not that it mattered. I wasn't the guy that girls flocked to anyway, though things got better during my senior year of high school.......

Jim said...

I rarely meet anyone I was at school with these days. I very quickly lost contact with my old school friends after I joined the army at 16.

Thinking about it, I'm not sure that there were many I'd still be very friendly with now.

Casdok said...

Oh the memories of regulation socks and pants. Nighmare.
Great that you had a lovely night. :)

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Emma: I'm pretty skeptical about facebook too so I'm really careful about privacy settings!

BB: Generally speaking that's exactly how I feel! There's just the odd few girls I would like to catch up with though

Marla: TY! I find the idea of having to wear your own clothes for school very intimidating. At least with a uniform the opportunity to be bullied for not having the same clothes as everyone else is lessened. The only problem was how obsessive our teachers were about silly things

Mr Nighttime: I can't speak for British girls, just myself. Having said that, with a few notable exceptions sex started early. Not alot else to do!
I want to know what changed in your senior year?!?

Jim: Boy soldier? I know what you mean though, as a general rule if I'd wanted to keep in touch with people I would have done so

Casdok: There's stories behind that comment! I might just have to dig the 'regulation pants' out for a photo heehee

Jim said...

Yes bendy, I was a boy soldier or "Junior Leader" as we were called. It was an interesting time :-)

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Jim: I'll bet! My surrogate father joined up as a boy soldier, he did 25 years and came out a staff sgt. He's terminally ill now and his speech quite difficult to understand, but I love listening to his tales about northern ireland, still to this day he's furious he missed out on the falklands!

having my cake said...

The thing about losing contact and getting married is that no one knows how to contact you on Facebook. They only have Friends Re and they have to pay to contact you on that so that tends to weed the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Cake: Now there's an idea...drastic, but definitely an idea ;)

Jo said...

Bendy, re your note to Jim, does your surrogate father have MND? I'm just curious/nosey; I know there's a lot of other things that can make one terminally ill and with hard-to-understand speech, but MND is the one my Dad has.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Jo: I'm sorry to hear about your Dad's diagnosis, must be very difficult for you all. No, my surrogate father doesn't have MND, but from what I understand the condition he does have is very similar in symptoms etc. He actually has cerebral ataxia. That and stubborn bugger syndrome ;) BG x

AnneDroid said...

Oh, your school sounds like mine.

One of our teachers had a shoe fetish. Well, maybe not, but she carried a ruler in her bag for measuring the height of our heels, and banned us from wearing patent leather shoes, on the grounds that the boys would be able to see the reflection of our underwear. I have investigated this claim and it is untrue!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Anne: Hello :) My goodness that's a shoe fetish! I used to love my patent leather shoes soooooo much, at least our teachers didn't believe them to be secret underwear reflectors! lol! BG x

Textual Healer said...

Yeah I went to a school like that too (top 2% and don't you ever forget it). Most of my class went off to Oxford, Cambridge or Sandringham. I hated it - and most of them. But my parents thought I was the bees knees for having got in there. Took me years to get over the traumas.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

TH: Hello and welcome :) It's funny, it seems this whole top % thing is a common theme in certain schools, along with the damage it seems to do.
Perhaps those of us who struggled to get over the school experience for so long would have done alot better in life at a school deemed to be more mediocre, no impossible to acheive expectations to live up to leaving people free to set their own targets. Who knows?! BG