Recently, a friend of mine was shocked, appalled; dare I say in a phone conversation we had, after I mentioned to her that I was never part of any clique or ‘sisterhood’ in my school years. She on the contrary was part of a clique in school, a prominent one at that! One of those ones that assigned names and msn addresses to its members. The borderline ‘Gang in Holloway’ type cliques.
For her and many other girls at the time, cliques were important, it was never about what you knew but who you knew, never who you were but who your friends were and you could simply push in the lunch queue without any sort of aggression from a million hungry girls because they all knew the repercussions of 'crossing the line' with you (Your step brother’s uncle owned a pit bull.)
Despite the potential rewards or security that was to be gained by signing up to one of these cliques, I always kept my distance because,
I was taught to be a loner (waves to Dad) but more importantly I learnt very quickly that firstly, cliques were about as ineffective as water for deodorant and they limited my free-lance behaviour.
My genuine wonder was why anyone would want to be in a clique when if ever you needed them, the girls in the ‘macho’ cliques would be in detention for macho behaviour like defacing their planners or setting the fire alarm off and girls in the ‘ditsy’ cliques would also be in detention but for make up and dyed hair, leaving you alone to face feral (to say the least) maltreatment by other schools.
Sidebar: if a fight was planned and the defense (who’d be a girl from your clique) was absent, you’d get the beating. In fairness though even if she was there, you’d still get the beating with the additional knowledge that she’d in fact run away and left you for dead in the hands of the wolf pack…but you’d get a spud tomorrow though and have your praises sung whilst they got your lunch because you’d be wheelchair bound presuming if you got off likely…
But I digress.
More so, I found that although all cliques were different in that they had different motivations and aims (Like the African versus Caribbean cliques who’d spend all lunch time arguing about whether it was ‘Plantin’ or ‘Plantain’) they all had the same structure:
The leader around whom group ideals are created. The envy of the group. Consensus would crown her the prettiest. Large mouth, No substance.
The Bitch. She would be the very root of malicious gossip. Fight dodger. Makes many coup plots against Shay but fails. Every time.
The lovable nerd, although she tries to disguise her academic interest. Also known as the "snake" because she'd revise for the test at home after a group consensus to fail, then lie about having revised. She’s never half as brave as the machos or girly as the ditsys…but she’d plough on
Karen, Melissa, and Lucy: The followers. They’ll have no mind of their own and do as instructed even if it goes against their better judgement usually the ones that would be left fighting after everyone else has run away. The 'Funny' one might also be hidden somewhere within this subculture.
No one cares. No one knows why she’s actually in the group. Group slave.
For me, cliques never did it. They just didn’t serve a purpose. They limited the freedom to talk to who you wanted for fear of offending one person or another and I find that groups of that nature took away individual abilities to think with individual minds. They acted as a group, without which insecurity and discomfort would only be too clear to see.
The names aforementioned aren't necessarily personality traits of the bearers of the name.
Cold Tea and A Kiss With A Mouldy Mouth