Almost every day for the past month, my four-year-old daughter laments to me about Carolina. “Carolina won’t hold my hand, Carolina won’t sit next to me, Carolina says I didn’t really get a hair cut, Carolina doesn’t like me. Carolina wants to come over.” Welcome to my daughter’s very first frenemy. The good mom in me tells her “Just be yourself, be nice and walk away.” What I really want to tell her is Carolina is an asshole, mommy knows assholes too so tell her to back the f*** off.
Girls, women. East coast, west coast, Europe. Pre-school, middle school, no school. There are just some not-so-nice girls that eventually become petty women. I don’t know if it’s jealousy (that’s the normal answer moms give their daughters), poor manners or simply bad seeds, but it was always something I thought we outgrew, like pimples and bad fashion sense.
We don’t. Insecurity is a hard habit to break. I sit nail biting on the scuola media sidelines as I learn the clever ways middle school girls make and break friends. Whatsapp is the weapon of choice here as most sezioni (classes) use it to keep in touch for homework and events. Since the entire class is connected, text message slams are prevalent. We are lucky, mini-e is both a quick learner—my mother’s “laugh it off” has evolved into “laugh it off, get a screen shot and never put anything in writing”-- and has a silver tongue, so that when necessary, her verbal repartee can slice an ego in half, a kind of middle school version of Ridicule. But then the next birthday part happens, friendships are patched up and we are back to square one of nasty text messages with bad spelling.
I’d like to tell mini e and x that these annoying little girls will eventually outgrew their insecurities to become friends and potentially good people, but I won't lie. Most likely, these girls will just grow up to play a malicious game of pretend where they share with us, love us, celebrate us, use us and tell us everything is our fault, in any language. And sometimes we'll fall for it. And sometimes it hurts.