T-Shirt & Jeans | Teen Ink

T-Shirt & Jeans MAG

December 19, 2010
By alikazamx GOLD, La Verne, California
alikazamx GOLD, La Verne, California
15 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live. Laugh. Love.

I sit, blankly staring at the muddy gray food in front of me, as indistinct voices fill the air around me. Am I supposed to know what this is? Do they expect me to consume this?

The unidentified food object bubbles, as if to answer my question. I'm going to take that as a no, I silently resolve, pushing the tray and its revolting contents away from me. My stomach growls in protest. Hush, I reprimand it. Do you want to get sick? It growls louder.

I try to ignore the hunger and focus on my surroundings: the cafeteria of my new school. To the untrained eye, of a parent or teacher, it looks like a massive group of high school students all eating together, laughing, and enjoying each other. So completely normal, it could serve as a background to a clichéd high school movie where the girl falls in love with the boy. Or they fall in love with each other. Or something like that.

Yet the high school cafeteria has depths beyond what parents and teachers can see. It is divided into social groups so precisely that you could make a map and take visitors on a tour. Now, if you look to your right, you will see the drama freaks. They are not understood by anyone but their own. To the left, you find the nerds, the ones addicted to their calculators and who look like their mothers still dress them. It's the same at every high school; it doesn't matter whether it's the biggest public school in the middle of a huge metropolis or the smallest secluded private school isolated in the mountains. Although the map differs a bit for every school, the general idea applies to all.

I sigh and glance at my table. As a new student, I'm not sure which table I am supposed to sit at. I met two of these girls in chemistry, and they seemed nice enough. When they invited me to sit at their table, I pounced on the opportunity. There is nothing worse than sitting alone in the jungle of the high school cafeteria.

Currently, they are talking about what kind of clothes they are wearing. They rattle off designers I've never heard of: Miu Miu, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus. They chat about what's in this season and what's out. They describe what styles each girl prefers: bohemian, vintage, punk-rock-but-in-a-good-way. I instantly realize this group is the fashionistas. They are the ones who jabber about clothes and designers and fashion endlessly, as if they have nothing better to do. They lay out their outfit the night before, and wear more makeup than the professionals.

Not that I have anything against these girls. I love fashion as much as the next girl. But I do believe there are limits to how much of your energy should be focused on school, and how much on the getting the next big trend before the rest of your friends.

“Hey, new girl, what's your style?” someone chirps.

I snap from my thoughts and realize that there are ten pairs of eyes expectantly looking at me. “Uh,” I stammer, looking at my plain T-shirt, jeans, and Converse sneakers. “T-shirt and jeans?”

There's a split second, and the girls burst into laughter. “Awesome answer!” they snort. Suddenly, I feel a rush of embarrassment run through my cheeks, although I have no idea why. I excuse myself amidst their laughter and hurry through the empty halls to my locker. I lean against cold metal and close my eyes, wondering how my first day of junior year turned out so humiliating.

I hear footsteps, and the clink of a locker opening, but I keep my eyes shut silently hoping I'll be left alone when my traitor of a stomach growls. I hear a snicker and prepare myself for even more embarrassment.

Instead, I feel a tap on my shoulder, and as I look up, I see my locker neighbor, a girl I encountered this morning with a simple “Hi … which way to chemistry class?” She's holding out a banana. With a grateful look, I take it and devour it in three bites.

She laughs. “I take it you didn't welcome today's mystery meat.” I shake my head and she chuckles. “Rule number one: Always have a backup snack in your locker if you're not sure about the lunch. Don't count on the vending machines either,” she warns. “Half the snacks are about ten years past the expiration date.”

I swallow the last bit of delicious banana and nod, accepting her advice as readily as a young grasshopper with his sensei. She looks me over, then asks, “Want to join me for lunch? We actually have real food at the table, and I'm pretty sure the girls won't mind sharing their lunches with someone who didn't know any better.” She smiles, and it lights me up.


As we walk back toward the jungle, I look over at my new friend and ask, “What style would you describe yourself as?”

She shoots me a questioning look and shrugs. “I don't know … T-shirt and jeans?”

I smile. “Interesting choice.”

The author's comments:
'Mean Girls' inspired, I wanted to elaborate on the seating chart of high school.

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This article has 10 comments.

elites5 SILVER said...
on Oct. 10 2012 at 5:56 pm
elites5 SILVER, Langley, Other
9 articles 0 photos 23 comments
This is totally like my high school! Really well written and I am t shirt, jeans or sweat pants girl :)

on Jul. 6 2012 at 12:27 pm
PhoenixCrossing GOLD, Tinley Park, Illinois
14 articles 0 photos 178 comments
I like the irony and the ending is definetely the best part. Very interesting piece. Keep writing!

on May. 29 2012 at 4:45 pm
BloglessBlogger GOLD, Somerset, California
10 articles 1 photo 67 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't let the fear of striking out keep keep you from playing the game."

My style, all the way!

on May. 29 2012 at 4:34 pm
BloglessBlogger GOLD, Somerset, California
10 articles 1 photo 67 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't let the fear of striking out keep keep you from playing the game."

That is so my style

on Jan. 23 2012 at 11:41 am
ginger1993 GOLD, Colorado Springs, Colorado
11 articles 0 photos 27 comments
Nice! i liked it!

on Sep. 17 2011 at 5:12 pm
forgottenpenname GOLD, Troy, Michigan
12 articles 0 photos 147 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Carpe diem."

I love this! :) My school's so totally different from this -- we aren't divided that way as much, the guys just kind of sit with the guys and the girls just kind of sit with the girls; we're not nearly as cliquey as most high schools -- but I still see where you're coming from. I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, myself, although I do enjoy dressing up a bit, too. :)

on Sep. 13 2011 at 12:10 pm
Rocinante SILVER, Wexford, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 386 comments
Well written story! I enjoyed reading it a lot! My style is t-shirt and running shorts :)

on Sep. 4 2011 at 3:12 pm
zadiekatie23 PLATINUM, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
39 articles 4 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

Enjoyed reading this! I'm not all that into fashion either; t-shirt and shorts, baby!

LovelySerena said...
on Sep. 2 2011 at 3:48 am
LovelySerena, Dededo, Other
0 articles 8 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
Hope is the thing with feathers that perches on the soul. ~Emily Dickinson

Nice story. I'm a girl but not that into fashion though. My style is t-shirt and jeans.XD

on Dec. 22 2010 at 8:32 pm
Kneubeiser4 PLATINUM, Chapin, South Carolina
22 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
Never say goodbye, because saying goodbye means going away... and going away means forgetting. - Peter Pan

I really liked this piece :) I've seen the movie mean girls a few times and i think that you did a really good job!