By Amy S.
I recently indulged in my secret love affair: I recorded a bunch of "Laguna Beach" re-runs, came home from an exhausting day of work and watched Kristen and Lauren glower at one another for 90 minutes. (Which is, like, you know, four episodes when you fast forward through the commercials!)
I'm fascinated by life as a rich teen virtually allowed to raise yourself. I'm simultaneously disgusted by how horrible high school is, even if you're rich and beautiful. (It still doesn't guarantee you'll get the boy -- just ask "Laguna Beach" alum L.C.)
The show reminds me of how catty women can be. We seem to pick up this skill in junior high, carefully craft it in high school, and mold it until it becomes part of normal life by the time we're adults. It makes me want to tie up my 3-year-old daughter and protect her from junior high and high school.
Truth is, cattiness still meows at us more mature ("Laguna Beach"-watching) women. For some reason, since moving in to a new neighborhood two years ago, I've been subjecting myself to a variety of activities to get to know people. I say, "for some reason" because honestly, I usually don't go for random activities with strangers. I tend to socialize in spurts and am just as happy in bed reading a book. Working helps too, there's plenty of good times and occasional catty-ness there.
Still, I go to my neighborhood's monthly bunko game, a classic scenario in which a woman must tread lightly and prepare for occasional ambush. (It's more than just rolling dice, it's social intrigue.) To be fair, most of the women who play are lovely people and mean no harm. But lovely women can be downright nasty given the right circumstances.
A friend and fellow neighborhood bunko attendee put it best recently, "It's a lot more fun if you drink while you play." So as "the new girl," I stay quiet, drink and take it in. The disses are more subtle outside of high school, but they're still there. And even at bunko, the "cool ones" stand out -- they get a little more tipsy, dress a little trendier and by the end of the night are a little bit too loud.
Sometimes I think I should keep "Laguna Beach" and show it to Olivia when she's a teenager. "See, it could be worse," I would say.
But by then, there will be other girls ruling MTV. That's the thing about life: There are always cattier, meaner girls waiting to pounce.
Amy S. is a 33-year-old married, working mom to Olivia, age three. She lives in Virginia.