You’ve received gratis what everyone wants: a second chance at a first start. But why hasn’t Clay returned your text?
You wake up one morning and suddenly you’re a teenage girl. Not a teen idol like Taylor Swift or Rebecca Black, but a regular, run-of-the-mill teenage girl. This might have shocked a lesser man, but you’ve seen or read all of the great body-switch comedies: Freaky Friday, The Change-Up, Switch, the remake of Freaky Friday, The Metamorphosis.
Instead of freaking out à la the principals in Freaky Friday, you realize that this is a great opportunity. After all, your previous stint as a teenage boy was nothing to write home about. You were eczema-riddled, marble-mouthed, clinically depressed, and a regular Mr. Puny-verse when it came time to change in the locker room. “If only I could have been a girl,” you remember yourself thinking. It would be so much simpler.
You take a deep breath, roll out of bed, and stumble toward the bathroom. Things are looking up for you. You’ve received gratis what everyone wants: a second chance at a first start.
But why hasn’t Clay returned your text? It’s been nine days, after all. What’s his problem? You had such a great time that night. He told you that you were pretty cool, and you told him he was pretty cool. It was all so very cool. From time to time, you find yourself glancing wistfully at your last textual encounter:
u: u r so cool
Clay00: u 2
u: u 2 lol
Clay00: yah u 2 lolol
You devote an hour to showering and preparing yourself for school. You never spent more than ten minutes on personal upkeep when you were a guy—and it showed, given how terrible you looked most of the time—and initially you’re uncertain about why you’re now lavishing so much attention on yourself. It’s not for your own well-being, is it? No, it can’t be: Deep down, you still couldn’t care less about how you look. It’s for everybody else.
When you arrive at school, you find yourself plugged into a social network unlike any you’ve encountered before. Previously you had just loathed everyone around you and spent the time you weren’t paying attention in class thinking about how great it would feel to get your cherry popped or how much you’d like to reconfigure the lineup of your woebegone Cleveland Browns franchise in Madden ‘07’s “Dynasty Mode.” Now you’re worried about what Katie thinks. And about what Katy thinks. And about what Katie thinks about Katy. Then there’s Cate and Kate. What are they thinking about Katie and Katy? And where is Clay? Why wasn’t he in homeroom? Should you text him again? Sure, another one can’t hurt. Just to be sure, right?
u: where r u (5 minutes ago)
u: where u at (4 minutes ago)
u: hey where r u (2 minutes ago)
u: just thinkin about u (1 minute ago)
u: hey (1 minute ago)
While engaged in these heavy cogitations, you ignore all of the invisible, pathetic ciphers who—if you stopped to consider them for even a second—would remind you of the teenage geek you once were. You’re not being mean or short-sighted, though: these people simply aren’t part of the scene that you’ve been scrutinizing with such intense focus. Katie, Katy, Cate, Kate, Emily, Emme, Em, and Emmy are. So are Clay, Stone, Wynn, Sharpe, Haden, Braden, Haden Braden, and the other not-so-beta males who warrant your notice.
By sixth period, you’re exhausted. How could anyone keep track of so much information? Who knew that every interaction was so fraught with power and status implications? And this is the very moment when the rubber hits the road—or, to be more accurate, when your chair squeaks in a manner not entirely dissimilar to a poorly-stifled fart.
Emme says something to Em. Em then says something to Emmy. Katie, Katy, and Kate begin whispering not-so-sweet somethings to one another. A note may or may not have started circulating. Is there anything on Facebook? Check it. Oh, that’s wonderful:
2 minutes ago near School
lol she tooted xoxo
Emmy Anne, Emily Anna, and 3 three others like this
This is exactly what you don’t need. Why are they doing this to you? Was it really the squeak-fart that made them turn on you, or was it something else? A secret sin you’ve committed? Perhaps you didn’t laugh at, wear, or do the right thing at any point during the previous six hours. And what is wrong with Clay? He was supposed to be the one, and he hasn’t answered any of these texts! Everything is spinning out of control, and it seems like you’re never going to recover.
The thought of doing this all over tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow—every tomorrow for as far into the future as you can project—is too much to bear. Yeah, it was just as awful being a teenage boy, but at least the life of a loser didn’t require so much effort. But wait! A text message has arrived:
clay00: sorry babe phone got stoled n brokeN sup 2day???
12 hours into your change-up/metamorphosis/freaky Friday-ization, you reach the following conclusion: Guys have it so easy.