Last week I went to West Haven to do drugs. At the Veterans Hospital. We all support the troops in different ways. My way is taking ketamine with electrodes attached to my scalp.
This was the first part of a three-part study. Of course, I had to be screened to ensure I was physically and psychologically sound enough to be tranquilized. The screening involved an EKG, a physical, a blood draw and a rigorous examination of my mental hygiene.
“What have been your most emotionally significant moments?” inquired the not actually psychiatrically trained interrogator.
“Since when?” I asked.
“Okay. Well … it took me about four years to grow any hair. But I loved hair clips. I guess that was my first experience of inadequacy.”
I decided not to mention my most recent emotionally significant moment. Half an hour earlier I had handed over a cup of my urine to the researcher. I was pretty dehydrated that morning and was suddenly, for the first time in my life, deeply insecure about my urine’s concentration.
For six minutes we watched my concentrated urine, together, as my drug results registered. All I could think was that if I’d drunk that Vitamin Water by my bed when I’d woken up my urine would have been a perfect, pale yellow. Then I thought: why do I care about impressing the researcher with the color of my urine? And then I thought: I probably have schizophrenic tendencies.
After that, he gave me an hour-long true or false questionnaire designed to detect any schizophrenic tendencies.
“Do you ever sense that store window displays are arranged to send you special messages?” False!
“Do you ever feel that objects you touch are actually a part of your body?” False!
“Do poets exaggerate how great nature is?” Um … true?
“Do you ever not feel that strangers aren’t in love with you?” True. Fuck. False.
“Do you ever dance by yourself just to feel the way your body moves?” True.
“Are sunsets overrated?” True.
I haven’t received my results yet.
Then, he asked the kicker: “How would you rate yourself compared to others?”
“In what category?” I asked. “You mean … morally? Or intelligence? Or what?”
“As a human.”
I found the question disconcerting. Not that I don’t ever rate myself as a human against others. I do it all the time. Especially to girls.
Especially to girls who are hooking up with/have hooked up with/want to hook up with a guy I am hooking up with/have hooked up with/want to hook up with.
This analysis is in two general categories: Are they prettier/skinnier than me? Are they cooler/funnier/smarter/better dressed than me?
If they beat me in both categories then I feel threatened and I pray that they’re a huge bitch. If they beat me in one category and I beat them in the other then I Facebook stalk them/ask interrogating questions to mutual friends so that I can find out information that’ll tip the equilibrium. If I beat them in both categories then my self-esteem remains intact.
No one wins, by the way. This is purely a self-destructive exercise.
I think this behavior is fairly common. It even plays out in popular culture. On “Gossip Girl” two weeks ago, Vanessa was totally pissed off at Little J — but not at Nate — for their public display of affection. Vanessa’s Forever21 sales rack wardrobe can’t compare to Jenny’s Hot Topic transformation. So of course Vanessa spurned Little J. She’s the way edgier alternakid. Jenny beats Vanessa in both categories.
This form of psychological warfare between girls is especially sad to witness at Yale, because its one of the most common catalysts among girls for the Yale Cycle of Depression.
The Yale Cycle of Depression:
Stage 1: I am inadequate. Everyone around me is “talented” and “fulfilling their potential” and “happy” and “playing IM sports.”
Stage 2: Why bother doing anything? The world outside my bedroom burns my retinas with the abrasive glare of well-adjusted, productive humans.
Stage 3: I’m at Yale. I’m so lucky. I’m wasting tens of my parents’ dollars lying in bed for the next four hours fermenting in YouTube videos of laughing babies. I want to be a laughing baby. I also want to die.
Stage 4: I’m a bad person. And I probably have schizophrenic tendencies.
Girls hating on girls is bad for girls. It also distracts from the most common culprit in girl-guy-girl triangles: the guy. I imagine that these triangles are scalene. a) Because scalene triangles are incredibly unequal triangles. b) Because scalene triangles are clearly the worst triangles. c) Because I haven’t used the word “scalene” since sixth grade and I will probably never use it again.
The “other girl” in this triangle gets blamed and judged and Facebook stalked all the time, when really the guy’s just a sleazeball.
Over the course of my screening day, the researcher was awkwardly flirting with me through the screening. During my physical, he wrote down my weight as eight pounds lighter than it actually was. Then he shot me a slimy smile. “You’re wearing clothes,” he sleazed.
I decided to take a stand against the sleazeball. Against all sleazeballs.
“Um … not EIGHT POUNDS of clothes,” I replied.
He examined the clothes I was wearing, top to bottom, slowly. Then he winked.