My Sweet Sixteenth birthday. Shouldn't all birthdays be sweet? Why should sixteen be any sweeter? It seemed like a lot of hype to me!
Well, for starters, it means you can legally drive. It means you gain greater legal power. In some states and countries, it means you've reached the age of consent. And in times apast it often was connected to a girl being considered an adult woman. But then those things don't revolve around Our Snotty Goth, so they don't really matter, do they?
In Dullsville, they celebrate today, my sixteenth birthday, as any other day.
What does she expect, the entire town to throw her a parade and festival? "Yay! A snotty ungrateful brat has turned sixteen! Clearly we all care deeply about this!"
It all started with Nerd Boy's shouting at me. "Get up, Raven. You don't want to be late. It's time for school!"
Yes, clearly this is a terrible, wretched, sadistic thing for him to do. Obviously this is another reason for Raven - and thus, us - to hate him. He WOKE HER UP FOR SCHOOL. Evil brat.
How could two kids come from the same parents and be so different? Maybe there is something to that theory about the mailman. But in Nerd Boy's case my mother must have had an affair with the librarian.
- Or maybe she had an affair with a pretentious self-absorbed faux-vampiric douchebag, and that's where Raven came from. She seems to be the only member of her family who acts that way, huh?
- So basically "Nerd Boy" is smart. I guess there has to be ONE smart person in the family to balance out the illiterate idiot.
- And isn't it lovely that she's making snotty jokes about her mom cheating on her dad with anybody? All this, merely because her brother DARED to be born.
So our Gawthe Goddezz lurches out of bed and puts on her usual black clothes, black shoes, black lipstick. Obviously her skin would combust if she ever wore anything that isn't black. Amazingly she doesn't angrily toss aside the two cakes her mom has clearly been working hard on, because they have WHITE FLOWERS, as opposed to dark thorny vines. I guess sugar can conquer anything.
So anyway, her mom hands over a present, and everything seems very cuddly and birthdayish. Of course, Raven's pretentious Gawthe sensibilities promptly ruin it.
It could be the keys to a car— my very own Batmobile!
Because obviously Batman is all about The Gawthe, and all Gawthes desperately think about Batman all the time.
But no! It's a strand of pearls. Which is OH SO HORRIBLE because of course it's not GAWTHE to wear pearls, especially if they're WHITE. Teh horrorz.
This was my mom's corporate version of hippie love beads.
Wrong, bitch. It's a valuable item that her mother is giving her because she loves her and clearly thought she'd like it, and she's whining because it isn't a silver bat or something obvious and pretentious like that.
And this is further proof that Ellen Schreiber has never met a genuine (ie non Hot Topic) goth in her entire life. There are quite a few goths who would be dancing around the room if given a pearl necklace, and would incorporate it into their personal look - and they would appreciate the gesture even if it wasn't to their taste. Raven seems more like what an uptight middle-aged sixty-something fundamentalist housewife would THINK a goth is.
Fortunately we aren't treated to a wangstathon about how nobody understands her dark self, because Becky enters and gives her a gift bag (black, of course). And she has NEWS: somebody is moving into the Mansion. It's capitalized in the book, so don't blame me.
"Guess so. But all I saw were the movers carrying in oak desks, grandfather clocks, and huge crates marked 'Soil.' And they have a teenage son."
… I presume that last item (the soil boxes) is meant to be an OH SO SUBTLE hint about the nature of the new arrivals. But frankly, it just sounds ridiculous.
Or was that intended to be a joke? If so, not funny.
"He was probably born wearing khaki pants. And I'm sure his parents are some boring Ivy Leaguers," I replied.
I'm sure Gawthe Sue will never become one of THOSE. It's not Gawthe to be smart and well-educated. Better to be an ignoramus like her.
"I hope they don't remodel it and chase out all the spiders."
I hope they do, because it would piss off Gawthe Sue. And who wants to live in a house full of spiders? Even people who like spiders don't want to live in a house full of them.
"Yeah. And tear down the gate and put up a white picket fence."
"And a plastic goose on the front lawn."
Oooh, how transgressive and unconventional they are! Wake me when the idiots stop talking.
Anyway, Becky has bought her a wonderful awesome amazing gift - a cheap bat necklace that's clearly from some overpriced mall shop. Probably some awful ripoff of the Batman logo.
Since clearly value and effort don't matter as much as Gawthiness, Raven starts screeching about how much she likes it and immediately puts it on. Her parents are still listening, by the way.
My mom leered at me from the kitchen. "Next time we'll give her money," I heard her tell my father.
- According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "leer" means to "look with a sidelong glance, indicative especially of sexual desire or sly and malicious intent," or to have a "desirous, sly, or knowing look."
- I can't see why Raven's mom would have either.
- Evidently her parents aren't oblivious as she apparently believes - they're just not putting up with her pretentious, ungrateful bull.
Upon getting to school, Raven shows what a hardcore rebel she is by wearing black instead of white for gym. Because, you know, goths would combust if they ever wore anything but black.
"Raven, I don't feel like sending you to the office today. Why don't you just give me a break for once and wear what you're supposed to wear?" Mr. Harris, the gym teacher, whined. "It's my birthday. Maybe you could give me a break this once!"
It's nice to see that she's such an unselfish heroine, huh? This guy is just doing what his job requires of him; he didn't make the rules, and he clearly doesn't give a crap what people wear to gym, but he's supposed to do this for his job. When you keep that in mind, Raven seems like even more of a toxic little brat.
Anyway, the guy is obviously too tired of fighting with selfish brats over the basics, so he lets Raven get away with it this once. She and Becky are giggling like a pair of selfish idiots after this, demonstrating that Raven's snotty rebellions aren't that important to her.
And then enter: the Preppy Boys. They're demonized as much as you'd expect a mall-goth Hot Topic shopper to demonize anyone who's ever worn a tie.
They were perfectly combed, conservative, rich soccer snobs.
Yawn. Wake me when the cliches stop. Sorry, but dressing a certain way doesn't make you a bad person, nor is it symptomatic of a bad personality - which is exactly what people like Raven would hypocritically tell you in their own favor.
They knew they were great looking, and it made me sick that they were so cocky.
Yeah, how rotten of them! Better to be cocky because you think black clothes make you "deep" and "real."
Anyway, Trevor starts harassing Raven for no real reason except to show that Soccer Snobs are mean and nasty to Those Who Are Different (and by "different," I mean identical to all other pretentious faux-goths). Actually, he sounds only about as repellent as Raven herself is.
He had a girl for every day of the week. He was a bad boy, but he was a rich bad boy, which made him very boring.
This makes no sense. So a "bad boy" manslut is just fine'n'dandy if he's impoverished, but wealth suddenly makes him boring and nasty? Weird. This is like Twilight in reverse...
"But maybe there's a reason she doesn't wear white—white is for virgins, right, Raven?"
"Hey, I'm not the one wearing white underwear, am I?" I asked.
… okay, I don't understand that exchange at all. Presumably this is to show how incredibly witty and smart Gawthe Sue is, but she just sounds like she's spluttering random stuff.
"You're right—there's a reason I wear black. Maybe you're the one who oughta get out more. "
I'm sure that would sting if we weren't talking about someone who is acknowledged to be a big fat manslut. Especially since she just told her whole school that she's easy as hell... which only the stupidest of high school girls would do.
"You and farmer Becky sitting home on a Friday night, watching Friday the Thirteenth? Maybe placing some personal ads? 'Sixteen-year-old single white monster girl seeks mate to bond with for eternity.'"
It would be less insulting if it weren't true. After all, the latter is essentially what the entire book is about. So… basically Trevor is right on the money.
"No, we were thinking of crashing Matt's party tonight. Otherwise there won't be anyone interesting there."
Everyone was shocked
Tehshox! I may swoon from the rebellious comments claiming that a party…. won't have anyone interesting there! Seriously, when was the last time that Schreiber went to school? It takes a LOT more to shock teens at your average high school than a faux goth announcing that she's going to crash a party. What is this, 1950?
"Sure, you and Igor can come...but remember, we drink beer, not blood!" The whole class laughed again, and Trevor high-fived Matt.
I'd say Trevor won that round, huh? He actually said something halfway amusing (if obvious), rather than halfhearted zings that sound witty to no one except the one uttering them. Evelyn Waugh, Schreiber ain't - although I doubt she'd care, since he was not Gawthe and was therefore a conservative soccer snob with no brains or depth.
"We'll see what they do. Or what we'll do. It's my Sweet Sixteenth, remember? A birthday to never forget!"
I thought she claimed that "Sweet Sixteenth" wasn't a big deal to Gawthe Outsiders like her, only to people who care about "hype." Ah well, maybe some interesting characters will appear. Don't count on it, though.