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The Unicorn Club and The Babysitter’s Club Ruined My Life

February 6, 2012

Sweet Valley Twins and the Babysitter’s Club books gave me unrealistic expectations about young adult hood. According to these formulaic fiction serials, twelve and thirteen are when you officially become a teenager. I thought I would become a member of one of the most exclusive clubs at my rinky dink kindergarten through eighth grade elementary school, despite the fact that the popular girls had no such clubs. I imagined I would get weekly babysitting jobs, which would give me the money to buy all the clothing I coveted from Tommy Hilfiger and Maurice’s and all the accessories I could dream of from Claire’s. These books gave me the strange idea that once I reached this magical age, my life would officially begin.

I wanted to be hybrid of Jessica Wakefield and Stacey McGill. Together the two blonds of Sweet Valley, California and Stoneybrook, Connecticut were the perfect girls. Both were popular and gorgeous. Jessica was scheming and slightly manipulative, which were qualities I wanted along with Stacey’s intelligence and business smarts. Most importantly, lots of boys were interested in them.

However, I was the antithesis of everything I wanted to be. I had dark wavy hair that was almost black that I almost turned orange from a year of Sun-IN. I was a cheerleader, but I never transformed into the bouncy bubbly stereotype of a cheerleader. Instead of being a babysitter, my mother still hired a babysitter for my younger brother and I. The only part of my life that was going according to plan was the boy aspect.

Boys seemed to like me, mainly because I had huge breasts for a tween. Even random men would stare at me in the grocery store or other places. Being the object of boy’s lust didn’t fulfill me like I thought it would. I still didn’t have a boyfriend, or even get asked out on dates to the movies or the skating rink.

Why wasn’t my life as amazing and perfect as these girls? When I went to the beach, I never got my summer romance that Stacey and Jessica got multiple times, and even their less attractive and mousy friends had (Mary Ann Spier, anyone?). I was a cheerleader, but I was forever on the fringes of the in crowd, not really fitting in, but not a total outcast. Compared to the girls in the Unicorn Club and the Babysitter’s Club, I was a failure at thirteen.

Years later, I realized that these books were a shiny and happy aspiration of a teen in the 1980’s. Growing up in the Y2K era in suburban Tennessee, I never had a chance of carefree afternoons on the beach playing chicken with boys in my brand new bikini. Instead, I thought that my life should be like a teenage book series, where conflicts are wrapped up in 150 pages or less. I was miserable that I couldn’t have this unattainable life.

At thirteen, I had realized what many adults realize in the throes their midlife crisis – that my life was disappointing, and meaningless, and that things were only going to get worse.

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