Actually Ashley,  Blog

From Talking to Stalking

Mob mentality is a real thing.  And it’s not just for villagers with pitchforks and citizens with a cause.  While not the most common use of the term, a group of girls can also be put under this category.  When girls are together, we can talk ourselves into believing anything.  That the guy who has never talked to you definitely knows who you are and is actually in love with you.  That the reason you failed that test isn’t because you didn’t study, it’s because the professor is just intimidated by your unusual brilliance.  Probably even that the sky is neon pink and clouds are made of cotton candy.  Girl power usually refers to the strength and power which women can have when they work together, but in my mind, it also applies to our incredible ability to change all our perceptions of the world with just a few reaffirming comments from our girlfriends.

But this power does not only apply to words.  When the air is adventurous, we can get each other to do some pretty crazy stuff.  Especially when you add boys into the mix.  But I think that a lot of the extreme things that girls do for boys is actually just a way for us to bond amongst ourselves.  It’s a time-proven truth that girls relate to each other by talking about boys, so why not take it a step further?  Boys like to think that they are just that special but most of the time, they are actually just a tool we use to build our friendships.  Talk about girl power!

For example, my group of friends formed around one particular boy who will not be named for the sake of everyone involved, but let’s call him J.  J was the object of my friend, Alex’s obsession.  J and Alex were in the same club and twice a week, it gave us something exciting to talk about.  “Did you talk to J today?”  “Did J laugh at your jokes?”  Did he propose yet?”  And as our group grew, so did the fixation.  For every girl you add, you have to multiply the level of support for every stupid idea by at least ten.

When there was just three of us, we set out to walk by every dorm room on campus, hoping to find where J lived.  His name was on the first door that we saw of hundreds.  So of course we convinced ourselves that this was a sign from God.  But honestly, how could we have taken such a coincidence as anything other than a divine revelation that marriage was inevitable?  When there were six of us and Alex was having an emotionally taxing day, we all gathered around her and tried to comfort her through the agony of J talking to another girl.  But the comforting soon turned to righteous anger.  So naturally, we took a field trip to go throw berries at his door.  That’s not considered vandalism, right?

But none of these stories measure up to The Incident.  There were eight of us that night.  It started as a harmless pizza trip.  But as we were talking, enjoying our high-calorie gluten, Alex’s face suddenly turned white.  We all turned to the window just in time to see J casually strolling by the restaurant.  We laughed at yet another coincidence and finished our meal but Alex was not ready to let it go.  When we left the pizza place about 45 minutes later, we decided it would be wise to wander around a little and see if we could find where he went.  Just as we thought the search was over, finding ourselves at the waterfront, J’s silhouette appeared through the darkness on the other side of the road.

I’m not sure whose idea it was, but somehow all eight of us ended up full-on sprinting after this poor guy.  (I am not the star of this story, but I just wanted it noted that I was the only one doing it in high-heels.)  We tailed him for a few blocks until we were finally parallel with him just across the street.  We were trying to be inconspicuous, but eight girls screaming, giggling, and staring while running in your direction is pretty hard to miss.  When J was just a few feet away, I got excited.  This was it.   The big proposal was coming for our dear friend, we could all feel it.  Except now, facing the reality of what we had just done, Alex started to cry.  And all at once, we all switched from mob mentality to mother-mode.  Alex was embarrassed and nervous and very out of breath.  J had gone into a coffee shop and we ended our chase, sitting outside the coffee shop, trying to keep J from seeing Alex.  And thus we ended our dabble with stalking.  Sitting there, Alex didn’t want to look at J.  She couldn’t leave.  She couldn’t go inside.  So we did our best to convince her she wasn’t crazy and that he didn’t even know what happened.  After all, we reasoned, J would have to be pretty conceited to think that eight girls were frantically running down the street just for him.

But in all honesty, J is not the sharpest crayon in the box and I truly think he never did notice.  It doesn’t really matter now anyway because Alex got over him pretty quickly.  Looking back, she says she never really liked him that much.  If that is true, then we will probably all end up in jail for what we work ourselves up to doing when she really likes someone.  But Alex explains that her  emotions were escalated because we were all bonded on a mission to make Jalex happen.  We hyped her up and she didn’t push back because we were all having fun together.

Despite a few months of stalking him, I never talked to J.  Whenever I see him around campus, I fell the urge to say hi to him but then I remember that he has no idea who I am, much less that he helped establish the best friendships of my life.  But then, Alex is right that it was never really about him anyway.  J was an excuse to run down the streets together.  He was an excuse for us to cry together.  He was the beast to our angry villagers.  But once the moment passed and we put down our pitchforks, we realized that we didn’t need J anymore.  And being girls, we instead used our powers to convince Alex that she is way too good for him, she will find someone better, and she actually doesn’t even need a man because she is a strong, independent woman.  And when she doubts any of this, we will always be right there with our group-persuasion to change her mind.

Photo Attribution: The original uploader was Eighties1980 at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

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