“All the better to vaguely disappoint you with, my dear.”
August 1987: I’m 12, and I go to sleep away camp for the first time. When I sent in my application, I had visions of shaking off my smart-girl, awkward, nerd persona. I would bloom, come into my own, blossom, into the prom queen of camp.
It didn’t happen.
The night of the big dance, I’m crying in a bathroom stall. In walks Tiffany, a teenage counselor She has blonde hair, down to her waist. She wears shirts with little alligators on them. She is always laughing. She’s exactly what I want to be. Tiffany asks me what’s wrong.
I tell her I don’t want to go back in there. No one is asking me to dance.
“They all want to dance with Michelle & Kendra. ALL the boys are in love with Michelle & Kendra.”
“Oh yeah? Well, Michelle & Kendra are sluts!”
Michelle and Kendra are most definitely not sluts. They are 13 year old girls with boobs and self-confidence. But I like Tiffany’s version of events better. She knows what I need to hear. We go back to the dance, and Tiffany lets me hang out with her & the other counselors for the rest of the night.
Camp ends the next day. Tiffany writes “You were an awesome camper! See you next year!” in my autograph book.
I stare at that piece of paper, those 2 lines, for the next year. I have a hero.
Tiffany is awesome.
July 1992: I’m 17. I’m a counselor at the camp I went to. Tiffany is a member of the Central Staff, and is In Charge.
We spend the night before the campers get there, talking. Parties, drinking, boys, men. She’s dating a cowboy. I listen to her stories. I make up some of my own in a vain attempt to impress her, show her how different I am from the geeky 12 year old version of myself. Maybe we’ll be friends, slightly more equal.
The week doesn’t go so well. Tiffany doesn’t seem to actually like kids very much, and spends a lot of the week yelling at campers, talking down to the other counselors. We take a hike, with all 70 campers. Tiffany decides not to pack extra water, because it’s heavy. The temperature is over 30 degrees Celsius. Kids are dropping. She blames them, for not drinking enough water before we left. The site she’s picked for the overnight camp out is wasp infested. She tells us to “deal with it.”
Tiffany and I aren’t going to be friends.
September 2008: Through the social networking miracle that is Facebook (why yes, my tongue IS firmly in my cheek!), I see Tiffany again. She is “friends” with one of my “friends”. Her last name is changed. Her hair is shorter, but essentially, still in the same style. She has gained 50 pounds. She’s got bags under her eyes.
Tiffany sells Tupperware.
(Photo from here.)