Throwback to our middle and high school days, when being ~cool~ often meant being different, edgy, less feminine, and, of course, "not like the other girls."
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I mean, seriously, how many YA novels protagonists did we love who "weren't like the other girls?" Why were we taught that girls were not cool? What was wrong with girls?
Well, since 'I'm not like other girls' was unfortunately not just a fictional trope, Redditor u/universechild333 asked the internet, "What are your cringey 'I’m not like other girls' stories that you’re embarrassed about or were unfortunate enough to witness?"
And, apparently, we were actually just like each other (ya know, the other girls), because women did not hesitate to drudge up their most cringe-worthy — yet all-too-relatable — memories:
1."In high school, one of my teachers asked everyone to say one word to describe themselves, and I said, 'Classy.'"
"I die inside every time I remember it." —u/streetsahead121
2."My friend showed me a song she thought I would like because I was always going on about liking techno instead of pop. I listened for a few seconds, then scoffed and frowned. 'Remind me to show you some REAL music,' I told her. What I showed her later was the competition music from Nintendogs — by opening up my DS and entering a competition."
"I think the most embarrassing thing I can recall, especially because it was such a nice gesture." —u/probablyonmobile
3."I remember being 14, and this 16-year-old guy asked me what my fantasy was. I said, 'Well, I mean, most girls would like to have, like, Prince Charming on a white horse, but I don't like horses. I'm just different like that.'"
"He definitely meant sexual fantasies, not romantic fantasies, but I needed him to know I was cool and didn't like horses like other girls." —u/schweizerischmiss
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4."For my tenth birthday, my parents worked together to build me doll furniture. Dad did a lot of woodworking, and Mom was good with a sewing machine. Together, they created a cool little wardrobe and bed set for my dolls. They were painted white and had little flower stickers for decoration. My dad had even made a little mirror for my dolls to go on the inside of one wardrobe door, and my mom had sewn up a mini mattress for the bed. I just about cried when I opened my presents because I loved them so much. But my friend was sitting right beside me, and I knew if I told my parents I loved the presents, my friend would know I liked dolls. So I said, 'Thanks, but I don't like dolls. They're for babies.'"
"I always loved dolls and dressing up as a kid. I would spend all my free time playing with my dolls. But when I went to school, I would scoff at the other girls for playing with dolls. I wanted to be seen as tough and cool. Spoiler: I was neither of those things.
My parents looked so fucking sad. I'm 25 years old, and I'm crying as I type this because I still feel so fucking guilty 15 years later. A few years ago, I got drunk at a family gathering, and I sobbed to my dad and apologized for what I said, and told him I loved the present. He knew. So I got my apology out. But I still feel like such a cunt." —[deleted]
5."I am a girl who works at GameStop. Once, we had a female customer come in to buy one of the Call of Duty games. With the straightest face ever, she came to the counter and told me — obviously female — and my male colleague, without prompting, 'Yeah, that's right. I am a girl that plays video games. I love playing with my male friends,' like it was so rare and so special and she felt SO cool."
"It's something so cliche, it hurts to even talk about. I could barely keep a straight face while my colleague sold her the game. We burst out laughing after she went out of the store." —u/pale_panda
6."I spent my middle school years wearing fake raccoon-tail extensions — hair dyed in a striped pattern to resemble a raccoon tail — and saying, 'I’ll kill you,' to anyone who tried talking to me. Especially other girls. I don’t know what the fuck was wrong with me, but I’m still lying awake at night replaying it all a decade later."
"I guess I thought it made me cool and mysterious? I had one pink and one blue raccoon-tail extension that I insisted were real, and my bangs were bleached. I also bragged about not having any friends for some reason. I was a Girl Scout at the time, as well, and it was so bad that the troop leader suggested I find a new troop.
I was very odd and standoffish, I had severe undiagnosed anxiety, and I never really developed basic social skills as a kid. I was a mess inside and out, lmao. Around 16, I finally realized how shitty I was and dropped the weird fake mean persona. I’m a well-adjusted adult now!" —u/mercumorr
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7."A girl, when asked about interests, said, 'I don't have any, I'm normal.'"
8."In high school, I had a girl convince me that I was basic because I listened to whatever was on the radio and knew the songs. One day, I caught her listening to a certain band and went, 'Oh, what are you listening to?' She went, 'Oh, you wouldn't know them, they're VERY out of your taste.' I asked her to share the details. She kept telling me I didn't know them, but she was going to their summertime concert just to appease the metalhead boys in our choir. I asked her where the concert was, and she said, 'Oh, it's in New York!' 'Oh, really? My dad never scheduled a concert there.' Her heart visibly dropped as soon as she pieced two and two together. I have the same last name as the drummer."
"The band is local. It's my dad's band. I cringed so hard writing this because I can just remember her trying to convince me I didn't know my dad." —u/Pagunseong
9."I said stupid shit like, 'I'm watching/listening to [dumb obscure thing]; I bet y'all don't know what that is.' Facebook Memories is going to be the death of me."
"The good thing is that if you thought your past self was cringey, it just means you grew as a person :)" —u/whopple
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10."I had a phase where I would get all high and mighty about the fact that I didn't wear crop tops."
11."I thought I was a stoner the first time I smoked weed. I bought this Bob Marley shirt that I wore all the time and rasta-colored bracelets. I felt so cool. Then I passed out on a Rock Band drumset after smoking a blunt like it was a cigarette."
"After that, I decided it wasn't the life for me." —u/deeznutz066
12."A lady next door needed help breaking into her (probably not) son's friend's car. She said she could do it with a fishing line. I happen to like to fish, so I had some braided heavy pound test and offered it to her. She pulls the amount she needs and TRIES TO BREAK IT WITH HER TEETH. I told her, 'Ma'am, that's a braided line,' and she said, 'Oh, no, honey, I'm a country girl.'"
"She was at it for a while." —u/pewbsNbewbs
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13."'Describe yourself with one word.' My response was, 'Bad with numbers.' I personally thought it was the most hilarious joke ever. My teacher immediately moved on. No one laughed at all."
"I assumed no one got the joke. They did, it's just that I wasn't funny. Maybe they really didn't get it, though. We were in fourth grade, and I stole the joke from my grandfather — who was an extremely hilarious but very dry guy who loved to read Nietzsche, Mark Twain, Jewish and Roman history, New Testament scholarship, and listen to classical music on cassette tapes.
I had extremely low self-confidence as a child and just automatically thought, as usual, that I said something fucking stupid because I was an idiot." —[deleted]
14."A girl at school once commented on my Facebook picture, 'you look cute <3,' and edgy me said, 'thanks! (you're not getting a heart back that would be dumb).'"
15."I’m 29, so I was a preteen/teen during the peak AIM days. Putting up away messages was the shit. Eating dinner with your family? Let the world know. BRB? Let them know! Taking a shower? Tell everyone! One of my away messages for just that was, 'Save water, shower with me,' with the kissy face that had the little beauty mark for some reason."
"OG AIM users, you know the one. I was honestly, like, 11. I literally had never kissed a boy. I guarantee that I was also still wearing overalls, keds, and bucket hats.
I’m a fourth-grade teacher now, and I realize that I was an actual baby at the time. I cringe just thinking about it. Overall, I would really like to go back in time and smack some sense into me." —u/MissFox26
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16."I wanted to be emo, but my parents wouldn't let me dye my hair or buy me new clothes, so I was just an ugly middle school girl with a shitty attitude in Bobby Jack outfits."
17."I wore my dad's pirate boots from when he went as a pirate for Halloween in 1988...every day to school."
18."I used to think I was so cool for not knowing how to order a Starbucks drink because 'I just drink regular coffee.'"
"By the way, I’ve always hated black coffee." —u/missjett97
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19."A friend of mine started dating the single most dramatic girl I've ever met. We lived on the fourth floor and always took the elevator. So, we all get in to go down to the lunch hall, and she literally dashes for the corner and starts rocking back and forth in a really sad act at being terrified. He runs over to hold her and explains, 'She's terrified of elevators.' First, she lived with us — on the same floor — for two months, and we've all seen her on the elevator acting normal."
"Second, if you were really terrified of elevators, you'd just walk the four floors. It wasn't even that far up. Third, her acting was just terrible.Of course, a few weeks later, she forgot all about it and went back to acting normal on elevators again." —u/User1539
20."I wasn’t like other girls because I loved hats — top hats, specifically. For a year in sixth grade, I think I wore a top hat to school, and I thought I was the shit."
"It’s funny now, but, oh my god, did I cringe for years after it." —u/The_Hottest_Mess
21."I used to think I was a natural witch after watching The Craft for the first time."
"It was so cringey. The moodiest middle schooler ever. I miss it." —[deleted]
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22."In high school, I had this friend who tried so hard to be 'one of the guys,' to the point where she would often call herself that. I didn’t realize how cringey she was until I ran into her at a party in my twenties. She walked up to my boyfriend (now fiancé), grabbed his hat, put it on her head backward, then asked for a haul of his cigarette (she doesn’t even smoke), and began coughing profusely. She then proceeded to play punch him in the stomach and started calling herself 'one of the guys' again."
"A few of us just looked at each other awkwardly and slowly trickled away." —u/87319496
23."There was a point in my life when I felt like 'I'm wasn't like other girls' if I didn't complain too much, wasn't too emotional, had no strong opinions about anything, and basically went with the flow as much as I could. Also, if I could be a jack of all trades — knowledgeable about many different hobbies and interests. I basically didn't have my own identity, and I could be any girl you wanted me to be."
"I'm not like other girls because I am all girls. I'm Whitney Houston, I'm every woman.
More seriously, this led to me having no boundaries and a lot of repressed mental health issues. It also led to me having a lot of equipment that I barely use anymore and spending a lot more money. I feel like I can never get past the basics of everything, which made me lose my sense of self." —u/levitas08
24."I probably had most of my cringe moments as a teenager. I used to think I was cool because instead of using MSN or MySpace to gossip with schoolmates, I was on IRC and playing Counterstrike or Diablo 2 with my online buddies. I only listened to metal and I always wore black clothing while decking myself out in chains."
"On the plus side, with social media being in its infancy, most of my blunders have long been forgotten or were never immortalized online.
I still have some quirky interests, I guess, but I don't shy away from the mainstream either. I now like to think of myself as a reasonably well-adjusted lady. I think everyone gets a pass for cringey, teenage behavior or phases." —[deleted]
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25."I thought I was 'not like other girls' because I didn’t drink or party. I thought I was above my classmates who did. In reality, I was just jealous because I was never invited. Probably because I was such a snob."
"I was a total pick me, and I cringe when I think about it." —u/Bitter_Syllabub
26."Oh, good lord, there are so many. At one point, I based my entire personality on the fact that I listened to metal, and that preference made me different and special. I honestly looked down on girls for liking pop or even the color pink."
"In retrospect, I think I was just lashing out about how people focused so much on my femininity (also speculation about crushes and stuff) and I took it out on anything remotely feminine. In my defense, I was also like 10 years old." —u/Asexualness
27."I took four years of auto body repair in high school because I was clearly different than all the other girls."
"I did end up really liking it but I started for all the wrong reasons." —u/Omfgimaweirdo
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28."When I was in middle school, we had to make those desk name plates for some teachers. One of my friends was drawing on hers and wrote, 'I am an otaku, so what?' When she showed me, I said, 'Why that? No one ever said anything about you liking anime?' She got upset and didn't talk to me for a week."
"For context, I am from Latin America, where liking anime isn't something weird, and she wasn't the only one who watched anime in my class, either." —u/justfillingspace
29."I was one of those girls who was certain I could drink with the boys. I’m tall, so I could drink more than some but nowhere near a heavyweight. I also told myself I hated pink, polka dots, and sparkles — even though I secretly loved them — and refused to go near them. I thought I could pass as a cool girl by being able to talk about video games. Of course, being a little sister, I never played any of them, I'd just watch."
"It’s honestly so frustrating that so much of my personality was essentially hidden for most of my teen years simply because I didn’t want to be seen as weak. Weird how society defines anything girly as weak." —u/applepi101
30."I tried to melt a plastic spork into a bracelet."
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31."In middle school, I was the ultimate pick me girl. I hated One Direction and was very vocal about it. I had no reason. Everyone else loved them, but I didn't so I 'wasn’t like other girls.'"
"Same with Justin Bieber but he did turn out to be a dick." —u/Suspicious_Yak_1010
32."With almost everything I did, I felt proud of myself for supposedly not being like other girls. I didn’t wear the same types of clothes 'other girls' wore, I didn’t wear makeup, and I was 'so unique' because I liked anime — all that kind of stuff. I tried way too hard to make friends with guys because, apparently, I thought they were better than girls for some reason."
"I do cringe looking back on it, but I also feel sad about it. Girls shouldn’t feel pitted against each other." —u/fluffyphoe
33."I refused to wear the skirts in my school uniforms and wore pants instead, even though 95% of the girls wore skirts. Then in my final year of school, I tried skirts."
"I felt like an idiot for suffering for four years straight with pants just so I didn’t look like the other girls." —u/YurchenkoFull
34."I played the ukulele and sang like a stereotypical, wannabe manic-pixie-dream-girl. I also tried to get into riding a motorcycle but broke my foot on a motorcycle in a motorcycle SAFETY COURSE — designed to teach new riders how to ride motorcycles. I refuse to even be a passenger on one of those things now."
"So freaking 'different' and 'adventurous.' Smh. I want to punch the teenage version of me in the face sometimes." —u/jivehyde