Somehow, it has become a commonly held maxim (and a Bowling For Soup song, incidentally) that "high school never ends" -- a maxim that's pretty patently untrue. Whether you're popular at age 16 -- as you languish in a world of jammed lockers and school dances -- basically has no bearing on how you'll be perceived years later IRL.
Isn't that awesome? It's that a relief? Don't you wish whoever called H.S. the "best years of your life" would just grow the eff up already?
Yup. Popularity -- as it's defined in terms of prom queens and class presidents -- means nothing. That's the secret, dudes -- one that's been proven pretty handily by pop culture's most elite clutch of popular girls: Lorde, Taylor Swift and Lena Dunham -- a.k.a. a gaggle of weird girls done good.
On Monday, Lorde and Lena were fanning the hell out of Taylor Swift's brand-new record, 1989, tweeting beach snaps and favorite songs and volleying @-replies back and forth in a way reminiscent of how you and your friends huddle at the lunch table, comparing chemistry notes and crushes.
The only difference between these ladies and you? They just happen to rule pop culture today (which isn't to say you and your BFFs won't soon enough).
Just look at Lorde. Ella may be your age, 17, but she doesn't follow trends, she makes them. (Purple lips, anyone?) And while it's pretty par for the course in high school to hide your intelligence for fear of being labeled a "brain," Lorde flaunts her smarts -- the girl edited her mom's master's thesis when she was just 14 for, well, Lorde's sake.
Lorde is always 100 percent herself -- pimples, snarky comments, big-ass hair and all -- and that has made her a force to be reckoned with. And likely can be traced to the decision to have the Grammy winner curate the entire soundtrack for "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1," for instance. And it's also why she was picked to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and countless other iconic publications. Lorde is a weird, smart and not the kind of girl who would be chosen (or deign to be chosen) for Homecoming Court. And she's is all the better for it.
And then there's Lena Dunham -- Lorde's pal and a similarly brainy lady. We won't launch into any glowing discourses here about Lena's looks and how they diverge from the norm because that's a boring, over-tread subject (and she's beautiful, anyway), but we will say: Lady is weird. And weird in a good way. Lena chose to cast herself as the most embattled character on her HBO show, "Girls" -- and to depict the messiness that is extended adolescence, warts (or nudity) and all.
Dunham's show is not popular because her characters are likable, shiny rom-com archetypes -- or bad-ass vampires -- but because she isn't afraid to show us all the parts of life that aren't pretty. The parts of life that are true. Sure, Lena's ballsiness is of the variety that gets you shunned in HS -- where it's always safest to toe the line rather than cross it -- but in Hollywood... well, dude, you got yourself a book deal. And a rockstar boyfriend. Not that she needs the latter to be awesome.
Taylor -- now Taylor may seem like the exception to the high school popularity rule (I mean, she dresses like a cheerleader in "Shake It Off"), but, when you think about it, girl is kind of a nerd.
She's nice to everyone. She can't really dance (and doesn't care that she can't dance so persists in dancing anyway). She's extremely open about her feelings. All of these things together are seriously frowned-upon in a high school setting -- but IRL, well, they conspire to score Taylor scads of #1 hits. We'd make a joke here about shaking off your high school haters if said jokes weren't already so over-played (more evidence of Taylor's popularity).
So, friends, next time you're sitting at your lunch table, watching the "popular" kids laugh and kiss and brag, just remember Lorde, Lena and Taylor: the weird girls who prove that high school, indeed, does end -- and doesn't really matter that much, anyway.