A stranger living with the Tribe of Girls
(This is another old column from when a Tribe of Girls ensnared me and forced me to live with them. The Young Girls are designated by their ages.)
"Hello. My sisters are all morons," said 12, when the phone rang and she got there first. These days, it's a race for the phone. Boys call on the phone. The phone belongs to the quick and the cute. Her, of course.
12 may be last in arrival, but she is infinitely more motivated and amply capable of reminding the entire world -- especially 14 and 16, her first-but-not-most sisters -- that she is not least. Last but not least. A scientifically supportable theory around here.
14 and 16 can take care of themselves, so don't be concerned. They are each the valiant and proud survivors of countless duels to the split end with electric blow dryers. Most duels in the Tribe of Girls, however, do not involve any weapons other than The Sharp Tongue, an ancestrally inherited trait bequeathed down through centuries of customs, ceremonies, and continual sharpening during exchanges of wit.
From the time the first Neanderthal Man left his underwear lying used side up on the floor of the cave, Girls have verbally slashed and parried their way up to Cave and/or Teepee Queen, by saying sharply to their male:
"Ooooggg! Ahhhhdmmmmsssttt! Ugh! Aarrrgggaaahhh! And oh yes, ggggrrr ssccaaaieeedddooo!"
(Interpreted, this means 'pick 'em up right now, Sweet Cheeks, or you'll pay Dear-Lee.')
Dear-Lee, I now know, is an ancient God called often upon around here. It didn't take long to figure out that if you mess with Her, you mess with your destiny.
And your supper.
All this savage teepee repartee is new to me, I have come to realize as I enter the latest outbursts into the journal I keep for research. I was a brother. Not a sister. All this is completely foreign to me, so I'm keeping notes. Growing up as a brother, one's primary purpose in life was to practice upon one another the art of maiming, chopping, and hitting -- all necessary skills to provide and defend a teepee against outside enemies.
Where little girls try to verbally twit one another into submission, little boys quickly learn that striking is quicker. We learn not to bring fewer weapons to the fray than the other boy has got. Sticks and stones and so forth. Hit 'em in the eye.
Here in the teepee, every word uttered is a twit in some sister's eye.
"Where'd you get that lipstick? At the undertaker's?"
"Your hair looks so ... so ... soo nerdy!"
"Hey, doorknob! Take a pill!"
"The Tell-A-Phone's for you! I think it's Death-Breath!"
Now I know why it has become customary for the father to give away the bride. Plus throw in some money to boot. Maybe a couple of goats and a cow. And lots of wine.
Giving away the daughter as a bride is less of a give-away than it is a hand-off of a ticking bomb, in this case a bomb emitting twitting sounds. "Here," the father of the bride is saying, "you charge into the pack with this one for a while." It's like playing quarterback with the Viking football team, knowing you're going to take a beating. Here's some money to buy bandages, here's some goats to symbolize your new role in life, and here's some booze to numb you up.
The other day I overheard the ultimate Tribe of Girls insult, an age-old twit meant not for the male ear, the ultimate major all-time super-twit of the ages, in existence as far back as there have been monkeys capable of pantomiming this message:
"YOU'RE SO FLAT EVEN THE WALLS ARE JEALOUS!"
That is the Mother of all twits, and I, The Prairie Spy and official researcher of The Guy's Club, was unfortunate enough to overhear it, and record it for posterity.
"My sisters are both so ugly they can't come to the phone," 12 said into the telephone receiver, right after she answered it with the moron informational.
"Well," she said to me upon receiving my aggrieved parental look, and giving me her superior opinion back: "They are such losers!"
Last but not least.