JH Mae

I’ve never been lucky with the ladies. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been able to develop a really good giggle.

And that’s what I call a group of girls. A group of elk is a gang, of crows is a murder, of frogs is an army. A group of girls is a giggle. Because when they get together, that’s all they do.

There is nothing inherently wrong with laughter, I quite enjoy hearing it and laughing myself, but only when there’s a point. That point being that something is funny. I’ve seen groups of girls completely overtaken by the giggles but I bet if you were to ask one, they wouldn’t be able to say why they were laughing.

These giggles of girls behave in curious ways. You can always point out the leader -- she flips her hair the most, walks in front of the group issuing commands and setting plans the others must follow.

Then you have the mindless mass behind her, wide-eyed and powerless, taking directions blindly. They’re just happy to be in the group and want to make sure they stay there.

Often this giggle is dressed in the same outfit, or a variation of it; if one is wearing a ponytail, gym shorts and snow boats, then the rest will, too.

I was a member of a giggle on and off for three years in middle school. Peak giggling years. When we weren’t bad-mouthing each other and plotting the death of the girl we considered the pain in the neck for the week, we were probably giggling. My communion with this group didn’t last long.

I’ve never understood the concept of following, of a group picking out its most charismatic -- notice I didn’t say intelligent -- person and deciding subconsciously to listen to everything that person says.

So it goes with the giggle. Who nominated the queen bee to lead? Did she rise like royalty blessed with divine right? Were her mother and sister before her giggle leaders as well? I am disturbed by the person girls generally seem to follow -- the pretty girl. She’s thin and has perfect hair and a clear complexion and even though she doesn’t have a job, always wears fashionable clothes. It is rare, if not impossible, for a bespectled, curvy girl with zits to rise to the top.

Less than perfect girls must rely on something that all girls should aspire to improve -- her brains.

Do you imagine Gloria Steinem, or Jane Austen, or Hillary Clinton were hair flippers? I doubt it. Every girl obsessed with fashion trends, hair products and wearing revealing shirts to attract boys makes it harder for a different girl to be taken seriously when she wants to join the Army or earn a Ph.D.

I wish girls would aspire to be smart, strong, opinionated and ambitious. I was opinionated in school and instead of people looking at the quality as a value, they told me I should shut my big mouth. Nice -- we wouldn’t want girls speaking their minds, now would we? And so many do keep their mouths shut, opening them only to agree with the leader of the group and of course, to giggle. You look prettier if you don’t try to do something rebellious, like be smart.

JH Mae is a Banner columnist.