‘only sluts wear blue nailpolish’ + other lies people told me when I was a teenager

By bonnie, 4 June, 2011

She took me aside and gave me a sad, patronizing look before saying “No offense but, I just thought you should know that only sluts wear blue nailpolish.”

I was 13.

Everything about that statement was a vicious lie, including the mythos of what a slut was, who was one and why.  In this case, I noticed that the other girls (besides me) wearing blue nailpolish were the rough girls, the ones who smoked in the bathroom, the goth girls, the poorer girls from the trailer park part of town. The girl letting me in on the secret, giving me condescending, back-door “friendly” advice was a prissy, preppy girl who lived in a brand new development. I learned pretty quickly that this wasn’t about nailpolish.

I still wear blue nailpolish and I think about that every time.  That was an easy-to-spot line of bullshit.

Some other lies were not so simple to uncover:

  • these years will be the happiest of your life
  • you need to apply to some safety schools
  • if you don’t go to graduation or your senior prom you will regret it for the rest of your life
  • marijuana is a gateway drug
  • you aren’t depressed, you are just a teenager
  • learning a trade is for people who can’t get into college
  • no one will ever want you/love you if you look like that
  • there are “good kids” and “bad kids”
  • your transcript will matter forever
  • you need to make decisions about what you want to major in when you are 18 – you just should KNOW what you want (when it’s about career)
  • you are too young to possibly know what you want, what you are, what you like, what love is… see also: you are just experimenting, it’s a phase  (when it’s about relationships and sexuality)
  • you are too sensitive
  • you are too angry
  • only other girls understand
  • other girls are your competition
  • someday you will get along with your parents
  • anything following or preceding “when I was your age …” that was meant to compare and put down some aspect of things I did, said, cared about, choose or loved.
  • god is real.


  1. Darcy says:

    Ha, God…well said.

    Let’s see, my list of wrong things people told me around the high school years:

    1. Gays are going to hell.
    2. It’s my duty to save my brother from eternal damnation.
    3. Voting is better than being informed.
    4. Someday you’ll have kids of your own.
    5. As you grow older and wiser, you’ll become more conservative.
    6. You’ll miss these days.
    7. The world looks up to America.
    8. You have to wear heels to be gorgeous.
    9. You like boys a lot.
    10. Girlfriends are friends that are girls, not girls that you date.
    11. God will forgive you if you go to confession.
    12. The Marine Corps will be the best choice you’ve ever made.
    13. When you’re older, you’ll appreciate having ginormous boobs (no seriously, my doctor told me I should be grateful for double D’s on my 5’1” frame.
    14. Classics are the only books worth reading.
    15. You’ll start out poor but life will increasingly reward you if only you work hard.

  2. Sarah says:


    The God I talk to is real.


    1 College will be the most fun you’ll ever have ever ever.
    2 Everything is perfect if you just have a boyfriend.
    3 Feminism is dead and good riddance!
    4 Metal sucks.

    By the way, I miss you and East Coast and sometime I have to tell you about Easter Dinner.

  3. bonnie says:

    Hey Sarah!

    This coast misses you too, are you headed back out here to visit any time soon? And word on the feminism point on your list, with an extra bullet point. I didn’t include anything about that because I’m not sure anyone even said that particular “f” word to me in high school until I discovered the joys of it amongst activists. (I *was* in high school during the clinton years, so that probably has something to do with it… that and I was sheltered for a long while).

    I didn’t even start hearing about how dead it was really until college, and then it just never stopped and got worse and worse.

    And I’ve been in the slow process over the last couple years of discovering that I like and connect with some metal. I never thought it sucked, but did think I just didn’t get it. I was always into punk, so I think that metal was at the opposite end of hard music for me. Until now!

    Anyway, thanks for commenting!

    Also, are you on ravelry and/or tumblr? I’m listofnow on both of those, hit me up if you are!

  4. I’m wearing navy blue nail polish now, ha!

What do you think?

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