by Unknown on Saturday, March 28, 2009

#65: Stacey's Big Crush

This entire book was an exercise in secondhand embarrassment.
Jessi is feeling the secondhand embarrassment as well. If there was a thought bubble over her head, it would read "oh honey no." But Stacey is beyond help. She's wearing a green bow in her hair that matches her dress. She's probably had her hair recently re-permed. She's probably wearing Love's Baby Soft. All in all, she is a hot mess pining over a substitute math teacher who looks like a Ken doll and is following a white tie dress code at a damn middle school dance. Dude, seriously.

I can't help you, McGill, so let's move on.

"She's also one of the two fashion plates of the BSC. The other? Hrrrmph. Yours truly. Okay, I know it sounds snobbish, but all I'm saying is that Claud and I are the most clothes-crazy of the members. We like to follow new trends (and set them, if we can). Claudia likes experimenting more than I do, though. She can throw together the wildest hats and vests and shoes - stuff you wouldn't dream of wearing - and look sensational. She loves to wear her hair in different ways and is crazy about wild-colored barrettes."

It does sound snobbish, Stacey, it does. (See, it's funny because if Claudia had said that I'd be in complete (effusive) agreement. These are the jokes.)

"Then I thought of something extremely important. My clothes. [Validation! I knew thinking about my clothes was extremely important - thanks, A.M.M./Ghostwriters!] I had gone to class wearing an oldish pair of stretch pants and an oversized turquoise men's shirt. Not awful, but not spectacular. There was no way I'd make the same mistake the next day.

I rifled through my closet. One by one, I looked at my best outfits.

Long red gown? Too dressy. Stone-washed jeans (with a knit top)? Too [cobrasnake] casual. Paisley-print stirrup pants? Too faded.

I started the process at 4:35. By 5:05, I found myself staring at a short, rayon challis tank dress my mom had ordered for me. It was navy with white polka dots. The fitted top taped down to a flared skirt, with white buttons down the front. It was feminine, yet comfortable-looking. Absolutely perfect."

Stacey says that she can't wait to tell Claudia about her outfit. Claudia, being fairly practical, is like "Stacey, chill out, this is crazy talk." You can't help her either, Claudia.

"When I told her I was thinking of wearing thong sandals, Claudia suggested instead the new white sneakers I'd just bought, made of eyelet canvas with lace shoelaces.

'Ooh, good idea,' I said. 'Now, what scent does this outfit go with? Should I wear Lauren, or is that too, like, twentysomething?'

'I think it's fine,' Claudia said. 'But, uh, don't forget, Stace. This is a class. Wes is a teacher.'"

I'm not even sure I have it in me to continue with all the navel-gazing and pining Stacey does over the course of this book. It is absolutely hilarious to read from a - to quote Stacey - twentysomething perspective. I wish I could remember what I thought of it while reading it as a kid. Anyway, I'm resorting to a bulleted list, because the fashion (and quotes) just kept on comin' with this work of art.
  • "From my secret psychological study of Wes, I had reached an important conclusion. He preferred dresses to slacks. So on Friday I wore a light, springlike sundress."
  • "I vowed to myself that the next day, Friday, I would wear pants to school for the first time in two weeks. Who cared if Mr. Wesley Ellenburg liked dresses? Besides, how did I know how he felt about clothes, anyway? I had completely misjudged his feelings about me, hadn't I? By the next morning, I had begun to have second thoughts. Maybe I hadn't misjudged Wes's [sic] feelings. Sure, he was a twenty-two-year-old man, but that was still young. Everyone knows boys mature more slowly than girls. Maybe he was confused. Maybe he found it too hard to talk about feelings. Maybe he liked me so much he couldn't find the words to say so. I wore the polka-dotted tank dress to school that day."
Oh girl. I have a book for you.
  • "It was Friday, a half hour before the Spring Dance. Mom and I had gone shopping at Bellair's after school. With her employee discount, she had been able to buy me one of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen."
  • " I stood in the bathroom and admired it. It was a calf-length silk/cotton dress with pastel floral print, a scoop neck, and a shirred skirt that was slit to above the knee on one side . . . Then I checked my makeup in the mirror, slipped on my bracelet and silver hoop earrings, and stepped into my flats. I pulled my hair back and fastened it with a ribbon. I was ready. 'Watch out, Wes,' I said to the stunning blonde in the mirror."
  • "See you at the dance Friday night. Those words kept repeating in my head. He had said them to me. I know it was a harmless statement, but he didn't have to have said it. He could have said 'see you in class,' which had been what he usually said. But no. He had specifically mentioned the dance to me."
  • what Jessi wore: "an indigo blue unitard [of fucking course] with a matching open-mesh oversized cardigan."
At the dance, Stacey makes an ass of herself, to put it plainly. She asks this poor man (god, he's three years younger than me) to dance to some slow song, and he tries to be polite and says that he's winded, maybe the next song. And she actually responds "the next one might not be so . . . slow."

I die.

So of course he has to awkwardly explain to her that 22 and 13 are more different than she thinks, he's a teacher, etc. Finally. But he totally creeps me out by starting off with "Stacey, you are a brilliant, talented, attractive girl . . ." Seriously, is that at all appropriate within the context of that conversation? I want this Miss Carr wannabe kicked out of Stoneybrook Middle School before someone gets pregnant.

And how glad are you that that stupid plotline is done with? And the equally stupid Eyes Wide Shut thing? And can we talk about the sheer homicial rage on Chuck's face at the end of Monday's episode*? That was pretty intense, huh? Would you say that it was more or less OH SNAP inducing than the "I killed someone" scene from All About My Brother?

* and how hot is that Home Video song?**
** and how much do I love asterisks?


Woot! Glad to see an update.

And yeah, this book was so, so painful. I hated the "the next dance might not be so...slow" part. Although actually it was kind of nice to see Stacey get turned out for once. Now that reminds me, I still have to read the book where Robert breaks her heart. Haha!

by Sadako on 1:16 PM. #

hahaha... I remember reading this. And I remember how I felt about it at the time! (Why, dear brain, must we remember things like this?)

I, of course, thought Wes was being an ass and not giving Stacey a fair shot. I'm not sure if I could manage to read it again (now that I am also older than poor Wes...), just reading your comments about it made me recoil. I work with kids about the same age as our Babysitters and I'd smack them upside the head if they tried to pull that with me.

by Lis B on 1:30 PM. #

Stories about kids having crushes on their teachers are always so embarrassment squicky. In the worst one I ever read the girl actually went to her teacher's house. In the middle of the night. And confronted him about his actual girlfriend. It may have been raining, too.

Trust Stacey to spend more time talking about her own outfits than about Claudia's. Lame.

by HelenB on 4:35 PM. #

I'm dying at the book cover. Hilarious!

by Megan on 5:22 PM. #

oh my god. excellent job on the book cover photoshop my love. wow. this saved me from my midwest boredom.

by Whitney on 5:50 PM. #

I literally LOL when I saw your photoshopped book cover. Another brilliant post, as always.

by Mo on 6:02 PM. #

we all had crushes on teachers. just a thing back then. also i think he was just trying to let her down gently. dont think that makes him possibly future rapist. haha.

by hayley on 12:19 AM. #

Props to this post! I read this book when I was 8 and am only noticing now how weird it is that the substitute math teacher was wearing a tux at the middle school dance, not to mention what he was doing there in the first place. I don't think a substitute teacher ever came to any of my school dances.
Also, what is up with Stacey referring to him as a "man" all the time. Didn't anyone use the word "guy" back then? "Man" just sounds so much creepier, it's creepy enough that he wore a tux to the dance and raves to Stacey about how brilliant and attractive she is. C'mon now Ann M.Martin.

by Sarah on 5:22 PM. #

Ah, me, I love it when Stacy gets hers.

Also, the Chuck/Blair angst on GG at the moment is delicious! I'm loving the Nate/Dan dynamics- total bromance!

by anti-zeitgeist on 2:49 AM. #

Oh, God, how I loved this book when I was 13. I blame it for propagating every one of my ill-advised crushes on teachers. And I still remember the sad, sad day when I realized that I was now older than Wesley Ellenburg.

Something always seemed a little off about Stacey's dance outfit, though. Not only does the description not really match what's shown on the cover (those hardly look like pastels), but I never understood the point of a shirred skirt with a slit. Wouldn't the slit get lost in all the shirring? The ghostwriters were way too into shirring at this point in the series...I seem to remember multiple mentions of shirring when Mary Anne had her makeover, too.

Wouldn't it be awesome if they did a challenge on Project Runway where they all had to recreate classic BSC outfits? I'd love to see someone try to interpret this one from the description.

by Clare on 3:22 PM. #

I remember reading this one in the 4th grade and thinking that 22 was sooooooooo old and mature...and I also thought that the cover pic looked like a real 22-year-old.

Killing someone = kind of just not really calling 911, didn'cha know?

by Rachael on 9:18 PM. #

I wish I looked like that at 22.

by So@24 on 1:11 AM. #

I actually did look like that at 22. It wasn't as spectacular as you might imagine.

Beautiful post--you know just when to step aside and let the text do the work for you and when to insert brilliantly edited book covers.

by Rebecca on 3:35 PM. #

I am SO in love with your Photoshopped book cover LOL

Oh and I'm going to link to this in my link love coming up. It's too good to pass up.

Fabulously Broke in the City

"Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver."

by Fabulously Broke on 6:00 PM. #

This was actually one of my favorite BSC books when I was eight or nine. I really liked Stacey, probably because I could not conceive of a human being or fictional character more unlike myself.

I came across the book a few years later and flipped through it, but what disturbed me even more than the "Don't Stand So Close to Me" subject matter was the fact that it was ghostwritten by a MAN. Creepy!

by on 7:04 PM. #

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