Dear Diary

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

These four Real! Teenage! Girls!—Minna, Dylan, Naomi and Katherine—will be keeping weekly diaries for us, posted every Wednesday. This week: Hello, Rookies! Plus: Katherine’s grandmother buys her a thong.


My name is Naomi and I live in a little town on the outskirts of Birmingham, England. This has its good and bad connotations. One of the bad ones is that it’s hard to find good magazines—I have to order Lula online. Another one is that I don’t have what outsiders think of as a “British” accent.* No, I have a light Brummie accent. Not very noticeable to my ears, but it usually produces a response if I’m anywhere else in the country. I’ll give you a little Wikipedia fact: “A study was conducted in 2008 where people were asked to grade the intelligence of a person based on their accent and the Brummie accent was ranked as the least intelligent accent. It even scored lower than being silent, an example of the stereotype attached to the Brummie accent.” Oh, the joys of stereotypes.

Well, about where I live. We are right slap-bang in the middle of Britain, so unfortunately, we are furthest away from the sea. My town is so small that word gets around if on a given day the thorn-bush branches are sticking too far over the vicarage fence to the footpath behind. I live in that vicarage. Yes, my Dad is a vicar—otherwise known as priest/minister. I’m not sure why, but it seems that people have a lot more interest in you when the vicar introduces you as his daughter.

It isn’t a quaint English village. We still have a white-van man** honking at anybody in a skirt, which in my opinion means you are situated in an area with a dense enough population for there to be an urgent need for window cleaners, plumbers and conservatory fitters. I remember being wolf-whistled in the summer by a window cleaner and then his coming to my house, so I had to hide under the bed. These are the lengths I go to to avoid being embarrassed.

To be honest I have pretty extreme anxiety, such that I don’t really venture out very far from my house. Luckily, the Internet has given me a connection to some things outside that restricted area. My first foray into the World Wide Web was Tumblr (mine is Queen Midas). I discovered the service about three years ago, when I was 14, and I am so thankful for all the music, books, film, art, politics and feminism I have been exposed to there and been able to soak up like a sponge. (My favorites: Lipstick Feminists, Teenage Bedroom, Magpie Nest, I Just Want a Beautiful Life, Got a Girl Crush, The Violet Dreams and this one that’s just called Home.) Plus the Internet has given me this, my first “published” piece of writing, which feels like a big opportunity for a little insignificant person like me. I feel like this Calvin & Hobbes strip is appropriate here:

* There is really no such thing as a “British accent”—little geography lesson, the UK consists of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Island, each with dozens of their own accents.

** Another Wikipedia definition: “‘White van man’ is a usually pejorative stereotype used in the United Kingdom to describe drivers of light commercial vehicles such as the Ford Transit. Such vehicles are commonly painted white in order to facilitate easy sign-writing on the panelled sides. The stereotype represents the drivers of such vehicles as having poor driving skills and/or an aggressive and inconsiderate manner. The stereotypical ‘white van man’ is often self-employed or the owner of a small business such as builder, carpenter or plumber.”


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  • andy September 7th, 2011 7:13 PM

    I always think about my relative age and whether I am wasting my time. I feel like I’m losing “almost-happened” moments, even though I’m still young. Odd how we can feel that way.

  • Rita Unicornia September 7th, 2011 7:21 PM

    hahaha, it’s awesome to see how different but the same teenage girls’ lives are… rookie is my favorite site now! it’s awesome… keep up with this great stuff! – a teenage girl blog about fashion

  • Marguerite September 7th, 2011 7:39 PM

    I must say my favourite times of day are at night when you can lay under the stars and zone out in the cool breeze, awed by the beauty of the stars. Also I love sunrise. Everything springs alive, and you can feel the sun gently burning your skin even though the air is still cold.

  • Kacela September 7th, 2011 7:45 PM

    I think it is awesome that we get to see how REAL teenage girls live there life. Rather than be threatened by the celebirties and their lifestyle. REAL WILL ALWAY’S BE PURE!!

  • Sunshine September 7th, 2011 7:59 PM

    This was really interesting!!! I really loved seeing the different perspectives/writing styles of all three girls.

    I’m usually a normal underwear type of girl, but if I’m feeling particularly rebellious, I’ll go commando. All day long, I feel a delicious surge of guilty pleasure that HA, I am defying the rules. AND THERE IS NOTHING MY MOTHER CAN DO ABOUT IT. =D

  • Maimiae September 7th, 2011 8:57 PM

    Wow. We r all so alike.

  • mollyslips September 7th, 2011 9:02 PM

    I’ll never forget when I received my first racy, red thing from my Aunt after getting my first period. Awkward, gawky, and totally freaked out about this “official entrance into womanhood”, the thong only furthered my embarrassment and I immediately shoved it deep into my granny-panty-crammed drawer and never tried it on until many years later. Needless to say, I still hate thongs–there is truly nothing more uncomfortable!! How do so many girls out there enjoy flossing their asses with this torture device?! Thongs even look that flattering in my opinion…

    To quote Outkast: “…And naaw I don’t wanna see your thongs, I kinda dig them old school regular draws…”

  • Anaheed September 7th, 2011 10:13 PM

    Dylan, please tell me where you got that HORSE DRESS.

  • fullmetalguitar September 7th, 2011 10:54 PM

    I do hate thongs still like most reasonable girls do (it’s okay if you like them) but I love the “Lacie: line from Victoria Secret. When I discovered them it was like a revelation. I could both wear sexy looking and sexy feeling underwear and be comfortable? Oh yes, I’m all over that. We’re young and busy, we don’t need to be restricted by uncomfortable things but we do still want to feel desirable~

  • Bean September 7th, 2011 11:20 PM

    I get the thrill and excitement of wearing really awesome underwear and no one knows it. You kind of want to tell everyone but you know that’s just not right so you hope maybe, somehow, someone will notice. Although, I has a thing for this really wicked pair of frilly undies. I generally wear them under dresses because the frills do not sit will with jeans (talk about a bubble butt). Too bad no one knows just how awesome you are for your underwear.

  • Dylan September 7th, 2011 11:45 PM

    The dress came from a vintage store in Seattle. It was floor length and I cut it to above the knee. There is a silken beige patch on the hip about 2 inches wide that says “Made with Love by Granny Hugs, somewhere, Montana.” Wearing it is like feeling a granny hugging your entire body, all day.

  • mariani September 7th, 2011 11:49 PM

    “the space between night and the next morning is like this magical purgatory when you feel like you’re the only one alive”

    this is the greatest sentence ever. I have been trying to describe that my WHOLE LIFE. you are very cool.

  • AmandaLouiseHobba September 7th, 2011 11:52 PM

    You are a very entertaining writer!

  • Pyxie Gwynne September 8th, 2011 12:08 AM

    I love this piece! Dylan, Naomi and Katherine did a great job. Can’t wait for next week’s installment. I can’t praise Rookie enough!

  • Jenny September 8th, 2011 12:43 AM

    I love these diary entries!
    @Minna, your art is AMAZING
    @Dylan, Ahh! San Francisco is my spirit baby of love. I think about eating tacos & pupusas in the the Mission every single day, & it’s so cool that you get to go to art school there and be in the best city in the world.
    @Naomi, even though you warned us not to, I can’t help but romanticize what it must be like to live in a small town in the center of England! I get so anxious walking down the streets of my little town too and sometimes I run into other people’s backyards when someone in a truck honks at me and slow-drives next to me as I’m trying to walk on no-sidewalk streets.
    @Katherine, my mom gave me a bikini when I was in 4th grade (it was the one my dad bought her when he first got to America!) and I was like, Ummm mom, I thought you needed boobs to wear these things, and she was like you have boobs! Which was a total lie and I never wore the bikini but it was like this thing I kept at the back of my drawer in hopes that it would inspire boob growing one day in the future!

  • Dylan September 8th, 2011 1:03 AM

    Jenny, you’ll get to know my complicated feelings about San Francisco soon…but having taco hands is kind of an everyday situation for me. Duuuude, Taqueria Cancun!! HIT ME WITH YOUR CARNITAS

    That’s really funny, I begged my mom to let me wear my bikinis like my cool friends did in grade school but she finally let me graduate from tankinis around age 12 or so. It was SO EXCITING.

  • littleDani September 8th, 2011 1:33 AM

    i really hope to hear more about your art school experience, Dylan. i want to go to art school soooo bad

  • Naomi Morris September 8th, 2011 6:04 AM

    @Jenny I suppose it can be quite romantic sometimes! and yes about being the only one of the road and being honked at! i wasn’t even wearing a skirt/dress! *cries*

  • WitchesRave September 8th, 2011 9:52 AM

    Loved Naomi’s post, white van men exist in the suburbs of ireland too except they’re also usually pedo’s/ perverts. Who said Europe was a charming place? Lol.


  • Naomi Morris September 8th, 2011 11:57 AM

    WitchesRave – you can’t escape them!

  • OrangeSunrise September 8th, 2011 12:48 PM

    I am totally able to relate to Katherine…
    When I was only ten, my aunt Carrie bought me a bra. Now, Aunt Carrie is in no way related to me, she’s just one of those wierd smelling, senile old people that your parents have over sometimes out of pity. (Am I the only person with one of these?)
    Anyway, Aunt Carrie had asked my wonderful older sister what I would like for my birthday, and my darling sister obviously thought it would be funny if she said a bra. I was presented with this item of clothing at the dinner table in front of my father, brother and school friends. To make matters worse, this was no ordinary bra. This was a lacy, underwire affair in more than a few sizes too large. (I still wonder if it was a hand down from Aunt Carrie herself? Ugh…) Imagine my embarassment; Aunt Carrie grinning down the table knowingly at me, with my school friends erupting into giggles and my father and brother going red. Not nearly as scarlet as I went, though…

  • OldBaggery September 8th, 2011 6:31 PM

    Katherine, you have a very cool grandmother!

  • Stephanie September 8th, 2011 6:39 PM

    Loooooved all these diaries! Great to get all the different perspectives.
    I love seeing Minna’s art and trying to figure out her week from it.

    Dylan, I have to admit I am seriously jealous of you growing up in Seattle because it’s where I want to move. (Someday!!!)

    Naomi, also though you did warn us, I am romanticizing your town a little bit and I have to say it infuriates me that a certain accent = dumb. Grrr!

    Katherine, I loved your story and I want to meet your grandma!

  • Claire September 8th, 2011 6:41 PM

    Ahh this is hilarious and cringeworthy at the same time! I remember being in fifth grade and desperately wanting a training bra – I wouldn’t need one for a few more years, but Everyone Was Wearing Them. As far as underwear goes, I’m in the cotton briefs category…I remember going to the mall with a “cool” friend of mine in junior high, and somehow she cajoled me into buying a pink lace-waist thong from Victoria’s Secret with this ghastly little floral print on the cloth part. I wore it once and had that perpetual viselike wedgie, and that was all it took for me to never want to wear any scary-looking lingerie again.

  • Claire September 8th, 2011 6:45 PM

    1. I’ve always learned that “the guy in the white van” was a reference to a child predator, but I think I like this connotation a little better (:
    2. I am quite jealous that you can afford Lula! I’ve spent way too much time reading those cover-to-cover in weird little bookstores…
    3. That Calvin & Hobbes cartoon = my life. Haha, this made me happy!

  • Naomi Morris September 8th, 2011 7:51 PM

    Stephanie – you don’t know how frustrating the connotations of having even a slight brummie accent is here in england. we are the butt of a lot of jokes.

    Claire – haha, white van men are pretty much harmless though still annoying. and i completely agree on the calvin & hobbes!

  • stellar September 8th, 2011 8:28 PM

    i still remember my switch to lingerie about wearing cotton…my mom was doing the laundry, and laying clothes out on the deck..i was dating, so it was like “what is *this*?” all of a sudden !!!

  • Hannnah September 10th, 2011 7:08 AM

    RE: Naomi, I too live in Birmingham, so maybe slightly more exciting in that I live a bit closer to the city centre, but still, I feel your woes. Plus that means I probably have an even stronger Brummie accent. Oh, woe!

    Can’t wait to hear more from everyone!!!!!!1!1!

  • blue September 10th, 2011 8:05 AM

    @Naomi fellow brummie here I hate the stereotype stuck to the accent too, but i heard there was another study done saying that people who didn’t speak english considered the birmingham accent to be the most beautiful and melodious!

    The white van men round here do seem to be particularly nasty, it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re even wearing a school uniform.

  • Naomi Morris September 10th, 2011 1:01 PM

    hannnah and blue – yey two more brummies! yeah my accent isn’t very strong and i like it anyway even if it is always teased :)

  • Aida September 11th, 2011 3:58 PM

    I just listened to youtube videos of “Brummie accents” and really can’t tell the difference between it and other “British accents.” Someone please rescue me from all these southern republicans!

  • Nikka September 12th, 2011 9:18 AM

    Brummie accents are cool :))