Cristina and Olivia, both 17, live in Lafayette, Louisiana, where the armadillos roam free. Ever since they met in the 10th grade, these best friends have been making each other laugh with zany animal impressions, favorite word lists, and illicit skateboarding hijinks. Although they are going their separate ways for college in the fall, they’ll always find time to giggle on the party line. ♥
SUBJECT: FRIEND CRUSH
Olivia is most definitely my friend crush, mainly because I adore her more than just about anyone else. Actually, when we first met we didn’t really like each other…then we became acquaintances, then I was her accidental first kiss (whoops!) and we didn’t talk for a month or two. However, once that blew over, we realized we were into all of the same things: teen witchery, becoming ’90s babes, surf music…and we both kept lists of our favorite words. She’s into feminism and subcultures, and I’m into girls. As the two go hand in hand, our friendship is bound by teen angst and a humor that no one else really understands. Our favorite activities include skateboarding on the tops of parking garages, thrifting, tree climbing, texting each other terrible jokes, and anything music related.
I sincerely love Olivia, despite her parents’ strongly disapproving of me. I appreciate each of her little quirks. They make me smile every single time; each game of “What Animal Am I?” (Olivia’s favorite) is special. I know I can be myself around her without fear of ever being judged. There isn’t one thing I wouldn’t trust her with. We just click.
In the fall we will be going to different colleges that are literally across the country, and I’m going to go insane without her. I guess I shouldn’t be too concerned; it’s going to take more than distance to break these teen babes apart.
ROOKIE: So how did you and Olivia meet? You said that you didn’t really like her at first.
CRISTINA [crusher]: In junior year, Olivia switched from the school that is notorious for producing closed-minded girls, so I unfairly judged her right away. We didn’t really talk much at first. I thought she was trying way too hard and that she was just some hipster girl. I don’t know what she thought of me.
What made you think she was trying too hard?
She looked cool. Then I realized that she’s not trying, she’s just actually a really neat girl. Then we started hanging out and talking and we realized we liked all the same music. We both absolutely loved Best Coast, and we were both really into teen-witch stuff.
And you guys have a band together?
We did last summer. We broke up because our lead singer moved to New Orleans. It was great while it lasted! We had kind of a California vibe. I played lead guitar. Olivia was technically our glockenspiel. But she basically just played random instruments.
Tell me about the “What animal am I?” game.
Olivia does this thing where she gets on the ground and she’ll ask, “What animal am I?” and start making strange hand gestures and noises. It’s really spontaneous; sometimes it’s not an animal at all. Sometimes the answer is a Pokémon.
So there was a month where you guys stopped talking after you accidentally kissed…?
Yeah, that’s a fun story. It was during junior year, the weekend before exams started.
How long had you guys been friends at that point?
Four months. I was being a responsible student. I went to our local coffee shop, sat down, cracked open a math book, and started studying. Then I heard someone whisper my name. I looked up; it was Olivia. She came over to my table, and that’s pretty much where everything scholarly stopped happening. We met up with one of our friends at the park that night and ended up going to her house. Her mom was out of town, so drinking ensued. There was some sort of a bet—I had never smoked a cigarette, I had no desire to smoke. Olivia said, “You should smoke the cigarette.” And I said, “No, not unless you kiss me.” And in a lapse of good judgment, that happened. The next day neither of us remembered it for a while. And then I texted her, “I think we kissed last night.” The memory came back to both of us, and we didn’t talk for a while.
It was a mutual avoidance?
Right. It was just uncomfortable between us.
How did you get over that?
I have no idea! We just started talking again one day and realized that we were destined to be best friends, and we have been inseparable ever since. But now we can look back on it, and it’s probably one of the funniest stories we have to tell. I was her first kiss, and she was really angry. She was like, “You stole my lip virginity!”
You mentioned that her parents disapprove of your friendship…
Olivia’s parents are very conservative, and I don’t look very conservative at all. They don’t like my bleached blonde hair or my piercings—I have a lip ring—so they haven’t really allowed us to be friends, though obviously that hasn’t worked.
How do you navigate that?
Olivia just leaves the house—she tells her parents she’s going out and then will randomly walk into my house unannounced.
And then you guys have some adventures?
We like to go around downtown Lafayette and skateboard on parking garages where rent-a-cops will chase us down. And there’s some pretty good music venues downtown. But we are also big fans of crafting. One of the times Olivia came over, I was taking a shower. She was like, “I’m just gonna mess around with your desk while you’re in the bathtub.” And when I came out there’s glitter and Mod Podge everywhere and she’s collaged a candle. It’s got a lot of Lisa Frank stickers all over it, surrounding a picture of Jesus—it was originally a religious candle.
I didn’t know Lisa Frank still made stickers! That makes me happy.
Oh yes. We are big Lisa Frank fans.
What do you like the most about Olivia?
She’s completely hilarious, and our senses of humor click. She’s also super intelligent, and we can do weird things like share our favorite words and read the dictionary together, and it’s not weird. It’s nice to have someone you can share book suggestions with.
What are your favorite books?
We both really like The Great Gatsby.
Are you excited for the Baz Luhrmann movie?
I am REALLY excited because I love Carey Mulligan.
You guys are both going to college in the fall. Where are you going?
I’m going to LSU and she’s going to Boston College.
What are you going to do about being separated?
We try not to think about it too much, it’s really depressing. But I’m actually excited we’ll get to write each other letters. I love writing letters and sending packages and drawings and things. We get to be pen pals now!
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ROOKIE: Do you remember meeting Cristina?
I remember meeting her at a school picnic, when I switched to her tiny, all-girls Catholic high school in junior year. I was coming from a huge coed school, like, super pumped about football and cheerleading and “how am I going to get on homecoming court, this is live or die.” The girls found out that I was coming, and some of them decided to have a picnic, which was really nice. I was so nervous. I remember meeting Cristina there and I was like, OK, she’s cool. She looks cool, I think this will be OK. These could be friends for me.
It’s funny how when you meet new people you size them up with a combination of superficial judgment and also just instinct.
They told me that they thought they weren’t going to be friends with me because I looked really preppy, and they assumed that since I was coming from this other school I was going to be this superficial blonde chick that really loved stupid music and football. But that was not the case.
You guys had an issue early on where you kissed?
Yeah. We were at the house of one of my friends the weekend before midterms—we told all our parents we were going to study. And we just got really really drunk and everyone was spilling their secrets and crying, and there was just a total girlfest. Some of our friends had gone to sleep and we were like, OK, whatever, and we just started making out. But I was pissed afterwards. We HATED each other for two months, because I was LIVID that my first kiss was not like some teen-movie fantasy. Now it’s one of our favorite things that we tell people about our friendship.
How did you get over those feelings and become friends again?
I don’t really know. We just started talking again and just hanging out. She was dating one of our friends, and we had such a similar sense of humor that we were like, “Wait, what happened should not affect the fact that we want to be friends with each other. It’s not a big deal. What have we been doing all this time?!”
I heard about your animal game.
[Laughs] Oh gosh. One day I was just like, “Hey, I’m done being sad about life. I’m going to go pretend to be animals or Pokemon or other ridiculous things, and stand on chairs, and sing and dance all over school.”
Is there an animal that you do more often than others?
I’ve been an armadillo. I just curl up into a ball. Once I do something, if I try to do it again, Cristina will be like, “You’re an armadillo, come on.”
Armadillos are really weird animals in general.
Yeah, they have them all over our neighborhood. They are really gross. Just scampering around, going into sewer drains.
Oh my god!
It’s really disgusting. They attack things. They have a shell. One of my friends went up to one—it was running across the backyard—and he kicked it and it just curled up into a ball and just rolled away.
Poor armadillo! But it was so gross. They look like little rats with rocks on their backs.
They are like dinosaurs.
Like turtle possums!
Cristina mentioned that you both like keeping lists of your favorite words.
We had the same English class with this amazing teacher who is super feminist and gave us all these great ways of thinking. We would email each other from our laptops any time she used a word or talked about anything cool, and we kept lists and talked about how awesome different words were.
Tell me about your band.
We were Impromptu Séance, because we love teen witchery and whatnot. There were four of us: it was Cristina, her girlfriend, and this other girl who was also lesbian, and me. I was like, Oh, cool, I’m in a lesbian band. I was like Michael Cera in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.
It seems like you run around with a lot of girls, since you’re at a girls’ school.
Our entire school is one giant girl gang. We’re all really, really close. I don’t know how I’m not more gay. Because I love feminism and I think girls are awesome—like, top notch.
It sounds like you went to a pretty fun Catholic high school—from the outside, Catholic schools always seemed so intimidatingly strict to me.
Yeah, we were given a lot of free time to do what we want. But we’re held to really high standards. We weren’t allowed to wear shorts or low-cut dresses. But other than that it’s a pretty freethinking, kinda feminist place.
Cristina said your parents don’t approve of her.
My parents are really, really Catholic and pretty strict, so a lot of my friends are not what they would consider to be good influences. It doesn’t really stop me, but it’s kind of upsetting to be told that you’re not able to be friends with people that you love the most. I can never have Cristina over or say that I’m going to do stuff with her. I have other friends whose parents are also kind of strict, but mine are just a little over the top.
What are you and Cristina doing to make the best of these last few months before you move to Boston?
We go see bands a lot, and she hangs out with my boyfriend and me quite a bit—we actually met through a friend of Cristina’s. We make quite the trifecta.
Yeah, we always hang out. One time he was like, “Before I knew Cristina, I had a friend crush on her.” And I was like, “Of course you did.” We always three-way phone call.
I didn’t know people still did that!
Oh my god, we are bringing that back! Everyone needs to start doing it. We realized how much fun they are and we started calling everyone. We were like, “Wait—you can add more than three people?” If everyone adds more people, it’s just like, a phone party.
My friends and I used to call that the party line.
Yes, perfect! That’s where it’s at, ’90s phone calls!
What are you going to miss most about Cristina when you’re separated?
I love our conversations and our jokes. We’re both really sarcastic and dry, and we appreciate dumb things and we both really don’t care what other people think of us. If there’s anyone with us, we’re usually embarrassing them. Like, not really giving any fucks as to who is watching or what we’re doing in public. It’s always fun with Cristina. I’m going to miss having someone to talk to about my problems and worries. Regular friend stuff. Best friend stuff. ♦
(Interviews conducted by Rose.)
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