Live Through This

My Arch Nemeses

They are the worst (but also kind of the best).

Illustration by Marjainez

Illustration by Marjainez

I’m not exactly the most sociable person alive. In fact, if I’m being honest, I’d say that I tend to dislike most people I meet. Sorry, but humans are the worst! Throughout my misanthropic lifetime, there have been a few people whom I especially loathed, and who loathed me right back. I’m talking about my greatest foes of all: my arch nemeses.

An arch nemesis is sort of like your ultimate opposite. If you’re the superhero of your life, your arch nemesis is your super villain. You butt heads in every argument and get on each other’s nerves to the point where you can predict their every combative move. Though your arch nemesis may be your most hated enemy, it can actually be sort of fun to have one. There’s something weirdly satisfying about hating someone who hates you just as much. An arch nemesis will challenge you constantly—all that arguing totally makes you better at intelligent debate. And all that combat will make you stronger, until you give off superwoman vibes everywhere you go. That’s pretty cool.

Here’s a rundown of three of my most despised arch nemeses over the past few years. If they ever find this, they’ll know who they are. (Note to my nemeses who are reading this: I still hate your stupid faces.) In the years to come, I hope to have many, many more arch nemeses, because while they are totally the worst, they’re also kind of the best.

All names have been changed to protect the jerks.

YEARS OF RIVALRY: Senior year of high school.
WORST QUALITY: He thought he was right all the time when he was, like, so not. Also, it was like he was some sort of professional smirker, the kind you just want to slap across the face.
HISTORY: I was the editor-in-chief of my (amazing, brilliant, critically acclaimed by me) high school newspaper, which Ricky wrote articles for. You know those people who are always disagreeing with you just to disagree with you? He was one of those. He would come to meetings to make fun of all the article topics we brainstormed and crack sexist jokes of the old-school “make me a sandwich” variety just to get a rise out of me. It worked—I was constantly yelling at him. Then I got tired of yelling and moved on to dramatic eye-rolling. One time, an article he wrote was published with a misspelled word in it. Shit happens, whatever—it was ONE TYPO. He stormed into our next meeting and dramatically pushed the paper in front of my face, demanding I put a correction in the next issue. I was like, “Fine, but nobody’s even going to read your dumb article anyway,” which I said just to piss him off. He seemed genuinely offended and left the room melodramatically. I wish I could say, “…and I never saw him again!” but that loser kept writing for me because, I dunno, extracurriculars for college or something? He was such a doo-doo face.
     Him: Hey, Hazel. [Glares at me from across the room]
     ME: Hi, Ricky. [Glares back]
     Him: I thought the last issue of the paper was pretty fucking stupid.
MOST ANNOYING THING HE EVER SAID: One time, in the journalism class that we had to take together, we had to interview each other pretending to be celebrities. He played Steve Jobs, and I the late Amy Winehouse (because, of course!). During our interview, my recorder wasn’t turned on! Rookie mistake, whatever, I figured he’d be down for redoing the thing. I asked him nicely, and he said NO! Then he went into this whole spiel about how I should have known better. He called me a bitch and I called him a dick. I think our teacher was like “OMG CHILDREN CALM DOWN” and then Ricky and I had our signature stink-eye staring contest. (He ended up letting me interview him again.) Also, he played Oregon Trail all the time in class and would name the bears, bison, and other things you KILL in the game “Hazel.” Subtle, right?

FAKE NAME: Ms. Smith-Jones
YEARS OF RIVALRY: My junior and senior years of high school, which were my two angstiest of HS because all I wanted to do was hightail it out of there.
WORST QUALITY: She wouldn’t let me chew my bubblegum in class. WTF else is gym class for, anyway?
HISTORY: Technically, every gym teacher I’ve ever had in my life has been my arch nemesis—anyone who’s had gym class with me can attest to this. But Ms. Smith-Jones and I had something special. See, with the dude teachers, I could sometimes use my feminine wiles to get out of activities (not like the sexy kind of feminine wiles—more the “I have my period and it’s sooo bloody today” type of trickery). I also did a lot of other stuff to get out of gym class, like faking injuries so I could hang out in the locker room tweeting instead of playing “basketpolo” or “footbowling,” which were definitely not even close to real sports. But Ms. Smith-Jones ALWAYS knew I was faking it and made me participate against my will.
     Her: Hazel, you can’t lie down in the middle of the field during class.
     Me: Why not?
     Her: Because I will fail you.
     Me: I HATE GYM.
     Her: Then why are you taking it?
     Me: WHAT?!? [Gym, as everyone knows, was a required class. Did she
     seriously think I would choose to be there?]
MOST ANNOYING THING SHE EVER SAID: “I know you keep going to the end of the line for baseball, so you’re up batting right now.”

YEARS OF RIVALRY: My freshman year of college, aka the worst year of college, when everyone is at his or her most pretentious level of show-off-y douchebaggery.
WORST QUALITY: He would consistently argue points in class as if they were his own. When you would respond passionately to them he would say, “Hey, I’m just playing devil’s advocate here!” and act like you were taking him seriously for no reason. BUT DUDE, YOU WERE BEING SERIOUS. Ugh.
HISTORY: Mark was in a class I took on manifestos throughout history. Because manifestos are impassioned screeds, they tend to be about heavy shit, so class discussions often concerned class, racism, feminism, and the like. Mark and I disagreed on almost ever single issue. Our voices dominated the class, so most of the time we were just arguing with one another. He had this way of starting a fight but then ending it with “That’s just the way it is,” as if nothing in the world could ever change. He also was obsessed with finance and accounting and would talk about the stock market at length, even when it had nothing to do with the topic at hand. One time in class I just got so fed up with him I started repeating everything he said in a mocking tone à la a five-year-old.
     Him: But people want to work in sweatshops. You can’t get rid
     of them. That’s how the system is run.
     Me: But you can agree that the system needs to be changed, though.
     The garment industry is corrupt.
     Him: It’s working fine now. You can’t change it.
     Me: Well, you can change it.
     Him: Hazel, some things just are the way they are.
     Me: [Muffled screams]
MOST ANNOYING THING HE EVER SAID: One time we were talking about catcalling and he kept talking over the WOMEN in the room to give anecdotes about HIMSELF. Also, during a conversation the class was having about whether everybody in the world should go to school, Mark suggested that schools aren’t necessary because he thought everyone in the world had access to a computer. Insert Wilhelm scream here. ♦


  • soviet_kitsch August 15th, 2013 3:36 PM

    “Also, he played Oregon Trail all the time in class and would name the bears, bison, and other things you KILL in the game “Hazel.” ”

    THIS IS MY FAVOURITE ARTICLE ON ROOKIE. i am sitting here cringing at all these people and laughing my ass off at the same time

  • rottedteeth August 15th, 2013 3:50 PM

    Don’t even get me started on gym teachers! Almost every guy teacher I’ve had have favored the jockey sexist boys or the girls who, I’m not trying to slut shame its just that you don’t need to be dressed for a Cuban summer during a Washington winter, were very friendly and “open”.

    I also had this pregnant English teacher high school freshman year who like kinda bullied students who weren’t the kids of higher authority or participated in drama. (she was a drama teacher too) I remember my friend had just gotten this gear for her braces so she wasn’t talking right and the teacher just kept trying to correct everything she said. And this one kid who was very eager and had a lot to say and I swear every time she would call on him to talk she’d stop him and tell him to basically shut up.

    I’m getting mad just thinking about these butt nuggets.

    • sasha jade August 15th, 2013 9:09 PM

      I once had a gym teacher that would make girls run the 1000 metre sprint if they used the period excuse for swimming. There was a reason I didn’t exercise!! Her.

      • Katie August 16th, 2013 2:10 AM

        oh my god that sounds like the deepest level of hell A 1000 METRE SPRINT IF YOU USED YOUR PERIOD AS AN “EXCUSE” TO NOT GO IN A FREAKING POOL.
        EVERY MONTH.

  • adastra August 15th, 2013 4:44 PM

    To be fair to your gym teacher, I think it’s her job to make you participate. I hate gym class because a lot of the time other people get really competitive unnecessarily and also I am awful at sports, but telling someone to spit out their gum is hardly evil, especially since you’ll theoretically be running and could choke.

  • hirundinidae August 15th, 2013 4:53 PM


  • o-girl August 15th, 2013 5:17 PM


  • AnoHana August 15th, 2013 5:27 PM

    Oh god, this article made me remember all my school nemeses… Funny thing is that they all were extremely sexist. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  • deemary August 15th, 2013 5:32 PM

    “Back up off me, Ricky!” -Lumpy Space Princess

  • allison_VGS August 15th, 2013 5:39 PM

    love this! i have an arch nemesis i refer to as ‘the girl i hate’ though it’s definitely one-sided and i seriously doubt she has any idea she’s my nemesis, ha. even so, i realized recently in my case it’s kind of fun and i am using my nemesis as a motivating force because how awesome would it be to start besting her at everything and then be able to snub her when suddenly decided i’m cool after all? or best her again by NOT snubbing her the way she always has me! oh man.

  • amydjuk13 August 15th, 2013 6:32 PM

    I love this article!! I have an arch nemesis named Annie (not her real name). She was my camp counselor a few years ago and she was just a total bitch! She called one of my friends a whore, she called another a “rich white girl” (in a condescending way), and she made another one of my friends cry by screaming at her in front of everyone for something my friend didn’t do. Plus, she couldn’t take a joke. She pranked on of the other counselors and when he did the same thing to her she had a complete panic attack then took it out on everyone else.

    I did not mean for that to turn into a rant but she just makes me so mad! Great article Hazel!

  • Sophie ❤ August 15th, 2013 7:05 PM


  • From-Hannah August 15th, 2013 7:07 PM

    I had a Mark-type and we were like frenemies and it was worse because we had ALL of the same classes. They just loved to be contrary and at some points I think they wanted to be disliked. Oddly enough everyone seemed to love them. That was until they did something to them. Oh how the tables turn.
    So I feel your pain, Hazel.

  • KatGirl August 15th, 2013 8:28 PM

    I have also known a Mark…. he was at my elementary school for a few years. Once he wrote a letter to Robert Munsch (it didn’t actually get sent, this was just a letter-writing project) saying that he was the smartest kid in the class and that his friend (read: girl he had a crush on who hated him) “Cate” (name changed) was really smart too. XD

  • sasha jade August 15th, 2013 9:06 PM

    Ricky is the superdouche – everyone has a Ricky. But I can still see some kind of Hazel-Ricky love-hate thing that happens in movies. Maybe one day you would teach him to cook, have a food fight and fall in love. Or something. Sorry Hazel.

  • Fifi August 16th, 2013 2:17 AM

    omfg! I just want to rip Mark’s hair out!

  • Glenny August 16th, 2013 3:17 AM

    I can’t relate to the (awesomely hilarious) negativity here. People are, like, SO BEAUTIFUL, man… even the most arrogant assholes. I can’t fathom having a nemesis because I think that the fact that people suck is endearing. PPL R CRAZY N STUPID N ANNOYING AS FUCK N IT’S SO AMAZIN.

    I mean, We ALL suck. Can’t we just try to get along or, like, go make love in our own excrement?

    But really. Down with negativity! LUV, guys. LUV. Even though angst may be portrayed as *~teen-y and cool~* I think that it actually is a sign of weakness/self-defense/ is kinda lame.


  • Glenny August 16th, 2013 3:20 AM

    And maybe while we learn to love the sucky people who have sexist views or whatever, we can learn to change their minds! Who’s with me?

    “You may protest if you can love the person you are protesting against as much as you love yourself.”

    ― Ram Dass, Be Here Now

  • EithyPan August 16th, 2013 5:05 AM

    Oh this is so true! I love having a good nemesis, it’s so much fun to hate someone! My English teacher in year 8 was my true nemesis, I even had a crazy eye twitch to signify her arrival. Then I found out I would have her for another year, and developed a dramatic “Noo!” when I found out. Such fun!
    Nemesis song from Phineas and Ferb springs to mind…

  • paige.xo August 16th, 2013 6:54 AM

    i have so many arch nemeses

  • Lillypod August 16th, 2013 12:07 PM

    i’m so sad. i don’t have ANY nemeses…it’s probably a good thing, cuz i’m terrible at faking it..I guess i’m just intolerant to everyone.

  • Ladymia69 August 16th, 2013 3:15 PM

    HAZEL!!! Thank you for being honest and forthright, and for helping me understand I am not the only misanthrope who thinks people are generally awful (unless proven otherwise)!! You don’t know how much it means to me!

  • Maryse89 August 16th, 2013 7:32 PM

    omg this is hilarious. the oregon trail names :))
    I always have academic arch-nemeses but they never even know that I exist. I had this one girl in class who I just called ‘Triangle Head’ (because she had triangular shaped hair i swear) and she would always laugh and share inside jokes with the professor because he was her mock trial advisor. She would call him by his first name, too, and I just wanted to scream every single time

    but I also have one real life nemesis and that’s not as fun…he’s someone who I always get tricked into thinking is my friend, but who always manages to make my life a little bit worse each time it happens :(((

  • speakthroughvision August 16th, 2013 8:50 PM

    HAHA WILHELM SCREAM some people can drive me up the wall and bring out the fiery debater in me too :P its a fantastic love-hate relationship.

  • rahima August 17th, 2013 5:29 AM

    omg. i have a classmate who’s just like Mark. he said that guys who catcall are ‘brave’ because they are able to say what they ‘feel’. he infuriates me sometimes. i can’t believe someone actually thinks that. then i told him ‘how come girls don’t catcall boys the same way?’ he just shrugged. he also said that feminism is ‘dumb’ because girls still expect boys to open doors for them. then there’s this other guy in my class who’s actually named Mark and one time he slammed the water bottle on my desk. it’s surprising how arrogant some guys can get… i’m not sure if they’re blinded by patriarchy or just plain rude but i really hope these people change their ways. it will literally make the world a better place

  • christinatle August 18th, 2013 1:12 AM

    All gym teachers play favorites..especially with the annoying and dumb catty girls.
    My favorite Arch Nemeses story was the one about Mark, haha it was so funny! I love it!
    Please make more posts like this one!

  • Brodieburgers August 19th, 2013 5:44 PM

    I love this article, it takes me back to my youth. At first I thought I didn’t have an arch enemy but now I know that I do. I will never like Antonio, the boy that I grew up with. My mum use to babysit him when I was little and he went to my school. He would always told people embarrassing stories about me and sometimes he made stuff up. He did this all the way up to high school.