Friends and Frenemies: Do You Ever Really Get Over Your School Nemeses?

Sometimes I worry that I'm more child than adult. And not just in the kitschy fun way that an enthusiasm for Harajuku street style, sequins, and Hello Kitty plastic wallets might denote. I can't handle confrontation at all, am easily upset (I cried at this year's John Lewis ad), and find it just about impossible to walk in heels. (Read Does anyone ever feel like a proper grown up where I discuss this in more detail.)

When I spotted a frenemy from secondary school at a gig a few weeks ago, I felt even more of a kid than usual. My imagination apparently decided to go into overdrive, fading out the 3,000-odd seater venue and replacing it with a classroom; if I'd closed my eyes, I'm sure I'd have smelled chalk dust and the gentle aroma of a post-lunchtime bin. On seeing her it was like I instantly regressed to being 13 again, when my then best friend was “stolen” from me by the frenemy in question.

You'd think I'd be over it nearly 18 (eek!) years later.

So I did the perhaps not very grown-up thing of pretending I hadn't seen her, avoiding any chance of eye contact, and ignoring her completely. (I'm pretty sure Himself, who is circumspect like a tank wrapped in a barbed-wire topped brick wall at the best of times, blew my cover with a badly timed “is that her?” and a finger point as she left.)


Maybe you'll think that was very rude of me, but then I was essentially 13 at the time.

Am I peculiarly scarred by my schooldays or do you have a teenage nemesis – or nemeses, indeed – that you've never quite gotten over?


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