Lesson # 1: The new girl doesn’t need the popular girl’s help
When Tai makes her Bronson Alcott High School debut, Cher and Dionne are on her like frugal newlyweds on a fixer-upper. What they don’t know is that the new girl doesn’t need help fitting in. The new girl never needs help fitting in. Why? Because she’s new. She’s unchartered territory. Though Tai is “toe up” (as described by Dionne), she had major stoner appeal and eventually proved to be attractive enough to pique the interest of both Paul Rudd and Breckin Meyer, two total ‘90s babes. And Cher? A virgin who can’t drive.
Lesson # 2: You might crush on a gay guy
The hetero teen girl never entertains the idea that the guy she likes is hanging out with her for the chance to scope her hot brother with his shirt off. If the guy isn’t sexually interested, it’s because we’re too skinny/fat/smart/stupid, right? Our perspective is underdeveloped until we experience our first gay-boy crush. Until then, we’re in the age of ignorant bliss – “this is America, damn it; our love interests are straight until proven gay!” Cher flaunts her cleavage and burnt ass cookies until Murray clues her in on the fact that Christian is “a disco-dancing, Oscar Wilde-reading, Streisand ticket-holding friend of Dorothy.”
Lesson # 3: Should your Gaydar fail you, take it in stride
Once Cher discovered the (implied) truth about Christian, everything was in its right place. Cher didn’t lose a potential love interest; she gained a shopping partner and platonic soul mate. A gay man is rarely offended when an attractive woman bats her lashes his way, and will accept the misunderstanding gracefully – unless you go all, “I’LL TURN YOU” on him. In the words of Cher, “As if!” Don’t threaten to “turn” someone straight. It doesn’t work like that.
Lesson # 4: Money can’t buy class
Talking about your nose job in public? Gaudy. Wearing a feather boa without even a trace of irony? Unforgiveable. Where the fuck were these girls raised, 90210 or Anna Nicole Smith’s School for the Nouveau-Gauche?
Lesson # 5: Sex = Happiness
When you get older and have your very own grown up job, don’t you perform better when you’re not sexually frustrated? Aren’t we all buzzing and birds during an otherwise bleak Walk of Shame? Sexing people are happy people. Even Cher, Duchess of Virgin, was aware of this golden rule and was able to manipulate her teachers into giving her generous grades by making sure they were getting busy.
Lesson # 6: You can hookup with your ex-stepbrother; no one will say anything
It’s A-OK to make out with your ex-stepbrother at weddings, play footsies with him under the dining room table, and correct his age-appropriate date when she misquotes Hamlet. Seriously. Your dad won’t even mind. He’ll just peer at you over the rim of his glasses and nod his head in amusement. Wait – really? Cher is going to date Josh and no one’s going to say anything about it? I mean… no one? Well. Okay then.
Lesson # 7: Your guy friend wants to sleep with you
Cher truly displays her cluelessness when trying to pawn Tai off on Elton. She’s playing matchmaker while Elton is undressing her with his eyes and humming “Make Me Wanna” by Usher beneath his breath. If that song were out in 1995. You get where I’m going with this. Cher, Elton’s hot! The oblivious bus steered you the wrong way, babe.
Lesson # 8: Any song you have with an ex will be permanently tainted
Everyone has that one song that they can’t listen to anymore because it reminds them of a failed romance. Tai went so far as to throw her Coolio tape in the fireplace because she and Elton …listened to it at the same time while attending the same party? I don’t know. Being a teenager is dramatic and weird.
Lesson # 9: Youth is a never-ending drug innuendo
Green is not a color and coke is not America’s favorite beverage. Recognizing the many nuances of drug use is a teenage rite of passage. You’re not a real person until you make your first thinly veiled drug allusion.