Dating a Privileged White Girl

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There was only a handful of girls at my high school who were Debutantes, and none of them knew who Wilco was. Knowing Wilco made you part of the “scene.” You listened to other bands like Radiohead, Fugazi, The Get Up Kids, Death Cab for Cutie, early Jimmy Eat World. You never had money or a ride to go to one their shows up in LA, but you could go to the local shows–where so-and-so in So-And-So was playing for free, and they really sounded like Fugazi sometimes–and make friends with those kids. Olive had seen all of these bands. “Radiohead. Twice.” Her interest piqued when I mentioned Fugazi. She said she really loved “13 Songs,” and did I know that that was only a compilation of the first two EPs, and they never made a band shirt because they thought it was stupid? I said yes and she yelped, telling me she found a vintage Fugazi shirt in a thrift store once that read “THIS IS NOT A FUGAZI SHIRT.” She’d only worn it once, and promised to wear it once we hung out.

The first time we hung out I waited for over three hours and smoked an entire pack of American Spirits in my car. I almost left, and should have, but I stayed, resolving to act really pissed off when she got to Alta, a bohemian-looking cafe on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, a favorite spot for both of us. She stepped out of the car wearing black vintage Ray-Ban wayfarers, the Alexander Wang sweater, black tights and pointy ankle boots. I was disappointed she didn’t wear her FUGAZI shirt, but she looked really sexy. I wanted to rip her tights. She apologized profusely and said she and her mother were looking for the keys. She wore red lipstick which accented her lips’ natural bouncy pout. I wasn’t angry anymore, I was infatuated; I offered her an American Spirit from my spare pack and she smiled. “They’re my favorite,” she said. “Additive free.”

I would find out later she was late because her license was suspended–a “bullshit DUI”– and that she waited for her mother to pass out to take the car. That she was anxious to leave because she didn’t want to get caught, not because she didn’t like me.

Problems arose after we had exhausted our favorite artists, musicians, writers, and non-sequitur moments. I would show her music she’d not heard before. These were dismissed. “Yeah, it’s good, but not my thing.” Olive smoked and wouldn’t look into my eyes for more than five seconds, which we did often.

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  • Olive

    Stop writing about me.

    • ryan

      sorry, olive

  • Chauncey Zalkin

    but you make her seem so flat. she's either repugnant and banal or has dimension. which is it? i'd like to see part two.


    seems a bit too contrived the whole thing. i like the part about the dad waiting for the ice cream to dry before he rubbed it off w his thumb. that was pretty sweet.

    • ryan

      i'm glad you liked that part

  • Molly Oswaks

    Your first conversation with Olive was about how much money she spent on her outfit?

  • pfft

    and then you realise she's american and she can't name five capital cities in Europe and she has a degree but says LIKE LIKE OMG every two seconds in a grating accent.

    can't polish a turd.

    good luck with that then.

  • pfft

    don't ever date a garnish.

  • hi

    i like this.

    • ryan


  • bobby hill

    so, you aren't wealthy, but you are still privileged. all men are. it is called “male privilege.” and i'm sure when you said non-privileged men, you meant non-wealthy men.

    also, i hope that the one time you had sex, the time that she was sloppy drunk and you were clear-eyed and sober, well…i hope it was something she really wanted to do.

    • christopher lynsey

      Sassy ass comment right here.

      • bobby hill

        do you know bobby hill? full of sass.

    • ryan

      duly noted

  • Jack

    When did opiates become mainstream in youth culture? This has me concerned.

    • ryan

      not sure, but they were always available while i was in high school. i feel like they have always been around

  • uhnonnymus

    Just for future reference, a hand on the thigh from a drunk girl is not a sign of “affection,” it's a sign of a intoxication. This story kind of makes it sound like you took advantage of her.

    • ryan

      duly noted

    • courtney

      as a frequent drunk girl, i do not put my hand on just any nearby boy's thigh… i think that was intentional.

  • Rachel

    I really enjoyed reading this. You have a nice writing style, Ryan.

    However, as a crusty old person in her 30s, I think your conclusion is a bit of an over-generalization. Most people tend to end up in relationships with people of a similar socioeconomic status, but it's not unheard of that serious relationships- lasting marriages, etc. happen between people of different backgrounds.

    I hate to say it Ryan, but I think she just “wasn't that into you.” Anyway, it seems like your primary interest in her was fascination at her money and access to things you didn't have, so maybe she didn't feel a deep connection to you because of that.

    • ryan

      rachel-thanks for your compliment and insight

  • Seikel

    I used to live in Turtle Rock. At 19391 Sierra Vista. The high school was right down the way, and we coaxed many PWG's up the hill…

    • Seikel

      Although, really, I never considered it that affluent. I mean, our rent was something like 1800 a month.

    • Lauren

      A Turtle Rock native and PWG myself, I couldn't help but smile while reading this article. It was a trip down memory lane (although I did manage to leave Turtle Rock and escape to another bubble, Boulder, CO).

  • Seikel

    I also worked at balboa fun zone. weird.

    • Seikel

      tripping acid mostly.

      • ryan

        rad. the balboa funzone is a great place to ingest psychedelics

      • Seikel

        you know where you enter turtle rock and you have to go right or left? I decided to go straight once and almost killed myself.. ah memries.

  • saramcgrath

    this was so sweet

    • ryan


  • saramcgrath

    also seems like a 'cool girl'. 'cool girls' are cool girls regardless of their socioeconomic status

  • Shane Leach

    who the fuck are you and why are you desecrating all that is turtle rock?

  • another pwg

    I thought going to Sage Hill meant you were automatically accepted to NYU…

    • ryan

      hehe. in most cases, yes.

  • Jordan

    This is really good. Fantastic debut, Ryan. I'm looking forward to reading more from you.

    • ryan

      thank you

  • Shane Leach

    why do you desecrate all that is turtle rock?

    • ryan


  • colleen

    Thanks for writing this. It's nice to know people share experiences that parallel your own.

  • Jocelyn

    excellent debut. looking forward to reading more from you, ryan.

  • jules

    i dig this

  • Kyle

    nice article, thanks for sharing.

  • middle class boy

    the co-op at south coast has such limited selection…

    also whats up with everyone thinking about money so much

  • Kelley Hoffman

    backstreet girls are cooler

    • Sofia

      no way

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