Dating a Privileged White Girl

Turtle Rock is a multi-tiered specialty community in Orange County, CA in a city called Irvine. Street signs are small and the roads are hilly. They are threats to teenagers that live here with their parents. BMWs and Mercedes-Benzs often collide at the bottom of hills at the hands of teenagers. Turtle Rock is predominately populated by Privileged White Families.

The Privileged White Girl, or PWG, remains a staple in male dating habits nationwide. They’re characterized by their refined upbringing, tastes, and high levels of self-consciousness. They are usually artistically inclined, most commonly in literature and art history. Some are known to pursue the fine arts. A small number find their “forte” in finance. PWGs are found in private educational institutions across the country. Most are identified by uncommon names and/or common names with uncommon spellings.

Sage Hill School is a private, liberal arts-focused high school in adjacent Newport Coast, CA that sits approximately one mile from the beach. Olive was a 17 year old high school senior at Sage when I met her at the holiday party of a mutual friend. I was 16, a sophomore at a public high school, and instructed to bring my guitar. I knew three people at the party, counting the host. The three friends schmoozed while I planted myself at a restored early 20th century French butcher table with a Bud Light and the guitar. The house was expensive and untouched. The guitar stayed in its case. Everyone else drank PBR.

The host asked me to play a song. I played “Far, Far Away” by Wilco. I was noticeably buzzed; I had switched the order of several lyrics. I remember singing it good enough. I noticed Olive watching me from between people’s heads. We locked eyes a few times during the song. I finished and the four or five others clapped and assured me I did well and walked away. She was alone and came up to me to say she really liked that Wilco song, though her favorite was on “Summerteeth,” the one before “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” “You know that one, right,” she asked. I nodded yes and sipped. She eyed a boy that brushed past her. Olive was pretty.


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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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