Ingredients For A Middle School Fight

I miss middle school fights. When you’re an adult, physical altercations are off-putting; your involvement on any level paints you as a criminal or a drunk or both. Adult fighting consists of an exchange of damaging words and drunken tears in the back of a taxi. We’re not heathens, we’re adults, and our aggression plays out passively.

You know who gets to act like heathens? Middle schoolers. Like the ability to wear a bandana or peeing in a swimming pool, physical fighting is reserved for the young. On some level, maybe we knew our fighting days were numbered – why else would we so vehemently encourage one person to kick another person’s ass? After-school fights used to be our happy hour – they encouraged socializing and they were great for blowing off steam after a long day. They were also so frequent that they became formulaic to the point of predictability – the removal of jewelry was as typical as “a few beers” ending in a black out. The necessary components of a middle school fight are as follows.

Bitches Talkin’ Shit. Bitches Talkin’ Shit are the gossips that stoked the fire. Without them, we’d just have arguments and rumors. They spout half-truths and flat-out lies until both soon-to-be opponents are so amped up (via their own aggression and the collective ethos of their peers) that there’s no other option but to pick a date and time to kick someone’s ass on the basketball court.

Concerned Teacher. Concerned Teacher is probably ~24 years old and is ‘hip’ to the ‘lingo,’ enabling her to suss out impending conflicts. She’d pull aside her Star Student and say, “Billy, I need you to talk to me. Is there going to be a fight after school?” And Billy would become hypnotized by her tits momentarily, but the trance was soon broken when Billy recalled that he was going to see a goddamn fight goddamnit, tits or no, so he’d look up at her all bashful-like and say, “Of course not, Concerned Teacher,” and what could Concerned Teacher do, then? Nothing. So she finishes the day and resigns to yet another night of wine, questioning her career path, and American Idol.

The Handing Off Of Artifacts. Choosing the person to hand off your jewelry to could be as stressful as the imminent ass whopping itself. Hell, with all the silver link chains and nameplates the lot of us were wearing in middle school? That’s a good forty dollars down the drain should you choose an unworthy bauble babysitter.

Vaseline. Both fighters would ‘Vaseline-up’ pre-fight to ensure that they were too greasy/coated to risk any potential damage to their face. The fighters could then choose one of two techniques: taking out the body, or systematically removing the Vaseline until it became possible to inflict damage on their rival’s visage. Between boys jerking off with it and middle schoolers greasing up to prepare for fights, I’m fairly certain Vaseline should target all of their marketing at the tween demographic.

Circle Chant. True to their tribal instincts, middle schoolers love to gather in circles and chant. The fighters square off in the middle of the perfectly formed loop until an onlooker starts the chant, a soft whisper, “fight.” The crowd picks up on the whisper and the chant quickly gains traction. “Fight. Fight. Fight! Fight! FIGHT. FIGHT. FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!!!!! FUCKING FIGHT JGVDJNBJLRNBOB!” Then, one of the spectators breaks free from the crowd, only for a moment, just to push one of the fighters into the other. This is how the fight begins. So structured and orchestrated is the circle that, should the fighters float toward the perimeter, the entire circle strategically sways in order to accommodate the adversaries. It must be fascinating to watch aerially.

A ripped article of clothing. If the fight ends and everyone’s clothing is in tact, someone fucked up. In order to be considered a ‘proper’ middle school fight, one combatant must commit to fighting in a Plain White Tee. Plain White Tees rip enthusiastically; you can practically hear the threads screaming “We did what we were trained to do, what we were bred to do, what we were born to do!” as they break apart. Because Plain White Tees are the Spartans of the tee-shirt world. They both attract non-peaceful resolution. If this doesn’t make sense to you, it’s because you’re not Greek… or something. TC mark

image – Nils Rinaldi


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  • foxxy.

    This is incredible. And frighteningly accurate.

  • Leigh Alexander

    damn, i wish i’d known the vaseline secret

  • what

    what kind of ridiculously ghetto school did you go to?

    • joe

      I never knew a middle schooler who took fighting so seriously they greased up beforehand.

      • Sd

        exactly, this is some pro shit

  • guest

    Once I saw a fight take place where one of the fighters was on crutches – and she windmilled them.  It was amazing.

  • Anon


  • joe

    Did you grow up on the Lord of the Flies island?!?!

  • Stephanie Georgopulos

    I grew up in Brooklyn (Bougie Park Slope). Did this only happen in urban areas…? Confused now. 

    • Mauricio

      Hell no. I grew up in Suburban Miami ‘Hood #58278219 and definitely saw 99% of everything you mentioned.

    • Sas Jam

      Growing up in suburban California myself- this all seems by the books.
      Though the vaseline thing is strange, never heard that before. Makes sense, the crafty lil’ fuckers.

      Ps- Bougie Park Slope? Sarcasm or is there a part of that I didn’t know existed?
      (pardon the unawaredness)

  • Amissa

    WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL?  this sounds terrifying

  • Uhnonnymus

    Called it.

  • Oh the memories

    Girl-on-girl fights in my middle school cafeteria featured:
    Hair pulling
    The use of ponytails to smash faces into lunch tables
    Hoop earrings getting torn out
    Flying lunch trays


  • JonQ288

    So fucking true but the kids in my school rarely used vaseline.

  • Anonymous

  • Balaclavamask

    it’s mucjh more simpler where i live)

  • Anonymous

    This is hilarious since i’m trying to empathize but I can’t cos I attend some catholic convent school that isn’t even in the states. I also happen to have an alter ego of being a jew in New York who is 21 and is attending columbia, but it is nice to play pretend and satisfy the whims and fancies of mine by going on thought catalog. Honestly, you guys all seem to come from the same mouldy peaches song

  • Sas Jam

    This makes me want to go fight middle schoolers.
    Lil’ homies seem down.

  • Anonymous

  • Anonymous

  • AK

    i just remember in middle school whenever something apparently worth noting happened, all the kids went “oooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”  and sometimes they would clap. This would tend to happen in the cafeteria.

  • yup

    I think the vaseline thing is an urban area thing. None of my surburban friends knew about it

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