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.