True friends left behind by Karen Corday

Karen Corday will never quit her day job and thus has a very pretty mug and a ComfiLife ergonomic chair cushion in her cubical. You can read the stuff she writes at night here: https://karencorday.contently.com/. Twitter: @k_files

I just finished watching Stranger Things, and I, like everyone else, fixated on Barb, her righteously rolling eyes, taking no nonsense behind those giant glasses. Barb’s glasses are the most authentic piece of 80’s styling I’ve ever seen; those were what girls’ glasses looked like in 1983! Depictions of the 80’s never get the true horror of the hair and the glasses right, but BLESS BARB’S ACCURATE, ENORMOUS GLASSES, at last at last. Nancy telling Barb to “go home” broke my heart in two and nearly made me throw up in recognition. I’m here for all of us nerds who have been told to “go home,” to get out of the way so our newly popular, suddenly beautiful best friend could move on to Make Out City. Let’s review some left-behind best friends who paved the way for Barb:

JENNA! Pretty in Pink! That creepy stalker Duckie gets all the sympathy points for being left behind when Andie throws him over for Blaine, but what about Jenna?! A true friend is someone who is ready to defend you in gym class, the absolute worst part of the day, and Jenna telling Benny “hope they shrivel up and fall off, okay?” is my favorite line from Pretty in Pink, particularly when she goes on to clarify and expand upon said insult when the gym teacher asks her she hopes WHAT shrivel up and fall off. “Her breasts, Ms. Deets.” Off she goes to the principal’s office, a true heroine, defending her friend to the end. Don’t go to Benny’s party, Andie. Forget Blaine and Duckie. Pick up Jenna and Iona from the record store in your beautiful pink car and just leave that stupid town forever.

BETTY FINN! Heathers! Betty Finn, as comeback queen Noni R told us as Veronica Sawyer, “was a true friend and I sold her out for a bunch of Swatch dogs and Diet Coke heads.” Yeah, you did, Veronica. Betty brings Veronica pictures of happier times of true friendship (FINN AND SAWYER, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD), perhaps in an attempt to save her from the Heathers horror and remind her what true friendship is, and Veronica allows herself to be dragged away, the pictures sliding to the floor GO HOME, BETTY FINN!

JANIS IAN! Mean Girls! Janis Ian is the ultimate best friend left behind and if you strike her down she will only rise up twice as strong as before. As we may remember, Janis Ian was Regina George’s best friend in 8th grade until she was Barb-ed out for daring to ask why Regina didn’t call her back anymore now that she had a boyfriend. Lo and behold, she’s Barb-ed out again when Cady takes her Plastics experiment too far and goes full Plastic. Janis Ian uses her pain and her disgust to get to the core of it all: “See, that’s the thing with you Plastics. You think that everybody’s in love with you when actually everybody hates you! YOU ARE A MEAN GIRL.” She is then DRIVEN HOME by Damien, triumphant in her rage, as Cady stands alone at her own party.

Please note it was difficult to find photos of Jenna and Betty Finn, let alone GIFs, but the internet is a virtual Janis Ian wonderland, and of course, there’s no escaping Barb. We won, guys. We went home alone and we won.

This column is an excerpt from the weekly newsletter Kelsaywhat Weekly. It’s part of a guest writer series, which you can read more about here.