From the Issue: Can You Change?

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The latest issue of The Blue and White will be hitting campus this weekend! Meanwhile, we continue to post the articles from the issue on Bwog. “At Two Swords’ Length” is a feature presenting opposing opinions on an issue.  This time, Nina Pedrad argues that yes, you can change, while Jeff Stern says otherwise.


It was seventh grade, end of the year. Students poured out of every orifice of the middle school, horny for summer and the new Blink-182 album. Horny, all of them. Except for one girl.

Me, little Cindy. I watched the “cool” girls as they left math class, all glitter gloss and butt jeans. I watched them flip their crispy straight hair, adjust their push-up bras until A became B. They sashayed into the arms of their cool boyfriends, skater boys with large penises (so I’d heard). I licked my braces and yearned for the touch of a man with frosted tips.

I wasn’t what you’d call “cool” or “freshly showered.” I was short, gangly, and rocked an uncomfortably large pyramid of hair. When I wasn’t asked to the spring dance, I turned to my algebra books and a cold glass of milk for support.

I stared down at my chest. Still flat. I had conquered my finals, but knew my greatest challenge would be physical, not mental; breasts, not brains.

I left for camp that summer with cotton underwear and a dream: that I’d return as something better. “Stupid,” I thought, licking my braces. On the bus, I watched the cool girls sit on the cargo shorts of cool boys, giggling. My own laugh sounded like a hyena on methamphetamine.

But that summer at camp, something changed. Some things, actually. It started with one innocuous bottle: “Boobs B-Bigg,” a breast nourishment formula. I found it on the side of the road. It was a sign.

My t-shirts started fitting better. My training bras stopped fitting at all. I was growing faster than I could finish a lanyard, morphing from concave to convex like two perky balloons inflated by a helium tank.

Boys started looking at me. Lame boys, at first. But jocks with big penises (so I’d heard) once I hit a C. My chest became my ticket in. I borrowed underwire bras and cut my shirts lower.

The breasts were just the beginning. My braces came off in late July. By September I was the most popular girl in school. I’d spend hours straightening my hair and picking the right song lyrics to quote in my AIM profile. Other girls wore what I wore, walked the way I walked, shopped at the Wet Seal I shopped at.

The change was more than physical. I became Li’l Cindy. I started doodling in my Algebra books, littering my speech with things like “ohmygod” and “shut your stupid face!” I traded in my naivete for a flask of cheap gin. I flicked off anyone I thought was lame, dumb, or a-sexual. By December I was dating a high school senior named Hammer. Hammer drove a truck and fondled my breasts in public. I liked him very much.

One day, though, Hammer found a freshman with Ds. He broke up with me and that’s when things went south. Hungry for attention and uninterested in middle school boys (who were very tiny, as it turns out), I turned to a string of different men. Mike, Chuck, Robert, Vagabond Outside Safeway… I became what many experts would call “a whore.” My skirts became shorter, my knees more calcified. I spiraled until I was a washed up druggie with more venereal diseases than friends. I had no hopes, no dreams. I lost my Social Security card in a game of strip UNO. Innocence? That was my porn name. That wasn’t who I was anymore.

I passed by a kid I went to middle school with the other day. Jeff. “Boy, have you changed Little Cindy!” he said, putting money in my g-string with his clammy hands. I said, “It’s Li’l Cindy now. Little died a long time ago.”


Like all children sent to middle-class preschools, I was once read the tale of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Challenging Kirstie Alley at her best game, the insect gorged itself until it transformed into a poorly-drawn, geometric butterfly. Unfortunately, my own attempt at such a transformation fell flat. It was the summer before eighth grade.

“This summer’s gonna be different,” I thought as I aggressively spiked my hair with the bottle of CRUST (the gel with 85-percent ground crustacean for real hold). Seventh grade had just ended and I was eager to leave behind the horrible memories of swirlies, wet willies, and aggressive punches that knocked the Giga Pet out of my sweaty little hands.

I mean, I wasn’t a HUGE loser…there was always that fat sweaty kid in Honors Algebra who picked his “back-ne” under his Epcot shirt. But flattering comparisons aside, I knew it was time to kick my transformation into high gear and finally leave my loser brethren in the dust.

My mom seemed thrilled when I asked her to go shopping—she was eager to replace my Pikachu shirts with more mature fare. I needed to start attracting real girls, the kind who had thick, hot-pink retainers and who wore training bras from Limited Too.

My mom and I walked confidently through the men’s department of Saks 5th Avenue to the real destination—Abercrombie & Fitch, the mecca of good-looking white guys who reek of SUCCESS. $300 later, I walked out with enough clothes embroidered with those two, sexy letters and that one curvaceous ampersand to fill a two-week stint at sleep-away camp.

And not just any sleep-away camp. THE sleep-away camp. River Way Ranch Camp. The camp where whores like that Cindy go to get away from their parents and test out their sexualities. I wanted to do things with girls. Yes. I knew how sex worked! YES!

It’s when the guy sits down on the girl and then…

Right? That’s it right?

And then the guy touches…

You say it first.

Regardless, I walked around confidently with my hard hat of wiry spikes and my A & F wardrobe. I was a new person entirely.

That’s when I met her. Jessica. She was so beautiful, behind her headgear and eye patch. Yes, I met her at archery, but that was the magic of it. I couldn’t participate because my hands were too sweaty. She couldn’t because, you know, she only had one eye.

That night, drunk off one too many Fantas, it happened. We went back to my bunk. I could tell she was kinda slutty by the way she confidently pranced into boys camp. Before I knew it, her large, wet tongue was down my throat. It was aggressive. Braces touching braces. Awkward, stifled breathing filled the cabin. And then she put her hands on my pants. Until she felt it. My big, hard wookie.

We stopped making out and she pulled the Chewbacca action figure out of my pants, putting it closer to her good eye.

“What the hell is this?” She asked. Before I could even answer, she pantsed me. Jar Jar Bink’s big yellow eyes stared back at her from my underwear.

“You’re a freak,” she said as she adjusted her eye patch and walked out the door.

I wasn’t cool. I was a loser. I’d always be a loser. It was all just a gelled façade. I took a sigh and accepted it.

At least my hands would never judge me.

Illustrations by Stephen Davan

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  1. Anonymous

    ROFL this is golden. Please do more of these!

  2. ehh

    Yuck. Having been thirteen as well, I know that thirteen year old's are sexually aware. But isn't this a little too X-rated, especially the first?

  3. Anonymous  

    the second one was hilarious!

  4. Anonymous  

    nina pedrad and jeff stern ROCK.

  5. Hooah  

    These are great. Bravo, Blue and White.

  6. Anonymous

    ehh: No.

    Whew, that was easy.

  7. this  

    is legitimately hilarious :)

  8. ;-F

    Jeff Stern is my heeeeroooo

  9. blah  

    match writers of equal strength next time

  10. Amazing.  

    Loved the second one.

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