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It was cool, it was fun, but it got to be too much, so I quit.” When I talked to Lily’s mother, later, she said that Lily “could be” a model, if she were only taller.
“The lady at the agency would do our makeup and we would practice doing fake photo shoots and we would practice the catwalk in high heels,” said Lily.
As crushes go from real-life likes to digital “likes,” the typical American teenage girl is confronted with a set of social anxieties never before seen in human history. He was “really smart, really funny, really athletic, really tall,” she said, eating chips at the long wooden table in the kitchen of her home, an eight-bedroom house on a leafy street in Garden City. “It goes on the best and you can make wings like Audrey Hepburn’s. I watch of them ’cause they give you really good information.”She had ordered the eyeliner on Amazon the night before for next-day delivery. “Garden City kids are sick at sports,” said Matt, a 17-year-old boy at Roosevelt Field, a mall in East Garden City, the 10th largest mall in America; it used to be an airfield.“You work hard, you excel at sports,” Matt said, “you get into an Ivy League school, or even like an N. They see everything in terms of money so that’s how they show their love—through money.” “But a lot of kids who are fuck-ups get whatever they want, too,” his friend Roxanne, 16, observed.
In this adaptation from her new book, American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers, Nancy Jo Sales observes one 14-year-old as she gets ready to embark on her first I. “And he’s been my friend for a while”—since the previous summer, when they went to science camp together at an Ivy League university (“It sounds really nerdy I know, and it , but honestly it’s fun”)—“and I really like him and he really likes me so I think it’s . “My mom’s credit card is on there,” she said, “so we can just like get whatever we want. He’s just jealous because I’m older and he’s immature. During the financial crisis of 2008, ran a story about how the residents of Garden City were coping; one resident, a wealth manager, told the paper, “Someone from Des Moines might not feel bad about well-off people like this losing their money, but people get used to an income level.” The number of Garden City residents who work in finance and real estate has been estimated at 20 percent.
“I just thought of him as a friend after camp until a month or two ago,” Lily said. “We just talked and talked for like four hours, and he really liked talking to me and I really liked talking to him so . It’s partly the pressure I’m putting on myself and partly the pressure that my parents put on me to do well—all this pressure combined, to take this education and do something great with it, it can all make you feel really overwhelmed.
Of course I want to amount to great things,” she said, “but when everyone’s telling you and constantly badgering you about it, it can be really stressful.
He threw it twice.”Lily was glad Henry wouldn’t be in the house while she was getting ready to go on her date; he was always saying things to try and make her doubt herself, always comparing himself to her, saying he was better at sports, and she was “dumb” for caring about things like clothes and makeup. As the oldest of five, Lily said she never felt she had her parents’ full attention; the littler kids took up so much of her mother’s time and “my dad is, like, never home.” Her mother did pay her attention, she said, but she was “always, like, managing me and making sure I’m doing everything right.” So now it was nice—“so nice,” she said—to have someone in her life like Josh, her date, who would just talk to her and listen to her, and tell her she was pretty, “Oh my God, like all the time.”They hadn’t actually seen each other in person for about a year. Ever since then, she said, she and Josh had been Skyping most nights for about an hour, and then for three- or four-hour stretches every weekend, only stopping “when we have to, like, go to the bathroom or take a shower.” Now they were texting all day, every day, even during school (“We just talk about whatever we’re doing, or we’ll say, like, Hey, what’s up, hi, bye”).
An estimated 99 percent of Garden City High School graduates go on to colleges, many of them high-ranking.
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