I thought of Sylvia and Evie and Sandy and Two-Bit’s many blondes. They were the only kind of girls that would look at us, I thought. Tough, loud girls who wore too much eye makeup and giggled and swore too much. I liked Soda’s girl Sandy just fine, though. Her hair was natural blond and her laugh was soft, like her china-blue eyes. She didn’t have a real good home or anything and was our kind–greaser–but she was a real nice girl. Still, lots of times I wondered what other girls were like. The girls who acted as if they’d like to spit on us if given a chance. Some were afraid of us, and remembering Dallas Winston, I didn’t blame them. But most looked at us like we were dirt–gave us the same kind of look that the Socs did when they came by in their Mustangs and Corvairs and yelled “Grease!” at us. I wondered about them. Th girls, I mean…Did they cry when their boys were arrested, like Evie did when Steve got hauled in, or did they run out on them the way Sylvia did Dallas? But maybe their boys didn’t get arrested or beaten up or busted up in rodeos.
I was still thinking about it while I was doing my homework that night. I had to read Great Expectations for English, and that kid Pip, he reminded me of us–the way he felt marked lousy because he wasn’t a gentleman or anything, and the way that girl kept looking down on him. That happened to me once. One time in biology I had to dissect a worm, and the razor wouldn’t cut it so I used my switchblade. The minute I flicked it out–I forgot what I was doing or I would never have done it–this girl right beside me kind of gasped, and said, “They are right. You are a hood.” That didn’t make me feel so hot. There were a lot of Socs in that class–I get put into A classes because I’m supposed to be smart–and most of them thought it was pretty funny. I didn’t, though. She was a cute girl. She looked real good in yellow.
Excerpt, The Outsiders by Charlotte Perkins Gillman. Image, me.