Teenagers Today: Welcome to My World
"You Can't be Popular Without a Car"
Morgan Denson, 17 Hometown: Tyler, Texas School: Robert E. Lee High School
Some girls are popular because of their clothes. A lot of the girls go to little boutiques and get real expensive clothes, like $100 shirts or $60 tank tops. You don't have to dress exactly alike but everyone has to know you're spending a lot of money. The most expensive thing I have is a long-sleeve shirt that's, like, $40, but it's a little bit dressy.
You can't be popular without a car. Every single one of the cool girls has a top-of-the-line SUV. They get it brand-new on their 16th birthday. I have an SUV, too, but it's my dad's old one. It's, like, a '93 model. I don't know anyone who takes the school bus. I know only of a few popular girls who apply themselves academically. I know, like, only four guys that actually try in our school. I'm sort of different -- I belong to the National Honor Society and the science and Spanish clubs, but I'm still in the in crowd.
Pretty much everyone hangs out in groups. Some people might think, Oh, they're popular because they go with a huge group of friends and party. But just because you go out and party with this group doesn't mean they're friends. A lot of people can't stand each other, but they go where the alcohol is. I think some people feel that they have to drink to be cool, but that's not real. Me, I've never taken a sip of alcohol.
Usually the girls who drink have boyfriends who drink. Girls I know feel pressured to have sex. After a while, their reputation gets out and if people hear what they do, then they're thought of differently. A guy can do stuff with a girl, but the girl gets the bad reputation. I have a boyfriend, but I'm definitely waiting to get married before I have sex.
I'm friends with every single one of the so-called popular people, but I don't necessarily go out and do things with them. A lot of them have known each other since elementary school and know everything about each other. An outsider would have a hard time being accepted no matter how she acted or dressed. I have a group of friends that I've grown up with, and we usually do things together on weekends. My boyfriend, who goes to a different school, is real friendly so he hangs out with us sometimes. Other times I hang out with his group of friends.
People are starting to put more importance on good friends, people you can count on and people you can talk to. They need to feel secure and they realize that they won't feel secure just from the clothes they wear and drinking and stuff.