The first in an occasional series
No.1: Jackie M
It's rare for me to properly dislike someone. There are plenty of people I have found irritating and a bit less is more over time, and plenty I'd rather not have to see ever again in an ideal world.
Naturally, there are those who haven't liked me, which always irks as you wonder what it is about you they don't care for, and make it your mission to secure their approval. If you care enough in the first place.
Jackie M didn't fall into any of these groups.
A twig in a rah-rah skirt, long legs, flatties, denim jacket, Marlboro Red permanantly in hand and not nearly as attractive as she imagined herself to be, she thought she was the cat's pyjamas, the toast of the town, she queen bee of the sixth form. But she was actually a horrific airhead narcissistic bitch who had people dancing to her evil tune and, despite being called Jackie, was an archetypal Sloane Ranger straight out of the handbook who swept back to school each Sunday night with the latest goss from Foxtrot Oscar and how she had jolly good fun in Redcliffe Gardens. What was she, 16?
She'd been expelled from her previous school. I never knew what for, but you could see why. Her best mate at school seemed to be a part-time teacher in her thirties called Jane, who with her upturned collars and pearls and County vowels once mocked me for referring to 'horse-riding' - they called it just 'riding' - and was clearly what Jackie was destined to become, without the teacher bit. They'd roar off in Jane's white Mini at weekends off to some fancy London party. If it was the Sixties - where Jackie would have been a willowy Marianne Faithfulesque tragedy queen called Penny - it would end in disaster. Who's to know whether it did or not? Jane was an instant hate figure of course, so her union with the awful Jackie was pre-destined.
Jackie was always being caught with boys in her room in the dead of night, and was well-known for bringing drugs into the school. She was also openly schtupping Mike the mincey dance teacher who tucked his stonewashed jeans into his legwarmers and from whom she caught a series of STDs, which were worn like a badge of honour. When he got sacked and dumped her, she slashed her wrists in a desperate bid for attention. And that wasn't the last time either.
I saw right through her and thought her ghastly from the moment I set eyes on her. In return, she had little time for me. I don't think we had more than two conversations in the whole year. It was hardly like she was my nemesis, but I just never took to her nor she to me.
I often wondered why she was like she was. I think it might have been more than simply teenage rebellion. With a name like Jackie it was unlikely she was landed gentry. I bet mother was a former air hostess or ex-model who married money. I don't think I ever saw her come to the school but I imagine if she had at that time she would have had long blonde hair, a deep tan, a drink problem, worn a short fur coat with her jeans tucked into cowboy boots, if she could break off from her string of affairs for a moment.
Jackie was expelled at the end of that first year after one STD too many, so I was relieved not to have to have her around the next year. Now gone, I realised she was the toxic thread that ran through the community and without her it was a much nicer place to be.
I once met one of her schoolfriends and asked them if they knew her. Oh yes, they knew her alright, but then went strangely silent on the matter. I must Google her at once.
Anyway, toward the end of the year she had a party in a local restaurant and didn't invite me. I was enraged at the time (and this song, though far too jolly, reminds me of that time), but then I remembered that we weren't friends, so why would she? By all accounts it was dull as ditch water. She made a scene and the atmosphere was frosty. I bet she's doing exactly the same today, in some loveless marriage, look pretty but dying inside.
You couldn't make her up, could you?
Next time: David J.