Ah, Thanksgiving break. A time to consume irresponsible quantities of potato-based foodstuffs, grit your teeth and pretend to find your extended family delightful and marvel at how much your old friends have changed. Not I, however — last week, I flew home to New York confident that my best friend Jazmine would be the same as ever. Now, I know everyone thinks they and their high-school BFF were “practically the same person LOL!”, but seriously, we were on a whole new level. Affectionately known to our teachers and classmates as “Fric and Frac,” “Mutt and Jeff” or “Seriously, though, it’s kind of weird how much time you guys spend together,” Jazmine and I were the Brittany and Abby Hensel of our high school: essentially fused at the neck from day one of freshman year until graduation.
But when Jazmine sent in her deposit to Bard, a school notorious for a student body so aloof and avant-garde it could double as the audience for an Animal Collective show, I began to fear imminent change. I hate to judge a school by its stereotype — after all, Kenyon has more than its fair share of hipster identifiers (see “Horn Gallery, The” and “Flannel button-downs on campus, prevalence of”) — but The Huffington Post, which rated Bard #3 in its list of “Top 10 Hipster Schools,” describes the college as “a must-visit venue for touring indie rockers, who play in a converted garage called Smog.” A converted garage called Smog. God have mercy. As we said our tearful goodbyes before leaving for college, I made Jazmine promise she wouldn’t let Bard turn her into the kind of pretentious douchecanoe we loved to mock.
So you can imagine my surprise when Jazmine walked into my apartment sporting freshly ombre-dyed hair, a brand-new cartilage piercing, a floor-length polka-dotted skirt, personality glasses (oh, the humanity) and — horror of horrors — a mullet sweater. I can’t bring myself to describe it in detail, but just know that it was a pullover, alarmingly short in front yet knee-skimmingly long in back. It looked like conceptual art, which I guess is cool if you’re into that sort of thing, but the question that sprang to my lips upon first seeing my best friend in the world after three months apart was “What the actual fuck are you wearing?”
The differences between me and the new, Bardian Jazmine quickly became even more apparent. While my lurid collegiate tales were mostly along the lines of “Yeah, so then we went to the sweaty, gross Old Kenyon party, left after five minutes and ate our way through the Cove’s entire mac-and-cheese-wedge supply,” Jazmine relayed stories of nights spent leaving Smog to eat seaweed and drink chai from Mason jars while watching Charlie Kaufman movies on Netflix Instant (I so, so sincerely wish I were joking, but I’m not). Naturally, I was alarmed. Who the hell was this manic pixie dream girl, and what had she done with my best friend?
Luckily, over the next few days of break, my fears were assuaged. Beneath her protective shell of woolen beanies and ironic eyewear, Jazmine was the same delightful, Snuggie-swathed nerd she’d always been, and things went right back to normal. We ordered sickening amounts of Indian takeout at 3:00 a.m. (I love you, New York), we immersed ourselves in an SVU marathon and we even dragged out our old yearbook to snark on everybody we’d gone to high school with.
By the time I boarded my CMH-bound flight, I couldn’t believe I’d ever worried that Jazmine and I were growing apart. I guess the moral of the story here is: don’t judge an old book by its new cover, no matter how preposterously hipster-y that cover might be.
(Disclaimer: Jazmine gave me full permission to write this article, but she would like me to acknowledge that I came home after three months of college in the Midwest wearing cowboy boots and extolling the virtues of Kroger, so who the hell am I to judge anyone?)