The Look: The Sharpest Weapon In A Mean Girl's Arsenal

Illustration for article titled The Look: The Sharpest Weapon In A Mean Girl's Arsenal

That new show on the CW, Privileged? Okay, not great, but there's one thing it conveys really accurately: The Look. In the two episodes that have aired so far there have been instances where the kinda dorky, neurotic protagonist, Megan, says something lame or nerdy and her two snotty teenage tutoring charges give her a look of such whithering scorn and contempt, of "I have no idea what you're talking about and I am certainly not going to waste the energy thinking about it because you're weird and insignificant" that, whenever I see it, I get a vicarious chill and am immediately transported back to 7th Grade. I'd forgotten about The Look, the most powerful weapon in a mean girl's arsenal, until yesterday. When I got it. From an American Apparel employee.Here's what happened. I went in to buy a plain tote to silk-screen with a stencil of my brother's face, like you do. The gal ringing me up - maybe 20, if that - was humming along to some semi-ironic rendition of "What Do You Get When You Fall In Love" on the soundtrack, so I said, "Someone was just telling me that Jerry Orbach was the first one to ever sing this song! Isn't that interesting?" Or something. And she shot me a three-second, eyebrow-raised look that said, "You are a loser I don't know nor care what you're saying how dare you presume to talk to me let alone say something so weird and asinine I don't know who Jerry Orbach is nor do I wish to and if I did I would surely be dismissive of Law & Order generally and Lenny Briscoe in particular and if this were high school I could totally be a bitch to you but fuck you I have to wait on you unfortunately but just shut up so I can consign you to the 'weird' category that holds everything I don't know about and go away." This look cut me to the quick. I've gotten the look before, of course; it was a staple of my teen years. But as you get older, The Look becomes rarer; people are less defensive, or more secure, or kinder, or just more polite. Anyway, I'd forgotten how it feels. Nothing is more dismissive in the whole world. When this happens on Privileged, you feel for Megan because there's no way to rebound from The Look; even if it's based on petty cruelty, it's inarguable - it effectively wins any confrontation. It's like the distillation of some primitive form of irony, Teflon-coated and razor-sharp. There's teenage ennui in it, but it's more than that; there's always a social dynamic to it. Because The Look doesn't exist in a vacuum; rather, behind it is the assurance that everyone else in the world agrees with the Looker, that you are isolated, alone, pathetic. Both Looker and Target know this; therein lies its power. Use it wisely, ladies. Take it from me, it can still ruin your day. Privileged [Official Site]



I kinda have a permascowl (honest, it's just the resting position of my face)—and it keeps sleazy dudes in bars from hitting on me, thankfully.

But if they do approach, generally to tell me to "smile" or some shit, then I give The Look. And it terrifies them.