The Christian College’s Jennifer Aniston – By Sara Kelm
In the late 90s, Jennifer Aniston was the ultimate popular girl. Women all over this country reverted to high school and copied her style (see: chunky layered haircut) and followed her love life, both onscreen and off. Even as she started making dubious starring role decisions (I’m talking about you, The Bounty Hunter) and got dumped by her Sexiest Man Alive husband, Aniston still sparkled like it was 1999. And even now, past age 40, Aniston is one of the popular kids.
You get any group of living human beings together and a few always rise to the top and create the popular elite. When I move into a retirement home in 50 years, I fully expect that there will be a hierarchy: the folks with the motorized scooters on the top and the jello-eaters on the bottom. Maybe there I’ll finally come out on top (granted that I can hold off the dementia).
I definitely wasn’t popular in high school and didn’t think that would change in college. I went to a Christian university located in the Pacific Northwest, the land of coffee, rainclouds, and more coffee. The culture breeds an interesting type of popular girl who looks nothing like the stereotype found in movies (for research on the stereotypical popular girl, please watch Mean Girls and/or any Disney Channel Original Movie). But one thing is the same: she’s the girl everyone loves. Other girls are dying to go on a nature hike with her, and the guys would love to have an intense theological discussion with her and then make out (or just the latter, but only if they had to chose one).
So, how to identify your Christian college’s popular girl (CCPG)? Well, if she’s anything like my college’s, here’s the checklist:
The CCPG has long hair that 1) she cuts herself, 2) she lets air dry during early morning quiet times in the woods, and 3) was probably dreadlocks at some point.
Her clothes look like they’re from Urban Outfitters, but you know in your heart that grandpa sweater is from the “per pound” bin at the local thrift store. Because an actual grandpa wore it, the sweater is about 117 times cooler. On her feet, she’ll sport Chacos or Toms, depending on the time of year and event (i.e., Chacos = hiking, Toms = special occasions).
The CCPG does not “work out.” Still, she will be extremely fit because she rides her bicycle everywhere. Her bicycle is vintage, and she got it from a thrift store, Craigslist, or her grandma’s garage for less than $30. It probably has a woven basket, constantly filled with fresh produce that she bought from the farmer’s market. It’s organic and local, you know. She’s also vegetarian, but not vegan because that’s just ridiculous (okay, that last comment may have been my personal bias coming through). Her vice is good coffee, but she only buys fair-trade or organic beans.
She is not a pastor’s kid, because pastor’s kids are a dime-a-dozen at a Christian college, and thus, boring. The CCPG grew up on the mission field, probably overseas, though Latin America or ministering to migrant workers in the Southern U. S. counts (Canadian missions do not). During summers, the CCPG volunteers at the nearest refugee camp. She blogs about it, highlighting amazing stories that you read while on your 15-minute break from your summer job at Target.
She majors in either Social Work or Philosophy, with an Art minor. The CCPG is incredibly artistic, probably in mixed media (due to its eclectic nature) or pottery (because it’s just awesome). She’s also musical, and plays either the bongos or the acoustic guitar in the campus worship band. Bonus points if she’s also in an indie rock band with spiritual leanings.
The CCPG listens to indie rock or folk bands that are not overtly “Christian” but have lyrics with spiritual undertones (see the Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Arcade Fire). Also on her iPod (or off-brand mp3 player): bands that no one has ever heard of and Nickel Creek.
Every week on Friday night, the CCPG serves the homeless under a bridge in the roughest part of town and always invites you to come, making you feel like an awful person because you have tickets to that one thing. She doesn’t judge you, though. Also in her free time, she is a vital part of the campus ultimate Frisbee team.
She’s not focused on finding a husband, but she unwittingly leads along half of her guy friends (because she gets along with guys so well). These men are bearded, wear thick black-rimmed glasses and flannel, and drink yerba mate tea in literature or philosophy class. They are all in love with her ability to create intense theological discussions over ice cream, but the guy the CCPG actually falls for decides he has been called to celibacy and becomes a monk. Can’t blame the poor girl, though – the man has a nice beard.
The CCPG is not on Facebook. But you know if she did, she’d instantly have friend requests from every student on campus and 80% of the faculty and staff. Also, she seems to know the first name of everyone on campus from the freshmen to the lunch ladies. She mostly hangs out with people just like her (people who choose not to wear shoes, even in the winter), but somehow, you feel like she’d be your friend too.
Here’s the thing with this CCPG, this Christian college Jennifer Aniston: she really is that likeable. She really is that great. And when the entire hall of boys that you have been hanging out with for two years falls in love with her, you are annoyed but cannot blame them, which is more infuriating than anything else. You take consolation in the fact that she’s going to fall for the future priest anyway.
After graduation, my college’s Jennifer Aniston went to a Catholic worker house in the inner city where she feeds the poor, loves the sick, and makes absolutely zero money. She’s inspiring and God-driven, much more so than the real Jennifer Aniston will ever be. I admire her. Also, I’m willing to bet money that when I see her at our 10-year reunion, she’ll have the best dreadlocks I’ve ever seen.
Did you ever meet a Christian College Popular Girl?
(For more awesome stuff from Sara, check out her blog, sara-has-something-to-say… )