FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Were You Ever Bad At Being Bad?

Hello my little rebels! In keeping with the theme of the Bad Behavior Issue Autostraddle is curating this month and next, what better topic for August’s first Friday Open Thread than, well, bad behavior. But I want to know about a very specific type of bad behavior: the bad behavior that, looking back, isn’t all that bad at all.

What’s something you felt like such a rebel or a daredevil for doing when you were younger that your adult self would do without blinking? Or that looking back is almost laughable? For example, when I was in seventh grade, I was in my local theatre group, and I was under STRICT INSTRUCTION to not leave the church basement where we rehearsed. But sometimes we would sneak out and go… *looks around furtively* TO THE ICE CREAM SHOP DOWN THE STREET. No more than three blocks away – though it did involve one (1) crossed street – we would go to the Brigham’s and spend any allowance we had tucked away on milkshakes or double-scoop cones even though it was BEFORE DINNER.

Mind you, this wasn’t the theatre group’s rules, that we couldn’t leave the premises on break. No, this was only my mom’s rule, my mom who wasn’t AT rehearsal with us, and wouldn’t be back until about half an hour after rehearsal ended. But breaking my mom’s rules, even when she wasn’t there, always gave me a surge of adrenaline. Every time I had gum at school, said the F word, or watched an R-rated movie at my cousins’ house.

On the other side of the “bad at being bad” coin, I wasn’t even good at it when I tried to do something legitimately “bad.” I remember once when I was about eight, I put a little plastic bowl over a lamp bulb (I wanted to dim it for a less harsh reading light #nerd) and it melted the bowl to bits. I tried to hide the evidence, but FUN FACT, melted plastic smells something awful. So when my mom demanded to know what happened, I blamed my four-year-old brother. My mom seemed to buy it, and all was well and good, but the guilt ate me up inside and after what felt like DAYS (my mom says it was more like an hour) I ran to find my mother, tears streaming down my face, and confessed all my sins.

It’s funny, once I came out (and, as a girl from a Catholic school/household, broke arguably one of the biggest rules) I started to examine rules more carefully, picking and choosing which ones made sense and which didn’t. And I found a lot of the rules I had set for myself – no fantasizing about girls, no holding hands with girls, no kissing girls – ended up being the rules I liked to break the most. Being bad suddenly felt so good.

Of course “bad” is subjective, right? Just because my set of rules was wildly different than anyone else’s didn’t mean I wasn’t still breaking rules, right? And obviously there’s nothing inherently bad about being gay, that was my own projection/insecurities being shaped into rules and boundaries. What even really constitutes “bad behavior” – is it the action itself or the intention? Oof, maybe that’s a discussion for another day.

So tell me: what were the things you did that felt so rebellious at the time that looking back weren’t so wild after all? A one night stand or awkward date you regretted at the time but now is a funny story to tell? What did you try to do to break the rules but failed at? What rules did you break that you realized were arbitrary rules and breaking them had no consequences? Which rules seemed silly to you until you broke them? What rules did you make for yourself that you’ve since broken? Were you good at getting away with things or did you confess the second you were busted?

Or we can just talk about your favorite Bad Behavior Issue headline, your weekend plans, your current mood. There is no such thing as bad behavior in this comment section. (Unless you break the community guidelines YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.)


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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 566 articles for us.

109 Comments

  1. GOOD MORNING VALERIE ANNE THIS FEATURE IMAGE IS PERFECT THANK YOU

    So in fifth grade, at a slumber party, my friends and I snuck to the boy next door’s house and teepee’d it.

    Then we went back home and started to worry/realize they would know it was us.

    Then we snuck back door and took it all down.

    Ta-da!

  2. When I was little, I would constantly lie about having brushed my hair or my teeth. I think lying to my parents was like my main “Bad Kid Activity”. I always wanted to act more grown than I actually was, like sneaking around with boys (but needing my mom to pick me up at their houses afterwards). And once in high school I got a C in chem.

    It wasn’t until college I got really into delinquency aka smoking weed in a not weed legal state.

    • It took me so long to realize lying was an option. I got really good at it by high school but hoo boy was I bad at lying at first (as evidenced by my nearly immediate confession mentioned above)

      • I think IF we had participated in religion, lying would’ve been taboo. but we were cultural jews and my parents were into alternative religions. we didn’t really have too many “thou shalt not”s so i was just bad left and right until i got caught!

  3. i once tried to steal from my terrible job at a bookstore but chickened out

    i have faked sick two days in a row this week, though

    i feel like i love my job just enough that it’s keeping me from doing what i really want to do

    like it’s engaging, which means it sucks up all my mental energy?

    i’m not restless enough to make art

    i need a more boring job that is slightly less exhausting and leaves me feeling entirely unfulfilled

    then i’ll be able to be myself again

    • (i don’t work at the store anymore; now i wrangle eleven 12 to 18 month old babies all day. i love it but it requires a lot of creativity because i must lesson plan, which for little guys is mostly sensory stuff, and also i have to be ON 100% of the day. i don’t want to draw ever anymore & i feel like i’m dying)

      • The first time I got away with faking sick was a life-changer for me.

        I totally know what you mean though – I really like the people I work with at my job but it’s not what I want to do with my life but I’m so TIRED when I get home. And I’m a copywriter so the writing part of my brain is like “please no more” and I’m like “okay but this is what we want remember” and it’s just hard.

      • Aside from not having an income that can be invested into being financially independent and doing the things you want to progress with your life, another sad thing about being laid off is realizing that while the aforementioned is pretty shit, it appears you only have time to do what you really want when you’re unemployed.

        I would usually return from work sore to the point where I couldn’t even properly hold my toothbrush for four days so I couldn’t exercise or do anything else, really. Now I’m back at it and progressing through other things of my own accord and don’t know if I’ll succeed but I’m trying instead of thinking, “Hallo, bed”. But, I do need a job. ‘Tis a rock and a hard place.

    • Dude, I know exactly what you mean, that’s what I used to love about my retail job. I felt free to persue the stuff I genuinely cared about (making my art).

      Now they really started overworking me and I’m always stressed and tired and engaged in all these work projects and I just wanna go out and find another chill day job idgaf about.

      (Fun fact: autocorrect wants to change “idgaf” to “of gay” for me)

      • Many years ago, I read about how the people who get three days off instead of two were much happier and just a few days ago, somebody turned it into one of those things they post in the part where Twitter Moments go. Perhaps more people will consider that since even on your days off, you still have to maintain your dwelling place and do laundry. It shouldn’t take a long time but does take away from being able to actually rest so you just wind up procrastinating on everything else.

        • !! THIS IS VERY TRUE, all i do on weekends is laundry & deep cleaning my apartment, which i share w a parrot (i dust and vacuum everything every saturday & i do all my laundry every Sunday)

          • That cleaning must be pretty intense!! I just try do everything on the same day because then I don’t have to worry about it later. By the way, I have no idea about whether this can be shipped to wherever you are but I used this cleaner and it’s pretty surprising quality for a natural product. I’ve never seen even Lysol work as quickly as this stuff does (I’ve never seen Lysol work in the first place though; it seems Lysol is just lube for elbow grease). If you can’t find it, maybe there’s some other alternative?

            https://www.eco-max.ca/spray-cleaners/natural-lemongrass-purpose-cleaner/

  4. I was a pretty um, internally liberated kid… I thought most rules were pretty useless and liked to forge ahead on my own sets of logic. One of these involved believing that there was a goddess-fairy in the vast forest surrounding my rural childhood home. In the wee hours of the morning, I used sneak out of my room via the window, using a rope fire-escape ladder, and then go tromping naked through the woods for hours on end. One time an elderly neighbor found and returned me to my startled mother. I definitely got a high off of my little nudist ventures, both because I felt like I had a special relationship with this woodland deity, and also because I knew I was definitely not supposed to be doing it.

    • I used to do the same thing! I especially loved running around at night naked in the rain and I was totally convinced their was a fairy queen who had dominion over my back yard.

      I, uh, still do this as an adult sometimes.

  5. I brought a beer to school one time. I’d heard a rumor that a girl I liked came to school drunk. So, in order to be more close to her- I snagged a can of beer from the pantry, poured it into a water bottle and took it with me. Then, at school, I couldn’t go through with it and dumped it into the toilet.

  6. I brought a beer to school one time. I’d heard a rumor that a girl I liked came to school drunk. So, in order to be more close to her- I snagged a can of beer from the pantry, poured it into a water bottle and took it with me. Then, at school, I couldn’t go through with it and dumped it into the toilet.
    This is actually kind of bad but I feel like dumping it into the toilet makes it so innocent!

    • On the last day of school my senior year in high school, I ate some (reportedly) alcoholic jello in religion class – it wasn’t enough to get my drunk but the sheer act of it made me feel like Bonnie and/or Clyde.

  7. I’m EXTREMELY bad at being bad. I get sorted into Slytherin, but I CAN’T play anything but Lawful Good in the D&D computer games. Maybe in the end that’ll make me a better HR person.

    • And here I was so eager to contribute to the topic for once that I skipped over the fact that you wanted times that we did bad things that weren’t that bad.

      • This also applies!! Not being able to be bad at all! I was such a lawful good egg when I was wee. But I’ve grown quite chaotic in my old age.

    • HELLO ARE YOU ME

      sometimes i decide that i’m going to play a runthrough of e.g. DA:O where i’m going to be A Jerk and do everything for My Own Benefit and then i get to my first conversation choice and i just can’t be mean

  8. Valerie! I love this so much, and Pearl is basically me any time I even consider breaking a rule.

    I relate so hard to feeling like such a rebel when I was younger and learned various curse words. In fact, to this day I feel squicky when I’m about to curse in front of my parents and my body won’t let me do it out of a fear instilled in me 25 years ago.

    I remember being in elementary school and having a very strict bedtime. I would pretend I was going to bed, and then…I would make sure my parents weren’t paying attention, and I snuck out a flashlight so I could…STAY UP TO READ *le gasp*

    • I 100% got in trouble for staying up too late reading when I was little. I got really good at hiding my flashlight under my pillow and faking sleep at the creak in the floor right outside my bedroom.

    • Yup. Same. My mom would come in and take my book away and then I’d wait until she left and go get another off the shelf. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Lol.

      • Oh yes. I got in genuine trouble for staying up reading all night and just…. did not stop. It tended to work out well because the only things I did as a kid were things my mom thought were good for me (reading outside, playing), so she felt like she couldn’t restrict them as punishment.

        One time I got in really big trouble, though, and she took away my long-awaited copy of the Amber Spyglass before the preorder even arrived at my house. I tore the house apart, found it and read it in secret anyway, and made such an abysmal fuss both then and for years afterwards that she gave up. Sorry Mom… sorry, not sorry. *book demon shrug*

    • Oh same!! My parents were always like, “how is your flashlight already out of batteries again??”

  9. Just so you know, Hayley Kiyoko played Velma in “Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins”.

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Velma has the heart-eyes for Daphne.

  10. My little brother and I were wild trouble makers in our younger days. I remember being tucked into bed and told to go to sleep, and then him and I would meet in the hallway and watch the television shows my mom had on while she tried to relax. We felt like such little badasses. In reality, she definitely knew we were there and was too tired to tell us to go back to sleep. We also loved to sneak out of bed and gorge ourselves on Oreos and my older brother’s hidden Halloween candy. Sometimes we’d dare each other to try the different pet foods and our screeching would wake my mom up, but she’d just mumble to us to return to our rooms and we knew we were breaking all the rules, so we never argued. Midnight with your hand in a bag of dog biscuits and cookie crumbs on your lips is not the time to argue with your overtired mother.
    In seventh grade, my best friend and I got a thrill from passing notes back and forth in history class. We felt oh so cool.
    For some reason in highschool I never wanted to wear a coat, and my dorm mother would say ‘yo it’s 10 degrees out just wear the damn thing’ (in nicer words), so I’d put it on right before I stepped back into the dorm at night.
    Rebel rebel.

    On a different note, it’s been raining here in New York for about two weeks. We’ve had day after day of downpours and it’s getting to me. I usually love rain, but this rain isn’t even breaking the humidity or heat. It’s just making everything soggy and muddy and extra sticky. Plus it’s causing an arthritis flare like no other. BUT this weekend my lady pal and I are taking a one night mini vacay to a hip tiny town an hour from us. We’re gonna eat cheap tacos and browse the funky shops and stay in an adorable AirBnb. It’s been a while since we’ve taken a trip like this just us, so I’m really pumped. Even if it rains nonstop and my body is achy, it’ll be nice to have her all to myself <3 Happy weekend! Hope it's a tad less soggy by you :)

    • If you would be so kind as to pass some rain over?
      It’s been so absurdly hot and dry, that the trees are already shedding their leaves and dying.
      I‘ve taken to pouring water into saucers when I’m sitting in cafes for the birds to drink and bathe in, because the entire city has been baked bone dry.
      Even the bees and wasps seem not to be looking to sting anymore, they’re more interested in random drops of liquid on tables and tiles and skin than sugar or pollen hidden amongst drooping petals.

    • A) I love your stories of sibling rebellion
      B) In high school I used to “rebel” by wearing my high school sweatshirt even though it was strictly not part of the uniform
      C) I agree, non-stop rain gets to me, too, like it’s seeping through my skin and into my soul and weighing it down like an over-full cloud.

  11. Oh, I was the poster child for being “bad” in really pathetic ways! I was homeschooled, which was fantastic, but it did not give me a lot of opportunities to get into trouble. I went to a homeschool co-op at our church, and my BFF and I used to pick the lock on the resource room to steal TestaMints. Yes, mints with Bible verses on them. I was such a delinquent! I listened to rock and roll, and my mom let me say “crap”. No wonder I ended up being such a queer sinner.

    • TESTAMINTS OMG

      I was such a bad rule breaker that when I was listening to music with swears in it with my little brother, I would cough or shout loudly over the bad words. Even if it was just the two of us. Why?!

  12. During school photos, age around 7-8. Sitting next to a boy I was friends with, we dared each other to stick our tongues out when the camera went off (this is before the days of digital cameras).

    I chickened out. He didn’t. He got told off and I spent the rest of the day paralysed with guilt for having gotten him in what was actually a really tiny amount of trouble.

    I also once found a broken piece of a necklace in a shop when I was with my mum. Some tiny little doll pendant made out of yellow beads that had snapped off. I wanted one of the necklaces but couldn’t have one, so put the little broken pendant in my pocket.

    I felt so guilty about stealing it that the doll spent the next 4 years hidden under a box at the back corner of my wardrobe.

    …I was not very good at being bad.

  13. I was such a Kara Danvers as a kid, that I felt guilty for stealing a piece of gum at the supermarket for years.
    Also, I was absurdly strong.
    Kara Danvers, Ladies and Gentlefolk.

    • I don’t think I ever stole anything from a store!!

      One time I broke my friend’s Hanson CD case by accident and I STILL feel guilty about it, even though in retrospect her anger did not match the supposed crime.

      Kara Danvers isn’t a bad thing to be :)

      • You know, with the years I grew tired and into a harsh cynic.
        And then there was this new Superhero show on TV with a girl hero, and I scoffed and rolled my eyes at Supergirl, her motivational speeches and her goody two shoeness.
        But amidst my bitterness I remembered my younger self, the kid self, and even the teen self, who believed in the good in people and who would have been thrilled by Supergirl.
        The person who wanted to be a good person above it all.
        And I decided to embrace my inner Kara Danvers.
        Because there really are worse things to be.

  14. I grew up in a religious house that took the occult VERY SERIOUSLY and so took ridiculous pleasure in intentionally ‘inviting Satan into my presence” by playing ‘light as a feather, stiff as a board,’ and ‘bloody mary’ and using Ouija boards at sleepovers as a tween.
    Then when I was twelve, a girl from my church overheard me talking about these adventures and tattled to her mom who told my mom and I was grounded from sleepovers for an ENTIRE YEAR.
    And then I grew up to be the lesbian, witchy-atheist that my parents always feared so.

    • When I was little I used to duck below the pew and stick my tongue out at my parents and that’s the first time my dad told me that God could see me even if I was hiding YIKES

      I ALSO rebelled from my Catholic upbringing by getting really into Wicca and got in trouble for drawing pentagrams in art class even though it was FREE DRAW SHEESH

      • In Catholic school I drew pentagrams in black or red sharpie on myself during Mass, usually during Communion, because I was a was teen edgelord metalhead and only stopped because my devoutly Catholic friend called me out on how much of a lame-ass edgelord move that was.

    • I used to love playing games like “witches” and “vampires” and telling friends scary stories about calling 666 so you could talk to the devil. My family wasn’t religious and they thought I was just being weird, but one of my friends parents were ultra catholic and they sort of freaked out about my “satanic influence”.

      They should have seen our games of truth or dare in high school…

  15. Here’s my long list of horrifying infractions:

    – I stole a Christmas ornament of an apple from a store when I was around 7.
    – I skipped class once in my high school career (it was gym, during my last week of high school) to hang out with my friends in the bathroom.

    TL;DR I am v bad at being bad.

    • In high school whenever I broke a rule, my history of diligently not breaking rules prevented me from getting in trouble, EVEN WHEN I REALLY WANTED TO GET IN TROUBLE for you know, cred or whatever.

      For example, I used to go to the lockers during UNAPPROVED LOCKER HOURS. :gasp: And one time I dyed the tips of my hair fire-engine red which was too bright to follow the guidelines of NATURAL HAIR COLORS ONLY. :shocked exclamation: But all the strictest teacher ever did was tsk tsk at me. Not even a proper scolding!

      Senior year I skipped my science lab period to go to breakfast with friends and when I saw the teacher in the hall as I headed to my next class he said, “You smell like syrup,” winked, and walked away.

      WHAT’S A GIRL GOTTA DO TO GET A DETENTION UP IN HERE

      • I did the same thing with my hair for the same reason! But it didn’t come out as bright as it was supposed for and nobody even noticed without me telling them except, like, one of my friends

    • I never intentionally skipped class until college. I had to make a pact with a classmate to do it, and we scoured the syllabus for a “safe” day and then ate pie and worried for fifty minutes on the day we skipped.

      I bow to your superior high school badness!

  16. I never cursed until high school and even still my friends told me I sounded awkward when I did.
    One friend had a necklace and I’d always tell her to “fix your fucking necklace, it’s fucking twisted.” It was sort of our thing. Now I just wonder if it was just an excuse to acknowledge the area of her chest right above the boobs. Why was everything I did that was slightly bad so gay in hind sight?!

  17. Oh man I immediately thought “I must have something I can contribute to this” but I couldn’t work out what and when I took it to my friends they were like “no you don’t actually do bad things, you just feel guilty all the time” and they’re probably right.

    I think the worst not actually bad thing I’ve done is not go to Cambridge, settle down with a nice academic man and become an art history professor like I was supposed to. I spent so much of my life trying to be my grandparent’s platonic ideal of a granddaughter because I wanted to make them happy and it was not good for me. Now I write about being queer on the internet and have a lovely girlfriend and its so much better (and they’re happy for me too). So that’s my bad thing that turned out not to be so bad.

  18. As you mentioned everyone’s idea of bad is different. As a teen(around 15 years old), I thought I was bad for drinking 32oz bottle of beer, along with a bottle of arbor mist fruity wine with two other kids(a year old than I). We were on the apartment rooftop with the view of a Bristol Farms market(upscale/expensive supermarket). After our drinks, we headed to the apartment next door, which had a security guard, for lukewarm coffee and cold water(it was mid-fall in LA so not really cold). I thought I was being a total wild kind for drinking unsupervised, breaking bottles, and lying to rent a cop. I’ve since then done things that could be counted as worse. I’ve also as a teen(around 17-19) was worried I’d get in trouble for downloading stuff off Napster and the like services. Never happened.

    How is everyone’s week going? Mines has been pretty good. I’ve melted through clothing at least twice this week, and been drinking more ginger ale than I probably should. On the plus side, I saw an ad on AS saying that Queen Latifah and Common are having a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Ticket prices were very favorable and going with the confusing situation I was in(we are like romantic friendship, and like it). Sunday I am going to Cuties for their monthly Queers, Coffee, and Donuts, and pretty stoked for it.

    I spent last Sunday in Newport Beach/Balboa Island area with a lovely gal who also read AS(a good trait of course). I thought it went well, but so far haven’t gotten a reply this week. Kind of odd since she asked how my next(this) Sunday looks. Kind of odd. Also, someone this week on OKC sent me a message, but it was just a whale emoji(& nothing else), which I am not even sure what that’s supposed to mean. I asked and maybe I’ll get an answer?

    The skies were clear, the sun was full shine, and the beach was packed. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any outward trans or homophobia.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive and cool weekend!

    • Glad your beach trip was chill.

      My week was hectic as my 6 year old nephew was my responsibility for 4to5 about hours for 4 days this week and today we went to the zoo of all places. Yesterday was the arcade and he won a rainbow kissy emoji out the claw machine, beat a mini boss without help in a Transformers game. He can’t throw a ball to save his life and is 3rd most physically uncoordinated child I have ever met but when he gets older I’m gunna draft him for my team on any multiplayer video games.

  19. The image of Pearl totally reminded me that when I was little and my mom drank diet cokes somewhat regularly, I would wait till she got up and left it unattended, then steal a sip. If I knew she’d be gone for more than just a second I might even take two sips! I felt so bad. I was very unhappy the handful of times I snuck a sip and found that she had put whiskey in it, expecting soda and getting soda and alcohol was not fun.
    This week I’ve felt kinda “bad” in that this has been my first week off since quitting a job that was bad for me, and I still have about a month till school starts. So I’m kind of just lazing around and doing research stuff. I just feel so lazy but I kinda really love it.

    • When I was about ten my dad’s place of work had a summer picnic. I got a red Solo cup of Coke with lots of ice. I drank about half then set it down and ran off to play. When I came back, there was a red Solo cup exactly where I’d left mine. I did notice that the liquid in it was much lighter brown, and there wasn’t ice in it, but ice melts and dilutes, yeah? Especially in southern Arizona in July. So I took a big ol’ swig.

      That was my introduction to beer. I still dislike it. :)

      • Oh no! hahah yeah! I mean I’ve chosen to never drink for a large variety of reasons. But tbh the memory of the surprise disgusting taste of whiskey is a very present visceral memory, which helps me on the harder days when I wonder what drinking might be like despite knowing it would be bad for me.
        I always felt betrayed but then I was the one trying to steal a sip of soda so it wasn’t like I could say anything and blow my own cover.

        • Those visceral sensory reactions can be pretty helpful sometimes. I am not an alcoholic and have no concern that I ever will be, but it’s not because I am some paragon of morality and virtue. It’s because every one of the (very very few) beers I have ever tried has given me this godawful nasty disgusting bitter aftertaste, so that’s not even tempting; and I like wine and the few mixed drinks I’ve tried, but I don’t like being buzzed. So yay, lucky me.

          Other times (she said, finishing a mint chocolate chip frozen custard thing), visceral sensory reactions lead one down an entirely different path. One leading to more ice cream, and much more difficult to get off of. I like this path.

          • YES! Oh I’m very much on that ice cream path with you friend!!! That path I got on at a young age and refuse to leave! Its sooo yummy

  20. I tried to cheat on math tests when I was in high school. I had a fancy TI-84 calculator and it was easy to create cheat sheets with formulas on them.

    But because my compulsion to be bad was never as strong as my compulsion to be nerdy, I’d turn simple cheat sheet into a full-blown program that’d tap into a full database of every calculus formula you’d ever need. Occasionally, I’d even create a program where all I’d need to do is input the numbers and it’d spit out the answers. I was ridiculously proud of my programming skills.

    Of course, by the time the test rolled around, I knew the formulas by heart from doing all that programming and ended up not using them at all.

    I suck at being bad.

    • In fourth grade we had a multiplication test. I was particularly afraid of forgetting what 7 x 9 was. So I wrote “7 x 9 = 63” very small on a piece of paper hidden in my desk that I could pull out just enough to peek at the bottom of it if I needed to. Then I felt really awful (sorry, Mrs. Bergkessel!) and I did not use my cheat sheet at all. On the bright side, I couldn’t get “7 x 9 = 63” out of my head that whole day and I have never forgotten it since.

    • That is a fairly smart idea. I did something kind of similar in HS with a Timex-Motorola pager watch. The watch came with software that you input contact info to share on to the watch. I put the whole periodic table of elements into multiple contacts. Sadly I didn’t learn it all like you did.

    • I love this. It reminds me of how all the cheating I did in school was…backwards. Like the time in high school my teacher left the room while this kid and I took a make-up test, and we discussed the answers, but then decided we politely disagreed with each other and put our own answers anyway. Or the time in college I TOOK A WHOLE MIDTERM for my friend. It was Psychology 101 and I had taken the class the semester before and I had been tutoring her all semester but then when it came time for the midterm she was like “I CAN’T DO IT” so she gave me her ID and I took the test for her. She promised she wouldn’t be bad no matter what I got as long as I didn’t fail because she would have (in retrospect it’s possible I had a little crush on her.) ((I got a B.))

    • I cut the multiplication table on my notebook’s back cover and the substitute teacher saw it so I failed the test anyway because I didn’t know how to solve them. XD

      • In first grade we sat on the floor and used our seats to write on for spelling tests. I remember thinking how easy it would be to put a paper with the spelling words inside my desk where the teacher couldn’t see. But I wanted to learn how to spellso I didn’t use said strategy. I figured it would just be cheating myself.

  21. I think I once got in trouble for riding my tiny bike to the library by myself/without permission when I was little? God, what a terror. We didn’t last long in that small town!

    I also felt a little dangerous in college for drinking a little bit (and I mean a little bit, for the most part!) here and there before I was twenty-one. I KNOW.

    I really had a lot of freedom when I was younger (primary barriers to going out and having a wild time: rural area–moved way way out of biking distance of anything, not good at having/being friends, great at enjoying video games, too short to reach the matches/liquor, not industrious enough to get something to stand on). I just never used it badly. Dang!

    I used to never ever swear, but over the course of many, many years have worked my way up to it. I usually stick to gentler things, and of course I won’t cuss in front of my mother or at work, but occasionally some rude words can be handy. However, I do try to be mindful of what I say and how and when. Being mean unnecessarily is a great way for me to put myself in an unnecessarily bad mood, so there are times when I prefer to stick to words that, to me, have more neutral/pleasant meanings.

    • THIS. ALMOST EXACTLY THIS. Living away from the rest of civilization is a fantastic way for people to preserve their zealous way of life and then ironically wonder why unlike other people, you don’t have any friends. How can I have friends when our neighbors are our relatives?! I have no social skills because I never really had to develop them since those are people I’ve known forever.

      Moving to a different country wasn’t so bad because videogames when I got them but unfortunately, I still had to go to school and since people were confused about my junk and I have resting bitch face (and again, no social skills) and prejudice, unless they were harassing me, everyone just avoided me. The avoidance still holds today though I haven’t lived there forever. I guess my indifference and general lack of interest means I’m one of those people people only talk to when they have to.

      • I’ve been very fortunate that I like living out in the middle of nowhere for the most part. I like being able to see the stars and not having to see people! Funny how a rural area can produce the kind of people who’ll be happy there, I guess? But also, the lack of decent Internet access sucks and is fixing to turn me into the absurdest kind of single-issue voter. I’m also fortunate to have a job in a (small) city where I interact with people, but it’s not exactly overflowing with bosom friendships or anything.

        Funny thing about the neighbors also being the relatives: one of my parents is not from the area, but the one who is from here never, like…introduced me and my siblings to anyone? So I KNOW that tons of these people are my distant cousins but I have no idea who they are (one of many reasons not to try and date in-county!). But weird family stuff is a topic for a different open thread.

        Anyway, hi, how are you doing this weekend?

        • Regarding relatives, due to three great grandparents, I am related to a lot of people I don’t know and probably never will from various countries. I am terrified of being attracted to people from certain countries because that might be a relative. It’s a problem especially because one of my jams is redheads and one of those countries has one of if not the highest number of those kinds of people. If I did one of those DNA tests, I’ll probably get a ton of emails from a bunch of randos.

          As for the weekend, weather permitting, throughout this long weekend (I don’t know what the day is on Monday. It’s A Day, but I don’t know for what) I am going to go help paint what is supposedly going to be the longest mural in the country I’m currently living in. How’s yours?

          • My traceable family fortunately doesn’t extend very far geographically, so when the day comes that I finally throw caution to the wind and go on a grand tour of Europe and meet my one true love, I’m sure that after our whirlwind romance causes several international incidents and gets us our own Wikipedia articles the genealogists who will do the research will find out that we are only related by way of Charlemagne or something. Thank goodness.

            My weekend has been relaxed and rainy. We’ve had some rain for a while, so I’m probably just going to stay in, since now would be a bad time to drive into a flooded river/pond/ditch/low area with poor drainage. I hope the weather doesn’t interfere with your mural-painting. That sounds like fun!

  22. this thread is a blessing, i’ve been reading the articles and comments for this issue and feeling like such a Boring Good Child and also getting some lesbian imposter syndrome bc i didn’t break enough rules!

    i installed AIM without my parents’ blessing when i was 12 and used it to talk to some internet friends (from a forum based around a science magazine for kids)? i set up an old desktop computer as a torrent box? i would occasionally drink in college before i was 21, but never the cheap shit at parties, only when i could get my hands on good and tasty stuff? idk, y’all, i didn’t realize that i could be a bad kid until i realized i could be a girl, take from that what you will. now i’m craving breaking every rule i can ?

    the story that’s really standing out to me is that when i was growing up i lived across the railroad tracks from my best friend, and we weren’t supposed to cross the tracks but, come on, it was like 4 minutes faster than going all the way up to the bridge and back! so sometimes we would leave the house we were at and cross the tracks, and then run around a little bit to take up some time and make it more convincing that, no, we didn’t cross the tracks, we just ran

    • Oh man, this reminds me, another rule I broke was talking to people online. I would go on pokemon web sites and chat with people about pokemon. To be fair, the world of pokemon is pretty lawless?

      That not-crossing-the-railroad-tracks rule is wild to me. I’ve straight-up just sat down railroad tracks to eat lunch before. With family.

      It’s a wonder we’re all still alive.

  23. In my last year of high school my school decided it was no longer reasonable that we were the only school in the city with no student ID cards. Normally graduating students got their photos taken on a different day than the regular school photo day, so the photo session was basically only for the student IDs. We got these paper slips with our names to give to the photographers and my best friend and I were joking in line about switching our paper slips and then pretended we’d switched back the correct ones when we handed them to the photographer – BUT ACTUALLY WE DIDN’T.

    When the student IDs arrived a few weeks later my homeroom teacher was mystified why my name was on the card with my friend’s photo and vice versa, sent them right back to the photographer, and neither of us ever got a student ID. SO BAD.

  24. My bff was the biggest klepto in high school, but I could just not bring myself to do it! I was too freaked out and even though I was rebellious in a billion other ways, stealing just didn’t mesh with my girl scout ethics.

    I remember my friend getting kicked out of CVS for shoplifting and I was so mad on her behalf because I thought she’d been wrongly accused! I was shocked when she told me she did it.

    That said I was more than happy to take some of the stuff she shoplifted if she gave it to me as a gift. Like we definitely gave ourselves matching 90s bleached skunk streaks with pilfered Frost n Glow.

    It always frustrated me because I had a reputation as the rebellious kid and she came off as a goody two shoes, but I KNEW THE SCORE! She was/is a total rapscallion and I love her for it.

    We also used to sneak into NYC to hang out with other baby queers on St. Marks, but I couldn’t bring myself to actually cut class to do it, I just waited for the weekend and we did the ole sleepover switcheroo.

  25. I am and have always been a big fan of rules! However, in fifth grade we were supposed to do a science project with balloons which our teacher ended up cancelling, and I saw the bag of uninflated balloons and took one. Then I cried about it all night and attempted to untie and uninflate the stolen balloon to return it, to no avail. That is probably the most rebellious thing I’ve ever done tbh

  26. I was punished with an indoor silent recess (you sit in the library with your head down on the table) in elementary school because I talked in the hallway on the way to gym class… aaaaaand I never received another punishment/detention again. One was enough for this rule follower hahaha

    • I think the only time I got detention in high school was when I forgot to bring gym clothes to change into

  27. When I was 15 I decided to try marijuana of my own free will, just because. I asked one of the girls in one of my classes and she agreed as long as I had $20.

    Being paranoid about recreational drugs I even Googled what it would do to me emotionally and physically.

    I told my mom when I got home I needed some money to buy my lunch even though I always brought from home. The next day (after school) I met up with the girl and her friend, and tried it. It burned my throat immediately but I kept going until my heart exploded with calmness and I was laughing like a hyena.

    Before my mom picked me up I bought a huge bag of chips to munch on. I told my mom I had met a boy who shared the bag with me.

    Two days later I tried it again but felt really guilty so I broke down crying and confessed to her. She was actually fine with it (except the lying part).

  28. I saw a woman singing “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus, I just realized that that would be the perfect song for “Everything Sucks”.

  29. For two months, at age 17, I snuck out every night…to go to the nearby convenience store for slurpees and candy. And would then just go right back home.

    I had discovered that I could sneak out of the basement door of my house without the alarm beeping (as long as I didn’t open the door more than a foot).

    There wasn’t anything to do in my area, buses didn’t run that late, and none of my friends snuck out.

    So, the act of sneaking out was both exhilarating AND boring (and bad for my teeth).

  30. I was actually kind of a problem child;
    I had no ability to emotionally self-regulate and idolized tough-girl fictional characters, which meant I got in fights a lot. Suspensions, talkings-to, even unwillingly sent to a therapist, the whole deal.

    Then I moved to Miami and on my first day of school, a girl called me a “good-good” because I didn’t know anything about drugs or sex or all of that Risky Teenager Stuff. I was like um, excuse me, I’m totally a bad kid! I kick people! In the shins!

    But this was one of those middle schools that had all its lockers barricaded because too many kids used them to deal drugs. So yeah… it was quite a transition.

    In the end, I became one of those sanctimonious types who never cheated on tests, always read the whole assignment, and tsked at the kids who drank in high school. So long story short, I was probably insufferable during every stage of this evolution. Whoops…. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  31. 1. My Mom is trying to understand my queerness, but her questions are annoying. And it is hard doing my writing thing and having to pretend that I am straight. I don’t want her clients finding my stuff and harrassing her. Once she gets a new job I wont have to worrying about her losing clients. Not that it is that bad, but you never know and I am just tired. I don’t want to post PRIDE flags everywhere, but I do want to describe myself as a gay mer girl on occasion and post pictures of queer coven time (a thing that IS coming to life !!!)

    2. also, also, also, my website is being put together. I have to fix the blog part BUT if you click on the blog button in the menu you will see my first post.
    I keep on hearing all of these negative thoughts in my head and second guessing myself. Critiquing my every move, but I decided just to do it. So please check it out and if you have any suggestions please suggest.
    shetalkstoplants.space

    3. That’s it. yup. yup.

  32. Now is the time to tell you my deepest shame. In sixth grade, when the teacher left the room for a long time and everyone else was cheating off their homework for the quiz, I too, looked down at my homework and got a 9/10 (I couldn’t afford to have a full score from cheating) and consequently spent the rest of the evening praying ferociously for forgiveness in my grandma’s bathroom with my Teen Study Bible.

    But like also, I wanted to do bad things but overall I’m just not real great with it? I cut AP Physics for………Honors Chemistry and that is literally because a cute girl was in my lap and I was not going to move any sooner than I had to. Like, this is so ridiculous my family still brings up this story every time they talk about bad behavior. I’m not kidding, they just told this story last week. So, that’s the one I got caught on. I skipped class since freshmen year and it was because I had a crush on someone (this is where my bad behavior round table answer comes in) and she would pop up outside my class and I would just….leave to go talk with her. And then, like undiagnosed shit, I just kept doing it? But I never went to fun places! I always went to class! I went to Math classes, English classes, Religion classes, just not my class! Because I wanted to hang out with my friends and I was super gay and it just made me feel better!

    I left a school dance once and was gonna walk ???? because feeling really terrible about the gay thing I suppose but then a van came up to me and asked me like where the dance was or something and so I like went back to the school cause I definitely didn’t think that through. I don’t know, I made a lot of plans to run away and would like do it for a minute but always would turn around.

    Anyways! all my bad behavior happened at school because I could still kind of control it? I had bad behavior senior year at home cause I had like lost my mind and thought I could escape to college but that didn’t happen, so after coming back and having to deal with the actual consequences of those actions, I’m nowhere near as exciting as I used to be.

    Oh! Definitely used to drink and other stuff in high school too like, in class, but it really wasn’t that exciting honestly being a closeted lesbian in an all girls’ school felt like bad behavior enough I LOVE THIS

  33. I couldn’t even focus on this post after you mentioned Brigham’s.

    I’m pretty sure I am also from the city you are from and I loved Brigham’s very much.

    We would go for raspberry lime rickeys in high school on the afternoons we didn’t have drama rehearsal.

    I was sad when they closed but hey at least I can still live dangerously and risk death on the parkway carrying slushes for my entire family back to my car from Richie’s when I go home to visit my mom :)

    Happy Weekend!

  34. Hmm like all my siblings I was never one of those people pleasing good kids who followed rules without question even if the faith a child is supposed to have wasn’t broken by an abusively neglectful kindergarten teacher I never would have been one for blindly following rules, too much natural curiosity.

    So the goofiest attempt at being bad instead of just curiosity/boundary pushing/loophole tomfoolery has to be when my 14 months younger sibling and I would steal free samples and clothes hanger parts from department stores, or my baby goth phase where I wore spider fishnet gloves FROM THE HALLOWEEN STORE trying to look BAD.

    My brother and I thought we did pretty good at stealing no adult caught or stopped us but we were somewhere around 3-5 years old and adults probably didn’t care about what we took except for maybe parentals who like to make sure anything that could stain clothes or walls be kept under observation.

    Looking back having a sibling close in age is like have a disaster duo, we’d help each other climb things or hide stuff and we’d do experiments(the fire one is infamous) that were almost science except for we didn’t write our results down. We totally formed hypotheses tho and estimated on how something would react based on results of previous experiments of similar materials.

      • It’s not that exciting and a bit of a downer but I’ll try.

        How we (my sibling and I) came to the thought of “let’s set stuff on fire to see how it burns” I don’t know but it was probably something like “I bet [item] will burn real fast but [item2] will burn slow like a candle” what I do remember clearly is how methodically we picked a lab space and gathered our supplies

        One side of the house outside was like a cement wasteland, not a weed in sight, complete with a cinderblock and brick stair case to an outdoor closet and an aged but still functioning spigot tap covered in peeling tape and packing foam, plus an old cup our mother kept outside for gardening purposes.

        Nothing burnable in the area, raised slabs to choose from, not viewable from the kitchen window, and a water source in case something got out of hand. Perfect choice and pretty well thought out for two kids under 10.

        Regular matches are harder to light stuff with precision, fireplace matches were too visible not to miss. The grill lighter came in packs of two, were kept in a garage drawer and our dad lost/misplaced stuff on his own a lot so we snatched the black one(more hideable than fire engine red) and waited to see if it would be missed.
        It wasn’t.

        We started in I guess September, settled enough into school to be bored, and no way I can recall everything we “tested” but some were quite notable.
        -empty balloon (it stank really bad, was the hands down stinkiest item we burned)
        -mouth blown balloon (it withered and made a slow farting pop as it burned)
        -some of those green plastic soldiers ya get from the dollar store(they stank and burned/melted faster than a candle but still slower than other stuff)
        -a row of match book candles burned prettiest
        -cotton balls burned slower than we expected
        – Q-tips, the middle of them were too dense and the fire would burn it self out

        Now I can’t be sure but I think we picked specific day of the week and time to do our experiment based around what we knew our parents would be occupied with, but I know for sure it was a thing we look forward to and craved because we’d discuss how we thought something would or wouldn’t burn, the merits of trying this or that item and wanted know if our guesses would be correct or not.
        This craving to know mixed with that confidence people get when they’ve been breaking rules without being caught would of course be our downfall.

        It was now December of this I am 100% certain because firstly mom had set out her Christmas towels in the bathroom. Bright white, as they were only used for about 32 days of the year, with a holly garlanded Precious Moments-esque kitten patch sewn on the end of each towel.
        Secondly the weather was bad and we were not allowed outside, it made us twitchy. I think we wanted know if kleenex would burn super fast.

        So like the impatient, too confident children we were took to the bathroom with the spare lighter, locked the door and lit a single sheet of kleenex. It did not burn fast, left a mess and our mom smelled something burning. At first she thought something in the kitchen was burning(the bathroom was right next to the kitchen) was checking oven,stove, and micro-wave while yelling at my dad for burning something and yelling, “Can’t you smell that!?” with comments about if we had to depend on his sense of smell we’d all die.

        In a panic one of us kids grabbed one of the pristine white holiday towels off the rack and began to wipe the floor of the burn kleenex remains with water and that bright white towel then shoved it into the bathroom cabinet with the pilfered red lighter. The thought was clean up the evidence and get out the bathroom in an orderly fashion before she noticed we had locked it and it was the source of the burning smell then return for the now stained towel with wet bits of burned kleenex stuck to it like papier mache.

        We failed completely not only did she notice the locked door she was 100% sure that is where the burning came from. At first she was that sort of angry frightened parent get when their kids do something stupid and was maybe a bit relieved we were okay but still mad as she searched the bathroom and demanded answers
        THEN she discovered the towel in the cabinet.

        My mother has a temper, when she gets mad it’s like “move bitch, get out da way, get out da way” you cannot argue with her, and GOD FUCKING HELP YOU if you INTERRUPT her fury roll. She’s also prone to verbally ripping people to shreds with anything and everything they’ve ever sinned against her with before but that is another story.

        “You BURNED my good CHRISTMAS TOWEL!?” she shrieked in a nearly disbelieving fury tinged with what adult me can admit was sadness(her holiday decor is her special pride and joy) and you know our dumbasses tried to interrupt her to explain we did not set the towel on fire, that it just had wet bits of burned kleenex stuck to it and we’d clean it but she was not having it.
        Inconsolable in her fury she didn’t let us get a word in as she screamed and screamed at us for I don’t know how long and sent us to our rooms till dinner and threw away half her prized towel set believing her children set it on fire and it was not salvageable when all it need was good washing and some bleach.

        As a teenager it was a funny story but as an adult it’s not as funny and I feel bad for my mom

        1) We scared her that day and her feelings got hurt
        2) Her temper overrode everything else and she lost something precious to her because she was too angry to see it wasn’t ruined

  35. Okay, so, like, no one’s mentioned porn yet? For reals? I felt really guilty when I discovered that on the Internet humans like to take pictures of and write about other humans being naked and having sex, and that I couldn’t look away. Eventually I realized that “no porn” is a canonical example of a rule that’s arbitrary. I regret the porn that gave me a lot of mixed feelings but not the porn I liked, particularly since it helped clue me into the whole girl-who-likes-girls thing.

    • Well, kids don’t normally know what that is and as females, we’re not expected to be interested in that sort of thing so we were not told to NOT look at it. Not knowing that it exists means there was no temptation.

      Funnily, I kind of knew what sex was but I had no idea about porn until in the sixth grade, someone at school typed something I won’t type here for fear of the URL appearing. I don’t think NetNanny existed at that time or any of those things that are supposed to prevent us from being naughty so we got to see a blonde with her hair in a ponytail that isn’t really a ponytail and big boobs in the upper left corner.

    • Likely no one’s mentioned porn because it’s too heavy and complicated a thing to be that goofy bad at being bad of childhood even if some of us as minors did get our sticky lil hands on porn.

      Porn=Bad is stupid arbitrary concept of course just I estimate the road to that realisation had some hurdles for people because likely their first exposure to porn was straight porn somewhere on a scale of terrible to traumatic straight porn.

  36. As a black girl in the South, I was always accused of having an attitude problem when I wasn’t closely adhering to the rules. In 10th grade, I found myself in detention or written up for, among other things: blowing bubbles in English, creative writing in Math, walking out of a math class, and refusing to attend some after school care program they offered at my HIGHSCHOOL, and reading Autostraddle articles when I did show up.

  37. When I was 15 I went to this summer program where a bunch of high school kids went and lived on a college campus for 5 weeks and took college classes. As you can imagine, we were all a bunch of nerds (to varying degrees). But anyway, I was kinda mad that I had to spend my summer at what I thought was “nerd camp” while all my friends back home were probably going to ~cool parties~ or whatever (they probably weren’t), so I tried to be as rebellious as I could. My friends and I came up with the idea of sneaking out of the dorm in the middle of the night, mostly just as a joke, because what would we even do once we had snuck out? It’s not like we had cars or anything. One night, I was like, let me just TRY climbing out of the window just to see if I can. So I made it all the way out and was standing on the grass outside the dorm. Obviously there was nothing else interesting to do out there so I tried to climb back in the window…and I couldn’t get back in. The way the window opened, if you were hanging halfway out of it, it would want to shut on you. I couldn’t figure out how to get back in without suffocating. Meanwhile, my roommate couldn’t stop laughing (I couldn’t either, which may have been my problem with getting back in0. There was nothing else I could do besides walk around to the front of the dorm and turn myself in to the RAs who were on nighttime guard duty. They all wanted to be mad at me for sneaking out of my window, but I could tell they thought it was hilarious at the same time. I was known as “Window Girl” for the entire rest of the program.

  38. For the most part I’ve never done anything really bad. I grew up with parents always telling me if I did something bad there would be consquences. So my fear and guilt made me a mostly careful child and teen. However, I hated school so much, I wasn’t bullied but I was teased and a lot of my classmates and a few teachers did not like me, so I’d fake being sick- the classic stomachache was a sure way for me to stay home. Sometimes my mom would pick me up for lunch and I’d say I wasn’t feeling good or find some other way to stay at home so I wouldn’t have to go back after lunch. Looking back being teased makes so much sense as a kid I didn’t get it and I just wanted to be liked.

  39. My mom raised me with the help of her parents, which included having me go to Methodist church every single week, plus Bible camps, for the majority of my childhood. When Mom finished school and we moved out together to live in our own place, Mom no longer enforced the church rule and I slowly realized I could believe WHATEVER I WANTED! I have breathless memories of reading Wiccan and Asatru stuff on the Internet when I thought my mom wasn’t home, and wore a pin that said SATAN on it when I was feeling particularly rebellious. Recently I rediscovered the pin and realized it was a lot smaller than I remembered–about the size of a nickel! Now I wonder if anyone ever realized I was wearing it! :P

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