9:35 AM Monday, April 03, 2006

That's the usual battlecry of mothers in my neighborhood when they refer to me when we were young.

In fact, some mothers or feeling concerned citizens would even advice other girls from hanging out with me. They'd often say that my 'kalandian' might rub off on their child.

And no, they didn't call me MAARTE. After all, I wasn't the type of girl who's always dressed up nice. In fact, I didn't have a problem with getting dirty (but no, I wouldn't go so far as stink like a boy naman). MALANDI is what I was called...

Even prissy Catholic classmates would warn some of my friends against me. And again, that word would always surface in their careful conversations and concerned letters to my friends.

What made me malandi?

Basically, in the late 80s and early 90s, I loved hanging out with boys. And I had no problem wearing shorts. Short shorts (but not what you'd call p3kp3k shorts naman, ahehe).

The thing was, I didn't even have a bf in school or in the neighborhood. I just loved hanging out with boys (who are free of the pretentious air of the usual adolescent girl) and err... making them realize how most of them are idiots and how women/girls aren't the inferior lot they consider us to be.

Sure, I may have flirted with some or most of them. But like what a childhood boy friend would often say... I seem to have this wall that discourages boys from the neighborhood to really go after me.

Which is a contradiction of some sort from the fact that I grew up attracting both healthy and unhealthy male attention... from boys to teeners to old men. And I always got love letters (however idiotic the grammar used was to write them) and I always had suitors and admirers.

And I'm talking about me at an age when I haven't even hit high school yet.

High school however found me ceasing to hang out in our street (by this time, my playmates are more bent on giggling and gossip anyway) because of romance novels and love songs. I did not exactly become a recluse because I had a social life in school, but my street life stopped then.

But my playmates who were warned against playing with me? Some of them started doing drugs... dropping out of school.... and then having babies.

In fact, the malandi girl was the last to get married... and was even outdone by really younger playmates (some of whom are my brother's and my sister's playmates).

And when I see some of those I used to play with before... I cannot help but feel a little sad, knowing how most of them still live off their parents, and how most didn't finish college... and how some married drunkards and good for nothing jerks... and how some didn't get married at all after getting knocked up... and how some keep getting knocked up by different men...

and if truth be told, i'd sometimes silently mock the mothers who used to attempt to bring me down before with their judgmental ways... because hello, who's living a good life now?

Then again, back in the days when kids were being kids... and the most the neighborhood kids can taunt me with was "MALANDI!", I used to retort back "DI BALE NANG MALANDI, WAG LANG BOBO!"

Because really... though i've had my share of bad judgment, i'd hate being born stupid.


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