Five ways to recognise a Bishops girl
No, seriously. You may think that I’m exaggerating, but as a graduate of Bishop Anstey High School (BAHS, Class of 2002!) it certainly seems like I bounce up ‘Bishops girls’ everywhere I go.
Interview successful females for a newspaper? Perfectionist, over-achieving Bishops girls. Head to UWI Jamaica to study? Meet three Bishops girls right on hall, two in my degree programme and one chick from Bishops Tobago. Join Facebook? A truckload of old Hilarians* in all shapes, sizes, classes and ages friend me. Meet random, cool women in wine bar? Discover that they went to Bishops too, and bond over pinot noir and a discussion on how great or awful the school experience was.
I’ve heard people call us a cult, a mafia and a bunch of b*tches. But no matter how you feel about us, most people in T&T can spot a Bishops girl from a mile away. And if you can’t, you need to learn… for your own safety and protection.
1. The ponytail
I got this one from my dad, who worked with many Bishops women for many years at a local bank. He maintains to this day that BAHS students and alumni always pull our hair back in one, come rain, shine, sleet or occasion. I didn’t see it then, but wooo boy do I get it now. Nearly all my school photos feature others and me wearing our hair in a ponytail.
Now, I’m almost ten years outta school, and it’s still hard for me to do anything with my hair besides scrape it back. I have to make a conscious effort to style and pretty it up. And if Facebook profile pics are accurate, my fellow BAHS peeps have the same problem. Don’t hide now, we done see you.
2. The ‘attitude’
I prefer to think of it as assertive. But it has also been called the aggressive/domineering/bitchy attitude by some unkind people (read weak men and Convent girls. Yes I went there). We not shy. At all. Some of us may be quiet, but when we have something to say, you will hear our mouths. Loud, too. And even when we not being loud, there is something in the straightforward, logical way that we approach life that makes us stand out from the crowd. It’s kinda like we give out a vibe that says, “I’m here and I ready to conquer”. Tends to put men off, but who cares? Those who are intimidated are probably spineless anyway. Which leads me to #3…
3. Alleged man-haters
I say alleged because although Bishop Anstey is an all-girls school, we are not all lesbians. Many of us really, really like men. Really. However, those well-known concepts of ‘submission’, ‘the weaker sex’ and ‘waiting’? Yeah, we don’t do those well. And we really have no patience with men who cannot match us strength for strength. You had better be running at the same speed, or you become a problem, and, trust me, you don’t want to see one of us frustrated.
I not saying that if I have a master’s degree, you MUST have a doctorate. But come now; I can’t be discussing where I want to be in the next five years with my girls and all your five-years-doing-a-first-degree self have to chime in with is, “Scene. Allyuh see the new Transformers movie?” No, eh!
So if you tracking one of us, and you want to impress her (whatever your education level), make sure you have the following:
4. The go-getter mindset
I have yet to meet one old Hilarian who is not ambitious. She may be tryna get a CEO position, working a normal 9 to 5 or be a pastor’s wife. But you better move, and get out the way, when she decides on a course of action. We’re all about improving ourselves and the people around us. Our school motto is “Non sine pulvere palman” or “Not without dust the palm”. Loosely translated, it means no pain, no gain. So we’re trained to work hard and do it right the first time.
You’ll find Bishops women behind corporations, small businesses, well-run homes and schools, churches, mosques, and mandirs. When we put our hands on something, it is usually done to the best of our ability. For example, the Bishops Alumni all-inclusive fete is ALWAYS a success every year at Carnival time. We just have a gift for getting things done. Don’t hate; appreciate.
5. The network
One great thing about being a Bishops girl out in the world is that I am never alone. If we could help another sister, it’s done. You don’t even need to ask. So if you see one woman randomly helping out another one, even though they don’t even know each other’s last names, the helpful one is a saint or they’re both Hilarians.
The assistance, encouragement and ‘blighs’ I have gotten from my Hilarian sisters are endless. This is not to say that I never get help from anybody else (the Convent girls not so bad once we leave school, eh). But the Bishops mafia is strong and moving on, yo.
Young padawans, learn to use the BAHS force and watch the blessings roll in. But never forget to give back to others who need your support. That’s actually the best way to recognise us; no matter what anyone else says, being a Bishops girl is about hard work and sisterhood. And perpetual ponytails.
* BAHS students, past and present, are also called Hilarians because St. Hilary is the school’s patron saint.
Image credit: guardian.co.tt