By Abbey Kelly
It’s taken my team weeks to locate the secret society of VSCO girls on Ryerson campus—but we’ve succeeded.
Our group is comprised of a sociology major desperately looking for a thesis project idea, a retired scientist trying to find his youth, and myself, an aspiring app creator. We became intrigued by VSCO girls once they gained clout in the online teen world. We decided to investigate because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be famous online?
Early in our explorations, we found a group of girls with t-shirts long enough to cover their shorts and their hair up in scrunchies, but they were just a group of friends out for a Pita Land run in their pajamas.
Another time, a group wearing Birkenstocks and friendship bracelets, all drinking out of Hydro Flasks, emerged from the darkness behind the rocks of Lake Devo. The team thought we’d struck gold. Upon getting a closer look, we found out they were just friends that met at camp.
Suddenly, using our keen hearing, we identified a sound that is well known in VSCO culture: sksksksksk. But alas, it was only a garden snake in the Pitman Hall quad.
We installed multiple cameras around campus. We would huddle around the screens, waiting to catch the sound of a puka shell necklace.
The first time we heard this sound, we only found a skater boy trying to rock a “surfer look” after spending a summer working as a lifeguard in British Columbia. But then, the camera located in the bridge between Kerr Hall and the Podium building was set off. We finally found them.
A group of four VSCO girls sat at one of the booths by the bridge. I ran through campus, clutching my notebook until my knuckles became white. As I slowed to approach their booth, the chatter subsided.
I held my breath as they stood up, the booth’s pleather seats squeaking through the silence. Soon, I was surrounded by VSCO girls. They circled me, unimpressed.
Their wrists had a wavy material on them, some were velvet, some were patterned. Upon closer inspection, it was just as our hypothesis suggested: they were scrunchies. I threw out a scrunchie of my own as a peace offering. “And I oop,” I said, spinning around to make eye contact with each girl.
The girl with the biggest bun atop her head slowly retrieved the hair tie, looked to the others, and nodded. I became a VSCO girl.
They talked for hours about absolutely nothing while the leader of the pack, Haleigh Claire, started applying Glossier makeup on me that she procured from her Fjällräven Kånken backpack.
As the girls sipped from their Hydro Flasks, their wrists gave a flash of matching friendship bracelets; a community seemed to have formed among them. It was peaceful.
My once tucked t-shirt sprang free and grew three sizes, covering my shorts. To my shock, they had become biker shorts without me even noticing. One VSCO girl even lent me her puka shell necklace.
It all happened so fast—all of us laughing and “sksksing” together. But then, when we all went to a nearby Starbucks, I made one fatal mistake. When the cashier put a straw into my drink, I didn’t produce my own metal straw.
The others looked on in anger and confusion. I tried to fix the situation by yeeting the straw and whispering “And I oop,” but the magic was gone. They walked out of the coffee shop taking back the gifts they had given me. My puka shell necklace was ripped off, along with my identity and my dignity. I was immediately shunned. I became an outcast.
So, while these fleeting, mythical creatures can be found on campus, they shall continue shying away from society. I have come to learn that all they want is to exist only on the internet. They don’t care about anybody, unless it’s people who know how to take golden hour photos.
To truly become a part of the inner circle of their social structure, total integration needs to be done or you will be cast out, much like I was.