Friday 28 October 2016

The 8 habits of extremely bitchy women

Katie Byrne
Katie Byrne

I met a barefaced bitch the other day. The pursed lips and incredulous gaze was the first clue. When she looked me up and down and swished her hair from side to side, I realised this chick was playing hardball.

I would like to tell you that I raised her hair flick with a stone-cold eye roll, but instead, I smiled even wider. Why do we try to ingratiate ourselves to people who clearly don't like us?

More to the point, how do women like her survive in this world?

I went to an all-girls school, where I was taught the entire curriculum of withering looks and passive-aggressive put-downs, but I thought Mean Girls didn't go on to become Mean Women. I thought the formative education at schools of this sort was learning that bitchiness retards one's evolution.

I thought these girls moved on with their lives, their spitfire side only rearing its ugly head when they meticulously planned their weddings, got a bad Shellac or engaged in drunken squabbles with the husbands they don't love. Apparently not.

It's been a long time since I've encountered a woman this mean-spirited, but I would like to thank her for inspiring me to write about the '8 Habits of Extremely Bitchy Women'.


A good bitch has many weapons in her arsenal, one of which is the 'nonpliment'. This is not to be confused with the backhanded compliment, eg "you look so much better when you're not caked in make-up". (The backhanded compliment is dated, which is why it's a favourite of mothers-in-law and women of a certain vintage).

The nonpliment is a little more nuanced. It involves triangulating the target by zoning in on another woman in their mutual company and heaping praise and compliments on her. However, the compliments are invariably undeserved and are only doled out in an attempt to undermine and exclude the victim.


A bitch learns to express herself through many non-verbal forms of communication, which is just as well, given that her vocabulary tends to be limited. She has the facial range of a mime artist and can evince distaste with the raise of an eyebrow. Other expressions include the slack-jawed nostril-inflate and the dead-eyed grimace. No, she didn't train with Lecoq; she's just a straight-up bitch.


Sharing is required in order to move an exchange between two women beyond small talk and towards something deeper and more profound. Empathy-building, if you will.

The bitch doesn't have this capability or intellectual range. Hence, when her target shares something more penetrating than who does her highlights, the bitch will immediately exploit her vulnerability by saying: "TMI!" or "bit weird".

Mental health professionals call this manipulation technique "gaslighting" and it's the perpetrator rather than the victim that needs help.


Bitchy women are very talented at mock-concern. How can you tell the difference? A truly concerned person has mastered the art of discretion, while a bitch has all the tact of a bulldozer. They are concerned for concerned's sake and simper with statements like: "Are you sure you're okay, babes?" and "you don't look like you're okay".


One can immediately identify a bitch when they are introduced to new, predominately male, company. In this scenario, kind, open-hearted women acknowledge any social anxiety and go to the ends of the earth to include the newcomer. Bitches do their darnedest to exclude. They subtly ostracise the newcomer with elaborate bonding exercises.

I've been this newcomer and I've seen men baffled by the way in which their female friend has suddenly taken to fist-bumping, head-rubbing and any other gesture that indicates that these men are not just her friends but her possessions.


This is another old-school, and rather heavy-handed, tactic employed by older bitches. It involves asking the target's name before repeatedly referring to them with a name that sounds similar. "And who did your highlights, Kathy?" "It's Katie." Repeat ad nauseam.


I must admit that I find this particular tactic slightly impressive as it employs the aforementioned "gaslighting" but in a much more subliminal sense.

In this scenario, the bitch instinctively identifies the shortcomings or insecurities of the target and proceeds to casually mention them in an abstract sense.

Example: "I read somewhere that excessive highlighting really damages the hair." Is she talking about me? Am I being paranoid? The evil genius of this tactic is that there's no resolution. Maybe you're imagining it, maybe you're not. Bitch 1 - Victim 0.


My friend once wondered how it was that all the bitchy women we knew were married while we hadn't even had the sniff of a fella. We concluded that they shackle their romantic interests in emotional bondage in the early stages of a relationship.

One minute they're using the ickle wickle baby voice, the next they're storming out of the pub because their husband looked at the waitress for too long. Sherry Argov wrote a book called Why Men Love Bitches. She should have called it 'Why Some Men Have No Testicles'.

'No, she didn't train with Lecoq; she's just a straight-up bitch'

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