Just how inept were my attempts at bad-girlness? Let’s start at the beginning…..
Four-Years Old, Upper Heyford AFB, UK: Fixate on saddle shoes, believing that they, along with a pink-and-white ski sweater seductively spotlighted in the Sears Catalog, and a candy cigarette will make me as alluring as the Sindy Doll endlessly advertised between episodes of Dr. Who and Danger Man. Finally receive the shoes for my birthday, but am disappointed with the fact that they have tan soles.
First Grade, Still at Upper Heyford AFB:: Make friends with the girl down the street (a tall and suggestible seven-year old) and convince her to play Barbies with me. She doesn’t realize I have an ulterior motive: not only does she have a Barbie, her parents also ponied up a Ken doll, thus enabling me to play the game of my post-toddler dreams: Barbie and The Other Woman. My Barbie is The Other Woman, snubbed by a Ken doll that suspiciously resembles Frankie Avalon. We like the game so much we play it at least three times a week.
1967 – 1994, Minot AFB to San Francisco: Read in Seventeen Magazine that black is slimming, ushering in almost thirty years of accidental Gothness, not an easy feat in mid-sixties North Dakota. The only black item of clothing my mother grudgingly gives me is a twenty-year old bathing suit with metal corset stays. The suit also accidentally ushers in a brief body-piercing period that ends with a trip to the emergency room.
Sixth Grade, Kadena AFB: My first tie-dyed shirt–a hideous tent in dreamsicle orange my mother grudgingly buys for me from an Okinawan woman sellilng clothes from the back of her Datsun station wagon. From afar I look like an abused pumpkin wearing military-issue glasses and a bad Toni perm.
Next Time: Tube tops and hot pants and halters, oh my!