I learned the truth from Seventeen, part 2

IMG_4197Clearly I didn’t listen to you last year, dear readers, when you voted for me to coldly send my collection of 80’s-era Seventeen magazines to the garbage dump, like so many vegetables after weeks in my crisper.  Well, I’m going to review an additional issue (December 1985) and give you another chance to do the right thing.  Follow your heart, wink wink.

We begin our journey with an ad for FDS: Feminine Deodorant Spray.


The FDS Woman.  Always nice to be near.  Because she doesn’t smell like ass.  And look at how unflattering the hot pink balloon pants are on that gal in the front — no wonder people think she might stink, she could fit a colostomy bag in there!

Perhaps most offensive to me about this picture is that some rando in the crowd is holding pom poms.  Um, I don’t think so Biff: only the cheerleaders on the field would have them, because, hello, pom poms were officially issued to us.  Maintained by us, fluffed painstakingly by us.  They weren’t just handed out willy-nilly to any el stinko in the bleachers.


Whoa whoa whoa… this spray is made specifically for odor of the vag variety you say?  So… um… are we supposed to spray these deodorant chemicals directly on it?  That doesn’t make sense because stinging.


I’m sorry… which look is supposed to be sexy?


Here’s one of the things I love about the 80’s looking back — we wanted to be women. Sophisitcated women who may or may not be wearing wigs and who have confidence enough to cover every inch of skin with fabric.


Ah, yes, finally, the reason why we all read Seventeen: for it’s scientific factoids and info about international customs.


DIY baby bob bangs, okay Seventeen, there you are.


Okay, firstly, I’m sorry, but this isn’t real estate agent Bea Montague — it’s totally Kim Dickens. And secondly — again with the clean thing!  “I feel like I’ve just showered every time I tape in a Lightdays.  It’s a good thing, too, because for people to love us, we teenage girls need to maintain a near antiseptic-level of cleanliness, like we’re in a hospital prepping for surgery.”


Just, yes.




It’s okay that this is basically the haircut I have now, right?


I got my flats, I got my sparkly purse, I got my old lady comb… GLITZ, a-you been a-PUT ON!


This is a New Year’s Eve dry dip of parsley, egg whites, red peppers, egg yolks and olives.  I’m guessing you’re supposed to make this if you hate all of your friends.


“Soft” tampons?  Was that a thing?  I only use ones made out of steel wool.  And just look at that girl’s smug face, like she thinks she’s THE BEST at wearing soft tampons and only pretends to be humble when asked about it.

Ack!!!  But look at this in the fine print:


“I felt cleaner, cleaner than with a pad.”  Not just “cleaner,” no, “cleaner, cleaner” as if she’s pausing, really giving it some thought as to the level of clean she feels wearing these tampons.  Like, okay, there exists a passable level of clean, which is disgusting, but then there’s this level of clean above that, which is extreme and acceptable.

Is it me, or were advertisers trying to scare us into thinking we were filthy?  It so worked, I pretty much thought I was gross most of the time.  But I can laugh about it now ha ha?

Well, what do y’all think?  Have I made my argument for keeping these, or should I coldly throw these in recycling, like so many empty cartons of milk I barely rinse out beforehand?

Sk8er gir11

Hey y’all look!  I gave away that one pair of roller skates that doesn’t fit!  I’m… amazing.  (Special thank you to Rachel Hastings, skater/hoard lightener.)photo

Cup side down, boy you turn me

photo-9This is an authentic Late Night with David Letterman collapsible drinking cup, just like it says on the thing.  It was given to me in college in the early 90’s by a guy named Charles “Chuck” Connors.  He had come to own it because he had done an internship there.  Which was pretty amazing for a guy from the University of Florida.

Chuck (who was much more handsome than the name might suggest, hubba hubba this guy was a cutie by all standards: black hair, baseball cap, white Izod polo, talked out of the side of his mouth) was introduced to me by a sorority sister of mine who knew he and I would hit it off because he was funny and she knew I was a fan of those types.  The funny guys I knew up to that point would exercise their comedy chops by drawing Florida to look like a penis or by being their fraternity’s mean Santa.  This guy was a cut above all that; he was clever enough to finagle an internship with the funniest man in America.  And he did it adorably in that hat and that shirt probably.

Charles Chuck was a doll and all, but what I really wanted to score was that internship.  I thought, if I could somehow manage to get it, it would launch me in a direction that I had only dreamed about. Some of my sorority sisters were getting married right out of college (in the 90’s!), and although I dreamed about that as well, I really wanted to work in comedy, which seemed more likely than getting someone to date me for a while.  I had co-written my sorority’s round 3 rush skit, a send-up of “Into The Woods” where each of the characters was considering pledging Chi O, because a dream is a wish your heart makes, and that dream is Chi O, ladies.  I also performed in the round 2 “Chi Omega Choo Choo” sketch as half of the conductor duo, the straight man, the heavier one with the short perm and the ungroomed eyebrows.

I then created a plan: I would finish all my credits but three, then do an internship in the summer and graduate right after.  Then a showbiz job would just come because that’s for sure how things worked.

I headed to the resource room in the Journalism & Communications building and quickly descovered the only “resource” available was a binder full of outdated internship applications.  There was one for Late Night, but since it was from the 80’s I picked up the phone and called the show and requested a new one, like I was the Queen of England.  They said they would send it and that I needed to send it back in January.

I created a pie chart of reasons why I should be chosen (Letterman not only had top ten lists at the time, but he also did pie charts; I thought ha, all those idiots would all do top ten lists, so I’d do a version of the other thing he did, because no one else would ever think of that).  Oh, and also, I put my resume* on dayglo pink paper.  That’s right; the kind you can’t even really read off of and was also obnoxious.  But I wanted to make a statement, and that statement was, Pick me, the one in the pink!

* my resume was basically a list of super-impressive collegiate accomplishments; you know: Order of Omega, Florida Ciccerones, Chi Omega Pledge Trainer, WRUF-AM’s “Most Improved” on-air talent, etc. etc.

So I put it all in the mail and waited for the phone to ring.  It did not.  Perhaps because I mailed the thing February 2nd, and I was supposed to send it back in January?

I called and asked if my application was received.  They told me they had already filled the slots.  I was crushed.  But I really had no one to blame but myself!  Although I really wanted that gig, I put it off until the last minute.  Not even — it was a few hours after!  Charles Chuck even called Barbara Gaines on my behalf to no avail.  Where was my life going to start then, in Orlando?

Yes, was the answer to that, I moved to Orlando and interned for Universal Studios, where I schlepped sandbags and ran errands in a golf cart.  Also, I got to have lunch with Jason Hervey and show Cathy Moriarty to the bathroom.  And I got to ride “Back to the Future” whenever I wanted, and I learned how to man a cherry picker.  So yeah, it actually it turned out to be pretty cool.

There will be no voting for this item, as I am absolutely keeping it.

Bonus: a picture of me from around that time with Billy Squier.  Because, Billy.  Because, eyebrows.


On the cover was the Rolling Stones


What you are looking at is the cover of a paper I wrote in middle school.  I can’t imagine how I accessed a copy machine to provide the photo — did I get my mom to do it at work, or did I trouble the office staff to let me impose upon them to make a copy?  Whatever, I knew even then that everyone judged a book by its cover and I wanted mine to mentally prepare the reader for the kick-assedness within.

And, not to brag, but lookee:


That’s right, y’all.  Grade A.  Whoever this teacher was, she put a lot of emphasis on form and neatness — it add up to 2/3 of this grade!  I could just have written blah blah blah a million times! With my gorgeous penmanship and peerless spacing, that is.  But I had been given an opportunity to tell the story of Mick, Keith and the boys to Mrs. Whoever, and I would never have squandered that.

Now, no paper on the Rolling Stones would be complete without this:


A pretentious poem.  It was written by Andrew Oldham, as a brief internet search helped me to discover.  Not sure why I didn’t credit him?  Was I attempting to pass his work off as my own?  It makes one wonder.  I mean, how was a girl so confident in her abilities that she put a photocopy of a photo on her front cover be so insecure as to think crediting a poet would somehow detract from her work?

Okay, so let’s get to the meat of the thing:


I think by far the best passage is one where I say “Myths naturally begin at the very beginning and the history of the Rolling Stones is no exception.”  The implication, I suppose, being that myths are the only things that begin at the very beginning.  Regular old stories start at the mid-beginning.

Now, that sentence definitely sounds like a young me.  But this one sounded a little too sophisticated: “Their presence has so dominated rock and roll that they virtually determined what a rock band should look like and sound like.”  And in a couple of sentences before, I use the word ‘catalyst.’  I’m not saying any of that is genius, but it sounds a little beyond my level of articulation at the time.  Good thing I have hoarded my primary source material to do some investigating:


Wait… that’s my title!  I plagiarized the title?  Good grief.

I opened the book, hoping upon hope to find out that I wasn’t a little cheat.  Let me tell you, even though this book has a fun, colorful cover, inside it is very dense and dry.  I couldn’t find any of the hokiest of my lines within.  Whew!

Then I flipped it over:


The blurb reads “… they created the blueprint of the rock band; they are the constant against which all others are measured.”  I have to admit that pretty much sounds like the same thing I wrote, and therefore proves that I am a fraud.

Near the end, on page five, is a passage that I would describe as “a young girl’s explanation of Altamont”


“Many scenes occurred through the opening acts of violence and repulsiveness.”  See, the violence, I’d expect from the Hell’s Angels, but I didn’t know they’d also shit their pants and throw up all around.  I especially like the “After one death and many injuries, it was then, mercifully over.”  It’s like “After the man was nearly drowned and his limbs torn off one by one, he was happy the torture was through.”

Also in that sentence, as you can see, is perhaps the most embarrassing thing about this entire paper: that I liquid-papered a mistake and forgot to go back and fix it once it dried.

I finally got to see the Rolling Stones in concert in the 90’s.  But it was during that ridiculous “Love is strong and your so sweet” period.  We were in the back of the Rose Bowl and the screens were projecting cartoons or something, not the actual band playing, and when they did give us a flash of the band, the sound was moving too slow to sync up with the performance, which was distressing to say the least, a waste of money that I didn’t have to say the most.

You are voting on the paper only.

Headphones, Jack


Something was brought to my attention today.  I may have one too many sets of cheap/free headphones.  Sometimes, I can’t even open my headphone drawer — that’s how many heaphones I have.  I could say I used them for running, and needed extra, because after so much running they just fall apart, like tennis shoes do, now I forgot where I was going with that.

One of them is a child’s set (it belongs to my son) but I usually don’t bring them along to the restaurant to plug into the iPad lest people think I’m not just a bad parent, but a really bad one.

I can’t do the buds, so just forget the hell out of that, jerk who might have tried to help me out and suggest that space-saving option.  I need my entire ear canal enveloped in delicate, comforting foam.  And I need the security of a plastic thing resting across my hair, or, for a time in my twenties, across the bandanna covering my hair.

Actually, I long for a pair of those big, bulbous ones from the 70s and early 80s.  I can distinctly remember frequently plugging those into my stereo — I had finally gotten one (a stereo; the headphones were my father’s) in high school as a birthday gift from my mom and her boyfriend.  It wasn’t a particularly good or nice stereo, mainly because 3 of the main knobs belonged to a different unit altogether.  Mom said the store didn’t have the knobs in, that we would get them later, that these were temp knobs.  Picture a stereo from the 80’s, then picture that the 3 main knobs, not the fat ones but the smaller ones, stuck out about 3 inches and looked like someone forced them on with a tool.  Plus the knobs themselves looked like their original purpose was to wind something.

It’s because I was so excited to finally be able to listen to the radio and my records on the same console that I bought that cacamame story from my mom and that guy in the first place.  I was the music girl, the one who had the records that older people knew about, plus the obscure 80’s ones like Goanna and Let’s Active.  How was I to impress the teen set with this inelegantly refurbished model?  Well, the real knobs never came, so the answer is I didn’t.  I even offered to call the place periodically to check the status of the knobs, but mom said she’d do it, which I guess was code for she’s not going to do it.

So we’re voting for getting rid of all but the child’s headphones, although I need one for running and a spare for running.  So to get rid of one of them.

Pink and green and stained all over

In the mid-1980s, I carried the hell out of this purse — of course I did, it was pink and green and monogrammed and a clutch.  Its insanely high level of preppiness cannot be denied.

Preppy was the style du jour for us gals at Monnig Middle.  You know how today boys wear their pants around their thighs and girls wear skirts so short you can see their couscous?  Well, back then we wore cummerbunds and knickers to school, I guess like we were playing in a golf game and then going to a formal dance right after.

Thanks to The Official Preppy Handbook, edited and co-written by Lisa Birnbach, we knew all about the principles of prep.  As 13-year-olds, we had yet to grasp the concepts of irony or parody, so to us, this was a real guide to how to be preppy and we were deadly serious about following it to the damn letter.  To that end, we decided to give ourselves preppy nicknames like the ones described in the book.

As you can see from this photo, I was the self-appointed keeper of the log of who was who, nickname-wise.  I was Corkie.  Yes, as in the character from Life Goes On, which was, shut up, a terrific show.  (Then that doll Kellie Martin went on to play the main character in Christy, which is arguably the last great prairie show.)

I got the purse somehow I really don’t remember.  But I made the mistake of washing it and it bled all over itself.  I’ve hung onto it all these years in hopes that stain-removing technology would evolve. I, for no reason at all, have always been an optimist.

I recently took the purse to a specialty dry cleaner that was recommended to me, and they assured me that nothing at all could be done about the green-on-pink staining, now or probably ever.  To this I said “boo!” and marched out of there in a huff not really I was real nice.

Okay, so the voting here is on the purse, NOT the book.  Even with some pages missing and others defaced, I will keep the book forever.

Pretty papers

Behold!  A gift wrapped entirely with hoarded scraps of wrapping paper, ribbon, and packing materials!  Take that, husband who said I’d never use them!  Hey, I get it, it’s not the prettiest gift in the world, I may not be THE BEST at this.  Although, who am I to say, maybe I am the best at this? It’s settled, I am.

A young girl’s first angry letter

This is my college graduation program.  Why would I want to throw this away?  Read on, if you don’t mind being incensed on behalf of a 22-year-old me!

I’m taking you back to a much simpler time.  It’s the 90’s.  I am still loving Def Leppard and Patrick Swayze even though most people have moved on.  I am a senior nearing graduation.  I decide to do my final 3 credits as an internship the summer after my fourth academic year and graduate with those people.  Sure, I could have taken more than 12 credits per semester (plus 6 each summer) and graduated earlier, but then I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the outstanding grades I had there near the end.

Okay, so I’m graduating, and I decide I’ll go ahead and walk mainly because my mother would be in attendance and my cousin Doug was graduating at the very same time.  Now, I was in Orlando schlepping sandbags for Universal Studios all summer… not as drop-dead Hollywood glam as I thought a movie studio in Orlando Florida would be.  But I did get to do crowd control for the John Stamos Beach Boys and, separately, escort Cathy Moriarty to the bathroom.

I mention my terribly glamorous Orlando summer, as I had to apply for selection to the “Outstanding Graduating Senior Leader” from my remote, fabulous location.  I thought I was fairly worthy of consideration: I not only had a high honors-level GPA I somehow managed to pull out of the toilet, but I was also an officer in my sorority, the Creative Director for our big homecoming show, a student tour guide on campus, and a member of the prestigious Florida Blue Key leadership honorary.  Also, I once took an underprivileged kid to a basketball game and paid for his snacks.

I knew I wouldn’t be the one top girl selected — I am ambitious but always a realist.  I had a feeling I might be one of the extra few that got “Honorable Mention” — and I was!  Despite the rarity of such occurrences, I truly love being awarded for things and this was no exception.

So on graduation day in Gainesville, with my mother, grandmother, aunt, uncle and cousins in the stands somewhere, I opened my booklet and skipped right to the Honorable Mention page.

Say what now?

I couldn’t believe I was left off the program!  How could they do this to me?!  I had given this school my most!  I had lobbied the Dean of the journalism school to change the AM radio station to this thing called ‘alternative’; I had only cheated on two tests, and just slightly; and, like I said, I bought that poor kid popcorn.  What the hell?

After placing more than one fact-finding phone call, I was sent a form letter saying a few people were left off the Honorable Mention list in the graduation program, and sorry.  Oh, but, this!  Would!  Not! Stand!

I fired off a letter — you heard me — to the Dean of Student Services.

It’s truly cringe-worthy stuff.  Especially the line “Needless to say, the magnitude of my embarrassment, anger, and frustration was without precedent.”  This so isn’t true — I had some jerk guy make me feel this way just weeks before!  “I can hardly believe a gross error such as this could be possible.”  Take that, dumbasses!  I hope some fat cat program typesetter gets fired!

The one line I still stand by: “As students, we would surely be judged more harshly if we forgot a brief list of names.”  There’s me.  There I am!

So, keeping this program (plus insert) keeps this upsetting memory and its ridiculous aftermath alive. But I do like that I didn’t take it lying down, which I hate to admit I do now mostly.

Professional organizer to the rescue, Part 2

Part 2 of my cleaning odyssey.  Hey, I spelled that word right on my first try!

Toiletries humor

What you are looking at is our drawer full of hotel-procured toiletries: shampoos, bath salts, soaps, sewing kits.  When we have overnight guests, I’ll go to this drawer and pick out a few items and set them in the guest bath, like a hotel does.  Because we’re nice!

My husband is partially-to-mostly to blame on this one.  Hubs is a pro at maximizing the volume of these things we take home with us, because he has a system: when we leave the hotel room in the morning for breakfast or whatever, he’ll hide the soap we just used in his suitcase wrapped in a washcloth.  Then when the cleaning staff pops by, they replace all the soaps,etc. and the washcloth.  Upon our return, he switches out the new and used soaps.  Simple, yet elegant.

Reminds me of this one time.  We frequent this one hotel, let’s just call it the Scooby Doo hotel. Well, one time the toilet in our room was acting weak — meaning you had to flush a couple of times to get a even a square of TP down it.  Well… how can I say this delicately… I had the fast poops right before we were set to check out.  I had a feeling to toilet couldn’t handle it, and indeed it did not.

We had to get back home to our baby, so, yes, I left a bowl full of diarrhea in the posh hotel that knows us by name.  Does the Scooby Doo have loose-lipped housekeepers?  Will this pretty horrible offense be part of our permanent record?  How skinny did I look that day?  All questions I cannot answer, except the last one, pretty skinny.  Hopefully that tip my husband left would have to do– what?  You forgot to tip extra for the poop in the toilet?  I’ll never show my face there again until at least 3 weeks!