I mentioned last week that I was going to try to lighten things up a bit around here and I have another hilariously talented writer stopping by to do just that today. Although I remember that big hair weighing me down a bit and, oh, that first break up, I thought my world was ending. A story told as only Poppy from Funny or Snot could do…
When I was 16, my tender young heart was ripped from my chest and pounded with a meat cleaver by the boy I loved. I turned to Tiffany for support. She betrayed me by answering, “It must have been love, but it’s over now.” Apparently she was having a threesome with Roxette.
I spent hours dialing the first 6 digits of this boy’s phone number and studying his schedule so I could randomly bump into him as often as possible. Like his hallway in the middle of the night. During these dark days, I wore a lot of black and logged a many hours in my room.
Though they gave me space to find my own way out of my pity party, my parents were tired of my moping. They donned full length leather gloves to throw the occasional food scraps at me while I wallowed.
Wasn’t I pretty enough? Didn’t we have the same taste in music and movies? Wasn’t 3rd base (Oprah edition) far enough?
Just as Zamfir was a rebel with his pan flute and Bobby Fischer was the grandmaster of his rooks, I too, chose to channel my negative energy.
Armed with a can of Aqua Net and a family size jar of Vaseline I headed for the light.
With the encouragement of my mother and a friend who didn’t want to do it alone, I decided to do something so horrific I can’t believe I am sharing. On the high heels of Deborah Norville and Kathie Lee Gifford, I stepped off the ledge of comfort.
I entered the Junior Miss pageant. Scratch that, the Junior Miss Scholarship Competition. I thought I had successfully blocked the experience from my memory until the friend who talked me into participating reminded me with photographic evidence a few months ago.
Pageants aren’t exactly main-stream where I live. You have to be a total Hand-walking Queer to participate. While I don’t mind being queer, I can barely walk on my feet without tripping and I have no discernible talent. I was encouraged by pageant leaders to persevere. I learned the group dance numbers, I faked photography as a talent, and had my ass handed to me. No sash. No crown.
I would rather look back on my teen years and explain a stint in rehab than my months spent perfecting a curtsy and pledging to stay away from 2nd base (Dr. Laura edition). It was pretty obvious early in the competition I wasn’t pageant material. It was also obvious the scholarship awarded did not cover the costs most girls spent on competing. I actually hoped for a Miss Congeniality nod.
My back to back defeat in love and pageantry was a turning point in my young life. As promised in the pageant literature, I did learn a lot about myself in the process.
Don’t date dicks and never EVER wear dyed to match shoes.
Oh so many memories this post brought back, how I miss those perfectly dyed royal blue flats that seeped through my tan-colored nylons and colored my feet for weeks afterwards and playing my Tiffany cassette on my mint green mini-boom box over and over.
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