FEMALES MAY RESENT ME BUT--MALES APPRECIATE ME.
Growing up, I had the opposite effect on boys. I had all the male attention I could wish for. I loved the boys and the boys loved me. In fact, my best friends were always boys. I never dated my best friends; they were more like brothers. In my high school yearbook, next to my picture, is the expression: “If I can’t be with the one I love, I’ll love the one I’m with.”
No, I really wasn’t fickle. I simply loved being in love--with love. And, I loved to flirt. Flirting was fun and innocent. During pretend/playtime, I practiced flirting like I’d seen movie stars do in the movies (my Grandma Heist took me to Saturday Afternoon Matinees almost every Saturday.)
Movies were great teachers. For only twenty cents (the ticket cost ten cents and another ten cents bought a box of popcorn), I learned to walk, talk, kiss, act, and flirt--- by simply imitating Hollywood’s best, like Barbara Stanwyck, Rita Hayworth, and my very favorite, Vivian Leigh. My mirror was the recipient of my playtime, my make-believe, and endless talk. If only my mirror could have talked back.
The summer before my senior year in high school, the ABC affiliate (Channel 7, KATV) invited me to host a weekly television show. Soon, my female critics reacted with blatant hostility. Jealousy is an ugly trait. Many of my female critics considered my life too perfect so--- they felt justified in hating me, criticizing me, and talking mean about me.
I can honesty say: I've never been jealous of another woman. Pretty, classic, elegantly-dressed women were my role models. I used any and all opportunities to learn from women. At home, my mother was my enemy. Unfortunately, she had nothing to teach me but negatives and ugliness.
Certainly my critics, my enemies, never knew my secret; no one would have believed how my mother shamed me--controlled and manipulated me. Determined to hide my secret from everyone, I created the person I wanted others to see and know: A person with poise, confidence, a kind heart, and a pleasant disposition. I worked hard to develop my talents and rise above the ordinary. My tormentors would have been surprised to know…..I was merely a creation of my own hard work.
And, I stayed humble. I was never a snob or an arrogant bitch. I was friendly, always pleasant, and never acted like an intolerable "priss". I was never a "Tomboy" yet..my actions often conflicted with my appearance. For instance:
Growing up, my brother and I shared an army jeep….from the forties…with removable canvas top, sides, and doors. I enjoyed driving the stripped-down jeep with a stick-shift...which seemed to “impress” my guy-friends. I liked being smart. I enjoyed the challenge of learning something new.
For several summers, I worked along-side my father and his construction company crew. I took pride in learning how to set tile, lay brick, paint, and even hang wallpaper. I was also considered quite- handy--- because I could drive my father's large, stick-shift trucks.
Most Sundays, I proudly-drove the faithful but faded jeep to church. I still remember being all-dressed-up in high- heels, a hat, and matching gloves-- and feeling as happy as a Queen.
I've never needed a fancy vehicle to define me.