Okay, watch this first. It will make your whole day. I promise!
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Do you remember the first time you were catcalled? I was in fifth grade, walking past the boys bathroom when a group of boys suddenly yelled (sung?) that line from a Michael Jackson song “Hey pretty baby, with the high heels on!” while hip thrusting and making awooooga! noises. One of them grabbed me around the waist and tried to, I assume, make some kind of lewd gesture. In reality it was more like the do-si-do we’d just been practicing in gym class. It was one of the most bizarre moments of my life.
First, I was wearing my white Keds (like every other girl in the late 80’s/early 90’s) not high heels so they weren’t even accurate. Second, I’d never really identified as pretty — already by that age I knew I wasn’t one of the pretty people. (I had big plastic hipster glasses back when they were still just nerdy. Does that make me retroactively cool? Let’s say yes.) Third, it was upsetting. My first reaction was to want to cry (HSP for life, yo!) but just as quickly I felt ashamed of my reaction. On one hand, weren’t they giving me a compliment? Kind of? But I felt a shaken, the way anyone would if someone jumped out of nowhere and yelled Michael Jackson at them. (Rule of life: You should only invoke the King of Pop when confronted by zombies or Pepsi.)
A chance meeting with friends, a long talk into the night, then a first date where he cooked up a gourmet dinner complete with candles and Frank Sinatra playing in the background – Hope Cross and Steve Dezember’s courtship seemed straight out of a rom-com. But the new couple was in for a major plot twist when, not long after they met, Steve started having a lot of pain.
“You see my happy shirt?” The little girl’s insistent face pressed nearly up to mine before I noticed her, so enthralled I was with the book I was reading tonight at the library. Truth to be told I didn’t notice her shirt at all, at first, but rather her halo of little cornrow braids with various candy wrappers expertly tied in so that she looked just like a rainbow of Skittles. So I smiled. What other option did I have?
Proudly she unzipped her jacked and puffed out her twee chest, her toddler breath puffing into my face, reminding me that I still had a shirt to admire. The shirt in question was hot pink with a large smiley face emblazoned on it in black glitter. Her own broad grin echoed that of her shirt. “Well that is the happiest shirt I have ever seen!” I exclaimed both acknowledging and dismissing her in a single breath. Heaven knows I have enough insistent little faces to deal with in my life and for once they were busily reading their own books (which in Jelly Bean’s case entailed putting all the toddler board books into her tiny grocery cart and proclaiming “It’s on sale!” with each new find – wherever would she have got that from??) so would anyone begrudge me my ten minutes of peace?