The late 70’s were an excellent time for pretend. Especially pretend driven by hallucinogens. I was not a hard-core drug user as a child but what I presented to the outside world would lead anyone to believe that I was eating mushrooms in the forest where I played.
I gravitated to kick ass women that were made available through the one, and eventually (hallelujah!) two tv channels afforded to the remote land that I lived. The pickins were slim but when that is the case, imagination fills in the vast gaps between each pickin.
Leather Tuscadero from Happy Days was a shy special guest in my imagination because she wasn’t a regular character. She was rare and exciting and easy to miss if you weren’t paying attention. Not unlike the lone woman on any given comedy club lineup. There’s no shame in making a black leather jacket and matching pants out of garbage bags in the context of a creative life. Can you comprehend the skill involved in doing wheelies on your banana seat bike while wearing plastic in the summer? Prodigy! My love for being a star on a bike grew from this. As well as my love for repurposing garbage. And wearing a lot of black even though you’re not supposed to once you start buying neck cream.
Margaret Houlihan took care of people. That’s something you see every day in a small community with no transit or hospital. Boys were mowed down during back yard MASH battles. Whoever played the roll of “Hot Lips” (ME! ALWAYS ME!) would crawl across the lawn full Tough Mudder to save the injured. Whether from pine cone grenades or bark land-mine, a couple of raisins from a recycled aspirin bottle would get them back to war. Sometimes with a kiss on the forehead if you wanted him to take you out in his rowboat one day.
Wonder Woman taught me how to squat. Flying around in an invisible plane was 50% imagination and 50% quad strength. I didn’t know how important that lesson would be to me over the years as I graduated from banana seat bike to carbon fibre bike. She also taught me to metaphorically deflect with accessories. Learning how to let things twang off you is good stuff for living.
What’s happening now after all these years of trying to be other people is I’ve settled into me. I’m a little bit of each of these early pretends as well as myself. This early awareness of how cool women can be is a radar that has always been tuned, but now pings like crazy because I’m surrounded by them. We’ve been chased out into the open again because of a resurgence of backwards thinkers trying to corral us back to our place. This place that we are supposed to know.
This isn’t a prompt to throw every gal pal in your emotional grocery cart. There are assholes among us that will only accept your great things as shadows on their things. Be done with that shit. Shop wisely for your squad. You can buy a lot with very little that will fray, pill and start coming apart when tested or there’s an excellent, special investment leather jacket that you keep forever. And matching pants if you want to be my hero.
Support is the new competition. The world is barreling down on us screaming “SUPPORT EACH OTHER!’ and we should get the hell on that.