I saw Cyndi Lauper in concert recently. It was amazing! The show was the ‘She’s So Unusual’ tour and it brought me back to all my 1980s memories of girls having fun. Fun with makeup. Fun with clothes. What a rush! Big hair. Spray colored pink. False eyelashes. Why did I ever stop wearing those? I felt like Liza Minelli. Or a Vegas showgirl. Well, that might be pushing it. Maybe false eyelashes and glitter blush wouldn’t work dropping my kids at the bus stop? Hmm. Wait a minute…the show is about Cyndi. I lost myself in the self indulgence of the 80s.
You gotta love me some Cyndi Lauper. She is phenomenal live! What a voice. When she sang ‘Hat Full of Stars’ with one instrument in the background….WOW. It could give a person chills. She has been nominated for something like 14 Grammys and she won a Tony award this past year for her musical ‘Kinky Boots’. A Tony award. That is cool. It’s a Broadway thing. Like a badge of honor. And she seems so real and down to earth. She told stories in between songs in her New York accent and she spoke to the audience like we were all her friends. There is a genuineness about her that is palpable.
A big part of the fun was the preparation and putting on all the make up and glitter and sharing with my kids what it was like to be a part of the 80s. The perms. The leg warmers. I was pulling out old pictures and showing them the styles. My own personal Pinterest account. Big hair. Big shoulder pads. Big hearts. The 80s was all about fun and prosperity. Cyndi Lauper gave us all girl power and a sense of ourselves! And she is still doing it 30 years later! She is a true artist and a true inspiration! If I were asked what celebrity I would want to have lunch with, she is way up there on my list. What a blast that would be! Hey, sometimes girls just wanna have fun! Right?
Buying the cosmetics was so much FUN!
Life as a single woman with two curious and verbally creative children (where did that come from? Hmm… I wonder) is a different experience on many levels. And it can be either the most fun or the most humiliation known to a sometimes harried person such as myself. Each outing is a potential encounter with the opposite gender and even the most benign encounters can get a wink or an eye roll from my 12 year old daughter. This wasn’t always the case. But middle school has enlightened her, shall we say? I think that is the best way to put it. And not to be outdone, my 5 year old son watches carefully and chimes in with his version of middle school humor and hijinks.
So here is a recent example. An older gentleman works at my local deli and I am purchasing some lunch meat. He asks: “What can I get you, young lady?” Big smile. Pleasant demeanor. Great for customer service. He then offers me a sample of some cheese that all the patrons are being offered. Who can resist cheese? This is like a high end Costco sample rolled in prosciutto. Mmmm. Salty. I remark, “Oh that is good.” My daughter winks at me. I say, “Really?” Under her breath she says, “Well, you never know”.
We leave without further incident. In the car Eva slyly asks, “So did he ask you out?” “What?? Over the Boar’s Head loaf?” She continues, “So do you like him?” Middle school must be teaching a course in persistence these days. Nice trait. I reply, “Based on what – our mutual love of boloney? So now we should be dating?” Not that I am even dating. Because when would I do that? Well, apparently the cheese and pleasantries at the deli were a date! In the back seat I hear them both giggling and whispering. I cannot hear any of the details but I imagine it is hilarious!
One day some time ago I was chasing my very active son in a school yard waiting to pick up my daughter. Another Mom was sitting in her vehicle leisurely perusing a magazine and she put down her window and exclaimed, “You should be as thin as a rail chasing him all day!” Translation: You are not thin. Further extrapolation: You are fat. Like when Donald Trump says, “You’re fired!” with the emphasis on fired. You’re fired. You’re fat. It was an insult wrapped in, well, another insult. From a total stranger. Sometimes offenders are clever enough to veil the insult in a glossy fake compliment. Not this time.
In this case, I didn’t have time to reply. Nor really the desire. I am not a confrontational person to begin with. But I am not a pushover either. In another lifetime, sitting around and volleying insults with this stranger might be a good time, but in this one, I am trying to enjoy myself! And frankly, I am too busy. My father always advises, “In one ear and out the other”. But I reply, “Ahhhh, Dad, my brain is between my ears.”
I logically know that “Thin as a rail” is just an expression. I also want to believe this unknown observer was just saying something and it probably wasn’t meant in malice. I want to believe that. She wanted to make a connection with me and chose the wrong words. It should be no big deal. No pun intended. But maybe not. You never quite know what someone’s motivation is, right? And a year or so later, here I am talking about it. I guess the message to all humanoids (especially our children) is we had better be careful how we choose our words. Just saying…..ciao for now….
My son certainly sees my appendages as “thin as a rail”!