“I was a teenaged Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma, Karma Chameleon.”
I never really understood the term “baby fat,” but I assume it refers to the extra weight carried by children that naturally falls away as they grow older.
If that’s the case, then the extra childhood pounds I amassed – courtesy of the sneak eating I learned during my first diet – in no way qualifies as “baby fat.”
Every single extra pound marched right out of my childhood and directly into my pre-teen years, where it proceeded to pack a lunch and stay for the next decade.
They should have called it “Dry & Crunchy.”
By the time I was thirteen, I carried an extra sixty pounds on my medium frame. In addition, my hair had morphed from cute baby curls to an explosion of frizz, made worse by the harsh styling products of the day (do they even make “mousse” anymore?)
And, thanks to my Italian father, I had a large, hooked nose and a thick unibrow that rode low on my forehead, overshadowing the one good feature on my face – the green eyes I’d inherited from my Farrah Fawcett-esque mother.
But then I was saved by the 80s.
I think I am the only person on the planet who can say that from a style perspective, the 80s were my best. decade. ever.
While the unfortunate fashion sensibilities of the day made for an entire generation of ridiculously attired individuals, it turned me into a bold, big-haired peacock.
Amateurs, all of you.
Suddenly people were actually paying good money to get the ginormous, crunchy frizz that grew out of my head. While they paid $200 for a “spiral perm,” all I had to do was wash my hair, blow dry the hell out of it, and lock it down with half a can of aerosol hairspray.
Thanks to Boy George, the shapeless, oversized clothes I’d always worn to hide my weight were now in vogue. Only I wore them better because I’d been doing it longer.
The “eyeliner inside the eyelid” technique brought out the green in my eyes, which I further accented with frosty green eyeshadow. And just when I thought things couldn’t get better for me, the Holy Grail of fashion came out.
The shoulder pad.
For those unfamiliar with this marvel of invention, a shoulder pad is a foam triangle that attaches to your bra strap.
The shoulder pad turns your torso into an inverted triangle, which gives you the illusion of a lean torso and well-defined shoulders.
It was magnificent.
(Except when your bra strap slips off your shoulder and suddenly you have a large growth coming out of your elbow, but the benefits far outweigh this consequence.)
Go big or go home.
On nights out, I put on the biggest, foamiest, NFL-ish shoulder pads I could find, covered them with a double breasted jacket (which also had shoulder pads), threw on a Spandex miniskirt, tugged on some black pantyhose and slipped my feet into four-inch black pumps.
When I looked in the mirror, I felt for the first time in my life that maybe – just maybe – I was a little bit pretty.
And then the boys started to notice.
To be continued …
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