I’m 12 years old and at a mall in a neighboring town having fun walking around with a group of friends. This is the place we go nearly every Saturday to window shop, buy candy, laugh, and, above all else, go roller skating. There are boys at the rink from other nearby towns and the goal was always to flirt with a cute guy so he’ll ask you to skate during “Couple’s Skate.”
Oh, what a thrill it was at the half hour (we anxiously watched the clock) when the lights went down and the disco ball sparkled (it was 1977, after all) and you heard the first few notes of a top 40 love song (If You Leave Me Now by Chicago was a personal fave of mine). Each boy already knew the girl he would choose as he just spent the last half hour following her around the rink (to look at her ass, no doubt).
I remember my heart beating wildly and a lump forming in my throat as the boy I had my eye on was going to choose me. He looked just like Scott Baio (don’t be a hater) in his denim jacket. I saw him coming toward me and I was ready – wobbly legs and all. My friends giggled and whispered as he quickly skated across the rink within a few feet of me. I took a breath and smiled as he came right up to the railing. He then uttered the magic words, “Do you want to skate with me?” Just as I was about to reply with a confident “YES” the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl inches to my left eeked out a high-pitched giggly “Yeah.” He put his sweaty palm in hers and off they skated into young teen roller rink heaven. I was crushed. “Come back, Chachi,” I cried out in my head (Happy Days’ reference for some of you), but nope, he was off skating with a Miss Jordache jeans-fluffy pink angora sweater-Love’s Baby Soft-Cheryl Ladd (Charlie’s Angels reference) wanna-be. I, however, wore Charlie, faded Levis, a purple tube top (that I filled out quite nicely), and a gold lame crocheted cardigan. Back then I had wavy reddish brown hair that was down to my waist. I was just so freakin’ cool.
I did not look like Cheryl Ladd, Cheryl Tiegs, or Farrah Fawcet.
I looked something like this:
Only an hour earlier, in that same mall, there was man selling art reproductions. As I was walking by his kiosk he exclaimed in front of everyone (including Chachi, who happened to be nearby), “Miss, you have the face of an angel.” I was stunned. He went on to tell me that I have a Renaissance face. I was mortified! To tell me I have the face of one of Charlie’s Angels (I would have settled for Jaclyn Smith) would have made my insecure 12 year self beam with pride, but to tell me that I look very similar to Leonardo da Vinci’s Uriel, was a blow to my ego…big time! Thanks for telling me I have a 400-year old face, dude! He was gone the next week and I was totally relieved that I never had to deal with him again. I still saw Chachi from time to time, but he never asked me to skate. Some boys did and some boys didn’t.
I love how I look now because I don’t look like many around me and I like that a LOT! I don’t want to look like anyone else. It’s a good feeling to get to that point in your life where you celebrate your own uniqueness and you don’t feel any need to make comparisons.
Scott Baio (the real Chachi Arcola…yeah, I know my 70s TV trivia) went on to marry a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman; I kinda knew he would.