Renaissance Art and Roller Skating

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:

Angel 2

And this:

Angel 3

And this:

Angel 1

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.

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35 thoughts on “Renaissance Art and Roller Skating

  1. wonderful. I myself have always been that short girl, barely over 5 feet tall with red hair and the face of a child. Now that i am over 40 i embrace the fact that on a daily basis someone will swear on their dead mother that i do not look old enough to have a child in her 20’s and grandkids. Unique sometimes grows up into something magical.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I was the strange looking one with all those Irish kids around me. But that was o.k. because when I went off to college I realized, I was me. A special me. And sometimes when I slip in a City full of beauties — Master reminds me that I am unique and me. There are no others like me.
    I do have lots of room for friends who are YOU, though, Renaissance Angel.and others.
    WE — will make a stunning group going roller skating along the Westside Highway bike path.
    And we will gently smile at the ones who “wanna-be” us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, my twelve year old self! I was already as insecure as can be, even though I attracted a lot of attention even from boys much older than I (should I call them men?). I was told then that I looked older than I actually was and I liked it. Now, I’ve come to accept the fact that I probably still look older than I am… that’s the way life is 🙂
    Back then, I had no choice but to be different. My parents didn’t have money for all the fancy brand names my friends were sporting. So I had to try and convince myself that different was great. I don’t think I really bought into it though. But well… I survived. And now, I’m quite happy to be different. I still have a lot of discovering to do before I realise who I truly am, but I’m happy being different. And most days, I’m happy to be me 🙂


    • So hard to be 12. I developed early and looked older, too. We didn’t have a lot so I didn’t have many of the clothes my friends had. At this time I had earned some money here and there from doing mother’s helper work so I could buy a few things for myself. I wore Levi’s because my mother wouldn’t buy me designer jeans. I bought myself my first pair of Jordache and then I bought a pair of Calvin Klein’s (thanks Brooke Shields).

      You did survive and now you will thrive!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. that is a wonderful place to be indeed. you are a beautiful woman Elle, inside and out. there is a saying, “people laugh because I am different, I laugh because they are all the same.” I won’t say its a motto for me, but I’ve always identified with it. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, girl. You are such a beautiful woman with such a beautiful soul.

      You want to know how I knew I changed how I saw myself? One day I realized my inner dialogue was different. Each time I looked in the mirror I wasn’t criticizing my reflection and I was saying nice things about myself. I have been working on this for years because I used to be mean to myself. I started a private Pinterest board and pinned photos of women that I thought looked like me or had my body shape (realistically). It took a while to find the pics (a year?). Looking at those pics helped me see myself as others see me. Also, Coach issued a “no self-depricating order.” I had to stop all put down language. It’s the reason I can now post pics if myself. I feel desirable and that makes me desirable and that makes all the difference in the world!


      • Self acceptance is such a huge thing and affects so many parts of our life. I think the way you went about it is pretty ingenious too. Wonderful that you were able to get there for yourself and have such a supportive husband along the way.



  5. Loved all the 70’s references! (I had Marcia Brady hair then, except blond, and I was a lot curvier.) I married early and was always the youngest of the ‘adult’ group. Now I’m not anymore. Reality catches up and hits hard sometimes. Enjoy and embrace your Renaissance beauty! ps: never could skate LOL


  6. I loved the way you weaved this story. So very relatable for many women. We spend our youth emulating what we consider to be the standard of beauty, and I always quietly cheered for those lone renegades who challenged the “standard.” I love Meryl Streep and think her look is amazing and so unique, it sets her from all the clones. I know us skinny flat-chested girls cheered a little when Bo Derek became an “it girl” after her appearance in her “naked” bathing suit in 10 in 1979. Even though she was gorgeous, and of course sexy, it was a different take on beauty at that time. Puberty is the most traumatic time of most lives. Being different isn’t fun. I envied the girl at the skating rink who filled out her tube top at 12 🙂 (mini-boobs came for me closer to 16, and I never used to have much to hold up a tube top! I was admiringly compared to “la Gioconda” by my Italian (national) fiancé’s father, even though a blond), and when I learned that meant the Mona Lisa I was appalled. The fiancé compared me to Botticelli’s Venus. Ewwwwww!! As a 19 year old, not the standard of beauty we aspired to! Fast forward 36 years, and I appreciate the mature allure of those subjects. Great introspective on a very difficult and impressing time of life. It’s a shame that we can’t impart this wisdom to younger girls (trust me, they don’t listen)!


    • I love Meryl Streep and my looks have been compared to hers…darker version. I’ve been told it’s a Patrician look.

      Hard to get through to girls about not comparing themselves. I love how Coach encourages and compliments our daughter. He wants her to be confident and knows how important his words are to her. We both know how important both our words and actions are to both our children and we make concerted efforts to speak the right rhings into their lives.

      My mom said the most aweful things to me growing up…just downright mean and nasty things. Still to this day she’s never told me I’m beautiful. She’ll only eek out something like, “You’re attractive enough” or “You’re a handsome woman.” My mother calls me “handsome.” Oy!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This brings back memories!! I was always the shy guy who couldn’t screw up the courage to ask a girl out. But I would have asked you! Purple tube top and Levis… dreamboat!!

    We are all different and must celebrate that. I love ‘Tis’ comment that “Some people laugh because I’m different. I laugh because they are all the same.” is going to be my new motto.

    And then we can all go out and celebrate our uniqueness. With alcohol. Lots of alcohol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The girls were just as nervous as the boys. So much fun back then.

      I had my own unique style, butbI could never wear that out of the house. I had to change into the tube top in the bathroom.

      ‘Tis’ saying is perfect. Let’s celebrate! I’ll buy a round 🙂


      • You buy the first round… I’ll buy the rest. Bring your tube top. Time to make up for those high school days!!!


          • Ah YES!!!! Drinking and rollerskating. The perfect combination. I may have to hold on a little tighter than usual. (winky face) I’ll wear my striped pants and gold lame (that’s pronounced “lamay”, not “lame”) dickey. I’ll be the one with the hordes of chicks around me.

            Liked by 1 person

            • My crocheted sweater was gold “lame.” I’ll have you know.
              I hope you noticed that I edited this comment because it picked up what was on the radio due to talk to text and my big ‘ol thumb hit send accidentally. Bahahahaha!


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