I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles
Who married young and then retired
The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful
At seventeen I learned the truth…
And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say “come dance with me”
And murmured vague obscenities
It isn’t all it seems at seventeen…
A brown eyed girl in hand me downs
Whose name I never could pronounce
Said: “Pity please the ones who serve
They only get what they deserve”
The rich relationed hometown queen
Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company
And haven for the elderly…
So remember those who win the game
Lose the love they sought to gain
In debitures of quality and dubious integrity
Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment due
Exceeds accounts received at seventeen…
To those of us who knew the pain
Of valentines that never came
And those whose names were never called
When choosing sides for basketball
It was long ago and far away
the world was younger than today
when dreams were all they gave for free
to ugly duckling girls like me…
We all play the game, and when we dare
We cheat ourselves at solitaire
Inventing lovers on the phone
Repenting other lives unknown
That call and say: “Come on, dance with me”
And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, at seventeen…
I hope Natalie Imbruglia is going to invite me round tonight but I don’t expect she will. We all like to fantasize, dream, allow our imaginations to run riot from time to time. I think this is healthy and maybe a necessary precursor for change.
Also, it is eminently reasonable to have expectations: it’s virtually impossible to plan anything unless you can rely on things behaving within bounds.
It all starts to go pear-shaped when we confuse the two, however; when our expectations become unrealistic and unreasonable. So much in the modern world entices us down this path: RomComs and ChickLit show women how romance works; porn shows blokes the correct shape for a woman and how their nuptials should be; advertisers sell life-styles that no-one can afford; politicians promise peace, prosperity and happiness for all. You can almost taste the disappointment, anti-climax and unhappiness!
People will never be perfect. Maybe, if our expectations are realistic, we can be content instead.
If I told you that you were “as beautiful as ever”, chances are, you’d be chuffed.
If I told you that you were “as ugly as ever”, chances are, you’d be insulted.
Both of these statements mean exactly the same thing: that is, your position the scale from ugly to beautiful is the same as it ever was. Strange how the connotation changes everything.
Are they the antithesis of fashion?
I confess that I don’t like either, fashion or tattoos that is. Tattoos always look cheap and tacky to me. But fashion (as I understand it) is about following trends and constant change, whereas tattoos are permanent. So is the phrase “fashionable tattoo” an oxymoron?
I had the misfortune to live in Broxtowe for a while. They say “you can spot a classy bird in Broxtowe ‘cos all her tattoos are spelt right”. (Their words, not mine).
“There are only two kinds of people on this earth: those who don’t masturbate and those who tell the truth.”
Mental health is built on good self-image.
Good self-image is built on being comfortable with the things we do, our desires and aspirations.
Making harmless private pleasure a taboo subject is unhealthy for everyone.
p.s. leaning against the washing machine on spin cycle counts!
This photo shows my elder brother and sister with me. I’m guessing I must be about three or four years of age, so circa 1963. Maybe I was still the youngest, before my two younger sisters arrived.
It’s seems so strange looking back at that little lad, through fifty years: what befell him; all of the stupid, thoughtless, spiteful things he did; the events he witnessed; the dreams he chased; so much he didn’t understand until it was too late; time and money he wasted on trivia; the women he married.
I don’t think I have any regrets, not really. If I had the chance to go back in time and warn him, what could I say? Nothing that he could have understood. I’ve heard folk say “if only I knew then, what I know now” but it’s not tenable: knowledge without wisdom is worthless.
So I’ve lived, I’ve survived and I’m generally happy with the journey so far. There’s little point dwelling in a past I cannot alter. I’ve learned a lot and that is as much as anyone can ask. On to the next chapter………..