The Women I Have Adored (Pre-adolescent Edition)
To all the women in my life. There have only been women in my life.
- •My motherAt five I told her I wanted to marry her. Wore Lynx furs throughout my childhood.
- •My maternal grandmother RosieStaunch republican. Had Reagan stickers on her electronic Conair makeup mirror-- the one with a varying selection of mood lighting for different beauty lewk scenarios (blue light, yellow light, purple light). Possessed a legendary laugh birthed from deep within her big belly.
- •My paternal grandmother BonnieBronislawa for long. Let me play with the sagging skin under her neck and once, as a joke, took her false teeth out which terrified me. Was a small woman (4'11) and famed local beauty with blonde hair and clear blue eyes who eventually went blind. Left Lvov (then in Poland) at a young age to marry and escaped Europe for Rio before the Holocaust. Thought all pigeons had AIDS.
- •Mary PoppinsUnquestionably my first screen idol. Ran into her (in the form of Julie Andrews) in an elevator two years ago and started crying.
- •My sister @chloewepperPut on earth for me to torture until she turned 9. Co-invented the efficiently titled "Laughing Game" and "Bloquis" with me- the latter a street Fighter style combat game in which neither of us ever got hurt. Would ride her training bike under a red towel I would hold up with a stick in my right hand so as to simulate a bull fight. She would then have to play the part of dying bull post bike basket stabbing. All this transpired to the rhythm of my mothers salsa albums.
- •Bette MidlerWould put a towel on as dress and reenact her epic entrance from BIG BUSINESS. "Is this how we dress for the office? You look like a blood clot!"
- •Fabienne RousseauMy sassy best friend in 1st grade of Hatian descent. Learned how to braid black hair with her. An athletic girl with Naomi Campbell legs at age 8, Fab could easily outsprint me on the playground.
- •Steffi GrafThe nose, the legs, the headband, the forehand. Fräulein Fierce was my tennis idol until my late teens, when The Sister's Williams reinvented the sport. Also same birthday. Briefly broke up with her for Jennifer Capriati but soon after realized what was good for me.
- •Florence Griffith JoynerFLOJO was everything. Holding the record for fastest woman on earth AND being the original nail game GOAT at the same time was a sub 10 second hundred meter dash right into my young heart.
- •Patty Duke and Mary Tyler MooreThank you Nick At Night.
- •Clo FleissMy father's best friend's wife was a style icon who wore original DaDa period jewelry (there is such a thing) and collected Warhol shoe molds (also a real thing). Also invented the "Banana Dance" with me while on vacation in Brazil.
- •Rebecca our nannyLoud voiced Mexican woman who drove stick shift. Only nanny to ever pick us up from school in our father's convertible Porsche.
- •My aunt GigaA fierce Jew, Giga taught me, "NEVER accept the first table they offer you at a restaurant" (this tip is a major gem). Still hides Kleenex up her blouse sleeve and paints her face even if she stays home all day now. Likes only 2 restaurants in the whole of NYC. Hid in Polish forest and fought as a Partisan in WW2.
- •Lally CalhounA family friend, this 6'0 blonde giant with an affinity for clear plastic heels fancies herself a witch and read me my tarot cards when I was six. Briefly dated Don King and took us to see Child's Play when my mother was out of town.
- •Ms. Van DerenA sassy 7th grade teacher with epic style: Ralph Lauren realness served in cowboy boots over tights (probs stirruped) and a crisp white Oxford shirt buttoned up to her cleave. Clad in turquoise jewelry for days, and sporting a massive mane of honey brown curls and a pinched late eighties nose job, Sue Van Deren spoke with a tinny yet sexy Texas drawl. Got in big trouble one time for telling her she looked constipated.
- •Mariah do CarmoMy mothers best friend, a fabulous woman who once looked like young Cher. Mariah got so majorly hammered with my mom on a boat every day during one summer vacation that on her request the boat captain would have to carry her piggy back style back up to the summer house we rented.
- •Paula AbdulForever my girl. My first cassette tape.
- •MadonnaVogue. I bought the single its first day out and outlined her struck pose with a yellow highlighter. Insisted we cat walk to it in our 5th grade fashion show or else...(yes my school had a 5th grade fashion show). Wasn't allowed to see Truth or Dare in theaters. Later, would learn to recite it line for line. Later later would be confused by who Madonna Louise Ciccone has become.