There’s something I want to show you. I want to introduce it first, though, because it is admittedly strange, stupid, and possibly attractive of the attention of some really hard-up pedophiles.
Katie has been my best friend since kindergarten. She’s loud and brash, while I am loud and slightly more considerate of my brashness. Since we were children, Katie has frequently suggested terrible ideas for us to partake in, only to be reminded (by me) that such things as getting grounded, expelled, or arrested and brought up on assault charges actually exist. However, there are some times when she is able to convince me to do something stupid. I don’t even think she’s aware that she’s trying to convince me. She just says some things and one of them makes sense and I get caught up in the moment and do it. This has been going on from childhood to the present, as evidenced by these photos that Katie recently posted on Facebook:
(This was in sixth grade. I know that because I got that perm in sixth grade, which remains my worst hair decision ever, even more so than the time I chopped off my ponytail in high school and some asshole boy in my English class called me a dyke for the rest of the semester.)
In case you didn’t know, we’re supposed to be hookers. There was a slumber party at Katie’s house (that’s her mother’s totally awesome kitchen floor) and someone got the brilliant idea that what we should really do was dress up like LaWanda from In Living Color. Or maybe it was just “Wanda,” which is what Google is telling me but my memory doesn’t work that way. LaWanda’s signature look was pulling the bottom of your shirt up and through the neck, causing your midriff to be exposed, which you could then stick out (because nobody had any boobs yet) and act like an asshole. Which is what we did. And Katie’s mother thought it was hilarious, so Katie convinced her to take pictures.
I mean, what the fuck? Kids of Today, I’d like to present this as an example of What the World Was Like Before There Was the Internet. Katie’s mother had no problem taking pictures of her 11-year-old daughter and friends dressed as prostitutes in her kitchen. It would not have occurred to her that it was an inappropriate, or possibly dangerous thing to do. Neither did it occur to us that sixth grade girls really shouldn’t be dressing up like hookers for the exact same reasons. No one was around to leave nasty anonymous comments telling us any different, just like no invisible network of child sex murderers was around to pass our photos between themselves like trading cards.
We just had no goddamn sense whatsoever. I remember being jealous of everyone else’s clothes, because they’d raided the drawer before I did and all I was left with was some see-through slip thing and some kind of purple elastic whatever that I called a skirt. Oh, and a wedding veil. I’m wearing a fucking wedding veil. Which is no worse than Katie, whose idea of a hooker involved a sensible tweed jacket. In this respect, the Me in that photo looks much more similar to the hookers I see every day on South Broadway (Morning Hooker is a chunky black girl who has animated conversations with herself; Afternoon Hooker is a gristly-looking, sunburned white girl with half white hair and half red hair. Their alternate names are Sausage Biscuit Hooker and Methface Hooker).
Stupidity and the Internet aside, though, I think this a good – bizarre, but good – example of what the world was like before we got wrapped up in it. This was before boys, before drinking, even before our parents trusted us to walk around the mall by ourselves for a few hours (and with good reason, because once they did this all we did was shoplift nail polish and cheap jewelry). This was before being embarrassed by the evidence was even a thought in our heads. I don’t even know if I thought I was fat yet (though I probably did, something which causes Adult Me to wish to go back in time and smack some sense into Young Me on a daily basis). I don’t remember being embarrassed by myself at this point. I remember laughing so hard that I probably peed on myself. I used to have a problem with that, you know. I would even go so far as to say that these photos are an example of innocence, but then I remember that oh yeah, we were dressed like prostitutes.