The Arithmetic of Girl Beauty
After "The Brady Bunch," "Scooby Doo," and "Gilligan's Island"
Marcia Sucks. This is what Jan thought-
all that Other Girl angst rolled up inside her
like the hole in a donut, and only Alice the Maid
to sympathize - Velma never said so, but she
hated Daphne. For the scarf. Gimme that scarf,
she must have been thinking. The day
Marianne took a coconut to the head,
got all dressed up in Ginger's other dress, the one
with the sparkles, and sang I Wanna Be
Loved By You as she shimmied to the edge
of the bamboo stage, I was leaning in
with all of me: Tell him. Please tell him,
Marianne.The Professor never heard
the truth. And we never said You be Ginger
or I'll be Marianne. We knew the picking
had been done - two kinds of girls in the world:
You never saw two Beauties together,
though occasionally Others would pair up
and turn their backs on possibility. Beauties
were not nice to us, but we needed their fair
proximity. There were dark hallways
to stand in with the boys who adored
them, bottles to spin, tree houses to crouch in.
And they needed us. There had to be three
for kissing: one boy, one girl he wants to kiss,
and another one to make it look like it's kissing
he wants, not the girl. It was a simple matter
of finite, mathematical sets of three. Now
when I drive my car now on open roads,
this is what I look for, what I know one day
I'll see: Velma in a scarf, hightailing it down
a dirt road behind the round wheel of that
Mystery Machine; Marianne with her hair let down
from those crimping bands; and Jan, the secret
locket wrapped around her fist like a dull-toned
brass knuckles. I'll slow my car,
pull over to the side, and let them tear past.
And I know they'll be waving right at me
through a cloud of dust -- majorettes in a hazy parade.
© Ginger Hendrix
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