I Enjoy Being a Girl

Considering One’s Audience is Lecture #1 in Writing 101.
The same goes for Public Speaking 101.

But sometimes, the Audience is overrated.

Case in point:

Centerville Junior High School
The Vice Presidential Race

In my only attempt to secure public office, I ran for V.P.
My father was disappointed. Why not the Presidency?

The answer was simple:
Popularity was not my hobby.
I didn’t shave my legs.
In English class, I looked forward to diagramming sentences.
My body looked like my next-door neighbor’s (and he was boy).

Even back in 1963, the above qualifications spelled DEFEAT.

And, to complicate the race, my opponent, Lisa, was stacked.
For those of you who need a translation of the word stacked, it is a cousin to the word boss, an adjective. Such was the rich lexicon of 1963.
Stacked meant that boys saw her chest first.
She had a boss chest.

My father became my campaign manager and he ran the campaign like Barack Obama. Our mantras were Stay cool, No Bad-Mouthing, Be Optimistic, and Value the Spoken Word. Never mind my flat chest. We would have a fishing motif. Even in those days, I knew what a literary motif was.

My sister, an artist, painted my signs. We cleverly used my last name, Block. We never contacted Charles Schultz about the use of his cartoon character, Lucy, but she became ubiquitous on campus: Don’t be a Blockhead; Vote for Cheri. Even in those days, I knew how to use a semi-colon.

The campaign had its snags.

Our Final Speeches took place in the school auditorium, which also served as the cafeteria, so by 1:00, as I wiggled backstage nervously, the smells of mystery meat and old peas, commingled with adolescent bodies and English Leather after-shave, permeated the space.

Lisa’s speech was, in short, a ruse to distract the male population with her voluptuous chest. Accompanied by a trim little musician, she sang the song, I Enjoy Being a Girl. During her two-minute burst of sexual vibrancy, coupled with Vice-Presidential minutiae, she looked vice presidential. Sarah Palin would have been very proud of her.

As I walked out on the stage, feeling like a Eunuch from The Unpopular Dynasty, and dressed as a fisherwoman, the words Yes We Can, came to mind.

The boys in my audience drifted away.
All of the flat girls clapped.

My speech ended with the following line:

And when you cast (I flung the lure, a gold Vote for Block hook) your vote tomorrow, please vote for me….and the fishing parallels went on and on.

I left the stage in my rubber waders and fishing vest, clutching my Fenwick pole, with a big fake smile and eyes brimmed with fresh-water tears.

That audience.
That audience will never vote for me.

In a shocking display of substance over form, I won by two votes.

Photo by Cheri Block Sabraw 2008 Blue River, Oregon “Down the Mackenzie”

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Writing and Teaching and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to I Enjoy Being a Girl

  1. kimmus122 says:

    I loved this story. Thanks for sharing in such a humorous and delightful way.

  2. Douglas says:

    Please tell us that, in 1963, the girls in your school didn’t outnumber the boys by… 2

  3. tsblock says:

    I LOOOVE this topic. Great story. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Audiences are important, but not to the point that you change your own ideas. It is important to consider HOW an audience will receive our ideas, so that we may execute our delivery accordingly. But our ideas should not be altered. We must always stand up for what we believe. This takes a lot of practice.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Christine says:

    Love your writing.

  5. Sailing Past Maturity Straight into Senility says:

    YAHOO! Go, girl! I had to deal with being 5’10” at age twelve, so the boys all overlooked (if it’s possible to fail to notice someone towering over all the boys in jar. high), even when it came to playing basketball (I could beat all of ’em, and not just by height – I played a lot).


  6. Mags says:

    This was great. It’s so full of hope!

  7. Tricia says:

    This is so funny. I relate all too well. I am amazed at such a well run campaign in Jr. High! Hooray for dad.

  8. Kathy Brakhage says:

    what a wonderful story! i really enjoyed reading it!

  9. laura says:

    Cheri, I love this story. It takes me back to my own Jr. High and the way I felt.
    Will you write a book of memoirs?
    It would be so fun to have a book with your stories in it. I can’t write as well as you, but I’ve thought about writing down my stories just for my kids and future grandkids sake.
    Love, Laura

  10. twelvekindsofcrazy says:

    The last sentence just made me smile. I really, really needed that.
    Excellent post.

  11. lakeviewer says:

    You took us all back with verve and humor.
    Great images!

    I blog about similar themes: sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com

  12. hugz4u says:

    I applaud you… I would have totally voted for you too. I too, am also one of those people that would be considered “flat-chested”… my cup size is between an A and a B, while all the girls around me seem to be about cup C or higher… I hate that some girls show it off WAY too much…

  13. Christine says:

    Every time I struggle with my college essays, I read your blog to search for a laugh or an inspiration. As cliche as it sounds, Mrs. Sabraw you are truly amazing.

    – Christine K.

  14. Chourou says:

    For a non-native English speaker like me, your blog seems to be very learnable. I enjoyed again reading the latest article. I didn’t know the meaning of “stacked”, so I got a bit of surprise. THE STACKED WAS STUCK IN THE ELECTION! Congratulations, the flat thing!
    But I worry about being blamed for the expression like that from the viewpoint of so-called politically correct. So I try to revise them.” The candidate whose chest is rather expanded compared with average size was given in the another one whose chest is being challenged in the horizontal direction.

  15. JLT says:

    How we underestimate ourselves sometimes, great story.

  16. Every Photo Tells A Story says:

    Great story, as usual! Fate was better to you this time than it was for your Pregnant Pause experience 🙂

  17. addhumorandfaith says:

    A great story. I love it where the “hotty” loses to the “brainy!” (in fishing gear!! really??)

  18. Kat says:

    Great story and thanks for sharing. I was also a teacher – retired now – and enjoy reliving some of the experiences you shared.

  19. WHY says:

    Love a happy ending 🙂

  20. Don't Be a Slut says:

    I love your writing style.

    When I was an overachieving junior in high school, I ran for class president and won. I never really wanted to be class president; someone talked me into it. And I totally hated it!

  21. Wendy says:

    Yay! I was rooting for you paragraph by paragraph. You have my vote!

  22. Calidore says:

    You’ve got me hooked with your writing. I’m enjoying it more and more.


  23. Füsun Atalay says:

    Great story, delightfully delivered. It depicts almost an anthithesis of something I have on my blog, “Vanity’s Fare”, (fictionalised and told with tongue-in-cheek, of course)!

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