Women in Black

Sliding into a black dress reminds me of being eight years old. I was everything you didn’t want to be as an eight-year-old: too skinny, too brainy, too clumsy, too shy to assert myself, too comfortable in my imaginary world. Did I mention the Fire Marshall Bill overbite? Yeah.

The Women in Black made me forget all that. Women in Black were coordinated, powerful, and seductive. They were Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, righting men’s wrongs and making Batman beg; Janet Jackson declaring her first name wasn’t “Baby”; En Vogue making magic from four-part harmony and synchronized hip swirls. Through them, I dreamed of a future where I had curves, grace, and swagger.

“Send it in a letter baby  Tell you on the phone  I’m not the kind of girl  who likes to be alone”  — Janet Jackson, “Miss You Much.”

Being a little girl — subject to the whims of bossy grown-ups and cruel classmates — sucked. I couldn’t wait to be a woman. I would strut into rooms Dawn, Max, Terry, and Cindy style and tell boys I liked them with no shame and dare anyone to tell me what to do.

Little Rob promised herself many things: we’d be rich and famous, marry a man as smart and funny and Dwayne Wayne, have a chef and a maid, travel the world. I’m not sure where we stand on those, but I don’t have the heart to tell a young, hopeful me they don’t work out.

What I can say is: the teeth are straight (thanks to braces), the breasts and hips filled out, I’m slightly less clumsy and (thanks to sharing my rich inner life via writing) more popular than I ever imagined I’d be.

And oh yeah. I rock the hell out of a black dress.

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