From the time I could talk, my grandmother at every turn instilled in me to be in all situations ladylike. Cross your legs when wearing a dress, please and thank you to your elders, no white shoes after Labor Day, don’t burp out loud in public and always wear a hat to church on Sunday.
Suddenly I was sixteen. Much to Mom’s chagrin, I was a petulant sixteen. I hated high school, failed nearly every course; most of the male population were being shipped off to Vietnam, and I had a 25-year old boyfriend. So, my mother enrolled me in “Beauty School”. She told me in no uncertain terms that if I couldn’t cut it in school I could start earning my way.
At the time it was the best thing that could have happened to me. In later years I was a star. I was respected in a world of men whose shit had no smell on it. I was a “Company Platform Artist” in a sea of testosterone. Who knew “That girl from Tennessee” would make a name for herself?
It was during a hair show in the seventies at a Dallas hotel filled to the brim by a Baptist convention when my pal Eddie and I approached an elevator to embark upon one of many of the company’s festivities. (the bar) As the doors opened at the main floor, there they were. The perfect churchy couple; in every way, model citizens. Her hair couldn’t have been nearer to Jesus, and his ass couldn’t have been more puckered if he thought they might run into a hooker in the banquet room.
Ever the gentleman, Eddie held the open elevator door, encouraging them to step out.
“No, ya’ll step on in; I got the button”, replied the pompadoured silver haired devil.
“No Sir, I have the door. If you and your lovely lady would just step out we can all be on our way.”
“Step it up, son! I got the damned button!”, Hizzhonor blared.
By now Eddie’s patience has worn thin. He’d up to then imbibed a boatload of tequila, smoked at least three joints in the course of two hours, and was ready for the next party. Relenting to the whims of the loudly perfumed dandy, Eddie guided me into the elevator; resulting in his releasing the door.
The two fairly jumped out of the thing as the doors began closing amid cries from the pompous old fart. “You sir, are the height of rudeness!”
Just before the doors mercifully came together, in my best Southern belle voice, I resonantly replied, “And you sir, are a motherfucker!”