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June 26, 2011

On the way back home I sat in the Daytona Beach airport alone, people watching. I have always been an observer and I have to make an effort to really participate in life, you know, not just watch it. (That is also wrapped up in my weight, have ya'll ever found anything more insulating than a fat suit? I have used my weight as a reason to sit on the sidelines for a long, long time.) (But that is another story for another day.)

As I sat there I watched a woman walk into the gate area, tall and deeply tanned, she walked in wearing a tiny little bright turquoise minidress and she wore a straw cowboy hat on her bleached blonde hair. She was dead sexy, well over 40, and not wearing bra. She was in great shape. I looked at her and then I looked at the women in the gate area, saw their faces. First they made notice of the blonde. Then they looked over at their husbands to see if they were looking at the blonde.

There is a certain woman -- you have seen her, I know you have -- who turns heads this way. Maybe people think her dress is too short, her hair is too blonde, her nails are too long. They are well over thirty, always have beautiful manicures, enjoy a night out with the girls. I call these ladies "Glamizons." I am not a Glamizon but would love to be one for just 24 hours. Most women look at them with smug condescension, men stare at them, the entire song "Harper Valley PTA was written about Glamizons. I'm more of a hippydippy type, but I love the breezy, fuck-you self-confidence of an tanned Glamizon. I guess I appreciate attention to detail, no matter where it shows up.

When we boarded the plane I got on and sat in my seat, fiddled with my knitting. I heard an, "Excuse me..." and I looked up and there she was, my seatmate, the hot blonde. The Glamizon. The woman in the aisle seat across from me rolled her eyes when she saw the bright blue dress.

Glamazon -- teresa -- and I got to chatting as the plane sat and idled on the runway and we kept chatting through the flight to Atlanta. We both ordered vodka tonics, and we both had birthdays this past week. She was in Daytona celebrating her 50th, I was in town on my 40th. ("darlin', you look 25," she said. "I would kill for your skin.") After a while she turned to me and interrupted some story I was telling about my trip to Daytona.

"Can I tell you something?" she said.

"Yup," I said. "We are strangers on a plane. Go for it."

"It is so nice to meet a good soul," she said. "You remind me of my daughter. I just hope that your forties are the best ever. Let's airplane toast to you being happy!"

And I got all teary eyed, people. Because this lady meant it. She genuinely wanted me to have a good decade, a good life, and I could feel her relief to meet a female who wasn't all judgy in her business.

If you have been reading this here website for any amount of time you already know I'm a girl's girl. While romantically I happen to like men, on a social level I get women. I understand us. I feel like I am part of the tribe. I need my girlfriends, I need the bond that comes from women sharing an experience. I support women. If you want to wear a burqua or wear a micro-mini, I support your decision. But I have had my moments, my catty, insecure moments. At my second Book Expo I remember making a snide remark about a fellow author who was wearing what I called a "slutty buy-my-book dress" and later I felt so bad about it, like I had sold out my own gender. I was feeling insecure so I denigrated her. Thank God I am past that crappy period in my life.

It's important to me to be a girl's girl, I work at it. When I hear someone say, "I've never really been a girl's girl..." what I hear is "...I talk shit about other women and try to sleep with their husbands." I do not date other women's husbands. You would absolutely fall over if you knew the amount of random, unsolicited email I get from married men. You know that recent Anthony Weiner weiner scandal? Didn't surprise me one bit -- but the women who kept chatting with the married Congressmen were complicit, too. I believe women have a responsibility to each other to draw the line. I have a line in the moral sand then I refuse to cross, it's a girl-code thing, I do it because it's right and it's real. And I try not to talk shit about other women (I fail sometimes, but at least I am aware of it.)

So there I was on the plane, sitting beside a woman who had the biggest heart, she was making a little toast to my new decade, sending out a hope for me into the universe. It reminded me that you just never know about people, you just never know when you will meet a kind soul in an unusual wrapper. I want my next decade to be that way, just like on the plane. Open and happy, willing and friendly, vodka tonic, good hearts in unexpected places.

Posted by laurie at June 26, 2011 7:56 PM