At the start of every year, I do a review of what worked and what didn’t – which resolutions I kept and which ones got shunted off to the side, only to be hidden in darkness. I’m happy to say that most years, there are more in the first group than in the second. Alas, the ones in the latter group tend to make it on to the next list – haunting me.
It was in this mood that I first had a conversation about becoming a Precise Girl with Pen. The idea first spawned a blog post, and then later was expanded to become one of the essays in My Letter to Fear. In honor of the new year, I’m reprinting the full essay here. For all of you with “change my life” resolutions in 2016, enjoy!
[Reprinted with permission from My Letter to Fear: Essays on Life, Love and the Search for Prince Charming]
Precise Girls Don’t
Dear Precise Girls,
You know who you are. What is your secret with your perfectly tailored and starched clothes, appropriate jewelry and hair that has never known a flyaway?
How I longed to be you. I tried. I really tried. I owned Lisa Birnbach’s The Official Preppy Handbook. I even read it. Hell, I practically committed it to memory. I should have been in!
Is Aimee still your ring-leader? I remember her well.
Sure, she was smart, but more than that she was precise. Two turtlenecks, an oxford under a pink or green sweater topped off with a blue blazer looked effortless and chic – or as chic as any 15 year old really looks.
I always looked lumpy. Breasts came early for me. Yippee. I know that there were some girls who pined to move on from training bras, but I just spent a lot of time trying to find a way to make my breasts and short-waisted self look less like a pink and green troll. Good thing I was also branded with an Izod.
Even Aimee’s hair was precise. When it was long, it fell in waves down her back. When it was bobbed, it had a razor’s edge. My hair? It’s as though each individual strand wanted to leave my head in a different direction. Frankly, it still does.
Though I haven’t seen Aimee in 20 years, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t:
- worry about having children—I’m sure she gestated a human when the designated time arrived;
- count chocolate as a legitimate food group;
- have pants two inches too long because she was too lazy to get them tailored;
- step over things strewn across the floor instead of putting things away;
- leave her dry cleaning at the cleaners for so long that it goes up for auction;
- make panicked calls to eyebrow artists because everything is properly maintained at all times; or
- hyperventilate during bathing suit season because appropriate exercise takes place all year.
Not that I do any of those things.
Is it too late for me? I’ve chased this dream through most of my youth before giving it up along with other frivolous things like lacey ankle socks and hope. I am reluctant to revisit an idea so riddled with teenage angst—but I can practically hear the whisper, “This time, you could be good enough.”
[If you liked the essay, and would like to read more, My Letter to Fear is available on Amazon, as well as other online retailers.]