By Amy Boyd
Looking at the dull blue dress with the frilly white lace and the gigantic flower pin I wondered if I would survive the humiliation of putting it on.
It was the spring of 1992 and I was about to turn twelve years old and complete seventh grade. I felt wise beyond my years and eager to prove just how grown up I was. Each Easter we travelled to North Carolina from suburban Detroit to visit my grandparents, aunt, and two cousins. We drove twelve hours south to a place where spring had clearly sprung, to spend a glorious week escaping the never-ending Michigan winter. Beautiful purple and white flowering trees, green grass, and warm sunshine awaited us–along with Nannie’s cookies– fresh from the oven.
I stayed with my cousin Katie who was two years younger than I–and in my unbiased opinion, she had a lot to learn. She was my brother’s age, meaning she couldn’t fathom all of the things I had come to understand about life in middle school.
Upon my arrival I showed her all of my super-cool new vacation clothes including my white All-Star tennis shoes and my colorful knit vests. My vast array of perfectly coordinated scrunchies for each outfit didn’t seem to impress her. She had the shortest hair I had ever seen for a girl. She could lovingly be described as “self-assured” or “confident,” but could also be perceived as “bossy” or “obnoxious” in certain scenarios. She certainly did not respect my position as the more mature and cooler older cousin who had many insights about life available to her.
Katie had a surprise for me that couldn’t wait. In her twangy, North Carolina accent she practically screamed in my face, “YOU WILL LOVE MY NEW SONG!” It wasn’t an option–it was an order. You will love my new song because I do and you will too. My eyes bulged in disbelief as she blasted the song “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred. This song is definetly not appropriate–I thought to myself.
Katie had her own dance moves and knew every word. For the next three days she carried her boom box everywhere. The kitchen when Nannie came over for lunch. The bathroom when she showered. The front porch in the evenings when it seemed that the whole neighborhood was trying to take a leisurely evening walk or enjoy a quiet outdoor dinner, you could hear Katie singing along with Right Said Fred.
(play song) 03 I’m Too Sexy
“I’m too sexy for my shirt- so sexy it hurts. I’m too sexy for Milan, New York, and Japan.” He was even too sexy for his hat and his cat (oh pussy, oh pussy cat). Fred eventually realizes that his personal level of sexiness makes him too sexy for his own song and then my humiliation was over until Katie rewound the tape and played it again!
I think that nothing can be worse than days on end of sexiness when Katie reveals that she has a special surprise for my birthday. Pulling back the paper on my birthday gift the next day in front of my entire family and my grandmother I’m praying–please don’t let it be a tape of I’m Too Sexy! Instead my fate is much worse.
The very next day is Easter and Katie has picked out matching dresses for us to wear. Oh the horror of matching my cousin who is a ten-year-old child–AND wearing a dress made for children.
The next morning while I was contemplating how to get out of wearing the blue dress, Katie called me to the bathroom. I sighed and slowly walked to the door. Suddenly the door flung open and Katie had her arms above her head clutching either side of the door frame. The look on her face was exhilarated and insane with pure joy and then out of nowhere she began lip synching “I’m Too Sexy” and modeling her new dress on the catwalk up and down the hallway. My cool, middle school façade crumbled as I began to laugh. I put on my matching dress and strutted my stuff on the catwalk while feeling much to sexy for myself and loving every minute of it.