Anyone who knows their way around the “Friday” franchise is familiar with that quote. I can smile as I think of my younger brother’s friends who charmingly referred to me with that greeting from time to time. I was amused at the time and feigned flattery. Now as I look back, flattered is exactly what I should have been. I recall being told that the actress who played Ms. Parker, Kathleen Bradley, was a former Miss Black California and had been a model on the Price Is Right. I “tah–tahed” that off, because as a part of the cult-following of the movie itself, almost all of the characters were special in their own rights.
Over the years there have been remarks some complimentary others had undertones of jealousy, judgement and judgmental. Being tall a lady makes one stand out. Yes, I emphatically consider myself a lady. I do not believe I have done anything to exclude myself from that classification. I am mostly amused by the reactions of my contemporaries and counterparts. I can only imagine what goes through their heads when a person who falls in the average category sees me (standing 5’10 in my bare feet) wearing heels and a dress that reveals my legs. Legs that probably look like they are far longer than they actually are. The standards of size, beauty, what is and is not acceptable, varies from one being to the next. Then the judgements begin.
When I used to deliver mail, female carriers had uniforms that included an item called culottes (split skirts). Doing a physical job like that, it is imperative that one is comfortable. The culottes were my choice. Neat, clean, and in approved standard attire I was still subject to snide little off-color comments. I was younger so not only did I not care, but I also had answers back for my critics and commentors. Years/decade later I still meet with the same types of critiques. I am fortunate enough to have decent health, I also try to stay healthy, I eat fairly good, I go to the gym daily, and I follow my physician’s advice. When I walk past the ladies in my community, a senior community that I bother to pick up trash around (that other have not so courteously dropped), and I greet them I am well aware that they do not approve of my look. If I am honest, I have to say, I STILL really do not care. I am not harming anyone and just like my old letter carrier uniform; neat, clean, and within the approved standard of… in this case decent. What I wear has all to do with MY comfort; how I feel and how I feel I look.
In my mind see Ms.Parker bending over in her shorts watering the grass, I wonder if I appear that way to people in the neighborhood. I am not even close to her image, but when we talk about perceptions who knows. One thing for certain, no one around this community will be invited in to “pray with me or “prey” upon me.