a unique perspective on this crazy world

who is “that girl?” ;)

I am really dating myself with this reference but since I have put my age into the public record, no secrets will be revealed 🙂  A few weeks ago I stumbled by accident on TV reruns of “That Girl”.  It had a fairly short run – but obviously long enough to be in syndication 🙂


“That Girl” never had the power or cultural prominence of “Mary Tyler Moore” but they both informed my childhood view of women – and reinforced the idea that women could be strong and independent that I was so lucky to have as my childhood motif courtesy of my crazy, think-outside-the box family 🙂

“That Girl” was a little extra special for me because the actress featured was named “Marlo”.  Obviously my great uncle Elmo must have been a secret fan of the show because he never got that my name ended in an “a”, not an “o”.  But “Marla” was a strange Martian name in the small towns of my childhood and “Marlo” was so much closer than all the other “M” names I got called because I was shy and soft spoken so I was grateful 🙂

No doubt Zooey Deschanel is referencing “That Girl” in “The New Girl”.  Almost nothing in the 21st century is as “new” as advertised – it’s most often just an update.

Shockingly to me, this is my 100th post!  So I thought it should be personal and introspective.  I am not Marlo – or Zooey – but I like to think I have updated my own version of “That Girl.”

The show was a cheesy trifle so I suspect my version of “That Girl” is a little deeper than the producers of the 60s would have been envisioning…

I think I am better at the “that” part than the “girl” part.  In my family, there were only two offspring.  Whether nature, nurture or divine intervention, I was happy to be the substitute son while my sister revelled in everything girlie.

paris early days

She embraced pink, skirts, jewelry… I refused to wear pink on principle.  I drove my mother to the edge of madness by wearing the same pair of brown sweatpants during high school so many times they started to disintegrate.  Finally, at age 31, when the man I wanted to be perfect enough to marry proved to be a bit more challenging, I finally succumbed to my mother’s pressure to pierce my ears…  I think it was my first girlie moment – changing my appearance to mark frustration with a relationship milestone…

The years go by… and all of us grow up… even if it takes a while… so I am scribbling this wearing a skirt, fuschia tights and special edition 007 Swarovski earrings cool enough to get a thumbs up from the gorgeous Parisian hostess at the restaurant.

It took over three decades but I eventually figured the “that” part of “that girl” was the most interesting part.  A four-letter word with all kinds of meaning attached.

I only saw one re-run but I think the concept is “That Girl” is memorable.  She is not lost in the crowd.  So, if you aspire to be “That Girl” you are going to have to be interesting…

I’m not sure I have totally achieved that goal yet.  But I am making progress!

As part of my spectacular 50th year (only a few months left), I relived my Hermes experience.  In the strange loop that is my life, my first Hermes visit happened when I ran off to Paris for the first time on my own just as I about to embark on a surreal love affair that would result in my European marriage.

In those days I had a regular job – or the kind of irregular permanent job that meant I worked at least 60 hours a week every week so taking vacation time was practically impossible and my best hope was over the Christmas holidays.  I had just met the German guy and we were trading emails… back in the old days when we had to write them at work on our lunch break… but it made the communication more exciting.  He had just bought an apartment and, being a practical German engineer, wasn’t ready for me to descend on the exact dates I could convince my boss to sign off on.  So I went to Paris first.

Paris in January with a strong umbrella and a good sense of humour when the umbrella just ended up in knots in the wind.  Don’t go to Paris in January!  But it was the only chance I had.  And the Australian had made me take the metro all the time while we sat underground and he dissed Paris the entire time so I knew I had to take the city back on my own terms…

I live in a city where it is famous for rain so I will always have fond memories of walking the streets of Paris in the rain with my broken umbrella…   No Aussie jackass to spoil my love of the city of light and a budding romance a few days away in Deutschland.  It could have been a film 😉

And in the photo montage, no doubt I would have been buying my first Hermes scarf.  When I was traveling with the Aussie dude on my very first trip to Paris, I was traveling on $50 a day and there wasn’t really money for postcards…  so it was a promise to myself… someday… I would return to Paris and buy a real Hermes scarf… at the shop on Faubourg St Honore.

The first experience was just OK.  I was easily intimidated by the sales associate and walked away with something… but the true satisfaction  that should have come from such an expensive purchase had always eluded me… so, in the end, my second Hermes scarf not only marked my 50th year but also bookended my European marriage – and highlighted how far I had come in the past 15 years.

This time I was confident and in charge of the sales associate, rather than vice versa, and walked away with a gorgeous scarf that should end up bequeathed in my will.

I’m not sure if I am “that girl”, “the new girl” or simply “this girl”.  But, what is clear to me is the journey I have already undertaken and the confidence the “current girl” has.

It is the confidence of age and experience, worn lightly, making an Hermes scarf seem heavy by comparison.

This trip was practical.  I wasn’t a tourist.  There was no requirement for stories or adventures.  And – compared to most of my travels – it was pretty low-key.  But, in an effort to stay awake and combat jet lag on Friday night, I wandered into one of those bar-lounge-bistro-etc type places that only exist in France and was rewarded with more than just a 3 euro glass of great Cote du Rhone.

They had seemed determined I should sit… so ended up at a table almost in the lap of the guy strumming guitar and singing the kind of French chansons you would normally hear on the soundtrack of a film festival selection at Cannes.

I was happy to just listen but he kept smiling at me… in that come hither way that Latin guys have that is deadly… and he was a shaggy haired piece of French manhood with a great voice and a seductive delivery…

I gathered the table next to me was composed of his close friends, who spoke almost no English.  I really need to work on my language skills!   It was all not very clear… but it seemed I might be being set up with one of their friends who spoke English… Chanteur guy seemed sad I was leaving… and there may have been an interesting story there if I had stayed but sometimes you have to be the girl who knows what she really needs is some sleep!

Don’t worry… it doesn’t happen very often 🙂  My goal is to make my real life surpass all the treacly TV episodes and prove that real people are cooler than anyone on TV – fiction or reality TV fact…

Stay tuned! 😉




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