Wonder Woman and the Lingerie of Doom

When I was a kid, I pretty much wanted to be anyone but me. I still do some days, only now it's somewhat less socially-acceptable for me to tell people my name is, say, Daisy Duke.

It was my poor mother who had to deal with the aftermath of my enthusiastic imagination. And looking back, I can see now why I might have owed mom an apology... or five.

Ladies in the local mall would see ol' mom and I out for the afternoon, lean down to knee-level and query: "And what's your name, little girl?"

"Mary Ellen," I'd reply promptly. Or "Erin," or "Elizabeth," or even-- on one occasion, I'm told-- "John Boy" would escape my lips.

I wasn't particular. As long as you lived on Walton's Mountain, you were in the rotation.

"Oh, Mary Ellen! Such a pretty name!" the nice lady, aka, total dupe would coo.

"Her name's not Mary Ellen," my mother would clarify, looking like she wished the mall's tile floor would just swallow her up now...

Anywhere far away from the humiliation of small people who had more creativity than front teeth.

"We need to watch fewer Waltons."

Of course, the Waltons were just one group in my vast repertoire. I also spent a lot of time being Nancy Drew, the aforementioned Miss Duke, and my perennial favorite-- Wonder Woman.

And Wonder Woman was especially great because that involved two key wardrobe sets-- the second of which became a big reason for apology.

One was my official Wonder Woman swimsuit, printed in stars, a strategically-placed eagle and the words "Wonder Woman" at the waist-- the latter of which I was sure the Amazon princess herself would consider total overkill, as I did.

This dazzler in man-made fibers was complemented by my Wonder Woman accessory kit, complete with plastic tiara, utility belt, bracelets and Magic Lasso (read: a length of yellow string). I'd saved my fifty cents a week allowance from chores to get this for myself, at a piggy-bank-breaking $6.

It was worth every penny.

Sure, the bulletproof bracelets cracked about a month into it-- proving that even on Paradise Island, the manufacturing can be shoddy. These were replaced by two gold-plated slave bracelets I bought from an elderly lady at a garage sale at a quarter a piece.

At six, sometimes you had to improvise.

And improvise I did. The second Wonder Woman ensemble-- and the day of its official unveiling-- became one my mother was not soon to forget.

Let me start by saying, for any of you who didn't watch the Wonder Woman TV series in the late 70s, sometimes the character would go home to her Amazonian birthplace-- Paradise Island-- and visit her folks.

The fashions there leaned toward early Greek couture, filmy toga-esque creations in whites and pastels.

But to my six-year-old mind, they were not entirely unlike... say... a one-piece slip with a push-up bra built into it.

As luck would have it, I had one of these! It had been my mother's and its function as a garment, I learned later, was to go under the dress-up dresses I'd been allowed to play with.

Yet it was inconceivable to me that something so silky, so lacy, so... automatically built-in with boobs... would have to be hidden under a lot of stupid clothes.

And darn, if it didn't look so right with my utility belt, bracelets, tiara and two small ends of Leggs egg-shaped pantyhose containers put into the boob holders!

Now, I'd worn my Paradise Island outfit in my room many a day, when I'd needed some motherly advice from the Queen of the Amazons... Or, y'know, just to get a little vacation from my secret-identity in the military.

I had not, apparently, showcased it to the world.

So when my mother had a couple of friends over with children my age-- why, as soon as we began playing superheroes, I knew the Paradise Island costume's day had finally come!

I recall rushing upstairs to put it on... To secure that utility belt... To get that tiara tilted just right. I cracked open the Leggs Pantyhose egg containers and tucked those in, too-- instant boob job!

A quick glance in the mirror showed the regalest princess-superhero North Central Jersey had seen in a while.

I ran back down the stairs into the basement rec room, where everyone was congregated, and I expected all the super-heroic action to be met with cheers...

Wonder Woman had arrived!

Instead, a shriek emanated from my mother, echoing off the wood paneled walls like the final cry of a dying Canada goose.

"GAAAAH! What are you doing?!"

"I-I'm-I'm Wonder Woman!" I stammered, thinking this was abundantly obvious. I indicated the tiara. I pointed out the utility belt as evidence.

"You go back upstairs right now and put your clothes on!" Mom's face was a deep brown-red tomato color, like a sauce that had been simmering on a too-high burner.

The faces of mom's friends were pale and blank.

It was some time before I came to realize what I had done wrong...

To me, yes, I had shared the greatest, most perfect costume improv in the history of superhero dress up.

To mom, I had just showcased her skivvies to half the neighborhood.

Of course, saving the world from super-villians has its price. But a savvy six-year-old superhero realizes that that bit of philosophy is probably one best kept to herself.

Did you have a favorite character you wanted to be when you were a kid? And did you... accesorize?



Anonymous said...

I'm not sure so a favorite character as various characters from TV shows, such as S.W.A.T., random S.W.A.T. guy. I even had the helmet. Or I had a Star Trek walkie talkie, although I'm pretty sure if I were random Star Trek guy, I didn't want to be the one that got killed.

Jenn Thorson said...

Unfinishedrambler- Heh, so you were some random Trek guy who worked with Spock and Kirk, or did they not enter in to your storylines? And who did you walkie-talkie to-- or did you only have one? :)

Midwest Mom said...

That story is *priceless*. Yes, I thought my only slip was just about the most beautiful princess dress a girl could dream of. Why, it had lace trim and everything!

... but I never once thought about putting leggs eggs into it to make breasts.

You win the prize for that one.

- Julia at Midwest Moms

(btw, did you read my daughter's girl power wonder woman story last week? You, of all people would appreciate it.)

Jenn Thorson said...

Julia- We had a LOT of Leggs eggs containers around for some reason. They were just ASKING to be recycled. :)

I'll have to check out your Wonder Woman story!

Tiggy said...

You had a Wonder Woman costume?




Jenn Thorson said...

Tiggy- The enjoyment of wearing my beloved Wonder Woman swimsuit was, admittedly, balanced by the pain of outgrowing it. :)

Waltsense.com said...

JENN - you know what's around the corner? Halloween! Time to dust off the suit and rock it! OR go to a custome store and buy a new one.

Jenn Thorson said...

Walt- Heh, current me in that sort of costume would be more of a Chunder Woman, I think. :) Ah, but I'll always have the memories!

DeadRooster said...

Most people don't know this, but I used to be Batman. Also, the Green Hornet.

Shhh! Don't tell anyone. :)

Jenn Thorson said...

DeadRooster- I can pick up on the Batman vibe, actually. And you already have the Dead Rooster Mansion, so it's a bit like Bruce Wayne. Only without the butler and limitless wealth.

Shirley said...

Did you have a favorite character you wanted to be when you were a kid?

Yes, mine was Wonder Woman as well and Princess Leah

And did you... accessorize? Well, I am a girl. :) I had WW underoos, bracelets, a crown those were home made. I stole the clothesline for my lasso of truth. Much to my delight my brother was always screaming cause I could never untangle him.

Princess Leah... A white sheet and winter ear muffs.

Michael Rivers said...

I have always loved Superheros so that's the characters I went over. I was Batman and Superman often (I lived for the reruns of the Adam West as Batman and George Reeves Superman series). I even wanted to be Wonder Woman. I loved how she spun around and the big explosion happened. I had Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman action figures.

Truth be told, my bathroom is done in a Superman theme. I just did a blog post about it!

Jenn Thorson said...

Shirley- Ah, Underoos were THE BEST. Clothesline made a great Lasso of Truth. And I love your improve with the earmuffs-- clever girl, you!

Michael- Oh yeah, that 60s Batman was such fun. It was a toss up for me whether I wanted to be Batgirl or Julie Newmar as Catwoman. It's probably just as well I didn't try to do makeshift costumes for that. :)

Very cool about your Superman themed bathroom!

C.B. Jones said...

I wanted to be Powdered Toast Man when Ren & Stimpy were popular. My folks taught me not to fart here peoples faces, so It never really panned out for me.

I wonder if Powdered Toast only tastes good if some costumed doofus breaks wind before you eat it. I also wonder why it isn't a real product.

The answer to one question may lead the answer to the other one.

timethief said...

This was a hilarious piece and reading it informed me of all I missed by being a home schooled country kid living off the grid. Although I was not expose to the super heroes city kids identified with I invented my own.

One was, the Celtic Goddess Epona and as a kid who grew up in a horse trainer's family I rocked my grandpas' world when I rode by on our stallion bareback and erm ... naked. My parents had a little talk with me about it and I came to accept the fact that I was expected to wear clothing at all time that I wasn't alone with my mother. What a downer!

Jenn Thorson said...

C.B.- Hm, maybe some super-heroic dreams are best left unmet. :)

TimeThief- Ah, the Gods and Goddesses were easily the very first superheroes, so even off-the-grid, you were tapping into the same fine tradition of supernatural power... and apparently, dress code violations... that we were. :) Very funny.

vision2eyes@gmail.com said...

great blog keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

I think we were ALL Wonder Woman at some point (myself included). Although my sister's bedazzled, star-speckled bathing suite and tights wouldn't fit me. Don't think I didn't try!

I also went through a McGyver stage. (Don't ask). And at one point I wanted to be the cool, blondish guy, "Face" on the A-Team, but that didn't last long. The idea of traveling around in a van full of ex-military types didn't appeal to me. (Hey, wait...let me re-think that one...)

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

When I was little I looked up to my much, much, much, much and much older brother (Unfinished Rambler). To look more like him (at that time) I put on fake "porn star" mustache and thick-rimmed glasses, shorts that showed off my weight legs and socks that pulled up to my knees. I thought I was just the coolest thing ever.

Then I grew up and learned he was/is a dork. ;-)

Jenn Thorson said...

MadTexter- Heh, the MacGyver thing made me laugh. Two of my friends used to regularly argue over which of them would marry MacGyver.

And I used to LOVE the A-Team. Remember when there were complaints that it was the most violent show on television? :)

Lisa- Haaaaa.... That mustache. Rambler was the only teenager I ever saw who looked 45.

Anonymous said...

I grew up wishing I was Astro Boy. I loved that he had eyes that lit up like headlights in the dark, fingers that shot laser beams, and a machinegun bottom... not to mention that he could fly through the sky with rocket powered feet! I never did act on it though, because even as an impressionable young 'un, even I realised how silly it would look to waltz about in public in my underpants!

ReformingGeek said...

BatGirl Rocks!

Jenn Thorson said...

Tony- Probably just as well... That machine gun bottom could get tricky.

ReformingGeek- Totally. She even made librarians cool. :)

Sujatha said...

All I remember is when my mom said I could go to the school Halloween party dressed in formal Indian clothes and dub myself a princess of India. I talked her out of it, and went as a standard issue witch, homemade black cloak and hat. I was delirious with joy over that!

(BTW, you're seriously tagged!)

Anonymous said...

I'm here from When Fangirls Attack, and I thought your story was hilarious!

When I was a little girl in the late 90's/early 00's, I used to dress up as either a Jedi or a witch from Hogwarts and run around in my backyard, slaying imaginary battle droids and casting spells. I had a cheap robe and lightsaber and everything! Not to mention that it was very easy to find a "wand" what with the abundance of sticks in my backyard. Good times...

screwdestiny said...

That was too funny. And I don't know what your mom's problem was; I thought your costume sounded boss.

Robin said...

Too cute!

Robert Crane said...

mine was a simple beach towel from asbury park new jersey that dangled from my shoulders, ala superman. that and ten bowls of wheaties were a guarantee i could fly over the tree tops that graced our back yard. unfortunately, my counting to ten skills were not completely developed, leaving me constantly short-changed on lift-off. all this to the constant angst and embarrassment of my three younger brothers.

i have an audio version of the story at my blog for those who are finishing up with watching rocks erode, and have nothing else pressing.

Onestar said...

I freely admit, Lynda Carter was my first teenage crush.

The woman is still amazingly beautiful.