There is probably one in every neighborhood. In ours, it was Gloria.
She was the first one to have patent leather dime loafers. We lined up to look at them because we’d never seen loafers in black patent leather.
Gloria was the first to have saddle oxfords, too. Whenever there was something new, she was always the first to have it.
Gloria was an only child. She had a lot of aunts and uncles, and they doted on her. We played at her house because there were always plenty of games.
As far as we were concerned, Gloria had everything, and we lived in awe of her. When there was a new hair style, she had it. When there was a new bicycle, she rode it, and the rest of us followed behind, cheering her on.
This went on during all our teenage years. Gloria was the star of our show, and then suddenly, the light went out.
Her father got a new job, and they moved out of our neighborhood. Once Gloria was gone, the light was gone, too, until we found other people and other entertainment, until high school reached out to us and we got on board.
The year I was a senior, I ran into Gloria on my way home from school one day. She was with a bunch of kids hanging out at a hamburger stand. She was all dressed up and wore make-up. She looked like a movie star.
Later, I heard that Gloria had gotten a face-lift and run off to try to break into the movies.
That’s how it happened that Gloria was the first woman I ever knew who seriously changed her looks.
Since then, I’ve known women who had their nose made smaller, their lips made larger and their breasts augmented. Women who changed their faces and bodies to look like other people.
I’ve always wondered why some women are willing to pay money to look like someone else. I understand it’s not always their idea.
A friend’s sister had her breasts enlarged because her husband wanted her to have big boobs. Another woman’s husband wanted his wife to have a more curvy rear end.
Apparently, once these women agreed to make the changes their husbands desired, they had to continue the practice to keep their husbands satisfied.
Lately, I’ve heard that men who aren't physicians have even convinced women they can make their bodies more desirable for a lot less money than is normally charged.
Some women apparently are so desperate to change the way they look that they're willing to take a chance on a phony doctor and risk serious damage.
Of all the girls in our neighborhood, I would have thought Gloria would be the one who was most pleased with herself. She would be the one I would have chosen most likely to succeed. After all, she had everything.
But, of course, I realize now that I never really knew Gloria, never had the chance to discover her. We were all so busy loving her toys and playing with her games that we would not have noticed if she was unhappy.
Sometimes, when I visit the neighborhood where Gloria used to live, I think about her. I wonder whether she became the person she wanted to be.
I hope she didn't become one of those women who keep changing the way they look.
I thought she looked just fine the way she was. But maybe, she was always somebody else.