The Arithmetic of Girl Beauty

After "The Brady Bunch," "Scooby Doo," and "Gilligan's Island"

Ginger Hendrix


Marcia Sucks. This is what Jan thought-

all that Other Girl angst rolled up inside her

like the hole in a donut, and only Alice the Maid


to sympathize - Velma never said so, but she

hated Daphne. For the scarf. Gimme that scarf,

she must have been thinking. The day


Marianne took a coconut to the head,

got all dressed up in Ginger's other dress, the one

with the sparkles, and sang I Wanna Be


Loved By You as she shimmied to the edge

of the bamboo stage, I was leaning in

with all of me: Tell him. Please tell him,


Marianne.The Professor never heard

the truth. And we never said You be Ginger

or I'll be Marianne. We knew the picking


had been done - two kinds of girls in the world:

You never saw two Beauties together,

though occasionally Others would pair up


and turn their backs on possibility. Beauties

were not nice to us, but we needed their fair

proximity. There were dark hallways


to stand in with the boys who adored

them, bottles to spin, tree houses to crouch in.

And they needed us. There had to be three


for kissing: one boy, one girl he wants to kiss,

and another one to make it look like it's kissing

he wants, not the girl. It was a simple matter


of finite, mathematical sets of three. Now

when I drive my car now on open roads,

this is what I look for, what I know one day


I'll see: Velma in a scarf, hightailing it down

a dirt road behind the round wheel of that

Mystery Machine; Marianne with her hair let down


from those crimping bands; and Jan, the secret

locket wrapped around her fist like a dull-toned

brass knuckles. I'll slow my car,


pull over to the side, and let them tear past.

And I know they'll be waving right at me

through a cloud of dust -- majorettes in a hazy parade.


© Ginger Hendrix


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