I spent the majority of my high school years wearing sweatpants with panther paw prints on the butt, or mens extra large Carolina basketball shorts that hung to my shins. Sometimes I wore the shorts under the sweatpants, actually quite often I did that.
Paired with slip-on moccasin slippers from Target and a dirty old hooded sweatshirt, comfort was my main priority.
But when my mom got me tickets to see Britney Spears for my 17th birthday I knew without a doubt I wanted to look good for this concert. Like really good. Red Converse sneakers with striped red socks good.
I think the photo speaks for itself.
The year was 2004 and Britney Spears was performing The Onyx Hotel tour in Omaha. She had been going through some shit and I just knew I had to go. She needed me. We all watched Chaotic.
So my mom drove my friend, Jeni, and I to Omaha (on a weeknight, holla!) and we both looked hot AF in our best concert attire. I’d like to say we dressed for ourselves, but I’m pretty sure we both secretly hoped we might meet cute mysterious “big city” Omaha boys that we would instantly start dating and then spend the next several weeks AOLing every night. Although I didn’t have AOL, it was more like MSN messenger.
Anyway. We looked good.
For me this meant:
1. Wearing a trucker hat. OBVI! My beloved Von Dutch hat didn’t match or I would have definitely worn that one. Instead I went with the classic “Teenage Millionaire” hat.
2. Silver hoop earrings. Hoops were everything.
3. A childrens sized I Heart NY shirt. Why? Why not?
4. A fake Kate Spade purse. What did I carry in that purse I wonder? Roll-on glitter? Perhaps some fruity Binaca breath spray? I know it wasn’t a cell phone because I was only allowed a cell phone on weekends… you know, when my mom wasn’t using it. Because once upon a time people only used cell phones for legit emergencies or road trips. And teens like me only got cell permission when their parents were feeling generous.
5. A black zip-up jacket I found in the girls locker room and took home. I don’t know why I remember this fact but I do. I occasionally hunted clothes in the lost and found boxes because I thought it was “fun.”
6. I can’t even with this jean skirt. I just can’t. I know it’s from Wet Seal. And I know I really liked it. However I also know it was only worn for special occasions like concerts in Omaha or dancing at the dirty Depot in the summer. I’m pretty sure it was made out of material better suited for a head band.
I’m also fairly certain my mom had zero problem with me wearing it on account of the fact every other day I dressed like a hungover 30 year old man.
7. And the shoes and the socks. I was going ALL OUT for this occasion. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that just because you have size 9.5 feet you should restrict yourself from wearing bright red, high top, Converse sneakers.
The concert was nothing short of amazing. Brit put on a hell of a show, as usual.
But one of the things I remember most from this night is going to the bathroom and looking in the full length mirror at the Qwest Center (now CentruyLink) and thinking, holy shit this might be the best I’ve ever looked.
Oh to be a teenager and have zero self awareness.
My friend Claire recently co authored a book called, The Awkward Phase. I just got my copy in the mail yesterday and it’s even better than I expected.
As the cover says, it’s “the uplifting tales of those weird kids you went to school with.” The beauty of this book is that it reminds us that we were ALL the weird kids. Every one of us has our own awkward tale to tell.
The stories shared in this book are from people all over the country. They’re hilarious. Sad. Happy. Uplifting. But the thing that they all have in common is that each one is full of so much emotion and honesty.
I am so honored to have a small piece published in here under the Halloween section. You might also recognize another story by blogging guru herself, Helene In Between.
Here’s just one of the many great photos found inside The Awkward Phase. It’s my friend Claire (she’s the picnic table) standing next to the Sexy Cats and I think Britney Spears.
Thumbs up, Claire. Thumbs way up.
I think every adult should read this book. And more importantly, I’d like to hand it out to every teenager. And probably some kids, too.
I’m excited that Claire’s publisher has given me the opportunity to give away one of these books today. And yes, I’m still super impressed Claire has a publisher and literary agent and all of that cool stuff. But that’s just how she rolls. Some of you might recognize her from her Twitter account @wefoughtabout, or from performing on every stage in Chicago.
So I encourage you to consider buying this awesome book and supporting a fellow female writer.
Anyway, back to the giveaway.
If you want to win a copy for yourself, just comment below and tell me briefly about your awkward phase. Was it a haircut? A love interest? A birthday party? A love interest at a birthday party? Anything goes. I think this could be a fun thread of comments to keep me entertained today so I hope you’ll humor me and play along.
Cheers to being awkward.