On Being a Reluctant Career Girl
Human Parts

When I was 19, I had the great idea (insert sarcasm) to enter the Miss Richmond beauty pageant. I wasn’t in college yet and had nothing going on. I’d made first runner-up in my high school contest and figured, what the hell. Yep, this was how my mind worked. It ended up by turns uproariously funny, harrowing, surreal, and awful. Kind of like being flayed alive by a thousand pair of eyes picking apart every piece of your anatomy as you strode onstage in a swimsuit. But the worst part? The program providing a scorecard and pictures of all the young ladies and where they were attending college, along with their majors. Those of us too poor or without the grades to attend? We were called “Career Girls”. This memory came rushing back after reading your headline. Poignant and for me, cringe-inducing because yes, we were made to feel “less than” because we weren’t in school. This was the 80's after all…

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