It all started when I was an awkward, mercilessly ugly 12-year-old. I had braces and those poofy late '80s bangs. My nose was too big for my face, my chest too flat for my frame and my ass—oh that ass!—entered the room three feet behind me. (Keep in mind this was the Calvin Klein heroin-chic era, Pre-JLo, Beyonce and Kardashian. Unless you wanted to attract Sir Mix-A-Lot, a bubble butt was social leprosy.) So while the other girls were blossoming and growing into their bodies, I was the dork in the corner with the unibrow and granny panties. Judy Blume: Crucial Sex Education For Young Girls
And then I discovered what would drastically alter the direction of my life: a stack of Playboys in my step-grandfather's closet. The women on those glossy pages intrigued me—they wielded power; they were highly acclaimed objects of lust and envy. I wanted the same. And despite the fact that, appearance-wise, I was far from Playmate material, I realized that some of the things those women were doing were attainable: I could master the art of the smoldering stare. I could pout my lips and trail my finger across my chest. I could arch my back and simulate oral sex on phallus-shaped objects to attract male attention (and, in turn, female envy). I could do this! That day, a flirt was born. I immediately incorporated Playboy-Model Practice Hour into my daily repertoire, locking my bedroom door so I could writhe on the floor, mimicking the women's provocative poses and alluring facial expressions.
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From there, things evolved rapidly. One day I was wearing overalls (one strap up and one strap down, of course) and the next I was wearing my mom's lace teddy over my clothes in an attempt to channel Madonna. And while she wouldn't let me wear said ensemble to school, she did let me wear it for Halloween—the first of many Halloweens where I'd dress like a low-rent prostitute.