Written by Susan Jackson
It was probably when I had auditioned for the role of Guinevere in Camelot in l969. Betsy Lindsay, had, to my surprise, made me one of three finalists for the role. Every day I wore the same outfit that expressed my “classic style” and “femininity”. And read the role and sang for her that entire week. And the blouse perfectly accentuated my figure—which did not exist. But appeared to exist with this particular top.
I’m convinced that getting that part would have changed my entire outlook about who I was and I would have started….dating. because most of my girlfriends were dating, and I. Was. Not.
After the casting, I was talking with Eddie (WHY?) and when he asked me what was wrong, I said, “I didn’t get the role,” though in retrospect, I don’t think he would have had the sensitivity to ask me that. He was dating Chris, who got the role. And he said, something to the effect of, “you’re not a girl. You’re not a woman. You’re flat”. Not having anything to do with my vocal range.
“You’re not a woman.” Didn’t I already know that? Underneath the tablecloth top (yes, I made it from a table cloth) and the long brown hair, and the intense scrutiny of Sylvia Plath, I was NOT a woman. No amount of stockings, and bras that didn’t fit, and girdles (WHAT?) and loafers could ever persuade the world, or me, that I was a woman.
When I was at summer camp, I was talking with one of the counselors—and I got upset. He asked me why and I said, “I’m not developing” or something like that. And he said, “don’t worry, when you are sixteen, you’re start.” Developing? Who the hell comes it with that kind of word to describe growing breasts??
I was 16.
And then there was Stuart, who told me when I was 14, that if he massaged my boobs, they would grow. Even I knew then he was lying. But he played in the band. Nope! Never touched them, or me, after he played for my birthday party. OR, BEFORE!
Ironically, it was when I was most skinny in California (read: small breasted) that men found me attractive—albeit 30 odd years later.
Oh yeah, and then in college, I went braless. When I got in trouble with the school for “apparently studying with a boy” (I WAS), the counselor said, “you should wear a bra. That will solve all your problems.”
So, I’ve been wearing a bra for the rest of my life, and yeah, all my problems are solved.
3GT Playwright Susan Jackson received the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Original Play. Her works have been staged- read/produced in New York City–Off-Broadway, the Bay Area, Eugene O’Neill Foundation, William Inge New Works Festival, Sydney, Sedona, Guerneville, London and South Carolina. Her plays–finalists and semi-finalists: Fusion Theatre Company, Creede Repertory Theatre, South Carolina Centre Stage, and Little Black Dress Ink Women’s Theatre Festival. She’s a Resident Playwright for 3Girls Theatre Co, and alumni of Playground. Her first project with 3Girls was SAMARITAN, which was a finalist for the Henley Rose Competition for Female Playwrights. Since then MIRACLE LAKE, HUDSON’S WIFE, and
(2020) SWIMMING WITH PUPPIES have been Finalists for the 3Girls Theatre Festival. She’s won Best of Capital Fringe and received a positive review for DEATH BE NOT LOUD! in the Washington Post. DBNL went on to be co-produced by 3Girls Theatre Company, and TBA recommended. Her works have been published by Smith and Kraus. She was invited to participate in the first William Inge Festival and attended the Mid-America Theatre Conference. WHEN YOU ARE CALLED (solo at the Marsh, co-written with Diana Brown) was also co-produced by 3Girls. Coming soon! WORTHY ENOUGH, the story of Lorena and Dr. Sylvia—PTSD after the election culminating in shopping for organic heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods, Spring, 2020—the Phoenix. www.southernrailroadtheatrecompany.com.