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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crowns and Fingerprints

   This happened 40 years ago ... while I was in kindergarten. Boy, did I hate kindergarten. It was in the early seventies, and at this school I had my first run in with gender roles. The teachers being less fanatic at it than the children!
   Before I went to kindergarten I had always played with my brother and my back door neighbours: three brothers. Even the girl next door had a brother and they played with my brother and me, the four of us. So I was used to playing with boys and doing boys games. Watch me play soccer!

   At kindergarten I joined the boys to play with the cars. Guess what? These urchins scolded me and sent me away to the "dolls corner" . That was the area for girls. Girls were not supposed to play with boys, nor with cars.
   Lucky for me there was a dirty old bear in the dolls corner that the other girls didn't want to play with, because I did not want to play with the dolls.  I hated those all-too-sweet faces with the unnaturally pursed lips (was I being sharp on mouths at that time already?) And now that I had started to go to kindergarten,  I hated those faces even more. Because I noticed when the blond girls in my class, the ones with the angelic faces, ratted on me, I was convicted! No defence. The blondie was always telling the truth, and I was never believed**.

   One day 'Dolf' and his friends decided to make paper crowns and sashes. -I don't really remember if the boy's name was Dolf or if I called him that, because he had a T-shirt with a dolphin on it.-  Anyway, the boys asked the the teacher to give them paper (cut to size) and I asked for it too. They quickly drew into a tight circle around a table shutting me out. I heard Dolf whisper he was going to make the best one ever, because he was going to decorate his crown and sash with animals. And I noticed he had taken some of the animal shapes, precut templates, from the cabinet. -Apparently we used to decorate them with geometrical figures, probably precut circles, stars and squares?-

    I decided to outperform little Dolfie. Took some of the animal patterns and instead of going for the colouring pencils, I took scissors, glue and transparent paper.  I remember red and dark blue. Not being able to close up ranks on my own, I squeezed myself in between two cabinets,  my back to the classroom.
   Normally, I was pretty slow (still am), but I worked hard to get my crown and sash finished at the same time as those boys did.  Just as I was glueing the two ends of my sash together, the teacher asked the attention of the class. She pointed at the crowns and sashes of the boys, while they were wearing them. Dolf's was the last one shown. He was even allowed to stand on a chair, because his was soooo beautiful: he had drawn animals on it and coloured them. He  was gloating!
  And then, tadaa! Like a devil out of a box, I  jumped from my hidy hole and showed a crown and sash with translucent animals (I was smart enough to glue the coloured paper on the backsides to let the shape come out better).  The teacher held them close to the lamp to show it and declared my creation the best one. I don't know if I gloated, I must have.  I only recall enjoying Dolfie's p.... off face. Hah, girls could be better than boys!
(Me, vindictive?)

   Why did I think of that ancient victory?  Well, maybe it wasn't even the victory that came up, more the hard work, solo, squeezed in between those cabinets. Working on a self-proclaimed challenge.  I obviously haven't changed much.
   I'm currently spending A LOT of time squeezed in, in my attic (which serves as my living room, kitchen, bedroom and studio) and cut scenes from my favourite films and TV series. I have set up a quite movie database for this and  I plan to put these clips together from a viewpoint I expressed in my blogs Winks,  Twitches and Spoken Words and What's in the name?  I call my project 'Actor's Fingerprints' and I have absolutely no idea how it will turn out. Will I press the delete button in the end or do I jump out of my attic (not through the window of course) shouting 'Tadaa!' ?
   Only time will tell. I have 190 cuts already and over 40 'titles' left to plough through.

** Yes, you suppose right, I am not blond, my hair is what the dutch would call  'the milkman's dog's hair'.

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