Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Which One Are You?

I’m writing the third book in a trilogy. As the three heroines (and I) have gotten to know each other, details about their lives have cropped up and I realize how certain physical things that we have no control over shape our history. For example, one character didn’t have a date until college. She was satisfied with the romances that she imagined, and the hero cannot understand that this beautiful woman wasn’t hounded by a bunch of guys. Well, she was a late bloomer. She didn’t look old enough to date when she was in high school.

By contrast, another heroine in the trilogy has one of those curvy bodies we A-cup high school girls envied. She learned early the power of her womanly figure (okay, breasts) and pretty much accepts the magic it (they) wielded over men. It’s been great fun pairing her with a man who for the last two books (theirs is the third in the trilogy) has made it a point never to look below her collarbone. Cassandra doesn’t flaunt herself, nor is she particularly smug about her attributes, but she is quite aware of them. As an early flower, she’s had plenty of time to become accustomed to them.

I was somewhere in the middle, but more to the late bloomer side. Two of my best friends had stuff up top when I could still wear an undershirt. And I had a baby face for years. It makes a difference, I think, in how others see and treat you. With that little kid body and little girl face, it was a long time before boys wanted to do anything but keep me safe from the playground bully.

One of my sons is an early flower (Son 1), while the other is a late bloomer. It’s interesting to watch how that affects them day-to-day. Both have their pluses and their minuses.

What about you? Late bloomer? Early flower? In my reading tastes, I really enjoy a late bloomer story, which is often tied to the ugly-duckling-turned-swan premise. But I’m having fun with my luscious—and stacked—Cassandra.


Betina Krahn said...

Christie, what an interesting question. Yes, how quickly you develop has a profound effect on how you approach the world and on how you adjust to it.

I was an early bloomer. . . tatas in fifth grade. Which spawned quite a bit of gossip and started a whole "friends" trauma. I reached my full height in sixth grade and always looked 4 or 5 years older than my age. Got asked out by my brother-in-law's groomsman at their wedding-- when I was just entering 9th grade! The college guy was humiliated to learn from my brother-in-law that I was still in junior high.

Guys my own age didn't know what to make of me. . . made sly comments and quietly ogled. . . but otherwise stayed away. Worse yet, I was smart and made good grades: double intimidation. It took a year or two of college for me to normalize relations with the opposite sex.

I hadn't thought about how it affects my writing and reading. Hmmm. . . I guess I gravitate to the "early bloomer" stories, but I do love a good "ugly duckling."

Interesting stuff, Christie!

Playground Monitor said...

I was a late bloomer too. Didn't have my first date til college and was waaaaaaay behind on the learning curve. My first kiss nearly terrified me and once I got back to my dorm room, I was almost nauseous from stress. And the first time a guy tried to cop a feel, I just burst into tears.

I like late bloomer stories and ugly duckling ones too since I considered myself an ugly duckling.

Great topic!


flchen1 said...

Hmm... I think I definitely tend towards late-bloomer personally, and I do enjoy those premises in the stories I read. Of course our own experiences color our appreciation for the stories and characters we read. But the wonderful thing about books is that they let me see what it's like to be someone other than who I am, so I can "be" a Cassandra for a change ;)

catslady said...

I was 16 so probably not early or late but then I married my first love so I was out of the race by 18 lol.

Michele Hauf said...

I'm identifying more with a mid-bloomer. DIdn't have my first boyfriend until twelfth grade. Never really appreciated the power of the ta-tas until it was too late. 'nuf said. ;-)

Debra Dixon said...

Christie-- Interesting.

I was an early bloomer but I prefer late bloomer stories. Hmm...there's probably some deep psychological insight into that. LOL!

Keri Ford said...

I'm a way late bloomer. First day of 7th grade and a teacher stopped me in the hall and asked how I ended up in the jr.high/high school building and did I need help getting back to elementary. That's one to make you feel really old and mature. I was graduated, married, and at work a customer asked why I wasn't ever in school.

I lost my jr. high look when I got the freshman 15. THE BEST WEIGHT I'VE EVER GAINED (why can't I get anymore weight gain like that?). It gave me curves and filled me out where I was still lanky and awkward.

Christie Ridgway said...

Sorry for the silence, guys. I was having ISP trouble this a.m. after I posted. Grr. Things seem to be working now.

Betina: That had to be tough for you. Son 1 had some trouble in 6th grade when some older kid was trying to start a rumor that he had been held back cuz he looked so big! That was in summer school, though, and when the rest of his elementary school buddies showed up in September that was laid to rest. Plus, he has a friend an inch taller than he is!

Christie Ridgway said...

flchen1: I was thinking that exactly, today. That it's fun to experience the other side through a book! Cassandra knows the power of the ta tas (to use Betina's words) and I wonder why I don't feel bad about her using that power (or try to use it) when she can. Is it like a guy lifting heavy things to impress a girl?

It is why I put her together with the hero who knows exactly what she's doing and is determined to resist!

Christie Ridgway said...

Marilyn: I think it's really sweet that you cried when a guy tried to cop a feel. My first kiss did not go well because I didn't get the tongue thing at all.

Keri: There are very few happy weight gains, but that sounds like a good one.

Jane said...

I was definitely a late bloomer. I looked like a little kid when I was in high school. I didn't really start feeling like a real woman until I was in college.

Estella said...

I was a mid bloomer, and then married at 18, so was out of the running.

Christie Ridgway said...

Jane: We have a picture of me as a senior in high school--I so look like a little kid. Then in other shots I appear more my age. By senior year in college, I looked somewhat more grown up. I definitely felt more like a real woman!

Estella: I was just telling Surfer Guy about today's blog topic (he's been my boyfriend or my fiance or my husband since I was 19) and he told me I'm still flowering! I'm pretty sure he meant it as a compliment, though when I type it it doesn't come off quite right.

Helen Brenna said...

Fun topic, Christie.

Late bloomer here.

Liza said...

Great topic. I was a late bloomer too.