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A Consequential Coming of Age

After half a lifetime of dating, one woman realizes her most torrid affair had been with a girl—whose brash style had indelibly influenced the woman she'd become

Page: 7 of 8
  • But there were also times when I found myself not only reenacting the role of Larissa's student but copying Larissa herself. Whereas she was what my mother called "healthy," with thick hips and thighs and C-cup breasts, I, as a teenager, was shapeless, scrawny, frizzy-haired, cherub-faced. (Larissa's friends nicknamed me ELF: Larissa's Little Friend; only later, as an adult, did I come to prefer my thin, elongated frame to her exaggerated curves.) I loved watching the way Larissa was with boys. The way she'd playfully throw her leg over a guy's with aplomb. How she'd shout back at catcallers ("Thanks, hon!") when they called her "baby" or attached an adjective to one of her impressive body parts. By modeling my movements and the way I talked after her, I hoped some of her prodigious confidence would rub off on me. It was always in the moments when I felt most shy or apprehensive—most like myself—that I'd walk taller, laugh louder, curse too much, swing my hips, plant my heels.

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A Consequential Coming of Age
After half a lifetime of dating, one woman realizes her most torrid affair had been with a girl—whose brash style had indelibly influenced the woman she'd become
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