Thursday, February 05, 2004

America's Next Top Model

A few days ago, a boy raised his hand in the middle of class and asked, "Do you watch 'America's Next Top Model?'"

"No." I said it with the finality of a teacher who knows that when this particular boy asks a question like that in the middle of a science lesson, it can lead to nothing good.

That was the end of it.... I thought.

Today, during the snack period before afterschool started, a group of students came up to me and asked, "You know that show, 'America's Next Top Model?'"

"I never, ever watch t.v.," I said, taking advantage of the opportunity to model for them the fact that one can live a full life without television. "So, no."

"You don't watch ANY t.v.?" Incredulity. "What do you DO?"

We talk briefly about Other Stuff People Do: read, check email, grade papers, talk on the phone, cook dinner.... I act as though it is completely normal to turn on your television less than once a month. (I am aware that it is not, in fact, completely normal...).

But I smell a rat.

"So, why does everyone want to know if I watch 'America's Next Top Model?'" I ask.

Giggling.

"You look JUST like this girl, Shandi, Ms. Frizzle!"

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

They fill in a few details for me.

I spend way too much of the rest of afterschool fielding How-Much-Is-Ms.-Frizzle-Like-Shandi questions: Do you have a car? Do you live in Manhattan? Do you care about your appearance? I mean, do you wear, like, whatever you want to, even if it's from the seventies or something?

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean, would you wear go-go boots?"

"Um, not too often."

The thing about it is, I DO look like Shandi! I see what the kids see. My hair's much shorter than hers, but I look about halfway between the old, gawky Shandi and the new "top model" Shandi (check out the photo gallery).

So now you know.

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