I've been writing recently about some of my childhood beauty idols. Cybil came along for me in middle school, when my friends and I became obsessed with Moonlighting.
I was pretty certain that one day I would own a detective agency, suffer intense chemistry with my smirky partner, and wear lots of drapey pastel satin. Peach, cream, lavender.
I too would decorate my office in that feminine eighties palette of gray and mauve. I looked forward to hiding in the bushes to photograph and expose the countless Americans who had faked their own deaths. Not to mention all the people posing as their own dead twin sisters.
So I was thrilled when I landed the most coveted position for the eighth grade "shadowing" project. One day each spring, all eighth graders spent a day with a professional in the community. Detective was, by far, the most exciting opportunity on the list. And you know I was owed a plum assignment after this bitter defeat.
Shadowing was done in pairs. My partner for the day seemed as excited as I was. David too was a Moonlighting fan, and we had in common another very important television show: the soap opera, Santa Barbara. The show was new, and conveniently scheduled at 3 pm, right after school. Some days it was all we talked about in the back of Mrs. Carlson's Social Studies class.
We were delivered to the Bedford Hills police department and introduced to a rather dorky detective. I can't remember exactly what he was wearing, but I do remember that his outfit caused us to refer to him behind his back as The Music Man.
He showed us the holding cell and the fingerprinting machine. Plus, a piece of poster board with glued-on samples of various illicit drugs, used for identification. Then we sat with him in a small, close room and he told us about various investigation. Bounced checks at the local supermarket. Hit and run fender bender.
"What about serial killers?" one of us asked.
"Serial killers?" repeated Detective Music Man.
"Yes, tell us about serial killers."
You see, there was a serial killer at large in Santa Barbara, and we were eager for any and all information leading to our solving of the case.
"Well. All right," the detective said cautiously. "A serial killer is a murderer that goes after a certain type of victim..."
"Like blond girls!" I interjected. Blond girls like Eden and Kelly Capwell.
"Um, sure, like blind girls, I suppose."
"No, blond girls."
"Or blond girls..." Music Man trailed off here, visibly disturbed.
"Has there ever been a serial killer in Bedford Hills?"
"I think that would be the day I retire."
I still hold detective as an alternate dream career. But the internet has sucked away much of the glamour and intrigue. Now it seems much of private investigator work is about accessing e-mail accounts, not putting on wigs and dark glasses.
A couple of years ago someone brought me DVDs of Moonlighting when I had the flu. (I am the easiest person to please with gifts; there are entire E-bay categories of items desired only by me). Sadly I found the show unwatchable, but I was delirious. Surely it's worth another try. And look, there's talk of a movie!
The glamour of Maddie Hayes sure stood up. Perhaps the wide shoulders and satin caftans were a tad matronly, as everything was in that decade, but time cannot touch that hair.
I saw a screening of The Last Picture Show a few months ago. Has anyone ever been lovelier?
And still. Why no, I do not wish to talk about this.