How I Became Wonder Woman

As is often the case, it was the costume that called to me first: red, white and blue, with fabulous accents of sparkling gold. Stars played a big part in the pattern, including red ones on a golden crown and bullet-proof cuffs. Red boots and a gold lasso rounded out the wonder of the whole thing. This was Wonder Woman, as portrayed by Linda Carter in the 70’s television series, and she was my idol.

In the first of many diva homages, I set about to become this wonderful creature. I wanted her power, her charisma, and her intelligence. I also wanted to emulate her way of getting out of every difficult situation using truth and smarts, in addition to physical prowess. At the time, I didn’t see that – all I saw, and all I wanted, was the costume. That was also the only thing I could really approximate, so I set about to see if I could come up with something to recreate her magic.

It began with the star-spangled satin extra-short shorts. With a background of blue, and stars of white, I contemplated the Underoos they made for girls, but was disappointed that the pattern was only on the front – the back was plain white. Luckily for me, a pair of Batman Underoos that I already owned were blue on the front and back, AND they had a waistband of yellow that could double as her golden belt. The lack of stars was the only problem, but it was easily solved by using a sheet of golden star stickers, the kind that some teachers put on their students’ tests if they were done well. The eagle-emblazoned halter/bustier was more difficult to conjure, and I had to settle on drawing an abstract bird on a red t-shirt and calling it close enough. For the bulletproof cuffs and that headband, I drew red stars on yellow construction paper, cutting out the shapes that would result in those power-generating talismans.

If it sounds utterly ridiculous, I’m sure it looked just as silly. But back then, and through to this very day, it wasn’t about perfectly recreating a look. It was about the journey to get there, and the obstacles that required strategy and cleverness to conquer. I couldn’t go online and buy a costume already assembled – I needed to conjure the wonder of this woman through imaginative facsimile. When I finally did, and when I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw a superhero. I felt the power coursing through me, and it came from the inside out. The neighbors may have laughed, and my family may have looked the other way, but I felt empowered and proud. From construction paper and stickers and underwear, I made myself into Wonder Woman. All I needed was a cause and a purpose.

All this reminiscing was brought on by the new ‘Wonder Woman’ movie trailer that premiered a couple of days ago. It’s a marvelous tease, filled with gorgeous island scenes and dramatic war passages. My friend Skip says it’s all about that musical motif, the one that shows up so chillingly in electric guitar form at the end of the clip. I agree. Well, that and a shirtless Chris Pine. Definitely a step-up from Lyle Waggoner.

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