I am about eight years old in this photo. The little boy I am towering over is about four. His name is Louis. The 1950’s love-bot next to poor, distraught, little Louis is, indeed, yours truly. For the record Louis did not want to be wearing that frilly dress and bonnet, but I can be very persuasive. Even as a child I had a thing for men in drag.

When I look at this picture I feel profound joy. I smile at those skinny legs, laugh at that proud expression, and am filled with a sense of pride and love for my silly little self. I want to hug me.

There was no adult help in the conception and preparation of this get-up. It was my own creation, my own vision, a vision of a sullen housewife, perhaps, or maybe a haughty hooker. I’m not sure. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I know I loved it. I loved that blond curly wig, those red prostitute heels, that green synthetic monstrosity, those strap-on, plastic, Dolly Parton tits with their enormous pronounced, engorged nipples. I remember the hilarity that ensued whenever I donned that outfit and slunk into a room of adults. I didn’t understand why it was funny, but I loved the reaction.

It sounds like an outrageous statement to make but I’m fairly sure that in the late 1970’s and early ’80’s I had the best dress-up collection of any child on planet Earth.

I was the only daughter of two creatives. A father who dressed like an urban cowboy in constant battle with his own inner Indian, and a mother who was a fashion designer, the founder of Brox Sox (the coolest hosiery company in New Zealand), and the proprietress of a vintage clothing store.

My dress up box was the envy of every girl who ever encountered it, the bane of many a small boy’s existence and the amusement of my mother’s friends. There was never any indication at her soirees that a 1920’s bride, or a clown, or a gorilla would suddenly waltz through the living room. Many a dinner party went happily awry at the unexpected arrival of a princess, bitch, tart, actress, or whatever other slinky little personality I decided to undertake.

The contents of my wardrobe included, but was not limited to:

-Multiple wigs

-Designer gowns dating from the twenties through to the seventies

-Scarves and beads and broaches and bangles

-A silk clown suit

-Many pairs of shoes

-Masks – both glamorous and terrifying

-A full body gorilla suit, including feet

-Hats, capes, cloaks

-Bridal dresses

-Furs and fur stoles, including one with the fox head still attached

-Veils, acres of lace and ribbons and silk

-Negligees, lingerie, slips and petticoats

-Hand-sewn beauties, everything from flowers to handkerchiefs

-A strap-on plastic bosom and matching dimpled ass.

I loved those tits and ass. I still do. I smile fondly as I remember the sense of excitement, daring and masquerade I felt as I tied on those gigantic breasts, donned that curly blond wig, and strapped on my four-inch red hooker-heels. I remember practicing my walk in those heels, a practice that came to serve me well several years later.

This picture is oddly prophetic.

I still love to dress up. I’ve even made a career out of it.

I still love bossing boys around.

I still adore men in drag.

I still love to wear hooker heels, wigs and naughty negligees whenever possible, even when vacuuming.

Not much has changed.

But the more I think about it the more I wonder if my love for dressing-up was somehow tied in to my desire to hasten the process of growing-up. I never liked being little. I never liked being kept in the dark or forbidden to do things because I was too young, too small, too… anything. Being young was prohibitive for me and being grown up seemed like such perfect freedom. Looking back, grown, I love the irony.

The child in this photo had more freedom than she knew.

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ZOE BROCK was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia. She has lived in more cities and on more continents than she can count (truly, she's a model and can't count) and is currently residing in the deep fog of San Francisco. Her true home lies on the dusty plains of Burning Man where she feels safe and challenged and truly alive. Zoë once had a very popular blog on MySpace and writes everything from awful poetry to truly delicious dark satire, and all sorts of sexy things in between. She has appeared on the cover of Elle magazine, inside the pages of Vogue, Cosmo and Marie Claire, to name a few, and is working on her memoir, an expose of 'growing up model'. Zoë is also a certified yoga teacher. Yes, that means she's bendy.

One response to “A Thousand Words: My Childhood, or, Plastic Tits and Ass”

  1. […] She had an interesting childhood.  Her mother showered her with affection; her fun-loving father did, too, and then had one of the (ahem) harder wishes to fulfill in his Last Will and Testament.  Her nanny was a trannie, which perhaps explains why she enjoyed making boys dress like girls. […]

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