The Friday school bell rings, and I jump from my seat, race out the classroom door, and merge into a hall packed with giddy kids primed for the weekend. A grin spreads across my face as I envision sixty hours of freedom stretching before me.
I can’t wait for Saturday morning TV because my favorite show airs at 10 am:
GLOW (The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling).
As I race home along the winding streets of my neighborhood, I fly past the ice cream truck. Not today. My mind is occupied with thoughts of the next day’s matches, the costumes, and most importantly, who will emerge victorious from the fierce finale—the ultimate showdown—the Battle Royale.
That night, I don’t argue about bedtime. My mother doesn’t really know what I’m watching in the mornings, but it keeps me happy and obedient, so she doesn’t ask questions.
Saturday morning arrives. Daybreak. I pour myself a bowl of Chex cereal, top it off with milk, and settle in front of the TV. After a few hours of cartoons, the magical time arrives.
My precious GLOW. What could be better?
Twenty or so women rapping, performing sketch comedy, and leaping through the air, dropkicking their opponents.
I’m ten years old, and GLOW is the pinnacle of my week. In a 1980s house without cable TV, the show is raw and outrageous, like nothing I’ve ever seen.
I want to be strong like the wrestlers.
And as pretty (the makeup is unreal).
Good girls. Bad girls. Should I pick a side?
Yes. I’m team bad girl.
My favorite character is Dementia. Each week, she’s wheeled out in a steel cage. In case that’s not strong enough to control her ferocity, she also wears a straight jacket.
The Heavy Metal Sisters stomp into the ring in all their glory. Glitter and spiked chains highlight their outrageous outfits.
Then there’s Colonel Ninotchka—the arch villain—with her thick Russian accent and red leotard. She looks like the female version of Dolph Lundgren from the Rocky IV movie.
Afterward, I practice wrestling moves with my friends. We lunge across my childhood living room toward each other, bouncing against imaginary ropes. I reach out, arm straight as a pipe, and I hit Sara with a mock clothesline. She falls to the ground, and I grab her leg, lifting it up as I knick her in the back of the thigh. Again and again, just like Palestina.
She clutches her side, laughs, and climbs to her feet. And we reenact the latest episode again and again until we grow tired and run outside to play a game.
I remain obsessed with GLOW for another year before I outgrow it, my attention falling prey to boys, MTV, and music.
Twenty-five years pass, and I think of GLOW, search for it on the Internet, and wonder, “Whatever happened to that hilarious women’s wrestling show?”
Then Netflix launches the fictional series, GLOW in 2017, and I’m in heaven. The show delivers a nostalgia cocktail of excellent storytelling, fine acting, and all the glittery makeup and glam of the original.
The producers deliver a solid second season—better than the first if that’s possible. Episode eight is my favorite thus far because they create a full-length GLOW episode. Want a glimpse of what got this ten-year-old leaping out of bed on Saturday mornings? Watch The Good Twin.
You won’t be disappointed. Maybe you’ll even want to be strong.
And a bit naughty.
I won’t laugh if you practice your wrestling moves in your living room. I’ll be there, too, ready to clobber you with my clothesline hook.
Now, where’s my straightjacket?
I have a new series coming in September 2018! It’s called Rogue Spark, and I think you’ll love it. Sign up to my email list so you get all my updates.
In future worlds, strong women fight the toughest battles.