It’s always best to go with your gut, even if someone calls you Betty La Fea.
Now as I mentioned before I’m not a lipstick type of chick, I’m a Chapstick type of woman. And even though I looked nothing like Betty La Fea, I’ll own it. I wear dark-rimmed glasses and I have bangs, but my blow dryer works really well and I use TRESemme, so I can assure we’re not twins.
But do you know Betty?
ABC created Ugly Betty, a show with America Ferrera that you may be familiar with, based on the original. The mighty Univision copied the soap opera using different actresses. No shame. But the original came via Columbia on the TeleMundo network. And in truth it was actually a really funny, refreshing telenovela that centered on a not-so-attrative woman in the conventional sense, and her quest to be successful and find love.
I admit … I watched some of it. Being at my parents house back then you were bound to witness the drama of telenovelas. So I knew Betty, I was familiar with her.
So what happened exactly?
There I was in a junior-high school classroom full of sassy, pimple-faced kids. Being strict as usual, because when you’re a substitute teacher in this type of environment you have to break out the don’t-mess-with-me-and-the-do-your-work-right-now attitude.
And yeah as with this species of pre-teenager they test you. They push the boundaries. They pass notes, they sleep in class, the talk on their cell phones, they don’t do their work, they use profanity, they go to the bathroom for half an hour, and they leave prophylactics on your door knob.
So I read notes aloud and post them on the board behind me. I drop heavy books so they make a loud thud and startle students who are sleeping. I confiscate cell phones and send them to the dean’s office. The profanity and disrespect gets a phone call home and sometimes a call to a parent’s place of business if no one can be reached, as well as a Dean’s Office visit. The MIA bathroom breakers just stay after school to finish the work they miss. And before getting suspended, the owner of the condom cleans the door and the doorknob.
All of this before lunch. And what did I have for lunch? Chocolate. There’s always an experience in middle school that calls for chocolate.
So after lunch, while I was midway through one of the classes, I begin my monitoring walk — kind of like the cop walking his beat on the street, making sure everything is running smoothly and no one steps out of line. Normally on the outside, I’m a smiley person. But as a substitute teacher zigzagging through the class you must have that serious look.
Now I don’t know if it was my serious look, or my Old Navy attire, but apparently this kid thought I was Spanish impaired. I mean my last name doesn’t really reveal any kind of ethnicity, in fact it probably confuses most people who come in contact with me. I often introduce myself and they do a double-take, because they’re not sure what to make of me. The face does not match the name. If I like the person I go into a long family tree story and explain the origins of my last name. If I didn’t like the person, I just went with whatever ethnicity box they checked.
So as I’m passing little Jose’s row, I hear:
“Here comes Betty La Fea, put that away.”
I stop at his desk, confiscate his note, raise my eyebrow, and continue walking.
Betty La Fea … this made me rethink my choice for dark-rimmed glasses when I made my optometrist appointment the following week. But as I tried them on and looked in the mirror I told my friend the story and she laughed.
Maybe you want to try the Ralph Lauren or Elizabeth Arden?
Ralph Lauren? Elizabeth Arden?
Dude I’m a Coach chick.
Coach got you Betty La Fea.
Coach got me free drinks at happy hour.
Let’s go with Coach then … but what about your bangs?