The Highland Park Woman [April 1976]

Some are born into the club, others never quite make it.

THE HIGHLAND PARK WOMAN is thirty-two or thirty-three. She says she honestly forgets sometimes. She’s not particularly afraid to tell her age (she’s not that old) but she seldom does. It’s not really necessary: a ten-year-old son in St. Mark’s and a seven-year-old daughter in Lamplighter, three bedrooms and three baths on one end of Beverly Drive, her station wagon, his 98. Although she isn’t young young anymore. Last summer, in Acapulco with the Frasers, she gave up her bikini. And came back and enrolled in Louise Williams’ exercise class. She like ballet better but thinks it doesn’t keep the tummy quite as flat.

Early thirties, but downright good-looking, seated in Houlihan’s and having a Bloody Mary—one Bloody Mary—with Judy and Anne. She easily passes for late twenties, although the men who eye her probably don’t demand that kind of youthfulness and girlish charm. She’s the woman they have in mind when they get back to Detroit and Denver and tell their associates about those wonderful Dallas women.

Her hair is, or was, blond, but that was a good many streakings and tintings and tippings ago. Pulled back, short, cool. Her eyes are blue or hazel according to whether or not she has on her tinted contacts. Or prescription sunglasses. Big, oval or round. She never leaves home, summer or winter, without her glasses, of course, so unless you know her very well you don’t know what color her eyes really are. Probably not even John, her husband, remembers. Her figure is much more important, and it’s still competitive. Although the Highland Park woman hates to compete, if you want to call it that. There’s something so lower middle class about competition. Dallas is full of young stewardess types. It would be foolish and wasteful at her age to compete with them. And she certainly does not consider waitresses and bar girls to be competition at any age. God forbid.

The Highland Park woman is on a permanent diet, of course, and the only reason she doesn’t go to Louise Williams’ as often as she’s paid for is that she can’t always get one of the other girls to go with her. The Highland Park woman rarely does anything alone. She would never, for instance, go to a movie alone, even Cinema I or II. Neither would she drive all the way out to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts unless

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