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Nancy Bush

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You Can't Escape
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Susan Andersen
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As you can see, I clearly come from a long line of stylish folk. They don't call M'ma the Queen of Accessories for nothing. This is a woman who's never been afraid to dance right out there on the edge, but it works for her, y'know? Daddy, of course, had that trademark gleam in his eye working for him- it was the only accessory he ever needed.

"Well, sure," say those of you who've seen me on my less than fashionable days, "her parents have pizzaz. What does that prove?" Hey, I come from a family simply crawling with style. If my parents aren't enough to convince you, then how about my cousin Colleen, who's the closest thing I've got to a sister? Colleen knows makeup. In fact, as you may recall from my old webpage, I strongly suspected she was born with a lipstick in each hand. I was pretty sure it was Clinique Earth Red base, with a Golden Brandy topcoat. But not long after I posted that I got an email from her. "SusieQ, please," it said. "Get with the program. I switched to Estee Lauder ages ago."

Hmm. Perhaps that's not the best example I could've come up with. And this photo in my big hair phase should probably be kept under wraps, considering I actually thought it was a good look for me.

Okay, maybe the style gene skipped right over me. But I have a really good excuse for my occasional lapse in fashion judgement. I grew up in a household with two brothers, a daddy, and my grandfather. Too many men, in other words. They diluted M'ma's influence by diverting my attention to things like the danger of answering nature's call in the dead of the night. I've got a hint for those of you raised in a less spit-and-scratch world: check before you sit, because chances are that seat is gonna be up. And they don't even have the grace to be embarrassed about it. According to my sweet baby boy, if you're the minority sex in the household, you oughtta be putting it up for them. Sigh.

Having brothers was a mixed bag. When anybody messed with me they were always quick with an offer to beat them up. That was sorta nice, although I personally believe it had more to do with the fact that guys just like to fight than with any towering concern for my welfare. You might think that's cynical but guess who the target was if no one else was around and they were tired of fighting each other? I must've spent half my childhood locked in the bathroom, screaming, "Dad's gonna get you when he gets home." I know, I know, nobody likes a stoolie. But it was either that or have my block knocked off on a regular basis, and trust me, Daddy was the best deterrent going.

A smart woman probably would've gone away to an all-girl school or moved in with some girlfriends at the first opportunity. Me, I got married to my high school sweetie. And the tradition continues. Our only kid (who hasn't been a kid for quite some time now) is the aforementioned sweet baby boy, and except for an Irish setter we had for eleven years a long time ago, even our pets have all been male. I just try to stay afloat whenever I find myself in the deep end of the testosterone pool, and if you don't think that isn't a trial sometimes, I'm here to tell you- it can be hell.

Then again, it can also be heaven. In fact, it mostly is. But listen, don't tell my guys I 'fessed up to that, okay? Trust me, it's difficult enough already, just trying to stay one step ahead of the game.

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Photo: Susan Andersen
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