Wednesday, November 23, 2016

909 Packard and My Favorite Funky Friday

It was the first day of Kindergarten. I was huddled by the big tree on the playground, scared to talk to anyone. Stephen came up to me and introduced himself. "Hi, I'm Stephen." I looked up. "Hi, I'm Anna." "You want to be friends?" he asked. We've been friends for 23 years and counting.

Many times since, I've lamented it's not always that easy to make friends. Especially with guys, and especially as a single chica. Sure, it's easy at the beginning, but there's often underlying emotions, expectations. You ask how his day is, and he hears, "I want to jump on you." Or he asks how your day is, and you hear, "I want to take you to dinner. And buy you roses. And chocolates. And tell you you're beautiful.*" More or less. Point is - it can get complicated. But every once in awhile, people come along and remind me it can still be that easy.

It was the first Friday of school. Our section just finished last in the MBA games, but we dominated flag football, which I’m pretty sure is the lead indicator of athleticism. My personal fave of the highlight reel was Joe catching a pass, thinking he had scored, and celebrating as if he had just caught the winning TD against the Buckeyes. We all yelled at him to get to the line of scrimmage, as his flag had been yanked at the two yard line, and we had five seconds to score before halftime. But I also smiled, because his eyes had lit up like a boy at Christmas.

As I was leaving, I stopped to say goodbye to my teammates. Ryan told me they would be playing beer pong later, and while I’m terrible at the game, I thought that was nice and told myself I would go. I was determined to make friends at school, and tapping into my twenty-one year old self seemed an excellent avenue to do so.

Nine o'clock rolled around, and I walked over to 909 Packard for the second time. The first had been a welcome barbecue for our section, and I credit the house's extreme hospitality as one of the reasons our group of classmates is so close. I peeked in the front door, and it was not nearly as crowded as the barbecue. In fact, there were just five housemates eating dinner. I was nervous. What if they didn't want me there? I could just go back to my couch and binge watch Netflix. I told the butterflies in my stomach to fly away and knocked on the door, because I was going to make friends, darn it.*

They graciously invited me to pull up a chair and join their meal. No one else ever came, but we spent the evening reliving the nineties, belting out everything from Kelly Clarkson to Everclear. And leading the sing-a-longs was Joe.

Joe is captivating. He will regale an entire room with his opinions of Matthew McConaughey's unparalleled greatness, all the reasons the Dayton Flyers are a team worth rooting for, or a humiliating story from his past.* He's persuasive. He can convince a room of grown men to chug milk for good luck. And he's contagious. He loves life to the last drop and brings a smile to those around him, whether it's the hockey team he helped coach or a group of MBA students reliving their youth on a Saturday night at Circus. Like many at Ross, he's smart, driven, and humble. And he's an inspiring fantasy football coach who pushed his team to a victory against Sugga Momma Bears, a bet on which was the catalyst for this post.

But I would have written it, anyways, because most of all, he and his housemates made my transition to a new stage of life so very simple and entertaining. For that, I am extremely thankful. And I think we will still friends in 23 years.*

* Playing gender stereotypes, I know.
* Little did I know I would be spending many a funky Friday night there, and they continue to tolerate me - even when I request my favorite song fifteen times in a row.
* I think he may have a wider range of embarrassing stories than I, which is an impressive feat.
* Even if it's only him rubbing a Cleveland loss in my face.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thank you, God. Love, a Cleveland Fan.

We were all exhausted, and we were too nervous to acknowledge it. Fourth quarter. Under two minutes remaining. In the back of our minds, there were two competing thoughts - "We're gonna win!" and "We're gonna blow it!" My mom took a sip of my beer. My mom never sips beer, especially Coors Light.

Game tied.

Shoot. It's a breakaway. Curry passes to Iguadola. Easy layup - Unless! James out of nowhere - like a radiant, massive gazelle. You gotta be kidding me! That's definitely going to be on sports science. No time to consider - we're still sick to our stomachs.

Kyrie at the top of the key. Him and Curry - mono a mono. He pulls up for the three. Swish!!! Holy cheese. Holy cheese. We're up by 3. Less than a minute. Okay. Keep it together. A lot could go wrong. Ball's in Curry's hands. Wow! Kevin Love playing D! Better late than never.

Curry with a ridiculous jump shot that has a miraculous 87% hit rate. Not this time!! Deep breath.

Twenty seconds and we're taking it up the floor. They have to foul James to get into the bonus. Cavs inbound. Kyrie dishes to James for the decisive dunk and - bahh no dice! But a foul. James lays on the floor with 10 seconds left. I think he was just soaking in the moment.

I double high five my sister. "Gail, I think we're gonna do this! This could really happen!" James misses the first. Makes the second. That's all we need. But four with 10 seconds isn't comfortable. They could hit a three, and we could foul. They could hit a layup, steal the inbound and score a tres for the win. Continue breathing.

Waariors inbound. Curry throws up a prayer. No foul! It misses!

BAHHHHHHH!!!! My niece and nephew jumped. Everyone hugged, high-fived, and said the words that none of us had been able to shout - "We're champions!"

This week, I sat on the couch watching game seven, extra innings. We were ahead in the series 3 - 1, and I ignored the pessimism. The map that showed every state but Ohio cheering for the Cubs; those who reminded me of irony and Cleveland's 1-3 comeback; those who touted the random statistic that the last time there were two NFL ties, the Indians lost the World Series in Game 7.* This was our year. Down two pitchers, down our best player, we were the real Cinderella story.

The runs on a passed ball, the two run homer, Lindor's third out in the ninth. It was destiny. Tying run is on second. Series ending run is at bat. Walk off homer. Right now.

And then, a groundout to third. Game over. Cubs win. Another game seven heartbreaker. People will tell me, "At least you lost to the Cubs,"* but that's not what brings me solace.

Twenty-eight-year-old was nearly as devastated as 9-year-old Anna, with one small exception. In the back of my mind, I remembered, "We are a city of champions."

I wrote you this prayer after the Cavs lost game four. I'm not sure how much of a role you played in the historic comeback, but for whatever role you did serve, thank you.

I'm currently taking a Management Organization course (the first class I missed because I was attending game six of the World Series), and a recent article discussed misaligned incentives. It provided many examples of areas in business and life where we ask for one thing and reward another, and As it relates to sports, the article claimed that while we promote team performance, we ultimately reward individual performance with scholarships, MVP accolades and the like.

I disagree. And I get it. There's are selfish, arrogant athletes who are only focused on themselves. But those exceptions aside, the ultimate reward, the prize that every athlete desires, more than individual prowess, is a championship. I imagine Lindor would give up his gold glove prospects for one more shot at the Cubbies.

My brother-in-law and dad coach the local high school football team that recently capped an undefeated season. They had the number one scoring offense in the state of Ohio, led by quarterback Benanati. When interviewed after the game, the quarterback did not speak to his individual performance, but humbly deferred credit. “If you saw the gaps, the holes that were open. I think they were 10 feet wide. It was just the blocking. Anyone could have done what I did tonight.” More than that, he's not satisfied with his stats - he, and everyone on the team - wants more.

Maybe that's what is so impressive - sports have figured out what businesses grapple with every day: how to award individual behavior while truly uniting everyone under the goal of a championship.

When the Cavs won, James didn't say, "This one's for me." He said, "This is for Cleveland." So thank you. For the excitement, the spirit, and the one thing that has eluded the Cleveland faithful for decades - a championship.*

* Seriously random statistic.
* How is that supposed to be comforting? We lost to a fan base from a city with three Stanley Cups and six NBA championships within the past 25 years that insists on crying about their one sports team suffering from title depravation.
* And then for reminding us we're still Cleveland with a game 7 loss.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

That Time I Got Picked up in NYC

Don’t worry. He didn’t actually pick me up.

I spent the last few days in New York, the concrete jungle where dreams are made, inspired by the lights. Last night, I met a friend of a friend with some potential career connections at the Honky Tonk.* Networking and such – you know, being a professional. Our time had come to an end, but Game 2* was live and my AirBnB did not have cable, so I opted to stay at our high top to watch.

I noticed a couple men eying the table, so being the generous person I am, I offered to switch places with them. They were standing by a single bar stool. “Well, actually, we were just going to come sit with you,” they laughed, and I allowed it. They would ask me later if that was the response I secretly wanted to elicit. I told them, no, I was perfectly content watching the game in silence. You're men in suits, and this is the World Series.

They both worked in the fintech world. While I have a limited concept of finance, I actually grasp fintech, so I managed to sound reasonably intelligent. I was my usual charming, witty self, oozing class, yelling at the TV.

Politics was mentioned once. Ughhh. I can’t wait until the elections are over. One was an avid supporter of Hilary and one was a hesitant supporter of Trump. I took a neutral, silent stance to avoid arguments, as I find them quite unproductive.* When one insisted that any Trump supporter was crazy, I was compelled to say, “I understand why reasonable people are voting for him,” mostly because I don’t like sweeping generalizations. He kept going; I let him speak his mind. My energies were focused on the game.

The better looking one was married, but, of course, he still managed to get in a few light arm touches and leg grazes to boost his ego while he acted as wingman. Eventually, though, his role played, his time had come, and he bid the two of us farewell.

Ahh the game as old as time. There we were, talking about the butt loads of money he had made, Indians still stinking up the joint, and me planning my escape. I don’t mean to sell the man short. He seemed very intelligent and quite kind to this point. Nor am I getting on a moral high ground. If he had looked a little more like Ryan Reynolds or Kyrie Irving, this story may have ended quite differently, with me planning my life in New York instead of regaling you with this riveting tale.

As it was, he didn’t, but unfortunately, the game compelled me to stay a bit longer. There’s no clock in baseball, and I wasn’t about to miss a rally. His phone rang and he ignored it. It was Lydia, a broad of interest* I imagine, a quality backup. I wanted to tell him he was wasting his time and should probably answer it, but I was distracted by the plate of nachos that were placed before me. They looked super tasty.

I decided my move was to text a friend to join our conversation, effectively relaying the hint while still being able to indulge and watch the game. I took a nacho, tickled with my genius.

Then my suitor called me a racist. I was pretty focused on the food, so I’m not positive the context, but I believe he was alluding to my previous comment regarding reasonable people supporting Trump. Slightly taken aback, I calmly told him I was not a racist.

He repeated himself. I went into more detail, elaborating on the various reasons I am not a racist.

Then he insisted. And then, fist deep in nachos, I went white girl crazy. If you were wondering, my white girl crazy includes words like: “extrapolated, non-sequitur, presumptuous, ignorant, disgusting,” with a couple more forceful ones for emphasis. Three minutes and ten nachos later, it’s safe to say he will be very hesitant before casually tossing around the word racist like it’s a term of endearment.

Shortly thereafter, Lydia called again.* This time, he answered. I texted my friend. His services were no longer required. The Indians lost. The nachos were gone – incidentally, my aggressive consumption of said nachos may have been another catalyst for his departure.

I stopped by 7/11, grabbed a Snickers, hopped in an Uber and went home.

I’m still mad at myself for the nachos and Snickers and my fingers are puffy, so I hope the story brought you entertainment, and perhaps solace to all those people in relationships that you are no longer operating in this world. But I promise, as long as I mingle, I will continue to share. Though gentlemen, please don’t let the promise of endlessly entertaining stories keep you from trying to remove me from that world. It’s a jungle out there.

*I realized writing this sentence that the Honky Tonk could be the place where he has connections rather than the place where we met, but I didn’t want to change it.

*If you don’t know to which game 2 I’m referring, we should reevaluate our friendship.

*Unless it’s an argument about how overrated Steph Curry is or the validity of the NCAA. Then I’ll argue for hours.

* (or BOI, as I like to call us)

* come on woman, the guy didn’t return your first call, play it cool.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Love Affair with Restaurants

I was fourteen, and my dad's close friend opened the Hilltopper, a local sports bar and restaurant. My older sisters had worked at the Hilltopper Cafe on the town square, so of course, I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I always wanted to follow in their footsteps, but just like when I started playing tennis so I could hit with Julie and Gail, my foray in the restaurant industry would be last much longer than theirs.

I don't remember much about my first day - I think it was a Sunday brunch shift. I remember a lot, though. The twenty-five hour weeks while going to school and tennis practices. Sweet talking the cooks for scraps and mistakes from the kitchen. The owner's wife's perfume. The slow nights when servers wished they could tip me more and the nights when I made a whopping $15/hour. Wing nights frequented by the high school sports teams - those were my favorite nights. So many cute boys. The quiet after the storm of a whirlwind weekend.

I remember my first experience confronting authority. The quarterback of the football team joined me as a host, and during one of our casual conversations, it came to my attention that he was making $6.75, whereas I, who had worked there a year and a half, was making $6.25. My indignant teenage stomach churned as I walked into my boss's office and requested a raise based on the merits of my performance. What did I want? Seven dollars an hour. What did I get? $6.75.

I remember Matthew. He was your quintessential server, loved by every patron. He wore crazy socks and talked with flamboyant flair, and he occasionally made the comment that made you do a double take: nude sun bathing, elicit details on foreplay between him and his girlfriend that would compromise the integrity of this blog if quoted. When you went to a Christian middle school and the most scandalous thing you did was write notes on the back of the bus, these lines stick with you. There are others, too: when everyone told their most public sex story, talked about the hardest drugs they had done: most stuck with weed, but a couple dabbled with the hard stuff on occasion. The many times I sat with them on their smoke breaks as they cussed out an idiot customer. My virgin ears lost their innocence.

Right about now, my mother deeply regrets allowing me to work in a restaurant. I don't, though. Because they were my friends, my outlet from my high school bubble. When a woman called me incompetent and I had my first and last breakdown in the back of the building, they hugged me and told me where she could stick it. And they were real.

That's what I love about restaurants - no pretenses, no facade. And if you didn't like it, they couldn't care less.

I was 18 and a freshmen in college. At the end of my second semester, I became bored with the monotony of school so I applied to the Cheesecake Factory. I worked in the bakery for the next year, pulling the typical back to back 30 hour weekend double, sustaining myself on espresso shots and cheesecake - my record was five slices in a shift, and if you know the nutrition facts - which I did - it's easy to understand how I got to a point where my button popped off my pants.

Working in the bakery was much more difficult than serving on a busy night, because while you have a finite number of tables as a server, behind the counter, you have an endless number of tickets to fill. Janelle was my lady. She was the most seasoned baker, a feisty woman who no one would dare confront. And Darnell. He was beautiful, quiet, and probably thought we were crazy. We half-jokingly encouraged him to take one for the team when our manager wasn't in a relationship. She was always in a much better mood with a man in her life.

I became a server after a year, and the Cheesecake Factory remained my escape from the collegiate bubble, a relatively homogeneous world where everyone is enjoying their safe space. When I passed through those doors in my all white and tie - what a terrible uniform - there were all kinds. There was the server with the attitude, never quite happy with how many young people or foreigners were sat in the section. The one who was always in the weeds, no matter how slow the restaurant. The jaded bartender who could tell you story after story of his exploits and the exploits of those across the bar. The sleezeball who inevitably hit on every new hostess.

There was the charmer, who could convince a table to buy a turd flavored cocktail. The one who talks about leaving - moving west and starting over. I always hoped they follow that dream, and sometimes they did. There was the immigrant cook and the one who may or may not have done a line of cocaine before coming into work. And those who saw their work as a fine craft. There were the lifers. Then there was me.

I was 22 and had decided that my 9 to 5 simply wasn't fulfilling. I submitted applications over the weekend, got a job at Commonwealth, went into my six month review and quit. They understood - some people couldn't handle the competitive atmosphere of the company, one told me. What are you going to do? they asked. I said I was going to take my college degree and work at a restaurant. My first night I followed Adrienne, an eccentric woman who knew who she was and embraced every inch of it. I spent the next three months working full time through the summer hours, building relationships with the most honest - sometimes shamelessly so - people I had met since moving to Charlottesville. After being in an atmosphere with young professionals trying to prove themselves, it was beyond refreshing. I continued to work part time for the next four years, because I needed that escape from my professional bubble.

Because when you serve people, you have to leave everything at the door. Guests don't care about your massive amounts of school work, your annoying boss or terrible day, the idiot who didn't call. They came to be entertained, to have an experience, and it's your job to forget yourself and give it to them.

When I wasn't with the customers, I was able to spend time with these amazing people from all different walks of life. They were immigrants, students, professionals, retirees. Some saw their work as an art, some as a means to end, and some were just trying to pay monthly bills or get to the next beer.

It's a rare breed, the restaurant crowd. We're flawed, like everyone else, but there lies an unequivocal authenticity among us.

I may not ever work at a restaurant again, although I've said that before and been wrong. Regardless, what I learned from my passionate foray - working in a fast paced environment, dealing with difficult personalities and embracing my own, reading people, and learning from people who are very different than you - I will carry that with me forever.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hi, I'm Anna. I'm a Christian.

Is not how I've introduced myself at grad school.

This week is National Coming Out Week. I didn't realize it when I began writing, but I thought it was an interesting coincidence. I'm not going to pretend to relate to "coming out," although I did tell my siblings that after navigating the world of men for many years, I may throw in the towel and come out as asexual. Amoeba Anna, my brother nicknamed me. Don't worry, everyone who enjoys hearing about my awkward interactions with men, I talked myself out of it as I watched baseball in HD. Those pants do it for me every time... Point is - sometimes it's hard being totally honest about who you are, and I've been surprised about how difficult it has been to be honest about my Christianity since coming to school. Not necessarily saying I'm a Christian, but explaining why and actually living it have been difficult - a reflection more of me than those around me, so obviously, my blogging conscience urged me to reflect.

The first time I shared openly about God on this blog was when I started working for VividCortex. "Taste and see that the Lord is good," I quoted as I reflected on my journey to that point. The opportunity was such a clear answer to prayer, and I thought, this is it. This is what you have for me, God. I created this narrative about where it was going to lead - I tend to create narratives for my life and expect God's plan to follow.

It wasn't at all what I expected. It was a grind, it was hard, in many ways unfulfilling, but it brought me to a place where I was utterly desperate and dependent on God. One particular night in November, when I was rejected by a program, I broke down, not knowing what I would do if I didn't get accepted to a school. During that time, God showed His faithfulness, that He rewards those who seek Him, and that while His plan is not the same as mine, it is wholly good.

And then I started business school. I signed up for the Ross Christian Fellowship, and I finally went to a meeting this week. Unfortunately, since they're held on Thursday evenings, I haven't been able to make one yet, and even so, I could only make the first twenty minutes. There were six people there. Six. Out of 800 students. You know what percentage that is? I do, because I decided to actually start studying for my stats class. It's less than one percent.

Business school is full of motivated people with a plan. We are smart, driven, independent, and successful. When asked where we see ourselves in the next five years, we're working at an investment bank, at a consulting firm. We're saving the environment. We're building infrastructure in Africa. Which are all amazing things. You know what's not a popular response? "In five years, I want to be where God can use me for His purposes to make the greatest impact." Perhaps there are a lot of festering Christian beliefs in many that I am not aware of, but for many single people in their mid-late twenties in academia, God's will doesn't seem to be the first priority.

When I began business school, I had goals for myself, if you remember. One of them was to find a church, but I think that was misguided. A more appropriate goal would have been to have God at the center of my world as the rest spins around. And if I'm completely honest with myself - and everyone reading my blog - that hasn't been the case the first quarter.

On the few occasions people have asked me why I am a Christian, I have found it more difficult to explain than I would like to admit. Many who have casually followed my blog for years have heard my musings, but for newcomers, the short answer is:

1) I am broken without God's grace. There are times where I like to think I am a good picture of Christ's love, but I know there are definitely times when I don't represent Christianity. Hence... grace. Any time you wonder why I'm happy or why I smile so often, it's because I understand the love of Christ. The times when I act like an idiot - well, that's all me.

And 2) God can do more with my life than I ever thought possible. Even though I am a smart, driven, independent individual.

During the twenty minutes I was at the Christian Fellowship meeting, we wrote down our high school expectations of the future. When I looked at my former expectations and reality, they were vastly different. But here I am, on a full scholarship to one of the elite business schools in the country, and I don't credit myself for that. I credit God's goodness, His guidance, and His unmerited favor. So why wouldn't I live for Him?

Quite simply - because sometimes it's hard. It's easy to forget God's faithfulness and become complacent when you're no longer desperate. It's easy to create my own narrative and lose sight of the fact that God's plan is greater than any fanciful one I can concoct. And, sometimes, it's easier to incorporate God into my life when it's convenient for me. In the morning with my coffee, at night as I go to bed, occasionally on a Sunday when I decide to wake up for church.

I have been a Christian for over twenty years, and the times I have been confused have been those when I have lost focus and been distracted. And the times I have had clarity and purpose have been those when I have fixed my eyes on the cross.

I visited home this weekend and went to the high school football game. Afterward, I saw my dad, who immediately opened his arms for a giant, warm hug, and I was reminded of the loving embrace of God. He meets us where we are. He meets us in our brokenness, with all our faults, and He tells us that He loves us unconditionally, He rids of us our shame, and then He invites us to walk with Him, without distraction.

So I am amending my goals to make that my focus. Incidentally, in writing this, I am completing goal number 4: to get out of my comfort zone, because while I often talk about God, it is hard to write about times when I have struggled. I suspect that means it was worth it.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Wins, Losses, Nostalgia

Hi friend! Hope this Monday finds you well. First things first: binder update. I finally ordered them from Amazon and sent them to the correct address. I should have gone with the half inch though, because they are way to thick.* You may see me walking around campus, appearing to be smuggling a small Asian family into America.

We had a couple wins and a couple losses the past few weeks. Win: I am the director of the marketing lab. I hope I get to play with schematics, but that may be a different kind of lab. Loss: I applied for a non-profit board fellows program and was rejected, which I am taking as a signal I should reconsider any charitable donations of my time. Clearly, I'm meant to be a tycoon. Win: My team and I won a marketing case competition for Land O Lakes. It was a pretty cool experience - we collaborated, argued, built consensus, dominated. Loss: I had interviewed for an internship with Conagra in August, and I got rejected. I'm not disappointed though, so I assume that means I didn't really want it. Win: I have mentally denoted everyone's Tinder song in stats. Loss: Stats. WIN: The Tribe's in the playoffs!!!

This time of year always brings a whisper of nostalgia. My dad nicknamed me Novocain* in high school after my first big freshman tennis match. It was against our biggest rival, and I was playing a senior. She had pretty strokes, a solid serve, all the fixings of an easy match. But I had guts. The match lasted four hours, and much of that was tedious back and forth as I scrambled around like a rabid mongoose, willing my legs to reach one more ball. One point lasted a very uninteresting 96 shots. I didn't win because I was technically better - I rarely did. I won because I was mentally tougher. Because I wanted it more. Because I could dig deeper.

That's why sports are so special. They're black and white, and the scoreboard never lies. They're a battle, an exhausting grind, a constant test of mental strength. And they elevate you to a level you didn't know you could reach.*

On days like today, with the crisp air and the dying leaves, I miss that unwavering focus, that singular goal. I miss that grind.

* That's what she said.
* This was one of my better high school nicknames.
* That and the beautiful, muscular men.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Elle Woods - My Hero

Short backstory. High school Anna did not like being given superfluous work, and often took a sarcastic approach if it was forced upon her. For instance, our class was a trial for the Ohio Graduation Test, wasting a cumulative 10 hours of my week, so I wrote my essay on my dream about being a stripper. Unfortunately, that gem wasn't saved, but my mother passed this AP English prep assignment my way.

The teacher's feedback: "You are an excellent writer. The AP graders may question your choice of hero."

Elle Woods, a distinguished attorney of law and a politician, is the protagonist of Legally Blonde. More than that, she is a prime example of the discrimination that blondes face and the overcoming of the "dumb blonde" stigma. Elle Woods is someone I would like to emulate because she is a great woman on many levels.

First and foremost, she has long blonde hair. Though years of dying have made my hair unmistakeably blonde, it has not yet grown past the foot mark. Many an hour have I spent lusting over such luscious locks, only to find that when I look in the mirror, my hair is still at the top of my shoulder blades. I can only continue to envy the voluptuous hair and hope that mine will achieve its greatness.
Elle Woods also has a superb sense of fashion and the bank account to afford it. Growing up in Belair, she never had an issue with money. She has indeed put that money to good use. Her shimmering high heels, glamorous gowns, and even her fitness gear are red-carpet worthy. Never is she seen looking down, but dresses, rather over dresses, for every occasion. Her bold fashion sense allows her to go places most people dare not go.

Not only is Woods bold enough to stand out, she is bold enough to prove the dumb blonde stereotype wrong. Nearly everywhere she goes, people try to take advantage of her, thinking that since she is a gorgeous blonde, she must be foolish. Proving their assumptions amiss, Woods never falls into their trickery. She works very hard to make it into law school, and once there, she is taken as a joke. Determined once again to go against the stereotype, she rises to greatness by clearing an innocent woman convicted of murder. In fact, she clinches her victory and place of respect due to her knowledge of cosmetology and fashion.

Elle Woods is an inspiration to me as a blonde. I understand the persecution one goes through with blonde hair, a nice pair of shoes, and a cute outfit. Like Woods, I am determined to prove the assumptions wrong and will rise above the odds to earn my respect. Like Woods, I will hold my blonde head high.