Oversharing since 1979

by Shari on September 19, 2013

I get it from her.

That woman who sat across the table from me.

It was 1979 and I was out to dinner with my father, sister and Mama Rose. The waiter took our order and as he walked away, my father leaned over to my sister and me and whispered “Our waiter looks like Barry Manilow.” We giggled, because he really did. Mama Rose’s antennae went up immediately.

“What? What are you whispering about?”

We looked at each other, knowing that our waiter would probably not be thrilled with our observation, and, frankly: “telegram, telephone, tell a Mama Rose”.

Dad didn’t even try to be tactful. “We can’t tell you because you have a big mouth”.

She pouted. “What? I won’t tell, I promise!”

“Nope.” And because this was 1979, he put an unfiltered Camel between his lips to seal the deal.

Mama Rose whined and cajoled throughout the entire meal, making empty promises of silence and good sense. Finally, she wore my father down.

“Okay, but if I tell you, you cannot repeat it.”

“I swear.”

He told her. Whereupon she looked over at our approaching waiter, gasped and exclaimed, “You look just like Barry Manilow!”

His immediate sour expression spoke volumes, but it was nothing compared to the open-mouthed astonishment on our three faces. We simultaneously lit into her, demanding an explanation. All we got was “What? He looks like Barry Manilow!”

This is, and always has been, my mother’s modus operandi. If something is true, it will be said out loud. There is not only no filter between my mother’s brain and mouth, she has a small head, so a thought travels a very short distance before becoming a sentence.

But for all my mother’s oversharing expertise, I’ve done her one better: because I overshare in print. And have, also, since 1979.

My high school was doing the musical “Oliver!” that year and due to our diminutive statures and flat-chested boyishness, my friend Jayne and I had the parts of The Artful Dodger and Oliver, respectively. We were hanging out together a lot and at some point, we discovered (and laughed) in hushed tones that both of us had a slight issue with hair on our big toes. Well, I thought I would be clever and hilarious, so I put an personal ad in our school newspaper that said, “Dodge, meet you later to shave our toes. Ollie.” I laughed and laughed, imagining how much she would laugh when she saw it.

Except she didn’t.

In fact, she was quite put out that I had announced to our high school that we had hairy digits.

I lamely protested that I hadn’t used our real names, to which she retorted, “‘Dodge’?! And ‘Ollie’?! That’s your attempt at privacy?! Why didn’t you just say the two leads of the spring musical have bushy big toes!”

So… I guess the moral of this story is… if you resemble an odd-looking 70s pop star, or if you have to shave unmentionable parts of your body, and you don’t want someone to comment on or, uhhh, publish these facts… stay away from me and my mother.


photo credit: DanAllison via photopin cc

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrin September 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

No chance of this fan staying away….The funny, the smiles and the laughter way out weigh the risk that someone might find out that I cried while watch “Hunger Games”


Shari September 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Oh, Darrin, I love when you overshare, you big emotional lug, you.


Charlotte September 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Oh, my big toe’s not pretty, but I don’t really care,
He really is quite stubby and he’s got a little hair,
He doesn’t do alot for me ‘cept wiggle to and fro,
But everywhere that I may walk, my big toe’s sure to go.
I’ve got another just like him, the two are quite a pair,
Cause even though I’m often lost I know they’ll get me there
So if you have a toe like mine please tell him that he’s great,
We all know it’s the little things we should appreciate.
-Charlotte Detrick (circa 1979)


Shari September 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! You’re a genius!!


Charlotte September 20, 2013 at 4:57 am

Thanks, Shari! Glad you liked it. I called it “Ode to my Big Toe”. Brad was thinking of setting it to music: something kinda jazzy, maybe with a samba beat…


Ann September 19, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Your Mama Rose stories kill me. And if you ever out my hairy toes to our waiter, I’ll kill you.


Shari September 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

My lips are sealed, Ann. I’ve learned my lesson over the years. *I think I might be lying*


Nancy Davis Kho September 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Has Wendi contacted you to find out where that waiter worked, so she could go stalk him?

While you know I love to see you at conferences, I’m officially glad we don’t room together. I’d give you too much material.


Shari September 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

You know I thought of Wendi the whole time I was writing this :-) And yes, you should be officially glad.


Tim September 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Imagine my horror when I saw Oliver, 1979 and your lack of discretion mentioned in one sentence.


Shari September 20, 2013 at 1:06 am

I know, I know. *hangs head in shame*


Wendi September 20, 2013 at 2:29 pm

But…but…why would being told you look like Barry Manilow be an INSULT? Especially in 1979 when Barry was white hot.


dusty earth mother September 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I know, crazy, right?


Lady Jennie September 23, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Poor Manilow looking waiter in face of the big bad Mama Rose.


dusty earth mother September 25, 2013 at 2:19 am

He didn’t stand a chance. Not even the real Barry could survive Mama Rose.


lori oberwetter October 3, 2013 at 11:47 pm

OMG… I can just imagine Uncle Don smoking a camel (not light) cigarette and your mom looking right at you and then to the waiter. You guys in such embarrassment and wondering what will happen next. I am guessing it was probably at Fox’s pub too. What memories. I have so many of them with our family. I was just telling Grace about your dishwasher and how it was movable. Remember the pump that you connect in the sink and you wearing yellow gloves to clean the dishes. I always thought it was because you did not want your hands to get wrinkled. Happy 50th birthday cousin. I love you bunches!!!!


Shari October 4, 2013 at 3:54 am

Hey Cuz! What a pleasure to see you here and to have a witness to our family’s insanity. Love you, Lor Lor!


rebecca@altaredspaces.com October 6, 2013 at 11:49 pm

I overshare. Especially with my kids. This is awful. Until I laugh about it. Then I realize I am giving my kids great dinner table fodder. So, all is well so long as I’m bringing them happiness, right???


Shari October 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Rebecca, your children will thank you one day for giving them great material. You just gotta hang on until then.


James Christian Jr December 16, 2013 at 8:29 pm


You overshare?

Hmmm… hadn’t noticed.


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