Ballerinas get cards too (as evidenced by my becoming a ballerino). After becoming a ballerino, I did not receive a single card. Including this one:

That card was received by a ballerina. A good one. Probably. I don't actually know who got it. It was just at the studio one day. What I do know (for a fact) is that it wasn't a ballerino that got it. Perhaps if it had been a ballerino (me) that received it, I wouldn't have quit ballet in such a fit of jealousy.

"Courtney, why would you want to receive a drawing of a bunch of little girls?"

Because, reader, little girls are interesting. Well... technically I only find one of them interesting. Out of the six girls pictured, which I predict to be about ten years old (certainly between the ages of eight and thirteen, judging by the medical condition of the girl on the far right), only one of them would be an enjoyable little companion.

Would you care to guess which one that is?

"Would I care to guess which ten year old girl you want to hook up with? No, Courtney, I do not want to guess that."

Whoa, reader. Whoa... whoa. Whoa. Whoa, reader. Whoa. That's not what I said.

"Well either way, I have no interest in knowing."

Right... (wink)... I'll just explain out loud and you can pretend you're not engrossed. I'll start with the girl on the far left and work my way east (again, just pretend you're not interested).

The girl on the far left is the only one...

Sorry. I just decided she needs a name. I can't refer to her as "ballerina on the left" because I'll eventually get to "ballerina two-thirds to the right" and I don't want to have to type that. So henceforth, I shall refer to the ballerina on the left as Emilio Estevez Circa Brat Pack Era. And on to her criticism:

Emilio Estevez Circa Brat Pack Era is the only ballerina of the six who is concerned with the photo-op. And such a concern is invariably the symptom of a crippling disease of self-obsession. And this is never an appealing character trait.

"Courtney, how could you possibly know this?"

Reader, I'm glad you've revealed your passion for this little group of tiny girls, but if you would just be patient, I have every intention of explaining. As follows:

If Emilio Estevez Circa Brat Pack Era's eyes weren't hidden behind a flaxen shield of indie-hair, you would notice that she's the only one looking directly at the photographer. Moreover, her posture is totally unnatural; thrusting her hip out as if trying to accomplish relaxation (but ultimately just looking labored and counterfeit). And then her hands are equally ridiculous and unnatural. One is clenched into a fist while the other is in an open-five. Nobody's hands have ever found themselves in those positions by accident. It looks like she's trying to flash a gang sign but doesn't actually know any, so she made one up (the Peach Fists). All in all, if you, reader, were to strike up a dialog with Emilio Estevez Circa Brat Pack Era, her self-absorption would stiff-arm your effort so profoundly that the first remotely personal sentence expelled from your lips would be abruptly halted at the distance of her outstretched hand (the open-five one). She's a total bitch; as tedious as she is hopeless.


The second ballerina, whom I will refer to as Pan-Am Stewardess has endured a rough batch of formative years. While she's spent most of her childhood with absent parents, whenever they do manage to spend time with her, they bring with them a palpable tension. This tension arises from the fact that neither of her parents has a knack for communication, which has in turn led to a rocky marriage. But not a divorce. I assume the only reason they've stayed together is "for the kids" (of which Pan-Am Stewardess is their only one). But obviously they should have just gotten the divorce, because in all their bickering with each other, their parenting has become increasingly neglectful. So neglectful that, in the months leading up to this photograph, they haven't paid Pan-Am any attention whatsoever. And this is all illuminated with undeniable clarity in a simple postural assessment. As follows:

Pan-Am is standing totally erect, her body turned to the side, aimed like a cannon at the timid girl standing next to her. She's obviously trying to explain something to this girl, and what she's explaining is either trivial or completely inconsequential. Despite that, she's convinced this girl isn't listening attentively enough, which is why Pan-Am has initiated a series of forceful gestures. Try to replicate the one she's doing presently. Position your left hand breast-high, tuck your elbow against your side, and rotate your palm straight up. This is not is not an easy position to arrive in, and for that reason, you'd never find yourself in it as an organic byproduct of casual conversation. It requires a lot of bicep contraction, and such force could only be prompted by a considerable dose of frustration. And what is frustration but an inability to communicate what you feel. So ultimately, Pam-Am is revealing a dire need for attention (traceable to sensitivities of her formative years), while simultaneously lacking the linguistic wherewithal to satiate her increasingly gaping void.

This would render her very presence a painful experience. And I guarantee when she's not demanding that people listen attentively to her dull sentences, she's doing things like stamping her feet about bedtime (unable to piece together the appropriate words to capture her disapproval of the hour, etc). Thus what she lacks in intellect, she compensates in anger. Horrible company.

Moving on.

The third ballerina: The Lilac Fairy. Out of everyone who has a physical handicap - regardless of how disabling it is - I feel sorry for about 85% of them. When I'm calculating a percentage to describe how many of them I like as people, there's an incredible drop-off. Such that it's probably somewhere between 5 and 8%.

"Courtney, how can you say such a thing!"

Reader, first off, I have no idea if that was intended to be a question. It was too passionate. It made the whole thing kind of ambiguous. Second, don't try to pretend like you're too moral to agree with me.

I guarantee neither of us has ever met someone who was born with a genetic defect that didn't spend their entire life obsessing over it. And in every one of these people, that obsession ruins the personality that might have otherwise been tolerable.

In this girl, she has that little webbed stub - it's like a third of a finger – in the place of her index finger. I once knew a girl with the exact same problem... exactly. She was probably six years older than The Lilac Fairy at the time and she still hadn't outgrown the obsession. Every conversation we had would somehow be rerouted to genetic hardships. Maybe just once I might want to talk about something else... like Breakfast Club. Nope! Hardships.

"Courtney, maybe The Lilac Fairy is the exception."

Again, reader, I realize you're trying to be courteous in your defense of Lilac Cripple Fists, but I can assure you there's no chance whatsoever that she's the exception. No part of her is content with her birth rights. Just look at the way she's standing. She's adopted the posture of a six year old who's embarrassed about having peed her pants (i.e. the token stance of insecurity). Granted she's currently being assaulted by Pan-Am, but at the same time she's undoubtedly on the cusp of making a comment about Pan-Am's faultless gesturing hand.

Furthermore, Lilac is consumed with her appearance. On a technical level, her hair is the most groomed. Is it the nicest looking? No, it doesn't look good at all. But she clearly spent the most time on it. It's not just loose and flowing like everyone else's. And her need to look well-put-together is further evidenced by her giant pearl earring... and immediately beneath it, her crooked bow. Obviously she has it crooked on purpose. Everything else about her is meticulous and I'm supposed to believe her bow is crooked by accident? That's just not realistic. What's realistic is that she's the chromosomal counterpart (or perhaps the little sister) of the high school boy who calculates the angle of his crooked Fubu hat. This is the type of guy who ducks his head really quickly when he thinks someone might bump his hat. I can't help but laugh while wishing handicaps upon such a Fubu-clad soon-to-be-failure. And I promise you Lilac is exactly as defensive and embarrassing with her bow as her older brother is with his hat.

Ultimately, I just don't need the stress brought about by her always commenting about my normal hands and fingers. Maybe I want to have a conversation about Breakfast Club without wearing penguin mittens today. Can I? Not as long as Lilac is in the room.

Not worth my time. Next.

The fourth ballerina (aka Robin Hood)… This is the interesting one. Reader, do you remember earlier when you were saying something about how you desperately wanted to hook up with one of them?


Okay, well you did. You said that. I remember. And so, as a gift to you, I'm telling you that Robin Hood is the best choice. She's your only worthy candidate. And her worth is mostly discernable in her right ankle. This ankle is the foundation of a posture that is in no way riddled with self-consciousness and ostentation. It's the perfect little support beam of a reasonable person; the only real exposed element that reveals structural integrity in the character of the body it supports. And thus - predictably - the body above it is completely relaxed and in the moment. And way above her ankle exists a face that's smiling, but not uncontrollably. There's a measurable batch of elegance in her composure.

And most of all, when have you ever whispered something you thought was funny to someone you didn't like? Every single person you'll ever whisper anything to is someone you'll regard as pleasant if not worthy of an obsession (like how cripples obsess over their handicaps). So obviously, this well-composed Robin Hood is the most interesting of all the ballerinas. She's certainly the only vessel in the fleet worthy of my whispers.

Next: Saruman. As a rule, whisperers are never as interesting as their whisperees. The person being whispered to is chosen. There's almost something intimate in the selection. The whisperer isn't chosen; it can just be anybody. And in this case, anybody is wearing a Lance Armstrong bracelet. Now, I realize this picture was created in 1992 (as seen in the lower left corner), four years before Lance was even diagnosed with cancer... and this in turn renders Saruman just over a decade ahead of the arc of fashion. But that doesn't make her any less submissive to the trappings of the fashion industry. It just puts her at the brink of its curves. And this is not redeeming enough to be excusable.

Moreover, Saruman's hand is on her hip in a very unnatural, almost theatrical way. Obviously she's acting out her words, meaning a) there's a high probability that what she's whispering is just freshly-pubescent inner-ballet gossip, and b) she has an appreciation for physical humor. People who are into physical humor (things like The Three Stooges) are never funny. Never funny at all. So ultimately this scene only credits Robin Hood another point for maintaining her composure while being whispered something dull.

I'm sure Saruman has good breath though. She strikes me as the gum-chewing type. And it's conceivable that she's observant enough to recognize Robin Hood as the most interesting ballerina (and chose her accordingly as her whisperee). If this is the case, Saruman may be the runner-up... She would be your go-to girl when you, reader, are rejected by Robin Hood because she's too good for you.

But having said that, it's just as likely that Saruman merely recognized Robin Hood's popularity by the rest of her peers. And then Saruman simply latched on, believing their friendship was destined given the similarities in their hair. If this is the case, Saruman is no longer the runner-up. She's just an idiot. It's like when you know someone else with your same name, you automatically assume you're friends. This is not an acceptable human behavior. All in all, Saruman may be tolerable, but odds are she's not. She's probably just a nuisance.

Moving on.

The last ballerina: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (hereafter referred to as The Chunch).

Immediately I just feel sorry for this one. The Chunch is unquestionably among that 85% who deserve unconditional sympathy. She could have murdered human beings – perhaps even spit at Robin Hood's mouth, neck, and chest – and I'd still feel sorry for her (but I'd feel sorry for both of them).

In The Chunch's case though, even ignoring the quasi-Popeye bubble of inflammation in her right forearm, her gigantic left hand and neonatal right hand, her list of sorrow-inducing ailments is pretty vast. And least among them is her probable inner ear infection.




Yeah, just look at how off balance she is. There's a good chance that stems from a vestibular problem. She's leaning desperately on the Horse Whisperer in order to stand up at all.

"The Horse Whisperer?"

I know, I thought it was stupid too. Saruman decided to change her name, anticipating that Robert Redford may once again become popular among her peer group (little school girls).

Anyway, The Chunch's body is clearly held upright by leaning against Saruman's (she changed her name back already, predicting that Newsweek would call The Horse Whisperer "punishingly dull"... obviously fashion is a very ephemeral thing... and its victims are constantly retreating to what has worked for them in the past).

My point is this: it's possible The Chunch has an inner ear infection. And lucky for her, Saruman appears very long suffering in the matter (though it's not unlikely that what she's whispering to Robin Hood is actually something about The Chunch... in a physical-humor kind of way... and this would be very undignified... even for a ten year old).

Next on the list of bodily problems: ankles. It appears her subtalar joints are a little askew. Not like she has clubfoot, but she's certainly pretty far from being streamlined. This just further reduces her capacity to accomplish even the most fundamental movements of ballet.

A little bit north and the problem becomes much more painful. Her tibias (i.e. shin bones) are different lengths (visible at the bilateral discrepancy of knee height). This reveals that she's in the middle of a very pronounced growth spurt, which has undoubtedly resulted in very pronounced (and thus painful) Osgood's Schlatters. And obviously she's not icing and resting if she's still limping to the photo-op, so... she's under some amount of agony at the moment (as well as all her other waking moments providing she's not abusing opiates).

A little bit farther north and you have a misaligned pelvis, which provides the foundation for a spine that's ravaged by advanced scoliosis (notice what appears to be disproportionate arm lengths? ... a token characteristic of her scoliotic spine).

So... given her gigantic catalog of physical handicaps and deformities, there's no way she hasn't already succumbed to the bitterness such issues wrought in all their vessels.

I'm sure she's especially bitter about the Osgood's Schlatters, as that's the most painful of the moment. And while this guarantees The Chunch a lifetime membership in my 85% demographic, the scathing and self-pitying remarks that stem from her bitterness hardly render her good company.

I'm more than willing to feel sorry for her from a distance. But being in the immediate company of people who feel sorry for themselves does not enhance the total amount of sorrow in the room. In a room of two people, only one person can feel sorry.

And it doesn't look like Saruman is particularly burdened by grief, so... obviously The Chunch has satiated the sorrow quota on her own.

Plus she doesn't even have a bow, which means she's not even in the performance. They're just throwing her a bone by letting her be in the picture. And I'm sure they would have given her a bow if they had enough... so obviously they only have enough for the performers themselves.

All in all, Robin Hood is your girl. She's the keeper; definitely worth wiping the Chunch spit off of. And the other five have no intrinsic value as human beings except to be discussed.

Warm regards,
Courtney Jensen