When I was a teenager, IDs still were laminated pieces of paper, devoid of all the holograms and barcodes that make today’s harder to copy. Times Square was also the wild west, full of porn shops and drug dealers offering you dime bags as soon as you stepped outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Combine those two, and it was a teenager’s fake ID dream.
It was never hard to sneak into clubs as a hot teenage girl in the 80s. Although the age for entry had a few years earlier been raised to 21, bouncers often looked the other way, particularly if you wore an especially attractive bustier or a short enough skirt. But, occasionally, the lack of proper ID would get you stopped at the door. Hence the need for a fake ID. This was before the days of big consequences for fake IDs (or, at least, for awareness of them). Everyone had one. People lucky enough to have an older sibling used theirs. There was a healthy trade in the expired licenses of look-alike cousins too. But to those of us that were family-less, the only option available was a purchase in Times Square.
Growing up a few minutes away from midtown by bus, we snuck in early and often. Weekend visits to the “library” often led to hours of wandering around Greenwich Village, buying James Dean postcards and looking in shop windows. So it was that one night we found ourselves in a seedy shop a few blocks away from Times Square, up Eighth Avenue from the Port Authority, looking at the various options for fake IDs, ranging from bad to just plain ludicrous. There were a lot of “work” ID and a couple of “official” IDs, although none of them claimed to be from an actual state. My friend and I settled on one, posed for a photo, and then started to fill out the form with our information.
I began to write my real name when my savvier friend stopped me. I needed an alter ego, a far more fabulous me who could pass for the 21-year-old I was trying to be. I thought a minute… I didn’t want to make up a name that would be too hard to remember. I figured I’d stick to my own initials… MEA. What to write for “M”? The obvious choice was my then-idol, Marilyn Monroe, she of ethereal beauty and masked pain, about whom I’d read about 10 biographies by then. For the last name, I tried to think up the most Anglo surname I could dream up. Voila… Marilyn Anderson! The “E,” as always, remained undefined.
I came across it not too long ago. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is Marilyn Anderson’s ID. Good lord, this birthdate would make her 47 years old this year. What was she thinking?