Saturday, June 20, 2009
Waiting For The Movie Of Your Life
Pictured at left is a Victorian era painting of Circe. Circe was a goddess, and a damned good one - she has withstood the test of time, not unlike the wheel. Like the wheel, Circe did one thing and she did it impeccably: screwing sailors, and in more ways than one that leaps to mind.
Circle had style, it went hand in glove with her professional calling; she understood that successful women always, always dress the part. She wore diaphanous gowns in rich, chocolate shades, and she saw no percentage in wearing a bra or even nipple guards, which makes her unique in her category of Highly Effective Businesswomen and Icons. Circe was a style force; she created trends of both gowns and behavior.
Her second expertise was this: she would send out a siren song, something along the lines of a "sex foghorn." Sailors would be drawn to her cozy private island, where she would seduce them and then -- wait for it -- turn them into swine. In this painting, you can see some of her ex-lovers strewn around her pretty feet, as she drinks to them. If you can't do shit like Circe, then I don't know why anyone would want to study you or witness your experiences- chockfull of failures. I certainly can’t fathom why they would pay good money to see a film about any lesser style icon. But Hollywood continues to try to make silk purses out of sow's ears, to portray weaker, primarily fully clad women who proffer just BITS of wisdom - and that is why Hollywood, rather than do a really enthralling film or musical like "Circe!', or a Blair Witch knockoff of "Night of the Swine" - falls back on a movie like Sex and the City.
The Sex and the City movie. Sweet Mother of Odysseus, how its fans poured forth, giggling like teens in brightly colored patent leather raincoats, raising a manicured fist to "eclectic” fashion-- queuing for a movie that is an extension of a television show. Not even a real movie, although I don't claim to know what that is; I lost track.
In movies and in reality, the most important thing a woman can do in this culture is...get married. Stay married no matter what; if your husband strays , you do not ask any pointed questions and you forgive him. if you can, you pay him back and he forgives you as well. Take good physical care of yourself and don’t 'let yourself go', which implies someone whose appendix and bladder and ire has burst all at once in a grisly display of overage. Keep a nice house. Love God and be Spiritual and open yourself up to Abundance. Ardently strive not just to age gracefully, but also to stand in one fantastic place despite the movement of time in a Chronological Sense. Better still, keep exercising and hold back the barge. You can improve upon the past: gain years, lose a bit of weight. Gain, lose, gain, and lose. Do not muck it up. Set out briskly in all directions, as indicated by culture and fashion magazines.
I'm no exception; I think...what if I lose my job and downsize, or move to the South and write in Crude Sheds -- can I sell my house? Do I have enough equity? And, are these jeans too loose, now? Is size ten Gap Slim Cut really a size ten? What about my arms? I once was told, "The arms are the first thing to go." I was about five years old; I kept it in mind. It seems to me they are going; they are moving on without me. Deny it I might, yet I feel real hostility toward the intention of my upper arms.
Unbelievably, in a time of a war and economic disaster...I still have questions. Can I wear cork wedge sandals, since I wore them the first time around? Am I embarrassing myself? How badly? Which rudimentary cosmetics are best, let's say, which three products at bare minimum? If I had to choose just three. I pore over splashy fashion books by gay authors on the subject; the gay men know. I know they know, and for a pittance they are willing to divulge their transsexual derived beauty tips. An entire subculture of men who wanted to be girls have secrets on how to look like women who are not girls but want to be.
Another subsection of Americans claim not to think about aging, they say they are not focused there. I worship them, in this case. Sadly, many of us are still twisting our rear view mirrors in heavy traffic and checking our look, glossing our lips. Madly and with small cunning we're dying our hair every six weeks and slathering on grapefruit Olalla product and buying pricey accessories we can't afford. Adorn, adorn, adorn. Dammit, if I can't fix the inside, put something sparkly on top.
I memorized my Life Script and tracked the screenplay word for word. I got married, we had a baby, the millennium came, my husband left, and I couldn't really afford a sitter. Ironically, movies came to a slamming finish. I didn't miss them; it turned out it was my husband who loved the movies. Huh. Yetin older magazines at my hair stylist's I see the Ny movie theater line for Sex And The City wending its way down a boulevard in Manhattan. And I feel like -- What? You can;t make a movie about a TV show unless there are spaceships or cartoons or death involved.
What is this? Some kind of twisted coda? I was more than comfortable with the way the show ended, or the way I though it ended... somewhere in between the grizzled Parisian (a Russian ballet dancer, in reality) and the Chris Noth man, Bradshaw twirls offstage, spinning and glistening like a rexie top. The pratfall in the pool, the chance meeting in Paris - all the things that never happen in real life - had happened; and I'd fucking well suspended my disbelief. They pulled it off, a masterful ensemble.
But a movie? A two-hour plus film extravaganza with relentless designer gowns and a London Premiere hat that made Sara Jessica Parker look like she had a SHELLACKED Victorian birdcage pinned unto her skull?? Christ in a hand basket. The greed, the push push push. It got panned; all the actresses were savaged in the press, the New York Times had a field day. And naturally the film made a fortune. Is there a sequel in the works? A prequel? A quelling of the maddening tide of newer, brighter more false imagery for us "girls"? No, babe.
We're Americans, our culture wants our faces tight as Hopi drums, our sequins bright, our metallic shiny, and our teeth whiter than white. Happy beginnings, happy middles, happy endings. And gayer-than-gay high fashion travesty birdcage hats in London, that too. Everything in a size zero please, with botox on top and a re-virginated cherry. In movies as well as life. Otherwise, it won't test well. Life, I suspect - aging in particular - would not test well. Life's a long, slow plot with a disastrous ending in which everyone dies. Except our heroine, Circe.
All the things that happen in stories, myths and the movies and not in real life? We are raised on them, as women. We wait to be married, to be on television or to look like we are, to be adored by perfect husbands…or at least to be some kind of mature, wise, graceful earth mother role models for the young.
But I know this one thing: If you wait for all this to happen, you will be old before your time; you will miss childbirth, you will miss love or even a semblance of love. You will be waiting for that brawny dimple-chinned movie star to round the corner, for that impossible coincidence that changes everything into shimmering perfection. And the credits will neatly roll.
You could miss your life, waiting for the movie of your life.
"Women just want to be engaged,” said Sarah Jessica Parker, executive producer of the Sex And The City Movie, in a national entertainment magazine. "They're not that complicated."
I am shaking my head in a circle at this, part vigorous nod, part Hell To The No.