rlbourges

Vanité des vanités or: Mirror, mirror on the wall

In Circus, Current reading, Drafts, Food, Hautvoir, Music, Theater on April 8, 2014 at 8:33 am

In terms of current dictates for female beauty, she’s one of the prettiest members of the singing group. I happened to see her, late yesterday afternoon. She’d seen photos of herself taken during the performance. Was ravaged to the point of wanting them taken down. Until I said: girl, if I can stand to look at my current image, so can you.

I’ve been fat, I’ve been thin, I’ve been chubby, I’ve been gaunt. On occasion (and with proper lighting), I’ve been just right. These days, I’m fat. A few minutes before Saturday’s performance, a gracious lad who never remembers my name cried out: “Louise! I thought I saw you the other day. You didn’t answer so I yelled out I loved your new look as a blonde.” (I am not, and never have been a blonde). “Then, I realized I had the wrong person!” He went on to mention the name of a person whose girth I’ve yet to match, let alone out-do. He zipped off, leaving me without Cyrano de Bergerac’s chance at a response when a gracious lad made fun of his nose.

Someone’s name, origin, size, height, general appearance, mannerisms. All note-worthy, all legitimate points of observation. If you’ve forgotten the merciless teasing any of those can trigger, step back into a schoolyard. Somebody’s jug ears. Another’s fat bottom. Funny teeth? The family name, maybe, so easy to ridicule. Etc. Meanwhile, while your vanity makes a big deal out of the sting, the important stuff passes you by without a word.

On my way to a coaching session, I ran into two women with bodies no amount of dieting and exercise will ever make attractive. One of them has adopted a gentle stance and small voice, as if expecting both of these to spare her a bully’s attention. They don’t.  The other comes on like a Sherman tank, daring anyone to say one word about her appearance. To her face? No one does.

From that same  Saturday evening concert: a poster. A man holding down a few slats on a venetian blind to peer outside with a worried look. In overlay, the words : C’est moins le bruit des bottes qu’il nous faut craindre aujourd’hui que le silence des pantoufles. Translation: These days, the sound of boots is less to fear than the silence of slippers. A good intro to a fresh reading of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

The mirror. To check there’s no spinach stuck between your teeth. After which, twitter like a five-hundred pound canary or roar like a  two-inch high dictator. On stage, or on the page, canvas, keyboard, guitar…

 

 

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