Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Written On The Body

Thanks to all for the great comments on yesterday's post! I have never been offended by a compliment on this blog or a compliment in any situation and extend many thanks to everyone who appreciates either the pictures or the writing. All the comments are helping me in figuring out the role of photography in my book and life. And to my dearest beautiful Jodi, I do remember that moment and laughed hysterically again thinking about it! This next post is further rumination on the same subject, albeit a slightly different angle.

My friend K (her real initial) is exquisitely beautiful. I knew this before she posed for Playboy, before she became a model. I knew it because when we were in high school and college, men adored K and women, well, women were tough on her. And whenever we went out, people fell all over themselves to get things for us, to help us in a way they did not when I went out with my friend M or L. We never were ignored, the way I often was alone, dressed like a siren if your idea of a siren is Karen Carpenter, circa 1971. K hated men; a victim of sexual abuse, she'd decided that if men were stupid enough to be drawn in by a beautiful face, a Barbie-like body, and an airhead act, they deserved what they got which was to be treated like hell. She'd had a hard life in many ways so I understood this guerrilla feminism. Knowing her father alone would be enough for most women to begin to despise the entire sex. Once I went to pick her up for a night out at the uber-glamorous, now defunct Bennigans. She had not gotten home from work yet and her father began to strip in front of me, pretending to tuck in his shirt; I could not get out of there fast enough.

I wondered what it would be like to be really beautiful like K. I had my own charms, but they weren't terribly obvious. I had, in no particular order, unruly hair, bad skin at points, weight fluctuations, and eyebrows that I wish someone had informed me needed plucking. I once got me and my friend Cal into the Macaroni Grill, circumventing an hour wait so I suppose there's that velvet rope consolation. The first article I read on being pretty was in a women's magazine and the author did not sign her name. She talked about how taboo it was to say you were attractive and how, while it got her attention from strangers, it didn't make her life much easier. Which I'm sure made people sick -- boo hoo, you're so pretty; it must be awful! Kind of like complaining about being rich. The only people that can say money doesn't matter and not sound like assholes are poor people. But, as everyone knows, beauty fades, no matter how much money you have or what kind of disturbing procedures you do to yourself. Once a friend of mine listed all the things she'd missed about herself when she died which gave me pause. I miss some of those things already! Orwell says by fifty, we have the face we deserve. And I hope that everything I have loved deeply, even the damage, is written on my body, constantly evolving into something even more real than the charms of misspent youth.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” Confucius

Cocktail Hour
Question for readers: Any good traditional movie/drinks/desserts that you associate with Thanksgiving?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


JR's Thumbprints said...

As an ugly dude (and I don't mean Mick-Jagger-kinda-ugly) I get where you're coming from. Money, though, can help others to overlook the imperfections. Of course, none of this matters as much as what you or I see in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Ah Thanksgiving. Pumkin pie, pecan pie and Aunt Ilda's apple cake. Turkey marinated over night in kosher salt to bring out the juices. A rub of fennel and other herbs...blackberry bramble wine...best of all is family sitting down at the table and talking and eating and drinking. The phone call from distant relatives and the results of The Battle of the Buroughs back home.

As for beauty it is in the eyes of the beholder.

Anonymous said...

My favorite quote is "despite all the ugliness in the world, beauty persists." I think it was Gregory Bateson but can't confirm.

Scott said...

Hi Michelle!

Good points in your post. I will say that personally I may be initially pulled in by surface beauty, but there has to be more than that to keep me interested for very long. Personality, character, and smarts go a long way once you get past the outer looks.

What initially attracted me to your blog was the title...I've always been interested in magic, alchemy, and the occult. Instead, I find a smart and talented writer, who makes me use my brain and my feelings when I read her work...and she happens to be attractive as well. :) Not a bad surprise at all.

the walking man said...

too true...by the time you're fifty (29 years away for you {almost}, you do have the face you deserve. Personally if I were prettier and able to lift my head high enough to shave I would lose the beard and let my face reflect back to the world what it hath wrought.

But it is a scarred thing this middle aged body of mine. No one scar to be taken lightly for they are well paid for and in the final conclusion, they are mine and mine alone. My scars are the one thing that no pretty person with unblemished skin can ever deign to inherit a portion of.

I will hang my skin in the halls of them who have lived. To you, to them I raise my cup in my bent fingers; with toothless mouth and twisted mind I say "fuck it, scars are cool."

Ludger said...

I must tell you,Michelle,that I don't find you zee least bit attractive,but then I don't like zee girls.

Laura Benedict said...

Champagne cocktails! My BFF told me once that they're what prostitutes drink, but that seemed a little prejudiced to me...P's family has them with Thanksgiving hors d'ouerves (sp?). Three parts good champagne, one part brandy, a dash of bitters and a pinch of sugar. Yum!

I so look forward to your posts and all of your pictures.... xo

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm fifty now but surely I don't have the face I deserve. I deserve a much better one, I think.