Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Thursday, April 21, 2005

This One's For The Ladies...Well, Not Really.

Calista Flockhart has dropped off the public radar--a fact for which I'm not entirely grateful, since viewers of Neal Labute's Bash will be struck by the fact that she's quite a good actress when she wants to be--but her legacy lingers painfully. As does that of Twiggy, for all of you old enough to recall that unwelcome British import. And Kate Moss. And Fiona Apple. And every woman everywhere who appears on camera and is expected to be found 'attractive.' I refer, of course, to the seemingly eternal tyranny of Dachau chic--that evil that takes genuinely attractive women (Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Connelly, Thandie Newton) and turns them into nightmarish creatures that look like Edward Gorey, Edvard Munch, and Modigliani put all their worst visual impulses into a blender that spat out a skeletal freak of skin-covered bone. This is so...wrong. And not for the women, mind you--for us, the men of the world. Because the sight of hot, hot chicks is really one of the few things that gets us out of bed in the morning--we're essentially knuckle-dragging thugs, as I'm sure I don't have to tell you, so food and sex are the only things that push us forward through our daily routines--otherwise, we'd just stop and scratch ourselves in unmentionable places for hours on end.

But our right to this visual compensation for the crushing misery that is life has been slowly eroded over the years. Oh, there was that brief moment of hope when Anna Nicole Smith (back when a daily diet of big ol' heapin' bowls of Percocet and Oxycontin hadn't reduced her to a slurring manatee) became the Guess! jeans girl and men around the planet crossed their fingers in the hopes that this marked a swing backward of the pendular zeitgeist. Alas, it did not. Now we're stuck with Victoria's Secret models who look like they've been temporarily dragged upright from lying prone in a heroin-induced stupor, dipped in body make-up and had their over-priced whore-garb Krazy-glued onto their cadaverous frames (because they don't have enough bodily articulation to support the garments with their own flesh), then thrown in front of the cameras to totter down oddly lit, dove-strewn hallways while a perverse voice-over tells us these resurrected corpses are 'sexy.' Not unless necrophilia's your thing, they're not. (Tyra Banks at least has the ability to smile--so maybe she just likes being hungry all the time--we'll let Tyra take a walk on this one, provided that walk leads her to a Dairy Queen for a Blizzard.)

Look, I know we're a nation of fatties. (And yeah, I ruefully add myself into that category. I'm not 'helper belt' fat--I'm still in the comparative mild "Could Stand To Lose A Few Pounds" category--but I'm not what I was in college, and dammit, I looked good back then. Sigh. But I'll start losing the weight real soon. I promise. Heh, I crack myself up.) I know that obesity is out of control and we're becoming more sedentary by the minute--I'm surprised I can muster up the energy to type...so weary...must...stop...(Long nap, followed by half-a-dozen Red Bulls.) OK, I'm back. Seriously, we need to get off the damn couch and run our asses around the block for a half-hour every day. We need to order the salad as a side instead of the fries (and potato/macaroni salads don't count!)--we need to eat less, drink more water, and walk to the Post Office instead of driving. And so I don't want what I say next to be taken as a suggestion that we can all let ourselves go. Diabetes is no fun, people, and heart attacks hurt. If you can only bathe with a scrubbing stick, you need to lose the weight. But that said--

Dammit, ladies, enough with the damn skinniness! Stop listening to those evil f***s who 'set the public taste'--a group, I'm convinced, that is entirely made up of evil gay men (who, because they find all women unattractive, want all women to be as unattractive as they themselves find them, and so create a standard that succeeds in making all women unattractive, thus vindicating said evil gay men in their preferance for boinking shaven-chested studs) and bitter old hags (who know that their youth and bloom are lost, and are determined, like the Queen in Snow White, to doom all other women to lives of blighted beauty rather than face up to this unpleasant fact)! Stop listening to them when they tell you that Gwyneth Paltrow and Rene Zellweger "look fabulous" in their Vera Wangs! No, they don't! They look like they're about to collapse like a stack of pick-a-sticks! They look, in the words of Patton Oswalt, like "if you f*** [them, they'll] tear!" They look bad, in other words.

Ladies, listen to me, and listen close; I say this on behalf of all men everywhere: If you're ten pounds 'overweight,' we will not notice. If you're twenty pounds, we will not care. Breasts and hips are good things--flesh is attractive, not repulsive--you are far more beautiful and sexy and head-spinningly attractive now than you would be if you looked like the freaks who teeter down the catwalks, whom the slightest breeze would knock over. We like you the way you look now. We really, really do. You are the hot chicks we get out of bed to see in the morning. You. Not the bony figurines on-screen. You. We love and desire you. Because you're real. Because you show us what women are supposed to look like--because you have what we want--a body with shape and form and curves. You look good, ladies--no, f*** that--you look damn fine. F*** the half-decayed zombies who shuffle across the airwaves and movie screens and the pages of Vogue. It's you we want. Please, please, please stop listening to the invisible monsters who tell you you're not good enough and listen to us: Yes. You are.

Now I trust we'll never have to revisit this topic. Please?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, but then how do we explain the popularity of Catherine Zeta-Jones among gay men?

1:54 PM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

Ah, but I was careful enough to phrase my blame as applying only to "EVIL" gay men--I do not consider the group as a whole to be pernicious. Quite the contrary. And of course, gay men are the victims of a tyranny of looks that tells them that only blonde 16 year olds with swimmers' builds are attractive. (The predelictions of rice queens and bear lovers aside, of course...) No, it's no surprise to me that gay men love Catherine--she's got that eerie flawless perfection of appearance that makes her an object of beauty instead of (or in addition to) one of sexuality. Plus which, there's the camp value of her marriage...

3:08 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I don't think it's gay men or old women that have created skin-and-bones chic. I think we as grown women do this to ourselves and to each other because of our own insecurities. It's a way to reclaim lost youth by recreating the bodies we had when we were twelve, right after the growth spurt that used up the baby fat and before the real curves that made us realize we weren't kids anymore. It's one more way to show another woman who's best, and one more excuse to hate each other and ourselves.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

Damn. And I thought men were harsh with each other. (Actually, we are, but it mostly takes the form of bar fights that end with hand shakes and mutual pitchers of Heineken.) I suppose my plea was really to women to set aside this competition for the sake of men--a selfish act, I'll admit, but nevertheless, since the ROOT of all this claim to "attractiveness" is the ability to attract MEN--well, except for you of the 10% brigade, and God forbid I should tell you how to live your lives--well, then, what men find attractive ought to be important SOMEHOW, shouldn't it? Oh, probably not, but dammit, ladies, women, fellow homo sapiens, you really are very pleasant to look at as it is. Of course, there's the horrifying thought that if you stop submitting yourselves to each OTHER's ideals of beauty and start submitting yourselves to men's--well, that way lies the Dark Side, I think we can all agree. I guess what I'm asking is for all of you to just say "F*** it" and be confident in how you look. Because a woman who's confident in how she looks IS sexy. Period. (Except for Ann Coulter. Who isn't. At all. Except in the sense of finding someone so horrible that there's a perverted attraction. But even then, I'd have to be really, really, really drunk...Nah, not even then.)

1:14 PM  
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11:07 AM  

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