Today is Myrna Loy’s birthday. It just so happens that yesterday was my birthday and as a fellow Leo girl, I thought I’d write about glamour, or at least my definition of glamour. The word automatically brings up images of black and white photos of starlets from Hollywood’s golden era: luminous skin caught in glorious black and white, shot through a gauzy, loving lens that faithfully imitates a lover’s dazzled gaze. The old style glamour is all about being seen, ourselves in the eyes of others. There’s a little bit of mystery, yes, and with it a certain otherworldliness. The very beauty of the shots evokes the idea that these women are figments of our imagination, and therefore not real.
My idea of glamour — and it is very important to me –, is related to the fact that I am an embodied being living in actuality reality. (The latter notion might soon become obsolete, by the way, so relish it while we still have it.) The older I get, the more selective I become with my clothing, my jewelry, the perfume I wear. The idea is not how does something look but more how does it make me feel — although these concepts are not entirely unrelated. Putting on perfume is not just a way of smelling good, it’s also allowing me to enjoy a scent and if you’ve ever lost the ability to smell or taste even temporarily, you know what I’m getting at. The feel of fabric on my skin, the jingle of a bracelet, all of these items engage my senses, reminding me of my body and, by extension, that I am alive. In being more at ease and aware of these sensual experiences — and I’d like to divorce the notion of sensuality from sexuality for a bit, simply because our current culture seems to over celebrate sex at the expense of the full spectrum of human experience which cheapens us and sex itself–, I wake up to the “danger of being alive,” to paraphrase Fito Páez. The truth is that knowing that life is ephemeral and that circumstances might change drastically in a split second, I can be grateful for the simple fact that I am awake, that I have been given a body that allows me to be on this planet, with its pain, its horrors and frustrations, and also with its astounding variety, with its astonishing ability to mutate and change in unexpected ways. And because I recognize that life is a gift — and one that might be taken away at any moment –, I really love my body. I love my legs for allowing me to walk, run, dance. I love my strong back that allows me to carry anything with very little back pain. So I want to take great care of my body, not because it is beautiful and my milk will get all the boys to the yard — where exactly is this yard, by the way, and I must be getting old because the situation does not sound at all appealing, but instead rings with ominous overtones that spell G-A-N-G-R-A-P-E –, but because its upkeep will allow me to keep reaping the rewards of running, walking, dancing, LIVING.
The other day I went to see the New York Botanical Gardens’ Frida Kahlo exhibit and it seemed that all the women around me had somehow conspired to be part of the exhibit. There was a profusion of striking colors and styles and prints and the crazy thing was that it all fit in with Kahlo’s botanical Muse and art. So, be glamorous every day. Not in a Cosmopolitan, “ten ways to draw in your man” kind of way, but just so that you can completely and utterly relish the gorgeous vessel that is your body, warts, wrinkles, and all.
I get on the subway and I get to enjoy others’ glamour. (One of the joys of living in NYC is that there are so many stylish people). They’re rocking their style, their way with color, with perfume, or maybe just by mastering the way they move. In some way they are all celebrating their own particular experience of being who they were, in their bodies, at this particular moment in history. Butch, natural, tomboyish, glammed-up, elegant, classic, street, Goth — what have you. Get hip to this and you will see that the subway itself is a constantly evolving art exhibit.