Monday, May 20, 2013
Paper or Plastic?
I was at the check-out line of my favorite thrift store, you know... popping tags... when I decided to check out The Good Stuff. This is where all the expensive, 'too-good-for-a-common-mortal" items are kept. Tucked behind the cash registers, where one-at-a-time, us eager shoppers are allowed access to see if something is worth the extra dough. It's where they keep the Coach bags or the really expensive designer duds. And that's where I saw him. David. As in "THE DAVID". Michelangelo's masterpiece of male perfection. Of course, me being me, I started wondering if it would be worth painting the 4 ft tall statue as a zombie. But figuring my hubby would resent the extra weight to lug around from show to show, I talked myself out of the unexpected purchase.
But, of course, you can't see David without peeking at his... ahem... short-comings. Because Ron Jeremy has nothing to fear from good ol' Dave. That's when I noticed the 8x11 standard copy paper fastened with masking tape, effectively censoring him. A thrift store loin cloth.
With my indulgent "Where does management get these hair-brained ideas" smile, I asked my cashier if there really were that many complaints over the classic statue. To my amazement, the cashier, instead of joining my amusement, became defensive.
"There are sometimes children back here!" She huffed. My smile froze. Then, I spoke up. "But children shouldn't be censored from this. It's a classical piece. A masterpiece, in fact. And trust me. Little boys have already discovered that part of their anatomy already on their own." Her response was to mumble the amount of change she tossed into my hand, and to turn her back on me, refusing to meet my eyes.
It brought to mind something my cousin had once told me. She took her elementary school-aged children to California's Hearst Castle. By the pool, her young son pointed to the lush female bodies of the marble statues and commented "Mom, why are all the woman pregnant?" She later shared this story as we spoke about the true tragedy of his innocent remark. What was once considered lush and inviting is now fat. And in modern times, women and men are expected to be perfect. Waists whittled to sizes and flatness that would have demanded a girdle a few years ago. Boobs, and now butts, augmented to super-size. Perfectly straight, even and snowy white teeth share the dental art of veneers. And let's not forget the long and lush hair, compliments of extensions. Truly a modern barbie doll.
But that is where I feel we are doing are children a grave disservice. Because the message is loud and clear. So long as you are the model of artificial perfection, you are encouraged to show it off. In skirts that may be as long as a wide belt. And if you are flashing those silicone globes, let's tape down those embarrassing nipples (and thus hide the natural purpose of those mammary glands) to further along the illusion. However, if you lack the funds for surgical "enhancements" there are plenty of "quick fixes" of Wonder Bras and Spanx. And if age, size, or other imperfection should make the illusions impossible, Ambercrombie and Fitch would like you, the wallflower that you are, to sulk back into the shadows. Modern society has no use for you.
Recently, I came across an old music video. Rick James' "Super Freak". Wow. I remember how, back in those early days, just how HOT that video was. Sexy models. Rick acting freaky. But go look at it now and you will see how your perceptions have changed. None of those "sexy models" would pass muster these days. Sagging breasts. Ordinary faces. Frizzy hair. Even Rick himself suffers from dental challenges. It really shook me. Here in front of me, on Youtube, were ordinary people. But I found myself critiquing their very human appearance. It was a wake up call.
I now find myself saying this: If you are going to censore our "shortcomings" then do it for everyone. I'm not interested in Nicki Manaj's Bubblelicious Boobs and Butt if you are not going to show me the sultry beauty of Gauduin's tropical temptresses.
And take that tape off David and let the man BREATHE.