actual rich people

I’m on the 1 train, heading further south in Manhattan. As the train wheedles its way towards 42nd street, I stare down the corridor of the car and fixate on the withered, purple legs of an aged debutant.  She’s wearing taught blue Capri pants despite the fact it seems as though her skin has officially begun to detach itself from her body. In the places where it used to adhere there are now sagging purple bullseye marks the size of my fist. Her skin clings to her like a poorly fastened disguise. I’ve been staring at her legs so long, it’s only when the train stops at the Times Square station, I look up and meet her admonishing gaze.  Yes it’s me lady. That deserves these punishing looks, not you for parading about with your crumbling mummy’s skin in turquoise cigarette pants. We’re looking at each other with a wordless psychic connection. This moment is more effective than a punishing hours’ worth of unrelenting insults.  In this moment and this one look, I am able to communicate, “Yes I know what makes you cringe about yourself, what you feared when you left the house this morning, and I’m thinking it, and I refuse to look away.”

I can’t even see her eyes which is all the more effective. It’s these two blank panes, these tinted glasses and Farrah Faucet hair around the melting face, and the lack of eyes which might create in me a sense of a sympathetic soul, that allows me to celebrate her sad demise. I’m aware of the biting cruelty of my judgment, but at the same time it’s the inability to let go of the things which made vain gorgeous women the center of the universe and the standard by which we all wept, which makes this clownish buffoonery so entertaining.

I feel my sense of the morally pertinent and fair spiraling. I want to have pity for her, and accept bodies in all stages. It’s all so unfair isn’t it? Youth laughing at age, beautiful judging the less adept, rich laughing at poor.  If we aren’t allowed to laugh at the misfortune of others we all end up sitting around telling children’s knock-knock jokes to each other, I reassure myself.  This lady would laugh if she knew about my lack of a retirement account, the hovel in which I depressingly collapse each night and I sneer, at the result of her years of tanning on secluded private beaches which has turned her into a saggy, pock marked meat sack.

I think about what insecurity is as I stare at a subway ad with a fashion model. The ad says “I am beautiful and I am available to you.” And women are overcome with the sense that stability is an illusion created by the time space continuum. It’s not about if her body is better or worse than the presented model it’s a trick that makes her think only separation of time and space allowed by photograph is preventing her significant other from being face to face of the object of desire. That it’s only a matter of time before they follow after, hypnotized like Bugs Bunny after a mechanical lady rabbit.  And then the woman will be forced to start all over again, to redefine her ideals… Oh it’s not about what you look like until the one you love walks off into the shallow distance like a zombie, clutched on to the flesh, the idealized flesh of the superlative that defies the logic of decency with its overwhelming aesthetic value. And why would they love the one you love, because you love them and you see them as a list of fantastic properties which redeem them above all others, which makes them worthy of dating women in fashion advertisements. A life made out of idealized frozen moments, perfectly accessorized. Fashion advertising is like a repeated horror movie which makes women want to transform themselves into women who can destroy the world with their beauty.  We’re all Buffalo Bill in the basement thinking about slicing off the skin of other women to wear it as a suit, fantasizing about fucking ourselves in our final triumphant moment. Out of the guilt of what we have become and what we have forsaken, our love for these perverted values accepts into its imagery a form of self-punishment and self-loathing.  We love, fashion with a sense of sado-masochism because we feel wrong and we feel good, we feel guilty and we feel superior. We are punishing ourselves for being flawed, by depicting our presentation of our glorious appearance, with the admission that we are villains, that we are crazy, that we are undeserving of physical godliness.

This life is a prize fight of imperfection, throwing blows in an effort to uncomplicated and already complicated life.

 


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