We have a rather odd shower curtain in our master bathroom. It has pictures of all kinds of movie stars all over it. There's Marilyn Monroe, two shots in fact; one is that classic of her on the steam grate and her skirt going up. Clint Eastwood, Marlon Brando, when he was young and virile; I think it’s from “A Streetcar Named Desire”; Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Bette Davis, oh, those eyes, and Sean Connery, again, young and dashing, always makes me think of “James Bond” are on the curtain, too. There are some others, but I don’t recognize them.
While seeing these stars on a daily basis is cool, there are times when it’s a bit disconcerting. When I’m taking a shower and I wash my hair, I’ll open my eyes and find them all staring at me. I’ll try to shave in peace, twist my head to get access to my neck,and there’s Sean looking over his shoulder at me, or Bette giving me a seductive come-hither look. Oh, and do not even get me started regarding trying to… use the toilet.
Yet, there’s one very interesting aspect of gazing upon that curtain; it has to do with point of view. All of these actors are quite attractive, even the men. One day, as I was "sitting there," I noticed something about Dear Liz. She didn’t look so good. I finished my business and then moved to look at the curtain. I thought maybe that picture of her, I think it was from “Cleopatra,” was askew or damaged; her nose looked too big, her mouth was broad, her lips puffy, and, in general, she looked like a chicken! Once my point of view changed, so did her appearance, it reverted to normal.
I couldn’t help but think of that old saying: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” These days, with some people so obsessed with being perfect, with looking just a certain way, I found it curiously refreshing to see that even one of the most beautiful people in the world could look… plain, even dorky. It reminded me of something else I saw, a side-by-side comparison between Marilyn Monroe and some modern starlet or model. The caption made it clear that Marilyn would be considered fat these days. Here was a woman, called one of the most beautiful women of her day, and she wouldn’t measure up to today’s standards. We wonder why our girls are starving themselves to death to look “perfect.”
Now, anytime I’m in the bathroom, I don’t mind the audience. I make a point of shifting my view of my friends and seeing just how different I can make them look. You’d be surprised how bad Sean can look, if you crumple the curtain just right. Oh, "Miss Moneypenny" wouldn’t give him the time of day, if she saw him like that!
I wish all people or teens with low self-esteem could see stars and models from that point of view, just once. I think it would give them a boost.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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