Sunday, October 08, 2006

Eternal Sale Time of the Witless Mind

Like prithee and thou, the words simple elegance seem to have vanished from American English. Excess is our credo. Spangles and glitter, breasts pumped too full of saline, belly shirts with necklines that are barely there, song lyrics that shock, bloated houses, sky-high debt – whatever we do, Americans do to excess.

I feel sorry for the young women of today. Who are their role models? Is it Pamela Anderson with breasts like a porn star and an online sex tape of her and ex-husband tattooed rocker Tommy Lee? Is it equally bosom Anna Nicole Smith, who wed a man old enough to be her great-grandfather and appears zonked out on her own reality show? Is it billion-heiress Paris Hilton, famous for being blond, rich, young, famous and raucous, showing her bare breasts on the cover of Vanity Fair?

My idol is Audrey Hepburn. She was always elegantly turned out in designer clothes. In her later years, she worked on behalf on UNICEF and the world’s children. Like Jackie Kennedy, she tried not ever to be photographed with a cigarette; it wasn’t ladylike. She fought a valiant death against cancer and died quietly in Switzerland with her husband, sons, and dogs.

Sophia Loren is a close runner-up. Like Audrey Hepburn, she does not appear in public in ripped jeans and sans-makeup. In a recent photograph in a hair-do magazine, she was elegantly suited and seated. In her seventies, she has gams to die for. I recall an interview in which she said she avoids appearing like an old woman by carrying herself erect and not making old-woman sounds.

The late Natalie Wood, who died too young in boating accident, was another graduate of the so-called Hollywood star system. She, too, never went to the supermarket without putting on make-up; she felt she owned it to her fans.

Now my lovely female students wear tops that make me wonder where to put my eyes when they come into my office cubicle. How must young men, with their raging hormones, manage the situation? They complained to me in my interpersonal communication class last year that young women get breast augmentation as a high school graduate present, wear plunging necklines, then give young men who stare dirty looks and ask snottily, “What are you looking at?” Neither do I enjoy the endless parade of women with beer guts and belly shirts who populate gas stations and supermarkets. Gals, this is not sexy.

Simple elegance is graceful, tasteful, esthetically pleasing, and respects the rights of others not to be confronted with one’s sexual allure when they’d rather not be. There’s a lot to be said for simple elegance, and I wish someone was saying it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Come on, there, Tropigal. It's fashion. It changes. It's not in fashion to look elegant. It's fashionable to look like a slob. It will change. Things always do. You sound like the anti-fashionistas from Victorian times who criticized women for shortening their skirts to show ankles and knees. And ohmygawd, what about "bobbing hair" in the 1920s?
I can't believe I'm wasting my precious time writing on a blog. Yuck.