Monday, July 28, 2008

Bearded Lady Shops at Wal-Mart

I was on one of my endless quests for a product that doesn't exist (black-out curtains in white or ivory, 63-inch length, that will fit my unrealistically low budget) when I saw a bearded lady tooling through the aisles on a Wal-Mart motorized cart.

She had something resembling a gray goatee extending from either corner of her chin, about three inches long. I don’t have a photo to prove this. At the time, not having a camera seemed like a mixed blessing.

On the one hand, I wanted a photograph as soon as I saw her. On the other hand, what was I going to do? Walk up and ask her for one? Under the law, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public place; hence, the profusion of paparazzi at celebrity locations. Legally, I would not have had to ask for permission.

On my nonexistent third hand – insofar as I have been dealing in the nonexistent and legendary, a third hand is not an imaginative leap – an unauthorized photo poses many ethical quandaries. How would I take such a photo? Should I be brazen and snap it as she sat helplessly confined to her motorized cart? Or should I hide behind something and take the photo surreptitiously? Either way, I could not in good conscience publish a photo of a woman I do not know for the purpose of holding her up as a public oddity.

But why not bring a Shiva-like fourth hand into this discussion? If the woman did not want to be noticed, would she not have shaved the beard or used some other depilatory? Aren’t there hormone treatments for such things these days? Or is she a feminist a la Frieda Kahlo who was making a statement by allowing her facial hair to show? Perhaps she would have welcomed a photo and an opportunity to express herself on my blog.

Alas, like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, the bearded lady who shops at Wal-Mart must remain a creature of fable. We know one thing sure: she knows where to find a bargain.

1 comment:

Sylvia K said...

Just found your blog and loved this one! Now I look forward to reading the others. The great thing to me about blogging is happening upon people like yourself.
Thanks for a great laugh this morning.