Thursday, 15 May 2008

Gnats to you...

You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow.

To Have and To Have Not --1944

I was watching this interview at 4:30am this morning – don’t ask – and Lauren Bacall was talking about her life. What a fascinating woman. Strong, tough-minded and yet feminine. She makes no apologies for who she is and what she thinks. What happened to women like that?

Now before you go – “Hey, I’m like that” – yes, I’m sure you are but to me these women epitomized a style that I don’t see much any more. They were sexual but not overtly in your face – they had a class and an elegance that I feel we have lost or is hidden. As a kid, I used to think my maternal grandmother Elsie was a silent movie star like Gloria Swanson – actually I thought she was Gloria Swanson for a long time. Grandma Elsie was terribly dramatic and she had what I call presence. You know what I mean, she would walk into a room, pause, give a theatrical look and then continue on like it was normal for everyone’s attention to be riveted on her. Mary Pickford would have killed to be half as glamorous as Elsie. And you know what I think it was with women of that era? I think they didn’t need to have their cleavage on display, their skirts hiked up and behaving like sluts for the media because they held attention by a look, a glance. The sexuality was there, barely contained but you knew when the hero walked into the room and he looked in her eyes he could feel it. I think we have lost the art of subtlety.

What I think it comes down to is confidence. Think about it - today there is so much pressure to conform. Sure, there was years ago but women could actually look like women with curves and be admired for them as opposed to trying to be a certain size. They were allowed to be real women. I believe it's not the case today. I am confident in who I am and how I look. I'm not going for perfection – perfection to me is common. I don’t want to look like some stick thin model with no curves. I don’t want to look like everyone else. I have curves and I'm used to them and I'm not about to starve myself to fit in - or make myself try and look invisible so someone won’t say negative things about me. But that's me. Love me, hate me...whatever - my life goes on regardless. But that's not the same for everyone. Some women always remember the person who told them they were fat or less then desirable. They take that on board and it smacks at their confidence until they begin to think they are less than they are then they try and make themselves look like someone else and the effect is not subtle. I reckon it’s a caricature of who they are as a person. Let’s bring back subtlety even if it involves big hips and bums and boobs. Let’s look at the Lauren Bacalls in our lives – the women who are who they are and to hell with what anyone thinks.

I think men are different though – well, yes, duh. They have a different belief system. Maybe it's all the testosterone but they seem generally more confident then women. They harness power in a different way. I think as women we need to believe we have power to be, look and act as we are meant to regardless of what shape we are and how it affects out confidence. I’m not abdicating be like a man but I reckon take a leaf out of their books. Look at the men in your life. What makes them confident. Ask them. Learn. Apply. What is the ramble all about? Maybe it’s about looking at people like Lauren Bacall who was not chocolate box beautiful but she had style, class and the subtle power that made you look and wonder - let's be ourselves and not what's popular.

On another track…as I do…Envelopes…they have been thwarting me today. How? Well, no surprise I am a half arsed office worker and I have the attention span of a gnat at work. Okay - that may be unfair on gnats - they may have incredible patience and I am maligning them. I will check gnats out on the internet and get back to you on that. Anyway, I had to print off and send all sorts of boring crap today - you know mail merging and that sort of non exciting stuff. For the life of me every time I set the envelopes up to print I printed them upside down or managed to print the letter I was sending on top of them. Yes, I wasted a lot of stationary and I expect sometime I may feel guilt about that - but honesty how many times do you have to do something the wrong way before you think - well bugger - I should maybe concentrate on what I am doing and not swapping gossip via email and phone. Not that I gossip much - only every second half hour.

Okay - so no surprise I am Janet and Amarinda at the same time - you’re never alone when you have a pen name. When my mother named her three kids she had specific reasoning in mind. She named us all with Scottish names - as per out Scottish heritage and so we could have a title put in front of our name - ie. Lady Janet, Dame Janet, Princess Janet etc. Yes, my mother aimed big and believed even at birth her kids would be amazing. Kind of funny as even if Australia still had imperial honours and if on the off chance I would have been offered one I would have declined as I don’t believe in titles like this. No one in my opinion is a Highness or a Majesty. Like my Scottish grandfather, I have the inability to say Sir. Have never said it and will never say it – sticks in my throat. I believe no one is any better than any one else - sure you may have more jewelry and a big house but you're still just a person. So you are now asking what is the point of this second ramble…hmmm…oh yes, it all comes back to the name Janet…in fact Dammit Janet. At work today someone took much delight in saying Dammit Janet to me. They thought they were being very clever and novel. They then said – “get it?" I do. I love the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Having Dammit Janet said to me in no novelty. However, being the person I am I always like to act vague and ask with a straight face “what do you mean when they say 'Dammit Janet?'" People, like the one today, then feel the need to explain it and even sing part of the song until they realize I am take the piss(leg pulling in Aussie speak). Well, one must get enjoyment out of life mustn’t one? I used to work with a lady called Lydia and it used to drive her insane when people used to sing - "oh Lydia oh Lydia have you seen Lydia, Lydia the tattooed lady.” So, does anyone feel compelled to comment or sing about your name?

Okay – back to gnats – fascinating creatures – not –

Gnat (pronounced
/næt/, "nat") is a colloquial name for any of various small insects….The males often assemble together in large mating swarms, particularly at big surprise there I guess.

I feel better knowing there is no evidence, that I can find, to suggest my attention span of a gnat is a misleading comment
Anny and Kelly are doing the Anny and Kelly thing so go check ’em out

Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


barbara huffert said...

My one grandmother was the first person who told me I was fat. She'd say it every other week when we went to lunch at her house. Then she'd get mad and make nasty comments when I wouldn't finish my lunch. My other grandmother was a Lauren Bacall who commandeered every room she entered.

Molly Daniels said...

I always get 'Good Golly Miss Molly' and in high school, some wise asses would call me Molly Hatchet. It used to drive me crazy, but now I'm over it.

Hmm...never been told I'm fat. Unattractive, yes. But my kids tell me otherwise!

Sandra Cox said...

You never cease to amaze me. Where do all these thoughts come from?
Very woo woo that you were talking about presence. It was front and center in the Elizabeth Lowell I was reading last night.

Anny Cook said...

Yep. There was a certain nursery rhyme that my real name was in. People said it all the time. Made me batty. Ick.

I grew up in a household filled with women who had presence. Never occurred to me that I might have any because THEY had it all. Funny.

I picture you as a woman who naturally has presence wherever you are.