Perverse Perfection Propaganda
When you hear of a place called Riviera, you may think of the luxurious French Riviera and its liposucked jetsetter inhabitants. The Riviera I currently live in has its similarities, yes; it’s full of international folk driving fancy cars and wearing fascinatingly horrible designer clothes. But it’s what the Germans refer to as a Kaff – less than a village with fuck all to do. Ah, but that’s not entirely true! There may be zilch for people like me to do, but for the desperate housewives, why it’s just a world of possibilities! Even my dentist doubles as a cosmetic surgery. Last week I went in for a check-up. I had actually been looking forward to a little down time in the waiting room; it’s the only time I ever flip through gossip magazines and they’re always good for a giggle, a headshake and above all inspiration for articles like this. To my great disappointment however, there were no magazines, only two coffee table books, both opened on specific pages. One was a picture book of a recent trip my dentist took to the Philippines to treat people in rural areas. The other was a before and after picture book of the cosmetic surgery. It was opened on two portraits of a fifty something man before and after his injections. I had to look closely to note the difference, but sure enough, some of his laughing-lines and a few wrinkles around his nose had been ironed out. I started from the beginning. Some people in this book were my age and no matter which angles of their face I inspected, I really couldn’t understand what on earth had possessed them to spend hundreds of Euros to fix something that wasn’t flawed in the first place. Instead of worrying about aging healthily, you know, perhaps following a reasonable diet and getting plenty of exercise, everyone’s obsessed with not aging at all. There should be no wrinkles, no greyness, no softness – in other words: no stories, no character. We’re so preoccupied with the evolution of technology and “medicine” (i.e surgery) and gladly spout shit about personal growth with the help of whatever gurus we decide to spend our money on, when the sad reality is that really we want no evolution at all. We rather stretch our maps of accumulated laughter into a thin line of instant pretence and hide behind screens out of fear eye contact could betray our online personas.
Immersed in the world of chemicals and robotic smiles, I never noticed the specialist come out of her überly-sterile torture room and into the waiting area. I’m not sure whether she took my perusing her book as a sign of my interest in her services or whether the mere sight of my face was cause for her to start mapping problem areas; either way she offered me a free consultation the following week. When she found one of my eyebrows shooting ceiling-ward and the other slightly twitching in disbelief as it furrowed deeply into the bridge of my nose, she quickly added something about a special promotion they were offering for Valentines Day. Can you believe it? I’m twenty six years old and this bitch is trying to sell me a facelift!
It being a Monday and all, I decided to add a few more laughing lines by rewarding myself with an episode of Girls – which, after having a strangers latexed fingers probing around in my mouth and having cosmetic procedures suggested, I felt I truly deserved. I think part of the allure behind this show is that it cannot be explained. It looks like its trying to be the new Sex and the City but, like in all honesty, it’s just odd. That’s what it is. It’s charmingly awkward and unpolished and that’s why I like it. As I was getting into Lena Dunham and Co.’s third season shenanigans, I made a shocking realization: My eyes, my intelligence, my senses are no longer accustomed to real women! I have finally been numbed to the PPP (Perverse Perfection Propaganda) and it took Lena Dunham’s ass and Gaby Hoffman’s bush for me to finally wake up to that truth. Honestly, apart from Girls and Crystal Fairy & The Magical Cactus, the only other films I see normal bodies in are documentaries from the sixties and seventies when body hair was not yet considered a crime against the hygiene commissioners of this world and when bodies were still something to be proud of, not something to be ashamed of and butcher.
I find the comfort in Lena’s klutzy nudity something to be proud of and love her body for what it is: unique. Every time she disrobes, I feel like I can finally breathe again: real women still exist! A few days later I watched Gaby Hoffman wander the Chilean desert lands as Crystal Fairy. Following the call of the magical cactus, Crystal rids herself of her clothes and continues on liberated and extremely strong. As I studied her vigorous womanly features and her seemingly soft and most definitely brave pube-do, I saluted her. I thought, if ever I was stuck out in the wilderness tripping balls on some cactus, now, that’s the kind of chick I would want to look out for me! She exudes femininity; a huntress, ready to nurture her prey.
It’s sad but it’s true: put a glamorous champagne socialist in that role and the entire feel of the movie would change into something trivial. It seems as though honest women are only used when the film or series’ director is actually trying to say something and surfs straight past Hollywood-esque integrity to delve into exploring the non-fictional in fictional characters. These are the directors who want to offer their audience something to connect with and feel, rather than just another meaningless flick to promote further delusions of the body, mind and spirit. It may be a positive change, but it is immediately put into the negative light. There was more talk about Crystal Fair’s pubic hair than there was of the whole movie itself!
A few years ago, whenever I’d zap through afternoon TV channels I’d find myself shocked at the amount of films they were showing that could almost be classed as soft porn. Nowadays, I feel the same when I see real women on TV – Is that even allowed? Seeing normal women in the media has become such an alien concept, that whenever we are presented with realistic bodies and nudity it actually takes us a few minutes to adjust our eyes, we have been kept in the dark for so long.
And that my friends, is pretty tragic for a Tuesday.