An (Extremely Hot) August Afternoon

Self has returned to reading her Lydia Davis collection.

She drove to the library earlier, to return The Plague of Doves (though she felt guilty, as if she hadn’t given the novel her best shot.  But, honestly, who has the time — ?  Self kept turning to the Amazon reader reviews, and reading the vociferous praise, as a way to convince herself to slow down, but after a certain point, who has the time?  Especially now that summer is ending?  And the yard needs watering, more than ever before?).

The peanut butter patties she’d bought from See’s minutes before, as a source of moral support while she did her errands in the intense heat, melted and fused together into one big lumpy mess at the bottom of the See’s paper bag, but that’s OK because as soon as self got home, she dug out a spoon and began spooning the melted chocolate/peanut butter confections straight into her avid mouth.

She opens the book at random, as she always does (It really is too boring to read the stories in chronological order) and lands on this uproarious sentence, the opening of a story called “Socks”:

“My husband is married to a different woman now, shorter than I am, about five feet tall, solidly built, and of course he looks taller than he used to and narrower, and his head looks smaller.”

Wait a minute.  Self thinks she quoted from this same story, not too long ago.  In fact, while she was in Hawthornden.

Here’s another story that she is sure she’s never quoted from before:  “Thyroid Diary.”  It begins:

“Tonight we are going to a party to celebrate my dentist’s wife’s graduation from college.”

Muuuch better.  Here are a few more sentences:

“All these years, while the dentist has been working on my teeth, his wife has been earning credits at the college, just a few at a time.  Every semester, along with her other courses, she has been studying painting with my husband, who teaches painting and drawing at the college.  She has been studying with him in a tutorial situation.  She is an enthusiastic flower gardener and paints mostly flowers.  She has written texts about her flower gardens, to go with her paintings.

Self doesn’t know exactly why, but she finds the above sentences BWAH HA HA funny.  But even if they were not BWAH HA HA funny, there would still be something wry and ironic in the tone, which is the main reason why self finds reading a Lydia Davis story such a pleasure.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Vanity Fair “Style” Issue: On the Most Iconic “Style” Films

The Vanity Fair feature (in the September issue) begins with American Gigolo (which self never saw).  Moves on to Annie Hall (which self did see, more than once: for a while, she walked around Makati in baggy jeans and crisp white shirts scavenged from Dear Departed Dad’s closet.  If only self had a picture of herself in that time!).  Then, to Another Country (Rupert Everett and Colin Firth played the most splendid representation of upper class British boyhood ever).  Then, Belle de Jour (Was this the movie that made Dear Departed Dad fall in love with Catherine Deneuve?  He liked blondes:  His other favorite actress was Candice Bergen).  Then, Blow-Up, which starred David Hemmings (For the longest, longest time, David Hemmings was self’s god.  Didn’t he once-upon-a-time play Alfred the Great in a movie about Anglo-Saxons battling marauding Viking hordes?  Just to impress upon viewers how awful these Vikings were, and how deserving of annihilation, the movie self remembers began with the sack of a convent on some desolate British shore).  Then, Bonnie and Clyde (This, too, self never saw —  though she’s seen enough clips over the past couple of decades to piece together exactly what went down.  Faye Dunaway made wearing berets cool.  Unfortunately, self looks terrible in any kind of headgear:  her head is so round that whenever self tries wearing one, the result looks like a pancake wearing a hat).  Of course there is Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  And then there is

TA-RA!

FlashdanceFlashdanceFlashdance.

How could anyone resist Jennifer Beals playing an iron welder by day and an exotic dancer by night?

Flashdance is the direct precursor of Magic Mike.  Only, Channing Tatum makes furniture, of all things.  The idea of Tatum wanting only to fulfill his dream of making the best handcrafted furniture in the world is about as ludicrous as the idea of Jennifer Beals having a day job that requires her to wield a blowtorch all day.

Here are the essential elements of the Beals “look” in Flashdance, the elements that make the movie iconic:

  • “Knit legwarmers bunching like caterpillars”
  • “the loose, torn sweatshirt” which forever seems to be slipping off one of Beals’ shoulders.  According to Vanity Fair, the sweater represents “the fabric cocoon from which she is emerging.”

You like, dear blog readers?

Stay tuned.

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