1975. The scent of hashish in the air, I look over at my mother who didn’t seem to mind at all. I wonder whether I will get a contact high just sitting there in my seat at Dodger Stadium. I smile at my brother who smiles back and takes a deep breath. It is 1976 and the sun is going down. On my right is a long haired guy with big round glasses and a “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player” decal T-shirt. I secretly wish I had that shirt and wasn’t instead sporting one that said, “Come Caca” (In Spanish, it means, “EAT SHIT”). Funny at the time, but later quite embarssing, as it looks as if I am proudly calling out the shit from whence it hides. I swoosh the strands of long brown obvioulsy un-attended hair from my forehead and crane my neck to get a glimpse of the stage. We had been waiting for an hour, breathing deep and quietly trading visual forecasts of what Elton would wear and whether “Bernie” would come out on stage or not. Suddenly the soft murmer of laughter, talking, cat calls and the valiant croons of late-comers to their their “seat-saving parties” or vice versa. The crowd is strangely silent, collectively expectant. With a flash of the million-watt stadium lights a Glittery trim Elton bounds across the stage and takes a bow. HELL …LOW…LOS ANGELES!!!!! Elton takes his seat at the piano, the lights flash again and Elton is a blaze of movement. Pounding the piano, … outfitted in spectacle of home team adoration, or at least an admiration of Steve Garvey, a sequined Elton begins to sing. His mouth over the microphone, body seemingly detached from his mouth, Elton’s back rises and falls as he moves from the orchestral opening of the song to the first incredible lines. His head cocked eyes looking sideways and by now singing wildly, the crowd begins to move. I mean really move! We are all singing “Why’s there never light on my lawn?..Why does it rain and never say good-day to the newborn?.” We revel in “Grey Seal” from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and it has never been so real to me. WE ARE ECSTATIC! WE ARE HERE! WE ARE WITH ELTON! THIS IS MIIDA!! AND WE ARE TOGETHER! and we know we will never have this time again. People are struggling to climb onto the chairs someone uses my back to boost themselves up behind me. I don’t care. I put my hand on some else’s shoulder as I am pushed forward. I don’t mind. I look tentatively at the young man I just made aware of my existence, he smiles as if he knows me, and that we were ALL friends. Sharing something so amazing, so special that nothing else at this point in time matters. We are all helping eachother to be a part of Elton’s show, taking it all in. The air is sweet and musty the sun is going down over Los Angeles and everyone is smiling. We are all moving as one. Our mother is laughing, she has forgotten about selling insurance and making the rent. We hug her and we know that we will never have another time like this, together, our entire lives. I notice someone’s younger sister, clearly one of “The babysat,” still clutching a Tigerbeat featuring a zitty Leif Garrett or maybe it was Shaun Cassidy. No more Tigerbeat for me, I think to myself… I am the brio twelve year old lass proudly holding her copy of “Rock of the Westies.” I resign myself to the fact that I won’t get it signed and quietly tuck the album under my seat. I take my place between my brother and mother and resume singing,” And tell me grey seal How does it feel to be so wise?…To see through eyes That only see what’s real…Tell ell meeeee greyyy seeeeee ul.
Do American women really want to be “model thin?” Is “model thin” becoming “too thin?” there was an outrage at the “thinness” of Calista Flockhart back in the early ’90’s but now I dare to say she would be lost in the crowd. The photo above is not real, the model was fired for being “too heavy” at 120 lbs on her 5’11 frame! When R.L. Used a photo from her very urproarious shoot, she was aghast at how R.L.’s graphic designers Photoshopped her to a near-death depth of thin. What I ask you is where in the world did R.L. get the idea that American women either identify or pine to look as thin as the model whose image is represented in this photo? I say “represent” because 99.9% of all photos of either celebrities and / or models, for clothing or couture, are “Photoshopped” in some way. Most usually they are modified to correct “normal” things such as small sun-spots, blemishes, smile lines, discoloration of the skin, and increasingly the larger lines of form around the body that are seen as crucial as they define the “value of the woman” as in the angle of the curve of her waist, the breast-to-hip ratio, the width of the thigh in relation to the arms and the torso, are Photoshopped as well. Some popular “shape profiles” are “waif” “statuesque model” “boy shape” ” hard /fit” or “thin but curvaceous” (which by the way is still extremely thin, but the model retains some more normal looking curves) Any of these “profiles” can be achieved with photoshop and most are. The models provide the basic ballpark figure and for sure the hair, eyes and teeth, but the neck can be elongated, the torso also as other parts can be radically changed by the same process. What interests me is a psychological question. Is this seemingly increasing hunger for thinner and thinner icons of beauty a reaction to something that we recognize in our culture that we want to distance ourselves from? Is it the entropy that American people are seen as embracing? As diabetes reaches alarming levels and appears more often in poor, lower or even middle class Americans, could it be that we fantasize about setting ourselves apart? Does 120 lbs at 5’11 scream un-popular, overweight, and underachieving? I should think not, but the Ralph Lauren people thought that this weight / height ratio would not send the right image. It is my theory that by contrasting the shapes of women when shown in print as extrememly thin, the idea of elevated class and superiority within the culture is achieved. During the Roccoco era of American and European Art, women were portrayed as not only voluptuous, but somewhat chubby, no doubt healthy, but not fat by any means. It was widely thought that women of that time who were “fleshy” were more desirable. This was also due to the perception that women who were “thicker” were more sedentary as a result of not “having to” work in a physical vocation. This “women of leisure” or “perceived women of leisure” was in turn sexy to men, either innately, or the idea of a “higher class woman” resulted in feelings of finding them “sexy” Maybe they just felt better than a bag of pointy bones? Women of the time wanted to keep that “more than a modicum of thickness” would thereby strive to have the few extra pounds. It’s all tied to class and how our society perceives the body shape of the poor en masse. For us women with “some extra padding” which even nowadays could mean only 3-4 pounds, we long for the attitudes of the Roccoco period. Oh what a world that would be!