Girl, yuh gone

This is not the super fabulous popcorn movie review site, but I’ll try my best. I have been resisting the urge to watch any film not a Mission Impossible installation, but after watching someone’s walls cave in as she was faced with a crumbling marriage, I relented. I took her to see the film Gone Girl, this afternoon.

My aim was to illustrate to her that her marriage problems were not easily fixable and that she needed to not ask her friends and family to persuade him to stay. It is disrespectful and he’ll definitely react against any form of emotional blackmail. He said he wanted a one year separation and I advised her to go with it, along with a detailed separation contract so that she’s not financially supporting her husband’s mistress. It’s sound advice, which is what I thought she wanted but she says its impossible to agree to be separated because they’re married. Completely twisted logic, at which point I thought I would stop giving any more advice.

Her priest, relatives, mentors and attorneys have already advised her to get a divorce. “You’re being abused. Don’t put up with it.” I asked her what she thought of this advice and she says she’ll allow him any number of mistresses and help repay his huge debts if he stays in the marriage. This was said even as she was aware that her husband’s Disney World trip with another woman was marked in his calendar. Even as the repayment notices are piling up in her post box, she has asked everyone around her to cheer her on and guarantee results in the situation. Then she complained that he casually had breakfast, which she prepared for him, just minutes before leaving with his stuff. Insane, right? Now you know how I felt. I was screaming in my head as I calmly listened to all that. Lots of women behave like this when they should be losing their patience.

As I’ve discussed in October, a woman in love is her own worst enemy. My cousin will end up in exactly this position someday, and she is already incapable of seeing her situation objectively or hearing any reasonable advice. I found the film, Gone Girl, to be underwhelming for the hype. (What is it with the US media and the silly, over the top reaction to nothing in particular?)

However, there are valuable lessons to be learned. The story situates the characters at the lowest point of anticlimax. They are crushed by the weight of failure, but refuse to comfort each other. As it turns out, they loved their own avatars. Ben Batfleck’s character is a type of guy who demands, even believes that he is entitled to, the hottest woman in town. He believes his awesomeness will convince the woman to relinquish her right to a perspective. His every pronouncement is ambrosia, his bodily secretions are nectar.

Hotness. You don’t marry a person’s body parts. You marry their being. This is someone you trust with your life, but most people I know are not honest enough to admit they get caught up in that checklist of physical, sociocultural and financial assets. In doing so, they ignore the seed of bigger problems that’ll explode in the marriage later. The mistakes are made over and over again. The lessons are never learned.

Any woman can let a man talk and talk about his dreams and visions and go along with them to win his approval. But how many men would marry a woman who says, “You are a deluded wanker. Find something else to do”? Women are taught that it’s important to support a life partner no matter what, and many are prepared to lie to “get” one. Rosamund Pike’s character is interesting because she knows that her husband wants to be fed lies, which he needs to prop up his fragile ego. He’s prepared to marry a pathological, manipulative vampire in order to get his ego stroked. She needs to go darker and darker in order to maintain the first lie, which is that she thinks he’s awesome.

Lying requires a lot of energy. Ben Batfleck’s character needs a buxom young girl who is easily influenced to help him with his self esteem problem. He trained his mistress by overwhelming her with attention. After that, he fed her the “us” fantasy so she could self delude on her own time. He let her believe that frantic assignations in his office would guarantee his love and devotion. He should have thought of this strategy the first time around, and married a young, naive girl. But he lied to himself in the first place, thinking he was Batman enough to take on a sophisticated, overexposed woman and force her to submit to his mediocre ideations. “I’m better than you, and I can control you.” He does not have what it takes to achieve this, because she had the jump on him from “hello.”

The person I saw the movie with said it was a timely intervention. She then set about creating a social media account to keep up with the mistress. Her husband got it right with her, his second time around the marriage wheel. He took advantage of her inexperience and rigid thinking, and overwhelmed her with his physical and professional achievements. Fifteen years later, she is prepared to endure anything because her mother in law assured her he will come back, eventually, “dead or alive.” Cold comfort.

Batfleck’s problem is that he’s not a smooth operator. He figured he would ask an overly pampered muse “for a divorce.” Because life’s that simple, right? Use the woman and discard her when she is straining to hold it together for you. The bulk of the film shows his acknowledgement of the fact that he traded his freedom for undeserved praise. He was insane to think that any woman needy enough to go along with his delusions would not devolve into a bloodthirsty psychopath.

Are you looking at me?

untitled-26.jpg

Photograph, “26” [The photographer himself].

untitled-23.jpg

Photograph, “23”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9225519861/

Photograph, “29”.

untitled-18.jpg

Photograph, “18”.

When we look directly at someone’s face, we offer the person inclusion, appreciation, and acceptance. A look can say, “Are you alright?” “You look good,” “I trust you,” or “I like you.” We know that when we look at others, we will hold them, and the contexts in which we see them, in our memory.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9228285870/

Photograph, “24”.

untitled-13.jpg

Photograph, “13”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/11845923443/

Photograph, “1533”.

A look can be an entire conversation in itself, or a tentative invitation to start one. We don’t look directly at people we don’t accept, appreciate or value. We hold them in our field of vision, but make sure to look away when they face us, look off to the sides as we walk by them; anything to avoid the reflective glare of disdain from the other.

EPSN1538_E01

Photograph, “1538”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/15324091540/

Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

The participants looking into the photographer’s lens are engaged in a conversation. They’re displaying various levels of engagement, but they are looking right at him. Their expressions are non confrontational. They’re saying, “Alan, you’re alright. Drop by anytime.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9224532287/

Photograph, “7”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9227325766/

Photograph, “14”.

All photographs courtesy Alan Clayton WilliamsVeritalens, Tokyo & Nagasaki, Japan.

Appreciation

One dimensional colouring is something inexperienced artists get stuck doing even though they’re great at sketching. Later, they get disheartened when their work isn’t admired, even after spending countless hours working on a canvas. In an after hours tutorial last month, I asked painters to choose four colours they didn’t like. What colour isn’t a flower? The next challenge was to use up all the colours they’d squeezed out of the tubes. They were to use them together on the canvas without blending.

Before we start, let's get our acrylics together.

They protested at first, but eventually saw my point: Pink is equivalent to “a colour you like”. Pink flowers will get stale or boring really fast because we’ve seen them before. One artist was brilliant. She’d improved on her past work and practiced a new skill. She tossed the brush and used the back of a spoon and a knife, as I had taught her to do in previous sessions. Even after she was showered with compliments, her response was “Oh, did I do something interesting? I’m not sure.” I can’t stand false modesty (compliment fishing) but what’s worse is a total lack of self belief. I’m not going to chase after a person and tell them how great they are a second time.

We paint life experiences, friends, acquaintances, strangers and loved ones the way we want to see them. But when we do that we miss the chance to make ordinary experiences feel new and exciting. My advice is simple. Use your voice effectively to create a beautiful world in which others appreciate your talent, beauty and wholesomeness. It’s time to start writing our own happy ending. What don’t you expect will make you happy? How don’t others define you? Choose four things. Experience them all together without trying to blend in.

When you look at your work just before you post it to the world, or at your reflection in the mirror just before you step outside, know that in that moment no one is more worthy than you are to share your experience.

A Word …

Bitch!

I’m livid, so many more words. This person gives scientists, researchers and educated women a bad name. Sheltered little girls like her are why I stayed out of academia. I thought her takedown was a done deal in April when it was clear her research was faked. There are things you can’t grind your way out of Haruko!!!!!

I’m shocked to hear that she’s only just resigned in December. There are qualified people out there who must jump through hoops to get rejected and there she is lolling about in self satisfied, sanctimonious, blame ducking swank.

She must give really good head to hang on to her job and her PhD for so long. Or, her employers were very careful to investigate before assigning blame. But wait. That’s not right. She’s an adult with a PhD so why are a bunch of men holding her hand?

I bet you when she meets people she leads with “I’m Dr Obokata.” I know the type well. They’re so insecure, they feel they have a right to not be spoken to and they act as though conversing with people with bachelor’s degrees will make them less Holy.

I spent a month in Spring ranting and thundering about this bitch and I don’t want to hear about her anymore. May she simmer in unemployed hell until the End of Days. Then I want to fork her myself. If she gave head to get a position, I’m sure her Professor Sugar Daddies will pick up the slap. Sorry, slack. What will she do now without Prada?

Face palm, out.

TOKYO – The Japanese researcher whose claim of a major breakthrough in stem cell research was discredited resigned after the government lab where she worked failed to replicate her results.

Haruko Obokata said in a statement Friday that she was leaving the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded the stem cells she said she had created probably never existed. The center said it had stopped trying to match Obokata’s results.

“Now, I am just exhausted. For the results to end this way is just perplexing,” she said.

Obokata initially was lauded for leading the research that raised hopes for a discovery of a simple way to grow replacement tissue. But questions about the validity of the research prompted Riken scientists, including Obokata, to retract two scientific papers.

The Church II

No man waits in time alone?
Carmine shadows row o’er my soul
A coat of mail, the silver breams
Fretfully it hastens fretful gleam
In gothic passages taxis bloom’d
While now it grips, the dark, am doom’d

EPSN2426

Photograph, “2426” and all following, by Alan Clayton Williams, Nagasaki, Japan.

EPSN2417

Photograph, “2417”.

DSCF5255

Photograph, “5255”.

EPSN2434

Photograph, “2434”.

Time to deflate

WW
This just came to me yesterday. CBS has a position open for GMA, and I want to go for it. So, I’m here to see if or rather, what I can use to make myself a shoo-in.

Krajeck
First of all, you need to be robust. How’s your health?

WW
I’m managing. I’m on a new healthful diet. At the moment, I’m going vegan for a month to do a health special for the show.

Krajeck
How’s it going so far?

WW
It’s a challenge, but I want to stick to it. It makes me need less medication because I don’t have the processed food toxins and preservatives in my body.

Krajeck
So when does it end?

WW
I’m on the last week, and I want to continue because I feel great.

Krajeck
The reason I asked is that definitely, the one month trial will go over well with the CBS executives. How did you document it?

WW
I have a video diary that I recorded with Glass. I thought that for the Google endorsement I would do something that people can relate to. Everyone eats, and most people are struggling with high blood pressure, diabetes and weight problems.

Krajeck
Excellent. Can you send us the raw footage? Instead of using your YouTube or Google Plus accounts, you will need to promote it through some of our other CBS connected clients: Chefs, journalists, and documentary filmmakers. We use their websites and social media feeds. The keywords are health, managing chronic illness, career and smart living. You will interview vegan chefs, nutritionists, endocrinologists and ordinary people going through the same issues. I can get one of them to make a film about you reporting on your experience. He is a genius. We bury Glass under the credits, so it’s not obvious you’re doing an endorsement.

WW
Okay. Alright, but I’m not sure that I have enough time to work on a documentary.

Krajeck
My people will do the interviews with the individuals I’ve mentioned. You’ll need to read the narration, which we can draft with you. We can green screen you into the interview sets later so it looks like you were there. Then, we can add snippets of you in a vegan cooking class, and in a candid group chat with some audience members who are vegan. Do it after your upcoming Monday show. We can write the advertisement copy for you.

WW
You think super fast! I’m just so relieved there’s a way to do this.

Krajeck
That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? We will need to take over your after-work life this week. You’ll need to postpone everything on your schedule that’s not strictly show related, and delegate everything but the essentials. We will invite some nutritionists to your home for lunch or dinner and shoot footage. We need new head shots of you.

WW
Okay. Are you thinking I’ll need to change my look?

Krajeck
In terms of fashion, you’re on cue. We don’t want you looking age appropriate. But we might want to tone down on a few things, so you’re more natural looking. A braided chignon, bring down your hemlines and heel heights a bit, maybe some ballet flats, leather and copper accessories over gold and silver. We’ll have to redefine your color palette and bring in a new team of stylists. Women stylists. Male stylists dress you the way they see women: As making too much of an effort. You need to dress the way women see themselves.

WW
I hear a … Okay. I can manage that.

Krajeck
A correspondent’s job is active. You’ll need to be robust, because there’s going to be a lot of literally walking around and talking to people of all ages, from all walks of life. They all need to be able to relate to you. If you look untouchable, that will destroy your chemistry with people.

WW
Alright.

Krajeck
You’ll have to reduce your cup size by half of what it is now. I’m sorry but those enormous boobs make you look stupid. They’re practically under your chin. You have to get rid of them. I see the expression on your face, but rather than tell you that, CBS will not even consider your application, or they will interview you and not give you the job. If you want to make yourself into an anchor, you’ll have to deflate.

WW
I know. You’re not inappropriate. It’s just strange hearing it from outside of my head. It’s why I was hesitant to apply.

Krajeck
Your clothes, hair and makeup are the very minimum.

WW
What do you mean?

Krajeck
Do you want to be a CBS anchorwoman?

WW
Let us say I do the reduction.

Krajeck
You would need to do it right away.

WW
There’s no guarantee I’ll get the job.

Krajeck
Let’s examine your motives, first of all. If you’re going for an anchor position for the money, it’s a bad idea.The sacrifices are too great.

WW
At this stage, for me, it’s the prestige. I get the feeling that a woman who is fifty something needs a more uplifting occupation than gossiping about Kardashian butt implants.

Krajeck
I agree, and I’m not a conservative. So you can just imagine your average CBS viewer. At an average age of 57, you’re in a room full of your peers. They’re not looking up to you. You’ll have to give up standup shows in Vegas. You could do stage plays, and we can play up your previous appearances for your presentation. You cannot be seen in a bikini or skimpy clothing, anywhere. Delete anything problematic from your phone and media libraries. As for what is online we will scrub data for you.

WW
Thank you.

Krajeck
You will have to commit to the changes even if you get turned down. It might be a test to see how committed you are to a new career. CBS likes to play head games. They’ll build up your rival to test viewer reaction or create buzz, drop them at the last minute and shoo you in. Instant ratings spike.

WW
Wouldn’t they do that to me, then?

Krajeck
Only if you don’t deflate. Then, you’d be cannon fodder. You could use it to boost ratings for your show, but if you don’t get the anchor position, you’ll be the “woman who didn’t get the CBS job.” That’s too risky. You’ve lived a charmed life so far, young lady. This is a new level of the game. That’s why you came to a professional matador to tire out the bull. So, do you want to be a CBS anchorwoman?

WW
Yes. I’m just…breast reduction is going to hurt!

Krajeck
You’ll be fine. You have access to the best medical professionals. You might have to commute to your show from hospital with a medical team in the week after the procedure. That means, you won’t see your family at home until you’re healed. I suggest spending next week preparing. Then, in the following taping three shows in a row on the Monday and Tuesday, and take the weekend off from Wednesday. Five days post op recovery. Your Monday show will be the vegan special.

WW
That’s a lot to take on. The risk of complications, infection, and adverse reaction to anaesthesia. And they might not hire me. This is scary.

Krajeck
Endless pain for boundless gain. Thereafter, life will be less baby back ribs and more boiled chicken. Literally. You cannot change your body size once you start the job. Whatever you’re doing now diet wise, you’ll have to stick to it. Audiences react negatively to weight fluctuations.

WW
Wow. I thought this was going to be a slice of pie. I was dead wrong.

Krajeck
You may never eat a slice of pie again.

A Bad (body on) Loan

Amresh
No, no, no. Put that down. Come over here.

Lolly
You promised me I could have as much as I want.

Amresh
Give it to me.

Lolly
Just… Don’t kiss me, I had my lips injected.

Amresh
If you take that, you’re going to get loopy and I don’t want you to say I forced you.

Lolly
Why would I say that? Let me have some.

Amresh
You have a reputation for being unreliable.

Lolly
I showed up, didn’t I? One taste. I won’t get loopy, I promise.

Amresh
You have a poor work ethic.

Lolly
What? You’re paying to spend time with me for the weekend.

Amresh
This is what I mean. You promised me, and now you look like you don’t want to be here.

Lolly
I’m not like that, I just need a little bit to tide me over. I had a long plane ride.

Amresh
The flight over on my private jet was luxury.

Lolly
I’m so sorry, but I’m too ill to perform. I should see a doctor. He’d want me to rest.

Amresh
Do you think it’s easy to sneak five hundred grams of pure Columbian white powder? You’re not taking that. Are you going to strip off, or what?

Lolly
I don’t understand why you’re being so difficult. I need it to get in the mood. Come on.

Amresh
I’m being difficult? You really made fucking around and not working into an art form.

Lolly
I went out with your son, like you asked, and took him to 10AK in Southampton where the paparazzi could see him.

Amresh
Are you kidding me?! My lawyer handed you five hundred thousand dollars in cash in that Christian Dior purse. I already bought you a new apartment.

Lolly
Yeah! No. I did everything we talked about. I told people he was my boyfriend, like you asked. That covers the apartment.

Amresh
I paid one million dollars for giving my son media exposure.

Lolly
I’m bored. I’m so bored.

Amresh
The five hundred thousand in cash is for this weekend. You want to tell me you’re not down?

Lolly
It’s just pocket change to you. You paid me to hang out.

Amresh
You don’t have any gratitude for everything I’ve done for you? That Brazilian guy told me that you screwed him for sixty thousand. I saw you with that Italian. He’s married, so don’t tell me he’s your boyfriend.

Lolly
Why not just tell your friends you screwed me? Isn’t that enough? I’ll send you some naked photos. Here, you can show them to your friends.

Amresh
This is the one Pegasus did. It’s artsy….I don’t want that, everyone has that. No. That’s not sexy. You look old.

Lolly
Is that Bollinger? Can I have some?

Amresh
This is bad. People said you were an Arab tollbooth, but why do they think you’re a slut? You’re broke and won’t even sleep with me for money. Right, I already paid you.

Lolly
You’re just a sad old man with a little prick. Where are you going to put that?

Amresh
You’re a washed-up actress. Your body isn’t worth five hundred thousand. You’ve probably got sores somewhere.

Lolly
I don’t want your jizz.

Amresh
Forget the mall opening tomorrow.

Lolly
We have a contract. I have to show up.

Amresh
My holding company gave you the contract. I am the owner of that mall, you drugged up drunk bitch.

Lolly
I’m not an alcholic.

Amresh
I hope the money lasts, you ungrateful bitch.

Lolly
How about a handjob? Between friends?

Amresh
I can’t call you a whore. You’re useless. You can forget becoming a movie star again. I’m buying the best publicists and they’ll sink you like a stone.

Lolly
Whatever…

Amresh
Get out. You’re nastier than sores of smallpox. You’re an ungrateful blood sucking bitch.

The Church

Narushima Trip
Photograph from “Narushima”.

Narushima Trip
Photograph from “Narushima”.

There’s a tiny island off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan.
It is called Narushima. There are only twelve children on the island.
Three of them are Christians.
All photos courtesy Alan Clayton Williams/Veritalens.

Trip to Hisakajima
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/15507663721/
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

Trip to Hisakajima
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/15323907269/
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

We define “church” in emotional terms as a sanctuary or place of refuge. Objectively speaking, it’s a box. We hide under boxes to shield ourselves from thoughts and feelings in an unsafe world. These boxes take various forms, like personal, familial and political allegiances. However, they all serve the same purpose. They allow us to escape the messy work of negotiating our lived experiences. From the safety of boxes we insist that it’s acceptable to judge, blame and even deceive others. I bear the scars from painful lived experiences and I sometimes seek refuge in that dark, familiar place when a memory is triggered. But I’ve learned that boxes don’t just shut out pain. Sometimes they obscure the radiance and the splendour of unconditional acceptance and love.

Trip to Hisakajima
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

Bummy Girl

Padgett
I’m quite sure this is what he asked for.

Chesterton
Yeah, but just make sure to do three versions just in case. These proportions aren’t realistic.

Padgett
I shaved off the back fat here and rounded out her humps. I can’t make her bottom any bigger. Gaga looked better when they CGI’d her waist for the Bad Romance video. But her proportions were balanced and realistic to begin with. If you know what I’m say…

Thomas
How’re you two coming along?

Padgett
…ing

Padgett
We’re finished but …

Thomas
It’s fine. Send the copy to me over WiFi? I have D on Skype. I’ll show him a screen shot.

Chesterton
We did three versions just in case.

Thomas
Send them all through. He’s waiting.

Padgett
Dude, I’m not putting this in my portfolio. This is not good for my career. Not in the least.

Chesterton
Remember why you’re working for this boutique magazine and not Vogue or Bazaar? Nobody wanted to see Madonna’s pores.

Padgett
There is no evidence I was responsible for that leak.

Chesterton
Look, this work is paying our salaries. Ronni told me D Knight paid Thomas four hundred thousand for the cover.

Padgett
You lie! They got paid that much.

Chesterton
Honest truth. The magazine doesn’t even make that much from ads in a quarter. Strictly between me and you?

Padgett
Sure!

Chesterton
He wants her to be an icon like JLo. Ronni said he said a level eight Freemason told him to give her the full Disney princess treatment in public. They say the woman has to look like an animal and be naked so the public will worship her. They have a secret manual and everything, like from step one to step two.

Padgett
That’s … that’s …You sound like Alex Jones. Stop listening to that stuff, y’all.

Chesterton
No. Ronni told me. Hear me out. That’s why I said keep it hush hush. D was smoking weed and rambling that he got the instructions tattooed on his arm in Hebrew.

Siri
What do you want me to do?

Padgett
Search “D Knight arm tattoo”.

Siri
Here is what I found.

Chesterton
That’s it right there. Is that Hebrew?

Padgett
I don’t believe this. Ronni doesn’t know D Knight.

Chesterton
She met him in person, Padge. They were eating dinner at Thomas’ house and everyone was drinking. It started when he said he wants to leave a legacy for his children.

Padgett
Dem a have more pickney?

Chesterton
No! That’s the thing. He has two boys with a Swiss rapper and then the little girl.

Padgett
How?

Chesterton
Yeah. That’s why Ronni said she was shocked and couldn’t keep it a secret.

Padgett
Holy…

Thomas
Hi. He likes the Jessica Rabbit version so send the book to the printers. It’s fixed.

Chesterton
Alright. Deadline in case we need to polish up?

Thomas
Seven. I’m at lunch. See ya.

Padgett
Where’s he going? It’s three.

Chesterton
If you don’t believe me I can call Ronni.

Padgett
No. Don’t get her in trouble. She already told you.

Chesterton
She said he calls Lhasa his “girl”.

Padgett
Not his “wife”?

Chesterton
Yeah, exactly.

Padgett
But they had that big wedding in Italy.

Chesterton
The Swiss rapper, was hanging on to him. That’s how it came out. Ronni says it looks like they have an open relationship.

Padgett
Wait. Lhasa is the wife or the matie?

Chesterton
The matie.

Padgett
Woahhh! So that’s why there was gossip about him being homosexual! Switzerland is near France right? So he’s spending time around there with his children but acting shifty. And people think he’s a batty bway and hiding it. Wendy Williams ate crow on TV for nothing.

Chesterton
I don’t know. Anything is possible. I believe the designer guy is his boyfriend.

Padgett
So, he’s bisexual, or whatever.

Chesterton
Ronni said Lhasa left early. Some old man picked her up. Looks old enough to be her father.

Padgett
Probably the driver.

Chesterton
Dude.

Padgett
They’re not afraid of people leaking that?

Chesterton
That’s what I thought, too.

Padgett
No, still!!

Vintage x Glamour

While I’m not a fan of boxy Chanel jackets, I am all for the dressy daytime look. I love swing skirts, chiffon shift dresses in the flapper style, and A line dresses. They’re classic, modern, and vintage all at the same time. I knew I got it right, for instance, when someone told me I looked like a member of the von Trapp family, then burst into song. That was exactly the look I was going for.

Nowadays, the trend is for natural fibres and jersey fabrics that look already worn and distressed so they have a lived-in feel. They give the illusion that you are relaxed and comfortable in your outfit.

I love a worn-in frock as opposed to something too crispy and obviously new. Although, don’t carry car tyres around in a chiffon skirt. I Emperor’s New Clothes’d myself on Sunday, after ripping out the hem.

It’s winter and it is the time for mesh tights and peep-toe heels (indoors of course, I’m not daft). As for accessories, there should be no maximum. There are things you can get away with if you’re oblivious to criticism. Otherwise, wear heavy sunglasses.

I’m not against jeans and t-shirts, but I am no longer a supporter of the “easy uniform” look. Partly because at some stage, you have to make the effort, for yourself. Truth be told, I envy women with flat bottoms who can fit in a pair of skinny jeans (and pencil skirts). My waist is narrow, so belts provide no defence against people looking down the back at my bottom.

It’s a problem that’s solved by not wearing jeans at all. I stopped altogether in 2008, because I would get mistaken for a high school student at the archery range. I started wearing eyeliner and chiffon skirts for casual wear. I’ve got a beautiful pair of high heeled Anne Klein cowboy boots that have nothing to do, in my closet. If I can find a way to get my waist enclosed in a pair of jeans that fit without making the hip area look baggy, I will bring them out again.

Madonna’s breasts are exposed for the most recent issue of Interview Magazine, where she is conversing with David Blaine. While people are going to tell her to put them away, I say this is a work of art, and posing for it is the right thing to do.

Madonna has been fighting for the right to express herself for more than thirty years. She’s inconsistent in her manner and outspoken in her self-belief. We don’t believe in her. While other women in the spotlight have been lauded for their contribution to society and culture, Madonna has always been pilloried, lampooned, thrashed. Even Victoria Beckham, who was once asked by a Sunday Times journalist to please stop wearing high heels, and was once the laughing stock of the UK, has been asked to represent her country and now speaks on behalf of AIDS.

People like to make fun of Madonna for trying to beat the clock and not succumbing to the ravages of time, but I think there’s an insecurity to her that keeps her constantly seeking out ways to improve herself. Isn’t that great? An excerpt from the article:

BLAINE: I think this is also a really important [quote] from Henry Ford, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” And the reason I say this is because when I met you …

MADONNA: A hundred years ago.

BLAINE: I went with you to a museum and you had the whole Edward Hopper show to yourself. I remember you were jotting down ideas while looking at the art. I’ve done crazy manual labor—I did construction—and I can say that it’s easier for me to do any stunt than it is to actually figure out what I’m going to do. Thinking is the hardest thing. Like a friend said when I was young, “You know, what Michael Jackson does is easy.” We were, like, 10. But most people assume that it’s easy because you work so hard to make it look like there’s no effort.

Madonna in Interview Magazine

There’s a sweet spot between the ages of 32 and 48 where a woman has to preserve her dignity and peer esteem by keeping seventy percent of her body covered, staying away from spontaneous assignations, and doing interesting things by herself. That’s the time to enforce a zero tolerance policy for mean-girl/mean-boy bullying, putdowns or underappreciation of any kind.

If you’re still as sculpted as you were at 28, at the age of 56, as Madonna is, then I agree, one hundred percent, that you should flaunt all of yourself. All bets are off. Do whatever you want; do what feels right to you. “Burn it down,” as we’d say at home.

Perhaps Madonna has not realised the true purpose of her life. It is to expose herself just for the sake of it. Her body is a function of deprivation, torture and suffering. She will not bleed and die for our right to be seen and heard, but she can document for us the struggle to stay fit, healthy and fertile.

Madonna has done something important, not just with this stunning work, but through the sharing of her reflections. She’s given women over the age of thirty a twenty-six year buffer of time in which to command their womanhood.

You know what, you don’t have to hurry up and do stuff because you’re anxious about getting older. It’s not a foregone conclusion that you will naturally wilt away, dry up and disappear. You are not automatically unattractive. You don’t have to date assholes or get married to one just so you can be a mother. And for that matter, you don’t need to pay attention to expectations.

Before the conversion from jeans to skirts, it wasn’t a lack of self-awareness or care for fashion that saw me in jeans. Back in 2008, clothes were expensive and you had to be the size of a toothpick to get into a skirt here. Nowadays, fast fashion brands like Mango, Victoria’s Secret, ASOS and Zara bring you well cut, feminine looks for $10 each. Some ship overseas at a reasonable cost, and the fabrics are high quality. I bought five dresses at a Mango outlet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, back in 2012, for under $50. Four years earlier, it would have been difficult to find one really cute dress for less than $90.

Ironically, though I do not spend vast sums on clothes, my wardrobe is bursting at the seams and I’m about to go minimalist again. It’s time to start cultivating a history of fashion on my own with these beautiful vintage looks I’ve been collecting. I want to enjoy wearing what I already have, over and over again. Hopefully, I’ll enjoy some fun times with someone I really like, and who appreciates my style.