I love transformation movies: ugly ducklings turned beautiful, wallflowers who become the belle of the ball, villains turned saviors, shady ladies turned good girls, wild horses tamed. If you can name one famous example of each from the movies, you win the prize, but for me the top entry in the first category would have to be Bette Davis in “Now Voyager.”
I’ve always been surprised that they haven’t done a remake of the film, but on the other hand, I don’t think they could probably equal the romantic pathos of the dowdy, overweight, aging and submissive spinster Bette Davis, living with her dominating mother, her one rebellion–cigarettes sneaked on the sly. As her mother slips the noose of control ever tighter, Bette is “saved” by a nervous breakdown and a visiting psychiatrist who persuades her mother that she must be sent to a “rest farm” where the transformation takes place.
The resultant makeover, sea voyage, love affair and. . . but wait . . . I’ll tell no more, for if you haven’t already seen the film, it is a must-see and I don’t want to issue further spoilers. As a matter of fact, if you have seen it, we should both probably see it again. The last time I saw it was in VHS form ordered from Amazon twelve years ago and yes, I still do have a VHS player hidden away somewhere in the highest reaches of my house.
At any rate, I have been diverted by the film review when my real intention was to talk about the title and plot itself and the significance it has in my own life; for I, too, seek a transformation. Just once I would like to be that stunningly glamorous, thin mysterious stranger who turns all heads. Yes, superficial, but I’ve always thought it would be fun to experience being that woman who could have any man in the place.
For too many years, books and movies seemed more real than the world around me. My boring existence in a small town could not be all there was to life. Surely, if it were, then all those exciting books and movies would never have been written, for where would they have come from except from the patterns of other places and other lives that contained more possibilities than a small dusty town in the middle of South Dakota prairie?
Yes, I did eventually voyage off into life and I found places more exciting–more in line with my own interests. And although I had love affairs, married the man of my dreams, had careers I felt adequate at, traveled to exotic climes and never had trouble making friends, at age 67, I have still never been the femme fatale of my childish and teenage and middle-age dreams. I have made starts and even accomplished some of the goals. I’ve lost weight, found the perfect haircut, bought more stylish clothes. I’ve gone to clubs and danced unabashedly, joined internet introduction clubs, gone to singles parties. But still, at my best, there is some quality lacking in my makeup–some ineffable clue that I am available, sensual, smart and fun to be with. What is it? My entire life I have wondered why, with a few notable exceptions, I will invariably be the last woman at the table asked to dance. For years I believed it was because of my weight and at present that may be so, but even at my skinniest, there was some signal I sent out that made me unapproachable or unappealing or uncharismatic to most men, and as old and wise and introspective and analytical as I have become in my middle-to-old age, I do not know what it is.
Have you ever known someone who is doing something wrong and who just can’t get it right? Everyone knows what it is but no one tells them, for fear of hurting their feelings. And so they go on in life, never quite getting what they want and not having a clue why that is. Why don’t we just tell each other? It would be so much simpler. But, the truth is that we probably would not listen even if our friends told us. We would find excuses. We would not believe them, no matter how many people told us the same thing, because there seems to be some radar causing us to become who we are–strengths, talents and faults all combined.
A complete stranger sitting next to me at a banquet once said to me, “You don’t need that!” when I reached for the dessert held out to me by the waiter. I was astonished, insulted, irate. I wanted to take two desserts and put the bastard in his place! But the truth was, maybe he was that one person in my life who decided to tell me the truth.
Today when I got up to let the dogs out and give them their morning meal, I saw the dusty blistered card of diet pills on the kitchen island. I broke one off and swallowed it with a long drink of water. Perhaps I’ll start again that journey towards sylphdom. I’ll lose dress sizes, get a facelift to deal with the resultant sags and wrinkles, fit into sexier clothes, go back on OkCupid, meet another stranger grown familiar through words over the internet. Maybe it’s still not too late to be an object of desire. Or, perhaps I’ll just write about it.
The Prompt:Silver Screen–Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write! https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/silver-screen/
Strangely enough, this post also ended up answering today’s prompt so I’m posting it there as well: But No Cigar–Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/but-no-cigar/