February 02, 2006

Not a Pretty Girl

We went to see A Moon for the Misbegotten last night at Hartford Stage. Fell into some tickets via a long string of email connections, and neither of us had anything special going on. I love the Hartford Stage - had a subscription at one point in my life, and would go to Mark Lamos' Shakespeare productions pretty faithfully. Hartford is blessed with a couple of top notch theatres - Hartford Stage and Theatreworks are my personal faves.

I was a teeny bit disappointed in the production: Alyssa Bresnahan's Josie just seemed too smitten with Mr. Tyrone from the start, and I never bought into the "scheming" of either Josie or her father. But I love live theater. I guess I wanted to believe that they are really out to swindle Tyrone from the start (so as to appreciate the change of heart later), and instead I was busy watching the romance and never doubting the eventual outcome. Maybe you have to be a little less obtuse for a Hartford crowd, I dunno.

Souring the evening somewhat was an inquiry from an acquaintance (our "in" to the tickets) who approached me about an artist's project looking for beautiful women to photograph in their element (i.e. - what makes them feel beautiful). It was a singularly uncomfortable moment. I am not a pretty girl. I run from the lens. Invariably when people meet me in person their comments approach "wow you are less unattractive in person than the pictures I have seen indicate" and I take from that a sort of static = bad, dynamic = good vibe. I work best in 4 dimensions, with sound and smell and aura perceptible. In 2 dimensions, not so good. I also actually looked at my body en route out of the shower yesterday and was kind of icked out. So I am not buying the "beautiful woman" thing. It feels a little tokenizing.

It also chafed some of my own issues around outness, around being open to critique from the body-mod factions, around representing my peeps, around putting myself out there as a certain type of success. It just feels uncomfortable. I fear seeing the output and being so traumatized by what I actually look like that my little fantasy world of being remotely presentable as a female gendered human being might shatter into a catharsis of self-hate and repulsion.

But, I guess I am flattered even as I am locked up. I doubt I will do this.

It soured the evening somewhat for Zippy, who often feels that I get a lot of attention and energy from the community ("everybody loves you, nobody notices me"), as did the fact that I, and two acquaintances grabbed a glass of wine and did a little schmoozing at intermission - I switch into a corporate / arts / community networking, light chit-chat mode pretty easily, wheras she does not. So Zippy feels left out and in addition tends to physically recoil from the smell of wine in a sort of off-putting (if you are not used to it) way. She steps back and turns away in the same way one might avoid a dog who got sprayed by a skunk. Which makes for less effective schmoozing.

I guess I am not unlike Josie in a lot of ways. A bit coarse and rough, a bit proud of my work boots, a survivor, with a patina of bluster and innuendo for armor - but pretty innocent and inexperienced and woundable underneath it all.

No comments: