I didn't know her, had never met her, had never even seen her before, but nonetheless my emotional response to her was way, way, WAY out of proportion. We had gone to see Madame Butterfly (you really are a bastard Pinkerton) which was streamed live from the Met into movie theatres. It had been surprisingly hard to get seats. When we got our tickets last January, there had been only one theatre in Toronto that still had space, all else was sold out.
We arrived very early because the crowd for these shows is a bit older and there are many with walkers and in wheelchairs. Theatres usually have only two seats where someone in a wheelchair can sit next to the person they are with. We get there early to claim one of them.
Soon after we were in and settled, she came in. Oh. My. God. If there was anything to the joke about the 'fashion challenged' ... she'd be profoundly so. I'm not good at describing things but here goes. She wore very tight leopard print pants, they were orange and the leopard markings were small and abundant. Her top was another shade of orange and made from a different leopard. The two did not match, they made the eye vomit from confusion. On top of it all she wore a Scottish plaid tam. As one gay man said, fron a row behind, 'It makes you believe that there should be a ban even on fictional fur' and his companion, 'Oh, dear, Braveheart Goes Tarzan.' So I wasn't alone in my reaction.
But it wasn't her clothing that got me, well not completely. Everyone noticed her. Everyone. Because she wanted to be noticed. You could tell that she thought she looked hot. So she paraded back and forth in front of us like, well, she was a leopard on the prowl. She glaced at the crowd like she wanted to be mounted right there, right now. And, AND, like she knew that every man in the room wanted her. She'd parade, stop, pose. Parade, stop, pose. She had more confidence that RuPaul on steroids.
And it irritated the hell out of me.
R. E. A. L. L. Y.
She was there every intermission. Every moment she could. The top leopard did battle with the bottom leopard as she walked. The plaid on the tam, which she wore rakishly at an angle, looked like it wanted to be pasley, or polka dots, anything but plaid. I felt sorry for the entire country of Scotland. I mentioned her to Joe maybe once too often and he said something approaching, 'Dear, you're becoming obsessed, did you bring your meds?' Even the gay guys behind us had lost interest in her and were disecting the opera like they were musical surgeons. Please!
On the way home Joe was yammering on about the opera and the staging and the sets and the costumes, I nodded along because that's what you do when you love someone. But I was thinking about the woman in the pants with the tam and her parading. Why on earth did she bug me so much? I'm a little egocentric and find myself and my reactions fascinating - and I wanted to dig a bit into the old subconcious to find out if I'd had a brutish aunt in leopardskin, suffered at the hands of a teacher in tartan ... but no, I have no bad encounters with cats, wild or otherwise.
Realizing it wasn't the clothing that got me, I shifted focus. No, it was the sheer freaking confidence with which she walked, it was the joy she had in simply feeling like a beautiful woman on display, it was the surety with which she presented herself to the world. That's what irked me. It didn't matter that her clothing didn't match her confidence, it was that her confidence shone through everything.
I was freaking jealous. That's what was going on. I've never felt that way in my entire life. I spend all my time trying to simply convince myself that I'm a step above a pile of shit. I work at building the emotional energy to believe that I deserve the breath I take. I am burdened with a depressive nature, I am hamstrung by a lack of self worth. You'd never know it unless you knew me well, saw me in my private moments, but I'm a shy child tired of fighting demons given birth a millenium ago. That shy child looked out and saw the sheer audacity of self worth, the sheer frigging courage of self esteem, the sheer - oh hell I'm going to say it - 'fuck you' of a proudful persona.
I envied her.
I was jealous of her.
I'd love to have even 5 minutes of feeling like she felt. Like I'd drunk a bit of vampire blood and could command the night. Like I'd been personally crafted by a talented God.
Just 5 minutes.
Is that really too much to ask?