Sunday, March 08, 2009

5 minutes or more

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.

5 minutes.

Just 5 minutes.

Is that really too much to ask?


Unknown said...

The thing is...whether or not we believe it...we all have been personally crafted by a talented God...He made us. I share your difficulty about really believing that...but still it's true...
Give us a twirl, Gorgeous Boy!

Anonymous said...

That's exactly what I wanted to say Heather, but I loved the way you said it.
Thank you,

Anonymous said...

I try to blend in. Of course being 270 lbs., it is hard to blend.

Anonymous said...

Put it down to my being not well again but actually I think it is too much to ask. Maybe that's all she has, the 5 minutes on display, the draw of men (and women's eyes.)The desire to shock in order to get attention. Is that self confidence?

Personally I think Dave Hingsburger has more to offer, a wealth of knowledge and experience - yes perhaps powered partially by those personal demons - but I think folk will remember your teachings when folk have forgotten the plaid and the ridiculous clothing she wore and when the looks are gone what then?

I'd rather sit in a crowded room and listen to what you have to say any day.

Actually I feel sorry for her. It's odd how we can always see the value in others, perhaps I need to apply some of it to myself as well.

rickismom said...

Usually people like that are TERRIBLY unconfident on the inside......

rickismom said...

Because people who KNOW they are someone don't have to proclaim it.....

FridaWrites said...

What the gay men behind said cracked me up. I think people can be beautiful when they feel beautiful, when they let themselves glow, though easier preached than practiced.

Anonymous said...


Interestingly enough, if this woman had an intellectual disability, and displayed that kind of outrageous confidence, let's face it, you (and the rest of us) would've just loved it!

Something to mull over....:)

Anonymous said...

I am an outrageous sort. My body is sexy as hell, even if I fall over when I try and walk. Yours is too.

Confidence comes from inside, it isn't about leopard print from hell and it is about how you project yourself. When I flirt, because oh boy do I flirt, I can still move my body, even if it is just in my head.

Do not forget the fine art of visualization. You are still a sexy sexy beast.


Shan said...

Oh now you're all making me mad. We DON'T HAVE TO CALL DOWN OTHERS TO FEEL WORTHWHILE, people. Saying she is seeking attention to cover up her insecurities is CUTTING HER DOWN.

I say, Rah Rah for her. And Dave, that was very insightful of you to dig up the truth about your reaction. I've done that too - wondered why someone rubs me the wrong way and then had to face the fact that I WISH I had the guts to pull it off. Or, in other situations, had to face the fact that they are just as obnoxious as I am, and I can't stand the competition.

It ain't pretty, but it's human nature. And God knows there aren't enough women walking around like that, like they want to be noticed. She's doing the gender a favour and we could all learn from her example....although maybe not sartorially.

I'm a 180-pound belly dancer and I'm used to people - especially women - taking a swipe at us as a troupe because we're up there half-dressed and shaking our booty, and we've got stretch marks, or we're big, or whatever. And y'know what? We're dancing for the JOY of it, because we have something to say that isn't "oh, sorry world, for being a woman and being a size 22, and not sitting in a corner minding our knitting and trying not to upset anyone."

And you know what else? Dave is allowed to have these moments of humility without everyone clamouring to offer him validation.

**telling myself to simmer down**

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was outrageous confidence.
Maybe it was outrageious lack of self awareness.
Maybe it was a brain injury.
Maybe it was mental illness.
Whatever it was, it provided at least one person introspection, and learning......
Maybe it served a postive purpose after all.

E : )

jokarbay said...

Way to go Dave! It takes a strong individual to understand and admit to the route of why they are feeling the way they feel. It is human nature to take the easy way out by pointing the finger and blaming others for our faults, rather than dealing with them. I truly believe that beauty is only in the eyes of the beholder and that you must first love yourself before you can love anyone else. We are not born with confidence, we have to build it over time and experiences. I, at one time prayed for self confidence. Was I given confidence when I prayed for it, or was I given situations that provided me with a chance to have confidence in myself? Everyone has to find their purpose in life, and I believe that the purpose of life is simply having a life of purpose. You do a great job at starting fires in people's minds and making people reflect on what really matters in life.