I have spent a great deal of time in the last few days avoiding discussions about the latest young sprite who did something shocking for the sake of being shocking. What amuses me most is the idea that this is a new tactic. Heavens, when Evelyn Nesbit sat atop her first velvet swing, jaws everywhere dropped. Jeanne Duval was unable to ever escape the hex Baudelaire’s mother put on her. Josephine Baker became famous for what she didn’t wear before they realized she was immensely talented. Gala Diakonova never did care what anyone thought, she was having the time of her life and I am told when Sally Rand snapped her wrist for the first time, it was the snap her around the world.
I don’t care about these young girls thinking they have reinvented the feathered fan. Are they going too far? For today, yes, for tomorrow, who knows? Should the community at large wrap their moral indignation around their naked shoulders? No, they thrive on controversy. They would be better suited accessorizing with some common sense and a strong sense of self. But we don’t look for that in the glad rags, do we? A lovely story of a well-adjusted woman furthering herself through education and/or occupation or cause is left to collect dust on the shelf as the glaring headlines of impending disaster fly out the door. Who cares who is to blame? Not us and clearly not those meant to advise her.
I, myself, was on the lips of a few gossips’ circles when I divorced that Bastard from the Midwest. Certainly Albert served the papers but I was to blame; I wore the mark of those years; the big D – divorcee. Why did I cause him to leave? Because had I not forced his hand, I would wear the condemnation of murderess and that would have been much more problematic than a few well-placed glares in polite company. Hence, I married a man 3 times my age for his money. I sleep with men half my age for fun. I rattle about in an immense abode with no ones standards but my own. I made waves and some noticed, most forgot. You aren’t forging new ground, honey, you are merely spinning the wheel in a different direction.
Now, I am not saying that a gal can’t make quite a ruckus. Bathsheba ticked off the Lord, which is unadvisable, if you believe in that type of thing. Anne Boleyn redefined worship at quite a cost to all. And, of course, my beloved Sophie Tiara’s progenitor, Catherine the Great, rode more stallions than Willie Shoemaker and, thanks to her son, the Russian line of succession forever suffered for it. But for the most part, these dames today that aim to perturb are marching out the same routine their predecessors have tried and tested. I refuse to be undone by your boorish behavior; I merely ask you do it better. The path’s been carved, the road already paved; when you trod it, do it with finesse – naked or not. Your ridiculous grasp for infamy doesn’t hold a candle to Lady Godiva’s method or motive.
My point is, darlings, there is stupendous and there is stupid; choose wisely.