Let’s eavesdrop on the students at the Barbizon School for Women, starting far left:
Starlet #1: “I know that we’re supposed to be doing modeling exercises, but I had far too many Harvey Wallbangers last night, as well as a few Harveys, and I really need to just lean against this wall and wait for things to stop being so…unsteady. I am never drinking vodka again. Well, not today, anyway. Or at least this afternoon. Maybe later. They had really good shrimp puffs at that bar. And a few shrimps. Why do short men always think they can hit on me? Is it a Mommy issue? Oh my God, am I Mrs. Robinson? Norma Bates? My life is a cesspool of depravity!”
Suddenly, she lets out a resounding belch that would normally clear a building but doesn’t even register with the other self-involved occupants of the room. (If it doesn’t directly affect them, they don’t care.) “Well, now. I feel much better. I’m not depraved, I was just gassy. And at least I still look cute in my outfit, unlike Deer in the Headlights next to me who looks like she just walked in on the Pope blessing a Cardinal in a carnal manner. I can get through this mess. Bring it.”
Starlet #2: “I’m still stunned that I wasn’t able to simply walk into Hollywood and become an instant star. I can’t imagine why that didn’t happen. Maybe I shouldn’t have worn this bra made out of potholders. But hey, a girl has to do what a girl has to do. If you can’t afford it, improvise. After all, I haven’t had to pay rent for three months because my landlord appreciates my dexterity. I’m so glad I took gymnastics lessons in high school. It’s the dismount that discounts. Mmm hmm.”
Startlet #3: “I think I might be in the wrong place. No one is introducing themselves and saying they are alcoholics. But at least I have this nice scarf in my hair, and Momma always said that hair accessories will save the day. Of course, Momma also talked to rutabagas and had tea parties for the barnyard cats, so she might have been off the mark a little bit.
“Still, I love her dearly, and if I can get cast in an actual movie I might make enough money to spring her out of the Beaver Valley Sanitorium for Directionless Farmwives. Sure, I’m the one who signed the paperwork to get her committed in the first place, when she wouldn’t let me date Buckboard Haberdash because his family had fewer cows than we did, but I regret that now. Especially since Buckboard later proved that he was only interested in other Bucks. Who knew? I’m doing this for you, Momma!”
Starlet #4: “If that acrobatic floozy over there expects me to help her out if she falls and busts her ass, she better go to Plan B. Seriously, some people will do anything for attention. Then again, I’m not wearing any panties, either, so we probably joined the same sorority in college. When you’re a sister trained to do everything that the older sisters tell you to do, it’s hard to wash those instincts out of your hair.
“Wait a minute, I think I do know her. I remember competing against her for Homecoming Queen at White Privilege University. Luckily, I had a special move that ensured my eventual triumph and she was left in the dust. But still, she’s a year younger than me and in this town youth is everything. I must vanquish her once again. Fall on your ass, girl. Do it!”
Starlet #5: “I’m only contorting myself like this because I couldn’t afford fancy shoes like everybody else and I had to do something to distract people from my lack of adequate footwear. On second thought, though, perhaps I shouldn’t have thrown my legs over my head like that Tri-Delta slut over there did during Homecoming. She might have won that race, but then she had to disappear for nine months, especially when the quarterback transferred to White Male Privilege University and stopped answering her emails. I don’t need that kind of mess. I’ll just do a demure, non-rent-avoiding dismount and go stand in a corner of the room with the least amount of desperate shame.”
Starlet #6: “Holy cow! That waitress wasn’t kidding when she said the jalapenos on the taco salad might repeat later. If anybody lights a cigarette in a three-block radius, I’ll be the first woman on the moon. Even more perplexing? Why am I playing ping-pong at a Modeling Academy? I clearly missed a memo, somewhere. Then again, isn’t everything we do just one more absurdity in the Game of Life?”
Previously published, modified somewhat. Trivia: One of these women is actually Rita Hayworth, though at first glance she looks like (at least to me) Lucille Ball with a hairdo that barely managed to survive a three-hour road trip in a convertible on the Pacific Coast Highway….
Categories: Past Imperfect