Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Snaps to Miss Helen

Miss Helen's posts about the Hilton's reminded me of this essay I wrote a while back, so I thought I'd share...


"Golden Gwyneth" says the magazine cover. Darkened eyes peer at me from under straight bleached hair. I am fascinated. I am repulsed. I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with this chick, but she definitely bugs me. The first time I saw her, my reaction was typical. Another skinny blonde actress - how original. she seemed such an instant success that I quickly came to loathe her. I had a rule - I would only see her movies if someone was trying to kill her. Interestingly enough, there were several of those. Did Hollywood know? Anyway, a friend dragged me to just such a movie, and I found myself rooting for her at the end. Holy shit! Did I actually like the girl? Ok, radical change in thinking here. It's happened before . I'm not afraid to admit when I'm wrong. So I saw a couple more of her movies and I found that I liked them. Then I found out she was Blythe Danners daughter. Looks just like her. Blythe Danner had been in a great TV show in the 70's called "Adams Rib", where she played a married feminist attorney and had thus had a hand in the formation of my developing feminist sensibilities. (I was about 10 or so.)

Then it began. The Academy Awards where G. wore the dress of my dreams and the hairstyle of my nightmares. She was a hit. She was everywhere. She was goddamed inescapable. The new "It" girl, the magazines proclaimed and galvanized my ambivalence about her very existence. To be perfectly fair, she seems like a nice person and she can definitely be entertaining. If I met her, I'd probably think her a perfectly lovely human being. Personality aside, I think I'm upset more about what she represents than about her actual being. Every minute of my life I think " I should have been born Gwyneth Paltrow."

I exaggerate. I told you, I'm not obsessed. Let's face it though - G. is the ultimate clean white girl. You know the type. A tall W.A.S.P.-y vision fit for boarding schools and board rooms and you just know she took riding lessons. A younger, hipper "lady who lunches". She dated Ben Affleck and makes movies with Matt Damon. Maybe I do hate her. What I really hate -- or rather, resent--is the access that she has and I never did or will have. I used to be young but I was never "fabulous" except in an over-done, drag queen sort of way. Even if I had come from money, I wasn't tall, wasn't thin and I never felt "clean". I didn't have that smooth white skin that glows rather than perspires. I didn't learn the unwritten rules of the gentile country club set. It's the unknown that tortures me. I know that she sees things and goes places and knows things that I really don't understand because I'm not a part of that culture. The hell of it is that I'm just outside of it. The evidence is everywhere. Gwyneth at the runway shows on the evening news. Gwyneth at a premier in a Magazine. Gwyneth frequents this spa and that designer and was in Madonna's wedding. And that is the real source of my discomfiture. How can you get on with your life if you know that there is a party going on and you aren't invited?



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