I want so desperately to give up on today’s post. It’s making me sluggish and fractious. I’m trying to write about Mayerling. There is so much to talk about! It’s one of the darkest ballets. It pushes boundaries. It’s outright the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen involving men in tights. It was another opportunity to hang out in the Royal Opera House, and in Covent Garden – both places I love and places I will miss when I exchange them for Central Park and Butler Library. But, for some reason I just can’t concentrate. It might be waking up at 5am this morning. It might be the hour or so I just spent trying (limply) to plan a lesson on the present perfect (a tense I see very little point in, since all we really use it for is boasting.) It could be the guilt of having failed to complete said lesson plan. It could well be all the sugar in my Arizona tea.
It might, however, be the girl strolling around the library with her bum hanging out. Literally, her shorts are so short that the only thing preserving her modesty is the tacit agreement of most onlookers not to look too closely. Lets face it people, these are not even hot pants. These are just pants. I wouldn’t really mind if it were a nice arse. Hey, I’m as liberal and open-minded as the next girl. (Mostly because I’m still praying for the day when They say it’s alright to completely give up wearing shoes.) But to be honest this is a pretty average derriere. If this were meandering around the stacks
I could probably get over it. But we’re talking about a totally airbrush-free zone here. It’s gnarly.
It’s also the exact opposite of what I want to be thinking about: the passion, eroticism and seduction of Mayerling. Twiglets in micro-shorts think they look hot and I don’t really have any right to argue. The sweaty 50-something security guard is absentmindedly stroking his beer gut in appreciation, so I’m guessing he agrees with them. I wonder though… if they had noticed the security guard… if they wouldn’t go running for the nearest pair of trousers? I would.
I mean, Edward Watson recently turned his boots inside out and had leather patches sewn into the soles because he had worn right through them in the throes of Mayerling’s amorous torment. The women in this story might have been wild, impassioned spirits with a penchant for adulterous crown princes… but they still got a ticking off for showing too much ankle in public. So here I am trying to cast my mind back… to that night when the champagne hum of happy culture vultures whispered into to silence, the lights went down, curtains drew back, lust and love, frenzy, joy, misery, rage and devotion owned the stage and I forgot to breathe for three hours of my life that I would give almost anything to live over again exactly the same… and there’s a girl waving her whale tail in my face. Ain’t the 21st Century grand?
Then again maybe that’s the great draw of theatrical eroticism: a chance to escape the everyday pincer movement of cards in phone boxes and Xtube. Not to mention advertising. Ridiculous advertsthat have flipped the bird at decency as they screech past on their way to use sex as a sales pitch. In the theatre though, perched on a red velvet seat (maybe even in the company of a dashing young man, if you happen to know one) with the taste of Sauvignon Blanc still fresh on your tongue, rolling the edge of your program in anticipation and alert for the fading of the house lights, then all the pedestrian awkwardness of 21st century randiness falls away. It’s a chance to take back a little mystery, a little classiness. The chance to sip a cocktail through a diamond encrusted straw instead of a cherry flavour VK. I’m kidding, of course, about the diamonds. But the feeling is very real. Like silk against your skin instead of lycra.
Maylering has pulse, make no mistake. It’s not all demurely posed emotions and blushing at holding hands. Elaborate dresses covering every inch of the leading ladies quite quickly give way to translucent nighties. Decorously sculpted hair soon tumbles into luscious, slutty, morning-after disorder. The choreography deftly turns its focus to the many, many ways one human body can entwine itself with another. But, even including a scene in which Prince Rudolph literally tears his lover’s clothes off, the spectacle is never seedy. This, as far as I can see, is because it is never just about sex. It’s about pleasure, yes, but also passion. Huge sweeping feelings careen about the stage, swamping the protagonists. It leaves them undone, shaking and collapsed in the spotlight… but desperate for more.
There is nothing passionate about a teeny-bopper forgetting 80% of her clothes and pretending it was intentional. It’s a little desperate, surely? I don’t care if your legs go on forever and your behind is the exact shape of a peach (not sure why a peach, but that is the comparison de rigueur, it was probably Shakespeare’s idea) there is no value whatever in everyone being able to admire it for the price of a turn of their head. Come on girly, leave a little mystery for the rest of us. And while you’re at it, go and see Mayerling and take a few pointers because I have never seen anything sexier in all my theatrical meanderings (yes, I am including Game of Thrones) and there was not a single naked bum in sight. I am not afraid to admit it, I MISS PASSION. Sex is everywhere, but passion seems to be hiding behind the safety curtain and I am tired of its exile.
I hope a friend of mine will forgive me mentioning her personal life, but she recently chewed over a problem with me and she isn’t the only girl I know who’s facing it. How to tell the man you’re seeing that you want him all to yourself without making a fool of said self?? Conclusion: you can’t. If he wants to trade you in for a less monogamous model you have two choices. Go with it; tie your self-respect to the bumper of your car and drag it behind you as you drive into the sunset. Or take the hit, get dumped on your a*se. Unceremonious is not even the word. If he’s on the same page then what was all the worry about, you’re a ninny for giving yourself frown lines?! The main thing that weights my spirits down in all this is where the nerves come from in the first place. Why do us girls all get so embarrassed about what we feel? I know I have been completely humiliated by revealing the merest corner of a feeling. And later I’ve been so disappointed with myself for being embarrassed. I’ve frequently gone the other way too, pretending interest where really there’s just a tumbleweed of bungling apathy rolling through a desert of absolutely no fondness whatever. Still it is not embarrassing! It’s chemistry. Brain chemicals going haywire is no more embarrassing than burning your morning toast. Mildly irritating, yes. Embarrassing. Hell no! Rudolph and Mary (utterly unsexy names not holding them back for an instant) threw themselves into love. Mary may even have been the first lady to boldly go with the totally-naked-under-a-big-coat-sudden-appearance-on-her-lover’s-doorstep move. And she didn’t spend the carriage ride over chewing her fingernails and thinking “oooh, but what if he says we should just be friends?”
Before you climb up on your honor and point out “but it’s just a ballet, calm down you crazy bint, and anyway in the end they both shot themselves” let me tell you this…. it’s based on actual events. Boom. Yes, you can have the bloody violent death, good point: no one is claiming passion is easy! But what is so wrong with owning how you feel? It’s not over-thinking, in fact it isn’t thinking at all. It’s feeling. I’ll say it once more, with feeling… feeling. This is what happens when we let boys run the world: mass emotional constipation. A world where girls are more willing to risk life-long bouts of herpes rather than ask a guy not to sleep with anyone else, because she’s so afraid she might be accused of feeling something and end up a laughing stock. How about we try staking a claim on what we want? If we get the knockback, flip two fingers at them in the rearview and keep a weather eye on the horizon for the next likely lad. Horrific collision of nautical and automotive metaphors aside, what is really the worse that can happen? A little blushing… pfft.
So this is my conclusion. Put your butt cleavage away. Pry a little mystery from the sweaty fist of the porn industry and stand up for what you want. Come on people, show a girl some passion.
P.s. I looked up pictures of Angelina Jolie’s bum in a public place for this, so I really do appreciate it if you made it all the way to the end. Have some more love for your efforts. 🙂