Thursday, December 9, 2010
daily painting...girls chat after work, paris
i imagine these women were thought to be very forward, sitting in an outdoor bistro terrace in the evening unescorted-smoking and drinking cocktails - perhaps just after work.
at least i imagine that that is what american women thought of french women and european women - thought french were more sophisticated, less inhabited, more independent. i think they are from the 1930's. the era of intellectuals and artists.
Paris in the 1950's was revered to be the capitol and magnet of modern and forward thinkers. the top of the charts in social, intellectual, cultural and artistic achievements. It was the postwar era - the city had become flush with money from "culture- seeking" tourists and expatriates. also the fashion industry took off with the help of christen dior and the like. american women wanted to not only gain prestige by visiting paris or dressing like she had, they sometimes talked like it too. i remember watching old black and white movies and hearing actresses speaking in an accent. the accent was mid-atlantic. neither here nor there. like katherine hepburn. i always thought kathleen turner, ( not really a product of that time period but this topic made me think of her). for instance, had a strange unidentifiable accent - (i don't know maybe hers was real). i say had because she doesn't sound like that anymore.
so, how is it that i'm suddenly the queen reporter of history about paris?
i just know. ok?
well truthfully i only know this because i have read about it and i have watch lots and lots of "leave it to beaver". "leave it beaver" is responsible for instilling in me a grounded impression of what a woman's role is. the idealistically characterized mrs. cleaver seemed real to me. i believed in her. she was a perfect role model. i couldn't understand why my own mom was not like her. (nor did my mom act like she was french, BTW. there was no strange french accent for her. however she did act and dress like she was a movie star).
so there was a big contrast between how moms behaved here and moms there. the movie "american in paris" struck me as promiscuous and naughty. but it made me stand up and listen. oh i understated. it was a shocking contrast actually.
i doubt mrs. clever (or even mrs. billingsly) went out with her friends in the evening and smoked, had cocktails and talked about art. mrs. cleaver was well mannered and punctual. she spent all her time at home washing dishes, preparing dinner for her family, vacuuming in heels, baking cookies and parceling out common sense tidbits to neighbors and neighborhood young thugs. well, possible thugs. ok just eddie haskel.
did mrs. cleaver want to visit paris? without mr. cleaver, wally and the beaver? doubtful. but wouldn't it have been funny to have spotted her there with her hair down getting plastered in public, reeking of cigarette smoke and laughing with her head thrown back. i like to think about that. these thoughts keep me busy.
well i say me, but i really mean my muse.