02 May 2005

Charms and Riddles

      Watching one of those celebrity poker things last night, I found myself in an all-too-familiar position, that of being utterly charmed and disarmed by one of those pretty young things, in this case Mena Suvari, she best known as the object of Kevin Spacey's lust in American Beauty.   (Don't even go there, people....)   I was struck by a number of things, not least of which was her cagey and steely poker play, she being absolutely unreadable to her opponents at the table, and I was impressed by the sense of discipline she had.   But during breaks in play, she was coy and sweet and endearing in that girly-girl way that really has become quite uncommon these days.   I have to say I liked her comportment, too, she carrying herself with a kind of humble elegance that's even less common than that girly-girl way; she had subtlety, a quality for which the Doc is always a sucker, and archness, aspects that were occasionally tonicked by an almost childlike glee with what she frequently got away. I think it hardly needs saying that she won.   In fact, she won decisively.   It was an impressive performance, and I couldn't help but notice the delightful cunning in her eyes. Ah, the eyes-- it's always a woman's eyes.... Prettiness or whatnot is one thing, but expressive eyes, well, they're the Not-So-Good Doc's Kryptonite.   Especially playful ones-- they're absolutely deadly.

      In writing this, I feel I should probably qualify all this with a "I-don't-say-this-often" disclaimer, so you, my ever patient readers, would not think me simply writing a paean to some female celebrity roughly equivalent of a gaga fan letter. The real point to this entry is this: that in thinking about all this, I found myself realizing some of the ways in which I observe women, how I tend, in fact, to read them as if they were poems or savour them if they were good wines, how, indeed, I have that tendency to admire qualities and nuances rather than use baser criteria as many others with Y-chromosomes regularly do.   For reasons I only wish I knew, I have a tendency to beatify women, though mercifully not in ways I once did, and surely not in the Dantescan fashion. (All the women reading this blog with whom I have been, er, "involved" are now suffering swelled heads that might otherwise suggest gigantism.   **shrug**   So be it.)   As all men with any sort of savvy for reality know, it's no longer good to beatify a woman, the whole idea now seeming too gooey-romantic by half in this age that prefers indifference, irony, and laissez-faire casuality.   But it occurred to me how rare it is anymore for me to be truly charmed by a woman, those dimensions of mystique and play now replaced by opacity and dopeyness in the general population.   I don't know-- I think I'm probably just a modernized chivalrist, which, if true, further tags me as hopelessly out-of-date. (What else is new....)

      To wit: a friend of mine recently accused me of looking for poetry in women when there's so much prose out there I should just get my hands on.   I had to laugh, the comparison so bizarre it made my brain feel like it had been boxed.   But he was right, I guess, to which I guess I can only iterate my old remark about having long ago lost the patience for prose. Give me the subtlety and the panache, the elegance and the comportment, the charms and the riddles.   As should be obvious, sometimes a few lines here and there are worth more than entire novels, especially when those novels are given to Faulknerian involvement and Jamesian exhaustiveness.  

      Now I'll put that comparison away and never think about it again.   And I definitely won't consider a single bit of the irony that I am no longer teaching Introduction to Poetry.   That would just be begging for trouble.  

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