Let’s first talk about Mal.
I met Mal in Boston when I went up there for the premier of my play. And she was… hot might not quite be the right word… there might not be a word yet in the English language. But let’s go with hot. She’s hot in a way that makes you want to put on a huge frilly dress with an enormous hoop skirt with your bosom all up and your underthings all lacey and ribbony so that when you lift up the front of your dress to properly scamper away all laughing and blushing, she’ll get that you actually have no intention of running very far and so she should indeed give chase.
I, of course, did not admit this to her and I tried my very best to keep any giggling and blushing and scampering to a minimum, out of respect to her and her wife. Even now, I’m not trying to make some grand confession of love.
I just want to speak frankly and honestly about what it is about her that I find not just attractive, but overwhelmingly hot.
And the reason I bring up that, when I think of her, my first reaction is to laugh and blush, it’s because she is very erotic, but in a way that suggests that everything is open to play. It’s a kind of erotic of the possible, that we might and should try anything, to see what feels good.
I bring this up, because when I first saw Rachel Maddow on Keith Olbermann’s show, I was like “Oh, there’s the TV version of Mal!” Rachel Maddow was just hot as shit–smart, funny, quick on her feet, good looking–hot just like she was.
And then she got her own show. And first it was the fake eyelashes. And now it’s the eyeshadow. And the bushy hair.
And I get it. First of all, no one in the history of television news has ever put a woman who looked like herself on camera. They’re all dolled up and appropriately conventionally prettified. And I am sure that there are some assholes at MSNBC who cannot imagine that straight America will watch any show hosted by a woman who doesn’t look like she’s taken into consideration the aesthetic comfort of straight men. Never mind that people, presumably a bunch of straight people, watched her on Olbermann without dying of discomfort.
But the thing that cracks me up and depresses me at the same time is that Maddow, how she is, is hot.
This? This is hot.
This? Argh, so darling.
And this? I’ve had fantasies about being naked between the two of them (though Mortensen has, in my fantasies, better facial hair. Scruffy, scratchy, sparkley facial hair, that gets your smell all in it after… Um… yes, where was i?).
Rachel Maddow in eyeshadow? Not that hot. Eyeshadow, I know, and poofy hair and long, flirty eyelashes–these are all things that are supposed to signal “attractive.” And I could rail on about bullshit patriarchal beauty standards and whether we ought to be objectifying the women on our television screens in the first place.
But that’s not what depresses me. No. What depresses me is that Maddow in eyeshadow is so less attractive than Maddow just being herself that it must be obvious to anyone with two eyes to see. She looks like she’s dressed up for Halloween, wearing a costume. It looks ridiculous.
And yet, every night, there she is, “prettied up” in a way that makes her much less attractive. Dare I say, strangely neutered?
Is it really that scary to have someone unconventionally attractive on screen? So much so that the only solution is to make her more conventional, but less attractive?