Saturday, March 17, 2007

Pictures Don't Lie

When I complained about a backache the other day my boss told me I was "getting old." I have a pretty low opinion of my boss, anyway, and that really set my teeth--or what's left of them--on edge. Thinking about it, though, he was right. I'm getting old, he's getting old, and unless something happens to interrupt us, we'll all get old. Still, it's hard to accept the inexorable fact of aging. The mirror won't necessarily tell you because the process is gradual and we are in denial. Photos will tell you. Photos are the proof.

My friend Dave Miller went to WonderCon in Oakland last month armed with his camera. He took some pictures of celebrities who were there pitching products, and a couple of them especially caught my eye.

Noel Neill was there selling her biography. Noel was Lois Lane in the old Superman TV series. Phyllis Coates played Lois in the first season, and from then on Noel was Lois. Before I saw this picture of Noel Neill, now in her mid-eighties, I thought of her as the dark-haired, professionally dressed reporter in the series.* What I see in this picture is a smiling octogenarian, looking sharp but casual--check out the Superman t-shirt under her smart jacket!--her hair white and on her shoulders. This is a pleasing photo to me. She looks healthy and looks happy. It's a big leap from her image of 50 years ago to now, but it seems she has aged well. When I see someone like that it gives me hope for the future.

I'm sure lots of young and hormonal fanboys went to WonderCon to see Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark, only to find her alter ego, Cassandra Peterson. Elvira is a campy, vampy creation of this talented actress. Elvira has been around for about 25 years, which qualifies her as aging, I suppose. I find this picture of Cassandra, next to the image of her as the sexy Elvira, really telling. As stupid men, driven by hormones to wild fantasies--I call it "testostomoronic"--we want someone like Elvira to exist in real life. We want a woman whose breasts are bulging out of her dress, toddling in high heels with her butt in the air. We don’t find that, though, because women like that, like Elvira, are just in our imagination. Elvira is a parody not just of the horror movie clich├ęs of the female vampire, but of the artificial woman that men worship.

I'm just as testostomoronic as all the other guys. I love sexy Elvira. I can't imagine going on a date with her, though. Can you see yourself sitting across from Elvira in a nice restaurant, trying to read the menu and ogle her boobs at the same time? How about taking her to a movie? Her beehive hair would block the view of the guy behind her. Elvira would be a date to remember.

Vampires don't age, and Cassandra, who is only two years younger than me (grizzled photo on top), seems to be doing pretty well in that department, herself.

Ciao for now.

*Has anyone ever noted that Noel may have been a role-model for girls of my generation? In those days most women stayed home and raised their children while their husbands went off to work. Lois Lane was a "career woman." How many young girls saw her and said, "I want to do that."

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