Monday, October 23, 2006

Queen for a Day

My lovely fiance was flipping through a "Woman's mag", a fashion oriented one with a bit of gossip and sex advice thrown in for good measure. She discovered a gruesomely, fascinating article. If we'd been on the freeway, and an accident had been this grisly we'd have felt guilty for slowing down, but we'd have slowed down.

The article featured women whose husbands were fighting in Iraq, you know, for freedom and stuff. These women, who spent every day wondering if they'd get their husband back or a small pension and a folded up flag instead were invited in to the studio to try on dresses that they could never afford to own no matter how many husbands they lost. They were made up and lit well and photographed all pretty and glamourous and sexy even.

It reminded me of the old TV show Queen for a Day, where poor housewives told of their hardships. The one whose life was deemed the suckiest got a washing machine.
Looking at these women, standing in designer dresses, next to almost teary eyed, big smiling stylist, I had to wonder, if one of their husbands does die out there in the desert, do they get to keep the dress?


deeann said...

They didn't get to keep the dresses they modeled? Which mag was it?

It *is* kind of "Queen for a Day", but at least they got a free haircut and maybe (hopefully) some kind of party. Sometimes a little bit of distraction for a day could help. I don't know. In general I don't like makeovers. It's like there is something wrong that needs to be fixed. When the "Ambush Makeover" TV show was cruising J street with a "street team" a couple of years back a few of us at SN went out to heckle and yell at them to go away.

One of the best things Lurch probably ever did for me was convince me to throw away all of my "beauty/fashion" mags back in the '80's because they just made me feel (in his words) "bad about myself". Which is the point. So you'll by the stuff in the ads to feel better about yourself. At least superficially.

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

I'll ask Bryna what rag it was. The probably do get to keep 'em. I didn't read the fine print, I just marvelled at the concept. I am after all a knee jerk liberal.
I hope they sold the dresses and bought some better stay alive supplies for the poor husbands.

deeann said...

Perhaps some vests with bullet-proofing on *both* sides?

deeann said...

Actually- I read they've been improving them overall, but some soldiers are field-modding by using the crotchpieces for side protection.

Crowliosis said...

yes, the crotch piece goes in the armpit of whichever side is out when riding in a vehicle. And believe me, without some kind of amazingly futuristic materials, any more armor and soldiers won't be able to move. I am 200 lbs, in full gear I was over 300 with very limited mobility (that includes ruck). I actually think this is a good idea for the wives though, their lives are very hard. Imagine trying to run a household and raise two children while holding down a job, it takes 2 people. Now remove 1 of those people for at least a year, not to mention remove a large chunk of the spouses heart and soul, with the possibility that they might never return. I think this gives the wife a chance to escape the grind for a day and go feel beautiful, plus she can send the pics to her man to remind him what hes got to come home to. I realize this is all speculation since I am not a woman, just an old soldiers pov. Keep up the writing KLJ, I don't agree with most of your ideas but I'll be damned if you aren't entertaining.

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

I'm glad you can disagree and still find me entertaining. That's rad.
I do like to see these women treated nice, and I hope they did enjoy the whole thing.
It just feels very shallow and voyeristic. I'd rather give them a voice and hear what they're going through. With the support for the war dropping it's got to feel strange to have a spouse over the risking life and limb for the effort. Does this leave them feeling isolated, unsupported by the country?
I'd love to hear what they're greatest needs are.
Admittedly part of my reaction comes from not believing that dresses that expensive even need to exist. Not in a world where people are starving and soldiers started their battle with make shift armor for their vehicles.
It seems strange that durring this war we're continuing the space program, continuing our rampant consumerism. It's a sharp contrast to the victory gardens and rations of wars past.
At any rate, I wish you the best and I hope you come out of this happy and healthy and that we never send (or need to send) anyone into a war zone again. Yeah, unlikely, but I'm wishin' it anyway.
Thanks again for writing, it means a-lot to me.

crowliosis said...

shallow? From my experience women love that shit, but voyeristic for sure. And while I agree that support for the war is dropping, the soldiers and their families still recieve a tremendous amount of gratitude from most communities for what they do. I have to agree about the very existence of such dresses, but thats capitalism, and no better system has been found yet. As far as my opinions on the other issues you mentioned, I'll keep em to myself. Thanks for the wishes but I actually got out of the Army in March after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as earlier stuff, happy and mostly healthy. Give Bryna my best, after reading the "All My Kisses" blog you certainly seem to have found a good one.

deeann said...

Crowliosis, I'm glad you got back home safely.

And it's really nice to be able to have this kind of discussion where people write- well- normally. Not an internet "shouting" match.

I wish I had more time to write a followup- I have kind of a weird perspective on the whole thing. My dad was in Vietnam, my mom was a beauty pageant contestant and USO dancer and my dream job as a kid was wanting to work for NASA. And also be a model.

Keith Lowell Jensen said...

Isn't it funny how we can have friends with a variety of views, I for instance do indeed have conservative friends (gasp, shock) but once we get online, any stranger that interacts with us is an asshole!
I do believe that as the phenomenon is satired and becomes a cliche people who might have behaved that way will start to be more civil, and readers will be glad of it, since we've all been civil from the start.