To stare is to scandalize oneself but to turn away is unthinkable.
She is 1940s anime, every inch of her unapologetic. She is a thrust of grace, cinched and let loose, explosive yet honourable. The swoop of her draws your eye lazily up, then down, then up again, does it not? Look. In the corner of the poster is written a list of my grandfather’s deployments throughout England, from where he took off to bomb Berlin and Dusseldorf and Turin and then sputter back across the channel on fumes in Lancasters shot up like salt shakers.
Perhaps the concussion of bombs is what led that generation to so divinely amplify the female form. Home port to man, a vision of the kind of soft and curvy mischief afforded only by the carefree. My god, she is fantastic. So very lusciously red. She leaves me wanting to recant this and say instead never be indifferent to this plumpness, to the honour of being of her, the fox.
Because all of us women have inside us a Vargas girl just like this. All of us are the fox. You may be muzzled, or careless, or restrained. You may have once sprayed your scent unwisely. You may feel used up by pups. You may be coarse and ragged where others are silky and round.
Doesn’t matter. You are still the fox. Not so much for trickery or deception but for shenaniganism—for a keenness to chase and be chased, to pounce and be pounced. You are still the fox.
There’s a kind of aging that’s more welcome than the woe of fresh droop. It's that seasoning that releases you from caring quite so intently what others think. Not by way of that I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-anyone-else-thinks offensive stance, but by way of really, truly not minding the possibility of being a flavour that another person spits out. I stand in front of others now with completely still insides. I look at you and see a mother’s baby and I think thank you, Liam, for your calm.
You didn’t know me before. You can’t know how big this is, except for me telling you. Death took, blast it. But death also gave me eyes, and stillness. Thank you, death.
It’s the holidays and I’m not going to write about shopping angst or party-hosting angst or blizzard angst. I give you this splash of festive red with these instructions: contemplate what it is to be (or be with) a woman with a spicy sort of dark, with gravity and history. Grab onto her. Give her a squeeze. See if she yelps. If you’re like me you spend much of the day barking slow down, pipe down, back up, sit down and for the love of christ, let go of my leg already and you might wonder if your Vargas girl has up and left you.
She hasn’t. She’s in the corner yawning, filing her nails, waiting for you to get restless for red. Does yours ever find her way out for a stroll? Does she heckle you when you wear your wooly poncho? Give yourself the gift of reclaiming her. And tell me about it, or wink twice.