As in a tasty mix of talk

Monday, September 04, 2006

Through a Cat's Eyes

All cats are beautiful. Even the hairless, bat-eared Spynx breed can stare down critics through luminous eyes, posing to call attention to its regal bearing and long, exquisite toes.

Are cats beautiful because they lavish themselves with care? Anyone who has watched a cat run its pink tongue between every extended toe must marvel at such unselfconscious grooming skills. Even when a cat grooms its private parts it lifts one leg into the air as gracefully as a prima ballerina on pointe.

As all cats are beautiful, why aren’t women? Most of us fall grotesquely short of our own standards of beauty, or rather, the standards our culture sets for us. If cats could read, they would roll their eyes at this. Probably even cats know that, when it comes to looks, women are held to a higher standard than men.

Who cares, our cats purr. Drifting asleep in our laps, they wonder why we don’t look at our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our friends and ourselves as we look at them and they look at us: without standards… possessing the beauty of our own, unique natures. If we did, what would we see?

When we are young girls of seven or eight already comparing ourselves on the playground to classmates who are thinner, or wear more expensive clothes, we have our long, malleable lives ahead of us, every cell bathed in curiosity, and we are beautiful.

When we are 14-year-old models posing for a fashion magazine spread, and the photo-stagers are feeding us coke and the lies that we are different than other women, that we will never have bad hair days or fall in love with men who betray us, we trust and believe every lying word and we are beautiful.

When we are young women hoping to find husbands, and we think our noses are too big and our breasts are too small or the other way around, every inch of our bodies is covered in satin-smooth skin that sings to the babies that haven’t yet been born and calls to the men who will father them, and we are beautiful.

When we are lost and searching for ourselves and kneel to suck the cocks of men we hope will love us for it, and tattoo their names on our bodies, and whore ourselves and pay surgeons to give us breast implants and liposuction and lip injections so we can hide our ages, we are living in the world we landed in and we are beautiful.

When we have bourn our children or helped our sisters bear theirs, and we race to the brink of bankruptcy to pay for our sons’ and daughters’ summer drama camp tuition, or work three jobs so we can buy Christmas gifts, or make loans we know will never be repaid to sisters who are so grateful for our generosity that they are unable to say thank you, we are beautiful.

When we reach the tops of our professions by working twice as hard as men for half the salaries, we eat lunch at our desks instead of joining the boys for another round of golf and smile without complaining, and we are beautiful.

When we walk down the street and ask ourselves, “Is every last man on earth staring at my fat ass and my sagging breasts and my too-short legs?” we know the answer is yes, every man is, but we keep walking because we have places to go and don’t understand that we are what the world rocks around and always will, and we are beautiful.

And when our thighs turn white and billow like clouds laced with blue veins, and the tops of our hands wrinkle and our necks wattle like turkey skin and we think, “now I am old and ugly,” we forget the encouragement we have given to those who fell and the indignation we expressed to those who hated and betrayed and the courage with which we have delivered through our own bodies every generation, we are inordinately beautiful and because we don’t see this, we are doubly so.

Our cats know this. Maybe that’s why they hold open their unblinking eyes, so we may stare through these portals into a universe with more fascinating standards than our own, where we can see ourselves, not as we imagine ourselves to be, but as we so beautifully are.

Meow. Catnip on the house!