Instead of pasting my refrigerator door with pictures of slender, nice-looking, middle-aged catalog models in bathing suits, I have put up this picture of Lauren Bacall. It is from one of my all-time favorite movies, “To Have and Have Not,” a film noir gem starring Humphrey Bogart. This was her first movie role. She was 19 years old.
Of course I am not aspiring to a 19 year old body or face. But I like the overall package. Tailored, understated, not too girly, but sultry.
I guess if I were to describe my ultimate dream body image in one word, it would be sultry. Sultry to me is a strong sort of attractive … self-assured, smart, cards played a bit close to the vest, but honest. Doesn’t have to be exotic, or gorgeous, or even obviously sexy or super-feminine. Or young. A woman can achieve sultry and still be your basic girl-next-door but with confidence, strength, a quick wit, honesty, maybe a bit of mystery.
Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was sultry, but also exceedingly gorgeous. Obviously, I’m not going for Elizabeth Taylor, although I liked her character Maggie a lot … her abiding loyalty to her husband, the deep commitment to saving her marriage, the bit of a Southern drawl, and of course the slip. And that she was married to Paul Newman in the movie, even though he was pretty much a crybaby wimp for 107 out of the 108 screen minutes. I am too porky right now to look good in that slip. But I like the idea of wearing a sultry-looking slip and looking like I belong in it.
Now, the type of sultry that I think I can do is Lauren Bacall. She wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous but she had hair, eyes, voice, attitude and self-carriage that all added up. That package has aged well, besides. I think I have the hair, and eyes, a bit of the voice, a good amount of the attitude most days. Of course, I can’t do the carriage until I am not carrying around the pork.
So I see Lauren Bacall every time I open the fridge and imagine myself an older and wiser version striking that pose, in that suit, with that dare in my eyes, capturing the heart of Humphrey Bogart.
How’s that for inspiration?