When I die, I want to be buried in my Dolce & Gabbana boots, as long as I don't have to climb too many stairs to get to the pearly gates - because, unlike Nancy Sinatra's famous go-go boots - these boots were not made for walking! They are just a small discomfort and only one example of what I endure - the quietly suffering aches and pains - in the name of fashion and beauty. I'll suffer with the most of them, but not with he best of them. For example, I won't go as far a having surgery on my feet, like some of the women I know, in order to continue wearing extreme stilettos. No . . . I put my foot (my God-given foot) down on that one.
Throughout time, and as early as the Egyptians, women have endured discomfort and pain and have even risked death all in the name of beauty. In this twenty-first century, botox injections (a form of botulism to temporarily paralyze expression lines, minimizing wrinkles), starvation diets, breast and buttocks implants, to name a few, almost pale in comparison to the Victorian days when pale skin - the sign of an aristocrat (while the working class were marked with tans) - was achieved by using toxic combinations lead oxide and arsenic in powders to whiten the skin. Leaches were even used to bleed the skin to give it a paler appearance. (Dracula may have been the first doctor of beauty) For that dreamy look, women dropped Belladonna, a poisonous herb, into their eyes to dilate their pupils. Metal-framed corsets that impaired breathing and restricted circulation in the 1870’s (just two of ninety-seven listed corset-induced ailments), gave way to the modern girdles of the 1970’s. The highly flammable, rash inducing horse-hair and straw-filled crinolines were improved upon in the 1860’s by using a cage-like frame of steel or whalebone hoops that measured ten yards around and made it almost impossible for a woman to maneuver in. One hundred years later, women traded up by wearing five inch platform shoes that made walking an activity that should have had its own separate insurance policy.
Getting back to these modern times of today, the desired looks may have changed, but our means of achieving them, and the dangers we knowingly and readily submit ourselves to, have not lessoned with time and experience.
Today, we risk skin cancer to look like we can afford wintering in
Who sets these standards of beauty? Is it the collective consciousness of society? The fashion houses of
Can beauty be achieved without pain? According to some writings, thoughts and research, beauty and pain go hand-in-hand. Pain is a reoccurring theme in the study of beauty, aesthetics and life experience. Pain brings, with it, gifts. The pain of childbirth brings a beautiful life into the world. The pain of a broken heart births poetry and beautiful stories. Pain makes us more receptive to life and more alert to beauty. Pain protects us. Pain brings growth. Pain is a teacher. The hero or heroine must suffer to win the love and respect of the people. Beauty, love, pain . . . are all in inhaled in one breath.
"Beauty and pain are linked," poet David Bergman says. "Sometimes beauty is the compensation for having experienced pain. Sometimes beauty has its own pain because it's not going to last. If we're only willing to experience pain or experience beauty, then we're going to live on only some of our gears."
So, as I was saying earlier, please, when I die, bury me in my boots . . . for the pain I will have endured while wearing them as I walked my path in this life (though, nothing compared to the pain of their price tag)is my ticket straight into heaven without having to stop in purgatory.