Lauren Bacall died recently. The NY Times banner that came over my phone read – Lauren Bacall, Sultry Movie Star dies at 89.
Sultry, I thought, what an awesome word. Then I thought, what are the chances that I would be remembered as “sultry?” Sultry housewife? Sultry blogger? Unlikely. A girl can dream though. If I’m not sultry, how will I be remembered? And no, nothing is wrong with my health. I’m just speculating, something a blog allows me to do.
Funny? I’d like that. Authentic? Yes. Earnest? Definitely not. Kind? Most of the time. Smart? About some things. Outgoing? Most certainly. I never married a Humphrey Bogart-ish celebrity but I did marry Brad Stillman – a legend in his own right. Yes, he proofread this and allowed it to stand as is. He too has a sense of humor and is very humble about his greatness. He thinks I would definitely be remembered for having excellent taste in men.
People don’t use the word sultry often. I think it’s a great word. It’s sexy, but in a classy way. It also makes me think of another word not frequently used – slatternly. Sultry means “attractive in a way that suggests or causes feelings of sexual desire.” Slatternly, on the other hand means “untidy and dirty through habitual neglect” or “of, relating to, or characteristic of a slut or prostitute.” The line between sultry and slatternly…where is that line? I just hope I end up on the right side of it.
Don’t worry, I’m not in danger of sliding to the dark side. Been there, done that, in my younger days. No, like Lauren Bacall, I’m deep down just a nice Jewish girl. While “sultry” may be the word most associated with Lauren Bacall, her friend Sally Quinn also described her as “funny, razor sharp, mischievous, iconoclastic, self-deprecating and openly vulnerable. She shared her life with her friends and radiated a feeling of trust that was always returned.” Wow, she sounds like the kind of person I would like to hang out with.
Does sultry housewife have to be an oxymoron? Must these words be mutually exclusive? I don’t think so. I recently heard a lecture on relationships. The speaker talked about how women (and men) put their best self forward whenever they go “out.” Out to work and out with friends. Yet often we wear our least attractive, most comfortable clothes when we are in our homes. What a novel idea – to look as nice in the house as you do when you go out? Put your best self forward for your spouse or partner. Not in a June Cleaver, pearls and formal dress kind of way, but in a way that says I’m in this relationship and care about nurturing it and keeping it fresh. I can get with that notion.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ll hang on to my sweatpants. I’m not crazy. But I will wear them sparingly. Just like Lauren Bacall probably did.