Thursday, May 04, 2006

Miscellaneous: Lament For The Aging Sexpot

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Before I die I want to say something that sounds that profound and is every bit as wrong.

Last week Jenny McCarthy was on The Tonight Show. She’s a Playboy centerfold-turned-actress; last year she won Razzie Awards for writing and starring in Dirty Love, which took home Worst Picture honors. Jenny is also the author of a series of well-reviewed, crass but funny books about motherhood.

She wore a tank top on which was bedazzled the URL of a website for parents of indigo children. These kids, so named because of the distinctive color of their auras, are thought to be the next step in human evolution. They are endowed with spiritual intelligence and psychic abilities. In many cases they’re diagnosed with behavioral disorders because they get bored easily, have trouble with rage, and can’t wait in line.

(It’s the last one that gets me. When I was kid, I loved waiting in line. Space Mountain was a huge letdown after queuing up for Space Mountain. Back in the days when you actually had to go inside banks to get money, that’s how I’d spend my summer vacations. I’d take my one dollar allowance to the teller, change it for ten dimes, then get back in line to change it back, pausing only to enjoy a sack lunch. Of course, my aura is jet black. It’s occasionally shot through with streaks of vermillion, but I live near radio towers.)

The next day I read that web pin-up and Celebrity Cooking Showdown champ Cindy Margolis has finally decided to pose for Playboy herself. The “most downloaded woman on the Internet” says that appearing nude at 40 is “empowering.” The article also notes that Cindy is a spokeswoman on infertility issues.

The glide path for sex symbols used to be much simpler. The talk show appearances dry up and you start making “erotic thrillers” that turn up on Cinemax in the wee hours. Movies with titles in which the word ‘stalk’ appears as every part of speech, or that combine sex and violence, like Fatal Emission. (I registered that title, by the way. You can’t use it.) You make noise about quitting the business and say that L.A. is too toxic. Some friends introduce you to a guy who made a fortune in direct-mail advertising. You get married, qualify for your real estate license, and start selling houses in Taos or suburban Denver. (I recognized a bombshell from several ‘80s films in a local realtor’s ad. I’m tempted to go look at McMansions I can’t afford and pretend I don’t know who she is.) It was either that, or go bonkers like Brigitte Bardot.

But now these women are forced to reinvent themselves and adopt pet causes. (I realize it’s a stretch to call Jenny’s paving the way for a Village of the Damned-style takeover of the earth a cause, but I’m feeling charitable.) I’d just like them to know that I respect them for their early work. I respect them enormously.