I was eating a giant burrito and thinking about Liz Taylor.
I don’t mean this as a Liz Taylor/fat joke. I don’t do Liz Taylor/fat jokes. I could if I wanted to. I mean, what is she, some kind of sacred cow?
No, I wasn’t laughing at Liz. I’m in no position and in the wrong dress size to laugh at Liz.
I was just trying to understand our great national pastime, our obsession with whether Liz is fat or thin.
There’s got to be something other than idol curiosity operating here. Perhaps someone has figured out a correlation between the stock market and Liz Taylor’s body. Does the Dow go down when Liz goes up?
Those of us who’ve been with Liz through thick and thin know there is some profound connection between our lives and Liz’s thighs. We remember: Liz, the lean years--the Michael Wilding, Michael Todd and all the Michaels in-between years.
We remember Liz and Richard, the bejeweled and besotted days of yore. We think back to Liz (Mrs. John Warner) the happy hausfrau . We recall Liz and George Hamilton--the desperate years. We remember Liz so recently thin as a reed riding high on Malcolm Forbes’ hog. Then Liz redux, big and back in the Betty Ford again.
The remarkable thing about Liz is that even though she is everything we are not--a star, a goddess, a rich and famous, diamond-covered queen--we share with her the double life. We have our fat life and our thin life. We understand wanting to hide out until the next 10 pounds fall. Or 30. We know what it’s like to look at our own photo albums as a series of before-and-after pictures.
Like Liz, we are never quite there. We are always working on our perfection or our downfall. We are either wallowing in our Size 16s or gloating in our Size 9s. We are either regal in Puerto Vallarta or bloated at Studio 54. We are either accepting the adoring looks of men or seeing our expanding behinds as the butt of brutal jokes.
A while back, there was a well-selling book called “The Goddess in Everywoman.” I’ve never related to this mystical goddess bit. If you want to talk about a mystery, look at a man. Not a word. Not a clue. The sphinx in every guy.
“Whatsa matter, Dirk?” you ask Dirk as he sits there sulking.
“Nothing. Nothing. I don’t want to talk about it,” he says with that read-my-sealed-lips enigmatic shrug.
There is no goddess in everywoman. There’s just someone eating because she feels bad or dieting because she wants approval. There is Liz in every one of us. Liz is we and we are she, and we are all together.
Take away the money. Take away the jewels. Take away the husbands. Take away National Velvet, Cleopatra, Virginia Woolf and you know what you’ve got? You and me, girls. And the Can’t Keep It Off Diet.
So don’t go making any Liz Taylor/fat jokes around me. I’m on her side. I’m hoping that someday Liz and Marlon can eat ice cream all day and still look like they did on my movie star trading cards in 1955. Because if Liz and Marlon can’t keep it off, then what hope have we who are mere mortals?
Ask not for whom the scale tolls. It tolls for thee.