February 21, 2013 § 3 Comments
Last week I went to the Manet exhibition at the Royal Academy. It made me think about this blog and how I haven’t written anything about anything for a goodly while. There are many reasons for this – fear, idleness, getting in too deep with Coronation Street – but maybe it’s time to say something again.
Firstly, the exhibition. To paraphrase my friend Hilary, I liked some paintings very much and others not at all. I can only muster so much enthusiasm for nineteenth century Parisian writers, dancers and thinkers, most of whom I haven’t heard of, too many of whom looked like King George V. Having said all that, there were some lovely portraits of some cool sounding ladies, including Berthe Morisot in her fashionable black hat. (Apparently Manet was particularly good at painting black.)
Then there’s this painting, The Luncheon on the Grass (Le déjeuner sur l’herbe), 1863.
There’s a certain craziness to this picture, everyone having lunch, chatting about art and such, but oh, hang on, the lady is completely naked. She looks bored, like the guys are just talking on and, even without clothes, no one is paying her any attention. If we are to believe Wikipedia, the woman has the body of Manet’s wife and the face of one of his favourite models, while the two chaps are his brother and future brother-in-law.
So now I’m going to make a terrible link from this picture to a “how am I” section (I’m a bit out of practice at this writing business remember).
I look at this lady and a bit of me thinks that would be ever so nice, to sit as she is, not really bothered about being naked. A year after my surgery and I couldn’t hand on heart say that my body feels like my own. I mean, it does, of course, it isn’t anyone else’s, but it’s not what it was. It feels different, more achy, tighter, and I really don’t know what’s what. Is an ache just an ache from being pulled about or being 47, or is it something more sinister? Not sure what I can and can’t trust.
On the other hand, my new breasts, built by the finest plastic surgeon ever, Ms Caroline Payne (if you need one) are good, everyone says so. A year on and I’m about to have nipples added through the medium of the tattoo (yes, really, and on the NHS, God bless it’s little surgical socks). The nurse doing the work asked if I would mind having some before and after photographs taken. Plastic surgeons and their crew are very keen on the before and after shots, so they can show other patients what things will look like. I’m fine about it. It helped me to imagine what a double mastectomy might look like so what the heck. No head shots though. Previously it’s been my plastic surgeon and her little camera snapping away in her small consulting room. This time, it was all rather professional, in a department called “Medical Photography” – who even knew such a facility existed? It was a proper studio, with a back drop and lighting. I stood, top off, turning a little to the left, then to right, chatting away to the nice lady photographer. She was impressed, hadn’t seem work like it, apparently.
And the odd thing is that all this seems perfectly reasonable to me nowadays. The world and his medical wife have seen my baps by now and presumably even as we speak I’m being downloaded into the pre-nipple tattooing photo gallery. It’s way too late to crave modesty.
So, lady sitting having lunch with no clothes on, I do kind of get you. Half one woman, half another, you’re just trying to make the best of your day, and if there’s anything I understand, it’s that.
(OK, how did that link work? I told you I was out of practice.)