Monday, May 25, 2009

Childhood Icons - tribute to Farrah.

Farrah Fawcett is dying, and I feel sad. It's a sadness mixed with nostalgia and I was thinking that for me, she was one of the real icons of my youth. I remember we went on a trip to Sydney as a family in about 1977 or '78 and I had a haircut. I asked the hairdresser to give me hair like Farrah's and it came out beautifully with the wings and all. Until I washed it, then it went back to its normal, anti-glam bouff. That trip, even the hotel was iconic - in the middle of King's Cross, it was the funky Gazebo Hotel next to the el Alamein Fountain. There was plush carpet throughout and an under-pool bar with a window showing the water and people's legs and bottom halves.

I remember also a conversation with my cousin about Farrah's nipples. You have to understand, these days, the sex symbols tend to have big boobs - think Jordan, Pamela Anderson, etc. But back in the '70s, erect nipples were what separated the nice from the naughty. My cousin made some comment about how her nipples always seemed to be stiff. I said something like "oh that's easy, you just use frozen peas." He then made me demonstrate what I meant. His eyes almost popped out of his head.

We loved Charlie's Angels. You had Kelly, the beautiful one, Kate the smart one and Jill Munroe, the sexy one. She could ride a skateboard and put a man into a full Nelson like that. Her teeth were white and many, she didn't have a standard nose-job nose, and she had big hair. For other big-haired people, she was a Goddess. These days, all the girls want flat, straight, boring hair. Farrah ushered in a new era in hair, again a backlash against that flat, straight Marcia Brady hippie hair. For us girls who were never going to be able to have Marcia hair, not for another 30 years when straightening irons came in, Farrah was our Hero. My daughter cannot believe that the only things we could do with our hair at home were: blow-dry to a huge frizzy mass, or curl to a crisp with a curling iron. You could get your hair crimped at a salon, and of course you could get a blow dry but we just didn't really bother with that shit in the late '70s. We didn't have products until hair gel arrived in the '80s. I don't remember Edward Beal salons using anything other than hair spray and that was just for the oldies. No pomades. No gloss. No anti-frizz sprays. No sculpting mousses. We had a pair of thinning scissors in our bathroom cupboard and I did a little damage with those on myself. It was like the Wild West of Hair Care in those days.

Of course, Farrah fell from grace, like all icons do if they live long enough. That's the problem. Women get old, and then they are undesirable. Redundant. There's always a new chicky-babe coming along. No body gives them work, no body wants to make pin-up posters of them any more. It'd be a bit the same for men, sure, but different as well. And she never got her John Travolta come-back. Tarantino obviously didn't think it would work with her. She became a joke, she was mocked for slurring as if drunk or drugged during interviews, for being daffy, for staying with abusive Ryan O'Neal. Their son Redmond is a drug-fuck-up and Ryan's daughter Tatum is as well. Farrah and Ryan broke up but in the last few years I think have come together again. He is loving her and looking after her and she had one of Rod Stewart's ex-wives video her final decline. She has cancer of the anus, particularly indelicate, and she is being open and wanting to live her final days in the public eye. No hiding away for her. People will have mixed ideas about this. Is it showy? Who knows. Probably. For a person who's lived their adult lives in the spotlight, I guess it might be hard to let go for some. I feel sorry for her, I do admire her willingness to be shown projectile vomiting in a documentary, and she'll always have a place in my heart. I loved her in a real girl-crush way. I can't really think of another woman from that era that I thought was so wonderful. So pretty. So sporty. So sexy. Such good hair.


Perseus said...

I was a Debbie Harry man myself. Well, a Debbie Harry boy. At age 10 (1979) my wall was filled with Blondie and/or Debbie Harry posters. Fawcett never did it for me.

Then the 80's came and then my pinup girls were even more kooky rock chicks... Joan Jett frinstance.

Melba said...

Debbie Harry was good, I'll give you that. She was very beautiful. Age 10's pretty young to be getting into the chicks. Our 10-year-old has footy players up on his walls, along with endless pieces of papers with his handwritten ladders and "stats."

But then you did lose your virignity at 14 with someone called Rhonda or Sharon after drinking Brandivino!

Perseus said...

Oh I also had footy players (Michael Roach mainly), and cricketers, and bizarrely enough, favourite racehorses (Dulcify was the biggest poster I had).

I also kept my own stats and ladders as well for the footy. Your boy may grow up to be just like me!

(Start quivering in fear)

Plenty of brandivino outside Skateranch, but I only ever got pashes and a grope.

I lost my virginity to an advertising executive called Kate who got me drunk. I was 18. She was 30. I thought she was old enough to be my my grandmother.

Melba said...

If our boy grows up half as decent as you, Perseus, and neat, intelligent, well-mannered, well-read and well-dressed, I for one will be happy.

And thanks for sharing your story re losing your cherry. Those older women, eh? I reckon more than 50% of blokes probably lost it with an older broad. I should do a poll.

jo_blue said...

Great post Melba, it made me laugh. I remember Joan Jett too Perseus - loved her. Just recently found out that after she slipped away from our music charts she became an icon in the gay scene - or so I've read. I had no idea she was gay!


Perseus said...

Aw, shucks Melba.

But watch out for the dodgy tatts and the chain-smoking.