Tuesday, 13 April 2010


1: LiLo

(from zine issue 3)

When I found out that Lilo was sleeping with Samantha Ronson, I thought: there goes that last remaining barrier. Lindsay likes women. What possible excuse could Lindsay have for not liking me? And when they split up, I had that thought again: case closed. She likes women, and she's single, and she's clearly unhappy alone - the only thing standing between us is the fact that we haven't met yet. This sort of grand delusion could, in a man, seem sad, sinister, dangerous (apart from your garden variety miserable losers and misogynists, you've got crazed stalkers, violent criminals, and let's not forget the would be presidential assassin who did it all for love of Jodie Foster. (Which reminds me, Jodie Foster more than merits a why-won't-she-sleep-with-me column). But I decided that, in a woman like me, it could easily be disguised as whimsical charm. In the attempt to pass off my egotistical Lilomaniac disorder as a lovable quirk, I had three major things going for me. #1 I look, for the most part, nonthreatening. #2 I'm too lazy to take any stalkerlike action in the realm of real life (or anywhere else outside my own bedroom). And the clincher: #3 I didn't actually tell anyone about it.

I've now decided two things is enough. I'm coming clean about LL, and about all the other objects of my desire who couldn't possibly be less obscure. I'm going to tell you about them because the egotistical element of my condition has at least begun to wear off, and I have realised this:
- Lindsay Lohan et al are never going to sleep with me
- there is nothing I can do except whine
- whining is something I really, really can do.

I begin with Lindsay because she really does contain multitudes - she's younger than me, born in 1986, and yet she has been so many women already, and I've found a way, dutifully, painstakingly, to fall in love with each one. Even by the standards of movie stars, even by those of recovering child stars (and ex-child stars should have a why-won't-they-sleep-with-me subcategory of their own [hello again, Jodie]), LL moved in record time from exuberant redheaded strength to Firecrotch faux-trash to half-cracked late-Marilyn blonde (Oh, MM! If anyone deserves a spinoff, it surely must be the ranks and ranks of Dead Movie Stars Who Won't Sleep With Me).

She is so many of my fixations, incarnate. In my mind's eye all those iterations are entangled, messily mapped onto one another, most of all her open, resilient, beaming Mean Girls smile superimposed on those Vanity Fair shots - that breakable woman moving delicately, barely lifting her heavy lids, naked but hidden under layers of impersonation (of Monroe, of herself) or wrapped in wool as if she might freeze, even there on the hot beach. That quality of letting people see too little and too much of her at once is what most makes a movie star. It's why I usually can't fall for someone if she (of he, but they don't make male stars like they used to, so I'll save the boys for my Dead column) is too good an actor. So often with a real star you can look straight through the part and see the woman trapped inside; or she bursts through the script like a movie monster; or the character thins to nothing as the star becomes remote, chills you, endlessly retreats. Each of these can be magical, but none is acting. LL should have been disqualified from this column simply on grounds of competence, but like Marilyn she gets round it because although she really can act, she frequently doesn't (even on those now rare occasions when she appears in films), and those warring LL personae threaten to overwhelm all else.

LL is also one in a long line of my fantasy beloveds with well-documented daddy troubles. Why these should inspire such longings I can't say. Again, this rare small advantage of non-manhood saves me - not only can I make Lilo-in-lingerie my desktop image even at work with barely a disapproving glance, but I can admit to loving her partly for the woundedness without counting myself a predator looking for an easy mark. After all, these lost Hollywood Electras are by definition such a forbiddingly heteronormative bunch - LL's brief conversion notwithstanding - that they'd top the list of stars who don't want me without even trying. In any case, LL's public sufferings, though long years of victim-worship have trained me to appreciate them, to respond with tenderness and renewed devotion, can't stop me missing the old Lilo, the one whose faint image still flickers about every gossip page I see her smeared across. So many Lindsays and yet always one; she's torn to shreds and yet she rises up; she's overexposed and yet unfathomable: Rumsfeld might call her a known unknown. But, godless though I am, I should stop short of blasphemy. Her artifice is all the more beguiling because it isn't quite successful - you can't see where it begins and ends but you can certainly see what it does. Watching her fall, of course, had a force and intensity of its own, and made it easier to imagine she might change her mind and sleep with me after all, but I'd trade that mirage any day for one more movie starring freckled insouciant LL with that hair and the American teeth and the wide-open eyes.

1 comment:

  1. argh, I love this article so much. So so so much!