Sunday, May 21, 2006

Attempting the Impossible

Though I've come to love country life, I miss the availability of museums and galleries in cities. So I browse online art. I've found a bookstore with a treasure trove of discounted coffee table art books. I ruthlessly plunder my mother-in-law's art studio for her reference books and magazines.

When I find something I love, I try to memorize it and absorb each detail so when everyday living seems unbearably dull and oppressive, I can tour my own mental museum and open my eyes again to the wonder, beauty, ridiculousness and horror of life.

Great art, in any medium, to me, is that which captures a little piece of truth, that essential and elusive entity which holds everything together. Last night, looking for artists whose joy and whimsy always buoys me, I stumbled across this painting by Rene' Magritte. Its name, Attempting the Impossible, says so much.

There's a Pygmalion hiding in each of us, so ready to create our perfect man or woman. It's one of the oldest jokes about women that we get our man and then try to change him into what we want him to be. We women create our ideal mate from the one we have on the micro level, refining wardrobe, dietary, exercise and other superficial choices. I can only imagine what a royal pain in the rumpus that must be for the men involved. From my very female perspective, I think that men do it more on a macro level, creating icons of womanhood, our Marilyn Monroes, our June Cleavers, our Madonnas, both those in pietas and bad videos. Living up to those icons is also a huge pain.

In some ways, women have the easier job of making our man. We just refine the surfaces in sometimes annoying ways. I think most women know that with men what you see is what you get. I don't know a single man though for whom women are not a mystery, and when they try to create their perfect woman, they seem to miss some essential elements. I know I'm generalizing, but men don't really know everything that makes a woman so wonderful. For me, that's part of the fun of it all.


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 21, 2006 10:36 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Unfortunately, we all know what aspect of women is most important to men. It's been my experience that, as a general rule, men don't "create" much further than that. That painting should show the female figure complete only from the floor to a couple inches below her waist... :-]

May 21, 2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger Jod{i} said...

Funny Jer and I had this conversation this re: of a friend looking for the "perfect woman"

May 21, 2006 11:11 AM  
Blogger Vicky said...

Cynthia, this is profound!! Yes, yes !

Vicky x

May 21, 2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Incisive and fair-minded, Cynthia. I'm going to have to talk to that Lisa, though.

May 21, 2006 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

I think you summed it up well! Bullseye! Men don't know what makes us wonderful, they aren't even sure what they truly like in a woman. So I just tell mine "I'm just what you need....all you need."

May 22, 2006 11:56 AM  
Blogger Globetrotter said...

Wonderful post, Cynthia!

I peruse a lot of art books,too, though I've found nothing can replace a gallery/ museum experience in terms of getting up close and personal with the artwork.

I've tried for 33 years to change some things about the man I married, but I know that he'll always drop his dirty socks in the middle of the floor and leave his teabag in the cup for me to dig out.

He's lucky. He has nothing to change about me, since I'm perfect;0)

May 24, 2006 8:24 AM  

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