Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

For one of his birth­days I or­gan­ised life draw­ing classes for my Dad. He has a nat­u­ral abil­ity to draw and a way with a like­ness that is both vivid and star­tling. My mother can also draw. Re­ally well. Sadly they never passed this abil­ity on to me. And be­lieve me, no mat­ter what Mal­colm Glad­well says about how 10 000 hours of prac­tice will make you pro­fi­cient at any­thing, re­cent re­search has shown that tal­ent trumps all that work. In fact, you can get away with much less work if you have in­nate tal­ent.Take that Mal­colm.

Any­way, off my Dad went to his life draw­ing lessons, with a lovely artist and a se­ries of naked fe­male mod­els. He was lov­ing it. His fel­low class mem­bers were lov­ing him.‘Your dad is so cute,’ they would an­nounce at the lo­cal cof­fee shop. He was the only male in the class so I think he was work­ing all his charms. He is gruff and dead­pan but also de­light­ful when he wants to be.

Shortly af­ter, how­ever, a dif­fer­ence in artis­tic tem­per­a­ment be­gan to make it­self felt in the small group of sketch­ing dilet­tantes. My fa­ther re­ported on de­vel­op­ments over a fam­ily din­ner. He just could not un­der­stand why all the fel­low artists where so mer­ci­less in their de­pic­tions of each week’s bare, naked lady.

His per­sonal com­pul­sion was to glo­rify her flesh.Stretch her out, beau­tify her, view her in the best pos­si­ble light. A kind of Greek ideal tak­ing form week af­ter week in a stu­dio in Melville.

‘I mean, she is a beau­ti­ful naked woman and they make her ugly,’ he mused. Imag­ine a voice-over in­volv­ing An­thony Quinn and his ac­cent in Zorba the Greek and you will get a sense of where we were head­ing with this.

‘Are they not just be­ing re­al­is­tic?’ I won­dered.

‘No,’ he grum­bled back, ‘they are just be­ing mean.’

At first, I just shook my head and wor­ried that he was not in­ter­nal­is­ing the prin­ci­ples of draw­ing from life. But, Dove ad­verts aside, I think he has a point. I mean, his air­brush­ing tech­nique is ap­par­ently quite typ­i­cal of the male gaze. I al­ways love to throw in a lit­tle re­search (some­times even twice per col­umn), but men are def­i­nitely more for­giv­ing of women’s bod­ies than women are of their own flesh and blood. The av­er­age fel­low does in­deed view us with rose-tinted spec­ta­cles. He also has a healthy ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a curve, so he will con­sis­tently ide­alise a more – shall we say – ro­bust fig­ure than the one the ma­jor­ity of women will claim as their own ideal.

Here is the thing; the women in my Dad’s class were prob­a­bly in­ad­ver­tently do­ing what we all tend to do when we look in the mir­ror. Un­less we are Elle Macpherson, who was per­fectly happy to an­nounce just last week, whilst frol­ick­ing on a yacht in some Mediter­ranean sea port, that she feels she looks bet­ter now than she did when she was 20. How many of us would say such a thing? Not many, be­cause we are too busy gazing fit­fully at that new dim­ple in our bum. And then etch­ing it in char­coal for pos­ter­ity. We are just be­ing mean.

IT’S THE SEPTEM­BER IS­SUE Spring is in the air and our fash­ion di­rec­tor Sharon and her team have given us a bumper edi­tion to make ev­ery fash­ion heart trill with an­tic­i­pa­tion. OUR FASH­ION TRUNK SHOW is com­ing to Cape Town this month. I’m so...

WHAT ARE YOU DO­ING FOR LUNCH THIS THURS­DAY? Join Ma­bale Moloi and me on our show on Cliff Cen­tral called ‘Be­tween two femmes’, be­cause we like Zach Gal­i­fi­anakis and we are live­lier than two ferns. We chat about ev­ery­thing that fas­ci­nates us...

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