Amazon On The Shore

Clearly I did not purchase this photo for its beauty.  There are smudges which might be the thumbprints of someone who possessed her long ago.  There are mysterious pen strokes above her left shoulder, as if someone had once used her as blotting paper.

No, I purchased the photo for her beauty.  Her statuesque aplomb, her black Jantzen swimsuit, the smoldering gaze sneering from beneath her swim cap, hands and arms poised to dare and invite, to both shield and show.  How the poor photographer must have trembled before such an aquatic warrior!

The nose is short and broad – a little pugnacious, too.  Her neck is surprisingly graceful:  one would think that a bulkier structure would be needed to support such a face full of fight, full of defiance, full of the devil's own mischief.

This is no androgynous flapper, pallid from long nights under artificial lights, emaciated from meals of cocktails – sidecars, martinis, manhattans, Cubans, gin slings, Bennetts, fizzes, millineums, rickeys – with a figure flattened and squeezed into slips of sequined silk.  No, indeed – her limbs are rounded and substantial; her figure bold, bulky and magnificent.  She is proud of her curves; she wears a belt to accent a healthy waistline.  And faded sepia cannot disguise the rosy color in her cheeks.

Sheer black stockings roll down calves of an undeniable shapeliness, emphasizing their slender strength.  One leather-shod foot is tilted upwards, the toe bent against the floor in a pose that could have come from a magazine, a movie, a mannequin…but most likely it came from her own madcap mind.

This is no Botticelli Venus, gliding like a blossom on an opened scallop.  This girl punched her way out of a closed shell into the world; she brushed away the nacreous crumbs brave enough to clutch to her broad shoulders and then strode onto shore, where kingdoms awaited her.

She must have stood like a powerful and curving tree, the ocean currents swirling around her calves, the tides seeking other avenues in their constant advance towards land.

This Amazon possessed no Achilles heel. 

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13 responses to “Amazon On The Shore

  1. Wow. What poise and grace. And yes, she's STRONG. Must have been a helluva swimmer.

  2. What Brown Suga said. wow

  3. Just goes to show that people aren't really different today to how they were almost a century ago. She has some sense of humour.

  4. I remember learning some bathing beauty history at a Historic Society of Long Beach event.I can't remember the exact rule about arm coverage (I believe it had to cover frm the neck to past the outside of the arm, aligned with the armpit) on the old dress-style suits but I distinctly remember that it was "indecent" for the skirts to flare up so they had little weights sewn into the hems. Thus the total weight of the garment was usually around 40lbs – and that's why you never see the women in the water beyond their knees.

  5. she looks like she coulda been Babe Ruth's sister!

  6. Wow! What a cool chick!

  7. Suga'/fatcat – I'd say she must have swum the English Channel, but the photo was taken in Texas.
    Gamba – With good luck she might have grown up to be one spectacular diva.
    LeendaDL – Lovely facts – thank you! I was discussing this photo with my mother and she said that when she was a little girl in New Jersey, she wore black wool Jantzen swimsuits…rented.
    Lavender/Dwarfie/Eliz. – I usually buy only hand-colored photos, but this girl was so spectacular that I had to buy her, sepia-toned though she was.
    Ms. Pants – The Sultan of Swell?
    DKN – Honey, she must have been the bee's knees.

  8. I look at her and I wish I was as confident and in your face as she was during a time when it was much harder to be that kind of woman.

  9. This is no Botticelli Venus, gliding like a blossom on an opened
    scallop. This girl punched her way out of a closed shell into the worldWhat a powerful image. Great post, Aubrey.

  10. Wow, that is no mermaid. Poseiden's Mistress? I also loved what LM just covered. No Venus Rising but no Reubenesque dairy maid either. Full but not fluffy. Firm but not granite. She might kick a little sand around if you look a bit too long. While not a classic beauty for sure a bold an interesting person who is still being talked about. How many only wish they were.

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