A World of Weariness

She couldn't be bothered.  She couldn't be bothered to straighten her glistening spine.  The world didn't interest her sufficiently to open her eyes wide and give it her full attention.  Their black depths remained hidden and inaccessible behind gray shores.  Her pink arms, weak and rounded, are barely strong enough to hold a fan torn from an ostrich's wingspan.  Her fatigued, exhausted posture is not the result of a vitamin deficiency, of the A's, B-12's, D's dissolved in a surfeit of cocktails.  It is merely the languid weariness adopted by young society in the early 1920's.  Before the flappers fluttered, before hems tickled ladies' knees, before Art Deco's sonogram was viewed at the Paris Exposition Des Arts Decoratifs in 1925, the 'Lost Generation' staggered out of World War One and made a high art of indifference and cynicism.

Her gown shines like a cold moon and is the color of a fish freshly pulled out of the sea.  It glides effortlessly over her body, baring her rounded shoulders but trailing across the floor: covering it like a nacreous lake.  There is no corset; there are no laces, no buckles, no hooks, no buttons.  They would make it just too complicated…

…and she couldn't be bothered.

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14 responses to “A World of Weariness

  1. It is almost as though she is incidental to the picture; she left her personality resting somewhere, so all one is struck by is the silver, black and gold

  2. Excellent writing! Favorite phrase "nacreous lake." I also like "torn from an ostrich's wingspan." I am reminded of the opening of The Great Gatsby and the "languid" women lounging. The opening is the only section I loved from that novel.
    I would say that "cynicism and indifference" are alive today in the "hipsters." My sister likes to feign indifference to life. I'm ebullient often. Life should be lived ecstatically at times. We should not claim to be casual observers.
    Lucy

  3. Jando – she's an empty decoration, and she worked hard to become one. No one can deny her beauty, many can question her sincerity.
    Luch – 'nacreous lake' is my favorite phrase too; I don't think it's surprising that the pearl is my birthstone!
    There are many unattractive human qualities, but cynicism might be the ugliest, the most aggravating. I agree with you, that life should be embraced always, like a dear acquaintance.

  4. I love "always like a dear acquaintance." It seems like something an enlightened Victorian would write. Excellent!!!

    Lucy

  5. For some reason, she makes me think of Lord Peter Wimsey's sister-in-law, the Duchess, congratulating herself on the fact that her gown exposes exactly the correct number of vertibrae for the occasion – one must, of course, be in the current mode, but one lower would be over-modern…

  6. Perfect. She reminds me of certain teenagers I've known..

  7. serenpoly – I know exactly the passage you're talking about! From 'Murder Must Advertise', right? I always imagined the Duchess to be a little more angular than the rounded statue we have here.
    Purplesque – when will they realize? They are going to care profoundly, no matter how much the fight it.

  8. I love these lines: "Her gown shines like a cold moon and is the color of a fish freshly
    pulled out of the sea. It glides effortlessly over her body, baring
    her rounded shoulders but trailing across the floor: covering it like a
    nacreous lake." I am reminded of The Sun Also Rises, which I have been told has a wonderful sex scene in which nothing anatomical is described, only the events surrounding the event, like the trees rhythmically moving up and down, up and down.

  9. This is my favorite bit: of the A's, B-12's, D's dissolved in a surfeit of cocktails. Also, I love the notion of "the high art of indifference." So apt. And yet I love it so much. 😉

  10. {raucous clapping}

  11. i can't take my eyes off that silk…

  12. I believe if we put her in a corset, she might be Sargent's Madame X…

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