Hazy and Dolorous: the Anniversary Edition
And speaking of anniversaries (see what I did there?)... there's all kinds of hubub about the 50th anniversary of Lolita. And by "all kinds," I pretty much just mean a party at a bar here in Chicago, and a stellar piece by Chris Norris in this month's issue of GQ. (I'd link to it, but you'd just get a teaser — oh, how apropos! — It's highly recommended reading, though, if you have access to GQ.)
The gist is this: "Those mythic forbidden nymphets — who have not just puerile hips but a dewy eagerness, a trusting vulnerability — are doomed in an era of cardio strip classes and flavored body glitter." Too true, Chris.
Norris's position skews toward the masculine (how's a guy supposed to devine true nymphetry when he's daily confronted with thirteen-year-old mallrats sporting "pornstar" t-shirts and visible thong lines and "bullseye!" back tattoos?) but that's only to be expected in a men's magazine. What's unfortunately overlooked in the piece is the feminine flip-side: how's a true nymphet supposed to garner any kind of appreciation (the genuine kind, as perpetrated by Nabokov's hero) when competing with those same mallrats? For all intents and purposes, nymphetry is looking like a lost art.
This is not good news for the girl who's never owned pants with writing across the butt and who, as recently as last night, chose fleece over fishnets when costume-coordinating. I'd like to think I still have a few tricks, a few nymphetish resources up my (full-length) sleeve*. But the success of these tricks relies on so much that can't be controlled: no one who hasn't read "the lyrical, anguished, prismatic prose of twentieth-century English literature's greatest work," for instance, could truly appreciate the execution of a well-timed Lolitaism.
Still, as long as we're seeing stuff like Norris's, stuff that asks "where are you hiding, Dolores Haze? What the hell happened?", there is hope...
* I'm quite partial to the coy "oops, how did we end up holding hands under the table?" routine. The "I don't know much, but I'm an excellent student" thing has also had a high rate of success, but it's not for beginners. (Hee! Isn't it funny that I let you think you seduced me? That's probably the best trick I have. And in retrospect, really, wouldn't you have to agree?)