What defines ‘sexy’ in a woman?
From a female writer’s perspective, I ponder this question time and time again. Now, I’m sure that if I carried out a survey, I would be overwhelmed with varied and perhaps, batshit crazy responses from both sexes, and would probably be none the wiser at the end of the process.
It’s personal, after all.
And while I know it when I see it, it can be hard to define. It’s intriguing that while physical appearance has a huge role to play in the make-up of sexual allure and magnetism, I’m sure we can all name at least one symmetrically, flawlessly-formed specimen of human perfection that is the furthest from sexy as you can imagine…I’ll mention no names on that one…so, perhaps it is more about attitude, a way of walking, talking, glancing, or even, a flick of the hair…
The title for this article is a quote from1940’s icon, Veronica Lake. Famous for roles such as Jennifer in I Married a Witch and Ellen in This Gun for Hire, she is almost as equally famous for her peekaboo hairstyle… a classically sexy look, and one which is constantly emulated by women to this day.
Though her life was full of tragedy and upheaval, for the camera, Veronica Lake carried herself with an air of beauty and mystique. She died aged 51, having experienced a troubled childhood, several broken marriages, the death of her infant child, alcoholism and periods of mental illness. A year before her death, she is quoted as saying, “I was always a rebel and probably could have got much further had I changed my attitude. But when you think about it, I got pretty far without changing attitudes. I’m happier with that.”
So then, if it worked for Veronica, the mystery is no mystery at all…the secret is in the doing. Of simply being confident enough in one’s skin to get the glad rags on and face the world, no matter what…and to meet, full on, the challenge, and in the film industry certainly, the rewards, of the unrelenting ‘male gaze’…
Which makes me think of Marlene Dietrich, who famously said, “Darling, the legs aren’t so beautiful, I just know what to do with them.”