I watched a couple episodes of the new TV series Pan Am with my dad last night (We oddly became hooked on it for reasons unbeknownst to me; maybe he’s just reliving the 60s and I’m just jealous at how roomy planes were back then? Or maybe Christina Ricci’s bug eyes have hypnotized us). Anyways, what struck me is that Pan Am somehow brought two very different trains of thought I had that day.
For one, obviously the show features a lot of travel. And guess what I’m going to be doing on Sunday? Flying isn’t quite as glamorous as it was in the days of Pan Am, and the wonders of first class have yet to be enjoyed by me, but that’s never stopped me from getting out there. I’ve never actually been to Asia in a season other than summer, so I’m a little excited to be walking around in something less than the 100+ degree weather. Though I’d much rather be too hot than too cold.
And two, the ridiculous standards of beauty (I would never be light enough to pass that scale test) the stewardesses were held to made me think of the often ridiculous standards that women are held to today, something that I feel is especially prevalent where I live. Of course there’s always a societal pressure to be thin and beautiful, but here in the land of stars, it’s even more in your face.
I’m not sure if this mindset carried over into the construction of the building where I intern at, but in the room where I sit there are floor length, full wall mirrors on opposite sides of the room so if I turn my head to one side, I see myself. I don’t know if it was designed to aesthetically “open” up the space or just to make people hyper-aware of themselves, but either way, I am now constantly fixing my posture or fidgeting with my hair. But I guess for really vain people this would be the best place ever.
Even in the elevator, it’s all mirrors. Every single wall. I can see every angle of my body, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I don’t want to look at myself, but I can’t help it. Unless I close my eyes, I will be seeing some portion of myself. All the mirrors actually remind me of a music video set sometimes. Sort of like the video for Florence + The Machine’s “Cosmic Love.” I have to fight the tendency to bust out a move because a) someone might join me in the elevator and b) I am acutely aware of the security camera capturing every movement I make. My former roommates might raise an eyebrow since being in a public space has never prevented me from breaking into a spontaneous dance move and generally embarrassing those with me, but since I’m at work, I try to keep my dancing impulses down.