Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Desired Life as a Woman



I can't think of anything with more Realistic Good Vibes than the opening credits from the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," which ran from 1970 to 1977. This version here is not the exact opening sequence (it's the original singer Sonny Curtis's extended version, complete with awkward "you're so sexy" add-ons -- the show wasn't ever about Mary being a femme fatale; she was attractive and had regular dates, but the focus, realistically, was on her everyday interactions with neighbors/friends/co-workers); YouTube doesn't have the definitive opening right now.

What opening image I was remembering right now, and looking for specifically, was from the later seasons, where she's walking along the lake -- in one version, she strides ahead as people pass her; in another, she turns to look back at them. In this video, you can see what I was looking for around 1:27 - 1:31.

What made me think of this: Weeks ago, the receptionist at work stopped me as I came in the front door after my tedious half-mile lunch-trudge back from the McDonald's up the street. Though she and I hadn't talked before, she all-of-a-sudden said, "I like how you walk! You always walk like you're going somewhere!" When I looked at her quizzically, puzzled at this out-of-the-blue epiphany, she elaborated: "You seem to walk with real purpose." I laughed and made a joke like, "Oh, it's probably because I lived in New York! You've got to be fast!" And "I think it's because I'm just late back from lunch!"

That was a couple of weeks ago. Then today, I was walking down the hall and said Hello in passing to a lady that I'd gotten supplies from in the past. Her response to my "hello": "I really like the way you walk!" This woman, I'd chatted with before, so I felt free to be honest and say, "No! Do you think I look PURPOSEFUL?! Have you been talking to [the receptionist]?" This second lady laughed politely but also looked puzzled, so I explained what the receptionist had said to me earlier. No, this lady said, she just thought I looked very confident... like I was going somewhere!

In general, I always have walked fast because I find walking between places pretty boring. I want to get there! I have never had any Sashay or Sway. I have always just had a STRIDE. While living in NYC briefly did probably contribute mildly to this, my fast walk was definitely already in place before then.

When I watched the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" as a kid (it ended when I was 12), one thing I really noticed, and liked, from the opening credits of the later seasons was how, yes, "purposefully" she was striding along the lake! I remember thinking back then that I would love to walk, and look, like that!

Up until now, no one's ever said that they liked my walk. Instead, I've almost always gotten from companions, "Slow down! WHAT is your HURRY?" No one, 'til now, has ever said, "You look like you're really going somewhere."

Rewatching this non-exact version of the opening credits to the show reminded me in general of just how good I felt as a kid while watching it, and while looking forward to watching it. At 10 or 12, I didn't know anything about shopping for meat, or greeting someone from an elevator, or strolling along a lake, or washing a car, or getting along with coworkers (much less the non-pictured reacting to a clown's death at a funeral, or having a bad hair/eyelash day), but I constantly thought while watching Mary Richards: "This is what I want to be like as a woman." At 49, I still can't think of a better role model.

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