I stayed up last night watching an Elvis movie marathon on AMC. You know he was a genius. I am pretty sure that Elvis set the standard for many celebrities on how they market themselves. He wore tight pants, shook his pelvis, always had dreamy looks on his face, kissed a lot of girls and sang as much as possible. They accentuated his good qualities. If not for this, really he wasn't a great actor...he was just himself. And, the scripting was always horribly cheesy.
Also, I am pretty sure that slutty looking women were placed as his counterparts so that straight-laced women could watch the movie and say, "He would definitely want to be with me. Why would he want to be with that slutty woman? Yes, if Elvis met me, he would want to be with me!"
Elvis was a fantasy that the record company and the movie director was selling to hormone-driven girls. What genius!
I know plenty of women today who go to see movies simply because there is a good-looking male actor in it. Regardless of whether it is crap or not, they will spend the money to live out two hours of fantasy. It is pathetic, but genius! Directors and publicists have figured out women so terrificly. We are romantics at heart and don't mind making ourselves vulnerable. They give us the men on the screen that we would never have in real life. We want the knight in shining armor. We want the man who will hold up a radio in the middle of the night to profess his love to us. We want the man who will fumble the first time, but redeem himself later with an over-the-top public display of his adoration.
Of course, it may be that the movies have made us want these things. I wouldn't want to be a man in our current society. Media has created expectations that would be hard to live up to. Plus, figuring out whether a woman wants to be pampered and taken care of...or independent and she's calling the shots! Things are complex. Men must never know where they stand with women. Well, let me tell you a little secret...women are like that with other women as well. They're your friends one moment and then they are stabbing you in the back. They are a hauty little sex that frankly puzzles me most of the time...and I'm a woman.
After writing this...it makes me realize why I prefer having male friends. Female friends are too much work! They expect movie-level relationships from everyone...male or female.
So, back to Elvis...I watched his movies last night not just for reveling in his marketing savvy, but because he holds so many memories for me. Elvis was my first crush as a child. My mum had a plethora of his records and I fell in love at the age of 6. I would sit on the blue-flowered daybed in our den, an Elvis record playing on my Playskool Record Player, clutching the record cover in my little fingers. Once in a while I would kiss the tanned face on the cover or just talk to him about how one day I will meet him. Little did I know at that time he had already died. I even pulled my friend, Jenny, into the Elvis fan club. She would come over to the house when one of his movies was on TV. We were in love with him!
My dreamy fantasy of Elvis lasted until I was 10. That was when I discovered Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode, Robert Smith from The Cure and Adam Ant. How I went from beautifully bronzed and perfectly coifed Elvis to these three is still a mystery to me, but they began to adorn my notebooks at school. I don't think I ever discovered real boys...those right in front of me...until I was in high schoool. Up until that point, they were simply people to whom I talked or played with after school. I might have been considered a tomboy.
Well, I have once again begun to appreciate Elvis. He is a running theme for my best friend and I. We appreciate his gyrating pelvis and tight pants. We also appreciate all the images his songs bring. To complete our love affair with the King...we are making a pilgrimage this summer to Graceland. I look forward to possibly distilling some little secret about Elvis, my first crush.
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