Last tango for my eyesight

October 16, 2010


Maybe I’m extremely nearsighted because when I was nine years old, I spent too much time looking at the photo included with Time Magazine’s review of “Last Tango in Paris.” That’s not actually the truth, because I’ve worn glasses since I was six-and-a-half or seven. But I remember spending a lot of time looking at that photo.

I don’t remember what incidence of somebody realizing that I couldn’t quite make it out led to my first visit to the eye doctor. I just remember that it was part of the way through first grade or in the beginning of second grade when I got my first pair of glasses. And being the early 1970s, the frames were plastic and dark. And because at that time, my fashion sense was determined by my mother (who also was still sewing us matching outfits), my early frames always had multiple straight sides. My mom loved hexagons and octagons.


Here are some early school pictures of myself wearing glasses. I think we have ages  seven, eight, and nine. I’m sure the right-hand photo is age nine, because I’m wearing a retainer (also, please note the Winnie-the-Pooh turtleneck). That was a result of the dentist/orthodontist determining that I had small jaws and would need braces, and that all my adult teeth wouldn’t fit. Therefore, four of my permanent molars were pulled, I had black thread stitches in my gums, and I got a lot of mileage out of grossing out other kids with those very stitches.

Age nine was also about the time I would have been going cross-eyed from that “Last Tango in Paris” still in Time, which I usually checked out in the bathroom. Well, that’s where “reading material” ended up. As a girl, however, the previous sentence doesn’t have quite the same connotation as if I had been a boy. Also, my mother was squarely into hexagonal frames by that time.

The photo was of a woman on the left and a man on the right sitting, facing each other, with their knees up and legs intertwined. As I child, I was all atwitter because I perceived that there were breasts exposed.

My eyesight continued to worsen for thirty years. Then the distance vision leveled off but I hit forty, so now I have bifocals. That totally sucks. I’m on my second bifocal prescription and can quite tell that it needs to be updated again. Health insurance only pays for one pair of glasses per year. I have four months to go.

So tonight, because I’m once again way behind on my Comcast bill (cable tv and inernet) and am once again pretending that I’m about to stick it to the man and cancel it all and just watch what I can using city wireless internet (two year city wireless only about $40 dollars more than two months Comcast cable tv and internet) and what’s free on the internet or with a couple of relatively inexpensive subscriptions, I brought home some sushi and a really tasty Argentinean Malbeca, and tuned in to Hulu for a movie and a Comcastless test drive of a movie on the internet.

“Last Tango in Paris” was the first title that came up that wasn’t zombie, slutty, or sci-fi slutty. I remembered that Time Magazine write-up and settled in, thirty-eight years later, to watch the movie that left an impression nine-year-old me.

It was alright (except for the part where free Hulu didn’t show me the last twenty minutes as it asked if I’d like to buy the DVD, erm, no), but nothing earthshattering, other than I got to practice listening to some French.

I know a lot of men just love “The Godfather,” but to be perfectly honest, I don’t see what all the fuss is about Marlon Brando. He has a funny voice, he’s a little bit pudgy, and a lot of it in this movie is done with camera work. However, I will give the ’70s a lot of credit for being less uptight about sex, sexuality, and nudity. What changed?

And, although there was plenty of nudity in the movie elsewhere, what I remember from that photo in Time ended up being one or two feminine curves with nothing much really showing, and four strategically placed knees.

What a letdown!


(Compared to the well-defined actual breasts shown in the movie, the ambiguously smoothed curves in the photo at top are just as my nine-year-old-self remembers them.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: