Viva la flesh
By Reem Khan
Working in a place such as Sunday you’d think I’d have become immune to the pseudo sensibility shockers that are the barrage of party pictures we view on a daily basis. Yep, I’m talking about the fascinating and, at times, very entertaining visuals the first few pages of this magazine and other social rags deluging the magazine racks in almost every book corner in the country are dedicated to. I have to admit, the highlight of my morning is checking out the social shenanigans of those who crack open the pearly whites for a photo-op, oblivious to the fact that no matter how you view it, society views and judges you just because of what you wear, who you stand with and where you are, because society tends to be brutally cruel in that respect; it has absolutely nothing better to do.
There have been plenty of times when we at Sunday have received phone calls from many a female shindig hopper, absolutely forbidding us to print her picture because she’s afraid of the repercussions doled out by her in-laws or parents if they ever get to lay their eyes on the image that reveals the fact that her eyes and her cleavage were both battling for a better view of their surroundings, she was huddled up conveniently next to a man not even remotely like her husband (can’t even blame the drinks then) and, of course, that intoxicating glass of bubbly in her hand. Sarcasm and cynicism play a monumental role then in the satirical party in my head: why put yourself in the predicament stated above? If you had the gall to be there in the first place while the cameras were clicking away, be man (or woman) enough to live with it. Guess it all just boils down to a simple case of everyday pretentiousness doused in the damp sweat of inborn hypocrisy and deceit.
As a social system that mocks any measly attempt at trying to break out of typecast norms and traditional values that border on the stifling and oppressive, we tend to view such images, visuals and photographs as a slap on the face of our own morality because deep down, we all know two alternative realities exist: the chastity and virtue we’re all so proud of is fast becoming a jaded illusion and we’re scared that if such progressions towards such stylised western concepts is condoned, we may end up losing those late night battles with our innermost demons of anti-dogmatic discernment and hence, lose the ability to flaunt what we have already lost: a moral high ground we never really possessed.
‘Evils’ we once normally brandished as part of western civility have now become a very regular and extremely focused upon early morning ritual over tea, coffee and gossip. These pictures are like a silent yet very potent revolution to defeat the rebels of anti-liberation when, at the same time, the protagonists allow themselves to be labeled outcasts by the whole social unit at large because of what they portray: a free society in a world where there is no utopia.
The other day, while browsing through the many romp shots, I found myself questioning just what it is to grow up in a society that preaches one thing but blatantly sanctions the complete opposite whilst reprimanding us for not doing as we’re told. This particular GT had all the trappings of just about any other: dance floor, epilepsy inducing strobe lights, booze and willing participants in this lemming dance of the fagged out. Many a hipster endorsing teenybopper was there, oblivious to the world at large because of the vast amounts of alcohol and, seemingly, drugs they had consumed (bloodshot eyes and a very real unawareness of the fact that they were being photographed). One girl was evidently not a slave to her senses as she looked more wasted than trash that’s been left to rot outside in the midday summer sun. Groping her at odd angles and zones best left to sexual therapists was an equally intoxicated youth who looked as though O Levels were still a thing of the future. Even in the west, parents are weary of such issues and they address the situation hands on, not send their children to parties where the world can comment on them with the Sunday morning paper.
It’s not just the drinks, hallucinogenic drugs and loud music that have distorted our warped sense of reality, the amusing art of wearing less for more is now an ever growing notion towards liberation. Blame it on exhibitionism, voyeurism or an inbred need to flaunt; people are baring more, canoodling even more and losing sense of individuality for a few hours of gala induced pleasure. In another picture, one university student became so drunk she actually unzipped her jacket while on the dance floor and started a Paris Hilton booty shake for all and sundry. In no better than a bra, she let loose to the shock (and awe) of everyone present. The fact that she possessed a stomach no flatter than a mound of jello left on a vibrating drier, did nothing to deter her escapades into the land of no holds bars. Needless to say many a male gawker had a field day with that one.
Women of no less than mid-life crisis age have been seen to forsake their dignity, elegance and poise to wear outfits best left to Hollywood streetwalkers: feather boas, plunging necklines, fat oozing out like solid pus from sleeveless blouses, cellulite bouncing out of every pore and make-up that would give them a starring role in any of the Living Dead flicks. Such women are recognised in the west as sitting alone, downing one drink after another in an eternal wait for someone to rescue them from their sad, sorry excuse for a life whilst reliving all her troubles to the bartender. They paint a pitiful picture there, yet they paint one of frisky abandon here.
Another facet of our slowly crumbling stance on behavioural ethics is the recklessness with which many folk will allow the skeletons to literally fly out of their closets. Obvious homosexuals, bi-sexuals and wife swappers swarm the party circuit looking for slim pickings from a sea of willing fresh meat. Knowing many a person who attends these dos, it comes as no surprise when I hear over the counter babble about whose wife left with whom and whose husband did the deed in the linen closet with which other pretty boy who happened to be there. It’s as though seedy impulsiveness makes up for years of repressed urges once thought to prevail in the dark side of human nature.
Wedding parties, divorce parties, birthday parties, birthing parties, rave parties, dance parties, fashion parties, winter parties, summer parties, day parties, night parties, mujra parties, sex parties, booze parties, drug parties; they all fit within the spectrum that is now our acceptably fashionable way of life. Our keepsakes are these images of civility in a mammary crushing dress, sensibility in a Black Label bottle and virtue up for grabs by the highest bidder in an auction of identity confused, ethics overlapped by inclinations that allow us to see only the sleaze of western sociability and integrity desensitised by fetishism of the senses: we’ve seen it all, done it all and by God we’ve shown it all; VIVA LA FLESH!
link : http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/sunday/...?c=feature.htm