Good Bye, Farrah.

farrahI don’t want to be crass, or disrespectful, but I’m pretty sure the first boner that I popped was over Farrah Fawcett. And I know a lot of other guys can say the same thing. Her recent passing, which has been a bit overshadowed by that of Michael Jackson, is no less significant, as she also played a pivotal role in my childhood, and I wanted to share a few thoughts.

During the height of her popularity, my mother bought me and my cousin Sean each one of those Farrah t-shirts (the kind with an iron-on transfer of her in that red bathing suit). Both of us got into serious trouble for wearing the shirts to school (Sean more than me), and from that experience, I got my first real lesson in the Freedom of Expression. I don’t think I had ever even heard of the Constitution or the First Amendment until my mother went ballistic over our right to wear that silly shirt.

Like so many other boys in the 1970s, I drooled over Farrah. She awakened in me a yearning that I could not even begin to understand. I would look at her and want to do…something. I just wasn’t sure what it was I wanted to do. I remember seeing her, I believe on the Donnie and Marie Show (or some other equally lame variety program), in which she was wearing some sort of cavewoman outfit. I was convinced at the time that I could see one of her bare breasts, which at the time was the most exciting thing I’d ever witnessed. I guess, in some sort of twisted way, Farrah helped me along my way when it came to the sexual objectification of women.

But to her credit, Farrah was more than a sex symbol that helped ignite the fire in my pre-pubescent loins. After seeing her in both The Burning Bed and Extremities, I began to view her in a different way. And just as she awakened in me feelings I never had before in my childhood, she helped me realize that there was so much more to pretty women than their looks. And even in her final years, as she battled cancer, she revealed a courage and strength that only added to her depth and dimension. I believe that as she faced her death, Farrah wanted to make sure that the world remembered her as more than a pretty face and a talented actress. She wanted the world to know that she had the same fears and frailties that we all do, and that none of us, no matter how beautiful or popular we are, are exempt from the bitter truths of life.

Farrah Fawcett was many women in the course of her lifetime, and I appreciate all of them for what they taught me. Rest in peace, Farrah.

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