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Read Letter

The Look

Dear Jill

She’s a gorgeously beautiful woman, one of those nature showed partiality. You can’t help but notice her in a crowd, any crowd. Her complexion glows in radiance, like an incandescent reflector. Her sense of fashion only lends credence to the conviction of those who believe some things are just talent. Perhaps indeed no amount of tutorial can match the effortless disposition of those innately wired. This isn’t just about beauty. There is an intrinsic sophistication domesticated in her, in her poise. Her make-up is impeccable. No speck out of place, no painterliness overstepping its bounds. She does look like a dolly – a polyurethane version of human flesh; like a trick of the senses. You know someone is talented when it all seems so effortless. It takes talent to creatively ensemble simplicity.

And so when she stepped into the auditorium that morning in an Audrey Hepburn inspired dress, eyes turned. Her classic elegance relegated energetic sartorial exertions to the level of crudity. A silent applause of the senses broke out in the hall as she stepped in, her form silhouetted in the doorframe. And with her unassuming nature she managed to appellate the women present fashion labourers. It seemed the more expensive the couture the more competitive the outlook of the women in question. Take the lady who wore the latest Channel runway output. She wears the latest of whatever the designers dream up, even when they don’t fit. And she accessorizes like an advert for fashion etceteras. But to be honest it all sometimes seems out of place. She’s a statement maker. A statement is that silent oppressiveness and assertiveness deployed by certain women. It serves to put others in their place, to intimidate and delineate class. It wasn’t surprising therefore when the statement maker gave our gracious lady “the look”.

Now don’t you pretend you don’t know The Look. Women give each other The Look all the time. The Look is when the eyeballs take a sweeping scan of another woman from head to toe, in less than a fraction of what it would take an airport full body scanner to accomplish the same task. The Look. It is sometimes concluded with a visual hiss – that arching look from the corner of the eye. Sometimes it’s completed with an up and down batting of the eyelid, like a chicken spoiling for a fight.

Sometimes The Look harbours a mean thought behind its facade. A very mean thought. Just imagine a woman seated with one leg swaying sideways unbidden, looking up from down under: steely gaze. Sometimes The Look is expressed by leaning on the table with one hand, the shoulders leaning forward… And a leg tapping up and down, the head nodding in consonance to an unspoken but disclosed bad thought. Sometimes The Look is accompanied by insincere admiration, a supercilious aspersion masquerading as fashion enquiry. And sometimes The Look is expressed as a picture of feeling of dejection.

It is the picture of an ample African woman in a Nollywood drama on Movie Magic cable channel. She sits wide-spread, in wrapper and traditional top, her hands meeting across her stomach, clasped. The corners of her mouth are turned down in a way only African women can. Takes aboriginal talent to master. The posture then descends into an elongated hiss that cries look-atew! Hiss! There is a difference between envy and jealousy. Jealousy is when an infested individual feels there’s a competitive fighting chance against the subject of envy. Envy on the other hand precludes the possibility or even a faint notion of competitiveness. Envy is a virulent and malignant progression of human competitiveness. Full of dark energy. Jealousy fights battles and skirmishes. Envy fights a war. Jealousy is a verb. Envy is a noun. “The Look” in its various forms is an expression of envy and jealousy. That’s the blunt truth. Jealousy and envy are dangerous and dark emotions. Run from them. Envy can spiral into hatred. And hatred is the equivalence of murder according to the Holy Book. There are too many murders from envy recorded in human history. (The Look is civil murder). Envy is a terrible passion. It feeds on primal urges.

The Bible says rejoice with those that rejoice; mourn with those that mourn. When things are going well for others rejoice, with sincerity, in sincerity. Don’t rejoice at the pain, difficulties, bereavement or misfortune of others. It’s evil. Stop the senseless competition with other women. It’s unnecessary vexation of human spirit. It’s akin to two drivers meeting perchance on the highway but racing each other. They’re not of the same origin; they are not headed to the same destination; they’re not on the same mission… Yet they race each other, jostling for asphalt supremacy! Senseless! Fight the primal instincts of envy and jealousy. They are base animalistic passions, consuming flames of fire.

Rejoice with those that rejoice; mourn with those that mourn. Simple!

Your mentor, LA.


© Leke Alder 2014

Tags : Fashion, Beautiful, Jealousy

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