I was on the road and stopped for lunch at one of those chain restaurants with the pop-culture memorabilia displayed on the walls. It was an easy on/off exit from the highway and as always, I was in a hurry.
On the wall facing my table, were two portraits, amidst the child’s bicycle, airplane propeller, and other signs of the times. One portrait was a black and white photograph of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Onassis). The other was a colorful copy of the Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe.
As a Jackie O. fan, a quote by Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, immediately entered my head. “Do not mistake confidence and self-awareness for egotism.” Lunching alone made me uncharacteristically introspective as there was nobody else to talk to while waiting for my food to arrive. I’m sure the waitress would have loved to sit and chat with me, but it was lunchtime and she was busy.
Immediately, some of the differences, in the pictures, and the women, are glaringly evident. Opposites. Color vs. black and white. Blonde vs. black hair. Notoriously single vs. notably married. Marilyn is portrayed in vibrant colors, and very pink in a sultry pose. Jackie is ever-classy, even in her vacation clothes, black and white photo, and exuding self-confidence.
Marilyn had an inflated ego and did whatever was necessary to attract attention. “Look at me!” She stood out in the crowd whether because the studio had created that image for her or because it was what she needed to do to gain the attention that she so hungrily craved. She posed seductively and pouted for the cameras, revealing cleavage and legs and everything else. Flirting, always trying to befriend and impress everyone because she was so uncomfortable and unhappy with herself.
Jackie was confident and self-aware. “I am Jackie!” She didn’t mind standing out in the crowd, being recognized for her husband’s accomplishments or for her own. She also didn’t mind not standing out. If the attention was focused on her, she accepted it with grace and poise. If the attention was focused elsewhere, she continued to be graceful, gracious, and poised. She had self-esteem and was free of the need to prove herself to anyone. She was comfortable in her own skin (bien dans sa peau as they say in France). She was at ease and happy with herself.
So, here they were. Together, in the same room, on the same wall. Black and white vs. color. Healthy self-esteem vs. lack of self-esteem. Confident and self-aware vs. egotism. The wife and the alleged mistress.
My thoughts on this were…
- Does anyone else who eats here even notice what is on these walls?
- How much planning goes into what goes on the walls at TGI Fridays?
- Was it a coincidence that Jackie, JFK, and Marilyn ended up on the wall together?
- Should we be looking at the other walls in restaurants for weird connections between the pieces of memorabilia?
- Does anyone else notice how ironic it is that Jackie and Marilyn are sharing the same wall, as they potentially shared the same man?
Whose self-esteem does yours most resemble? Are you a Jackie or a Marilyn or a combination?
Clearly, I’ll have to make certain that I don’t eat alone again. It gives me too much time to think.
P.S. In case you were wondering, my lunch consisted of the Cajun Shrimp Alfredo, a side salad, and a glass of water with lemon. And it was a great lunch because I didn’t have to prepare it or do the dishes afterward! Bravo!