There’s a chapter in Read My Hips called “Strut”, and in it I wrote about experimenting with the way I walk, and how that walk could affect the way others viewed and treated me. It was inspired by an anecdote I’d heard about Marilyn Monroe. Here’s an excerpt from the chapter:
One day while watching Turner Classic Movies, I heard a true story about Marilyn Monroe. She was strolling down a New York avenue with a friend, wearing an unremarkable dress with an ordinary scarf tied around her head. She went completely unnoticed.
Suddenly, the starlet turned to her companion and asked, “Would you like to see Marilyn now?”
It took her mere seconds to transform into a cinematic sex kitten. A subtle lifting of her shoulders, an alluring elongation of her back, the coy tilting of her head, a suggestive swing of the hips, and va-voom! Immediately, people noticed. Our legendary bombshell was quickly surrounded by frantic admirers. She didn’t have to duck into a phone booth and change into a sequined evening gown. And remember, her trademark platinum locks remained hidden under her head scarf. But this smart chickie knew how to create a full-blown scene with only the slightest adjustments in posture. No one on that Manhattan street cast an eye in Marilyn’s direction until she made the conscious decision to strut her stuff.
…When I heard the Marilyn story, it lodged inside my head and percolated there, until one day it occurred to me to conduct a little experiment.
It was lunchtime on a workday. I was walking south, crossing the major thoroughfares that cut through Center City, moving toward the narrower avenues lined with salad bars and pizzerias mobbed with hurried working stiffs. I was surrounded by others moving like a huffing tide in the same direction. Head down, eyes lowered, I could see their shoes, their calves. Occasionally, an old cobblestone poked defiantly through aging asphalt. My own shoes were getting soft and misshapen; a black thread was unraveling at the toe. And just then, I thought, Do you want to see Marilyn now?
In the book, what follows this excerpt are the details of my spur-of-the-moment experiment; channeling Marilyn and strutting like a queen. What would happen if I switched on my “inner Marilyn”?
What happened was almost immediate, and it shocked me.
I never knew it until recently, but my modest experiment has been tried-on by many readers of Read My Hips! It’s true — they’re out there around the globe re-creating it, quietly but powerfully. And I think that’s really exciting.
It inspired me to reach out and ask: Are you one of those Read My Hips readers who tried on the Marilyn experiment for yourself? I would love to hear about it. Maybe it will even evolve into a writing project!
Please send me an e-mail and tell me all about it. When and where did you try it? How did it feel? What happened as a result?
Can’t wait to hear from you! And don’t worry — I won’t share any details of your story without asking your permission first.