Wednesday, October 04, 2006

October 4

On 4 October 1974, the poets Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton shared a lunch of tuna sandwiches and vodka. After lunch, Sexton -- who had attempted suicide numerous times over the previous decade -- returned to her Boston home, closed the garage door, and quietly asphyxiated herself on the fumes of her red Mercury Cougar.

Sexton’s second collection of poems, All My Pretty Ones (1962), included a short piece titled “Woman With Girdle”:Anne Sexton
Your midriff sags toward your knees;
your breast lie down in air,
their nipples as uninvolved
as warm starfish.
You stand in your elastic case,
still not giving up the new-born
and the old-born cycle.
Moving, you roll down the garment,
down that pink snapper and hoarder,
as your belly, soft as pudding,
slops into the empty space;
down, over the surgeon's careful mark,
down over hips, those head cushions
and mouth cushions,
slow motion like a rolling pin,
over crisp hairs, that amazing field
that hides your genius from your patron;
over thighs, thick as young pigs,
over knees like saucers,
over calves, polished as leather,
down toward the feet.
You pause for a moment,
tying your ankles into knots.
Now you rise,
a city from the sea,
born long before Alexandria was,
straightway from God you have come
into your redeeming skin.


Nine years after Sexton’s suicide, the first Hooters Restaurant opened in Clearwater, Florida. Since then, the Hooters phenomenon has metastastized to include over 425 restaurants in 46 American states and nearly two dozen other countries. The employee handbook, which among other things delineates the aesthetic contours of the Hooters environment, supplies the following instructions to its servers:
Hair is to be styled at all times. No ponytails or pigtails are to be worn. The image to be projected is one of glamour. No bizarre hair cuts, styles, or colors are acceptable. No hats or headbands are to be worn. . . .

Make-up is to be worn always to best accentuate your features. Hooters Girls are to be camera-ready at all times. This is show business, just like the modeling industry. Make-up is not to be too extreme, nor too minimal

The Hooters employee handbook also requires the restaurant’s “girls” to sign a statement declaring that “I do not find my job duties, uniform requirements, or work environment to be offensive, intimidating, hostile, or unwelcome.”