VKN Badass Gals: Marilyn Monroe

Throughout history there have been exceptional women who’ve inspired us by the way they lead their lives and accomplish success. This is VK Nagrani’s Badass Gals.

***

Born Norma Jean Mortenson, baptized Norma Jean Baker, one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons ever considered Mona Monroe and Jean Adair as potential stage names before deciding on a winner in 1946: Marilyn Monroe.

As synonymous with sex as black lace, Monroe appeared in 30 films in her 15-year career, which grossed 200 million, but most in the public eye never saw her as more than a blonde bombshell stumbling her way through fame and fortune.

How wrong they were. Here’s why Marilyn was a badass.

***

1. She overcame a bleak upbringing

USC Professor Lois Banner wrote in her book “Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox,” that Monroe was a national institution as well-known as hot dogs, apple pie, or baseball.

Another major reason she was the perfect American icon is that she represented the classic rags-to-riches story that brought so many people to America in the first place.

Marilyn’s mother was institutionalized with paranoid schizophrenia when Marilyn was a child, and with no father in the picture, became an orphan. Like many orphans, she bounced around the system on and off for much of her childhood. She experienced instances of sexual assault and was raped at age 11. This tumultuous early life needed an escape, so she married her neighbor at the age of 16.

***

2. She was anything but a dumb blonde

Monroe’s film roles rarely strayed from the dumb blonde persona, and her audience loved it. They loved it so much in fact, that they never realized Marilyn Monroe the actress—the hourglass figure and platinum curls, was different than Marilyn Monroe the person—full of wit and a keen sense of humor.

Consider her line as Lorelei Lee in 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:”

I can be smart when its important, but most men dont like it.

A lot of men still don’t like it, so you can imagine how 1950’s L.A. felt about it. But Monroe wasn’t content being Hollywood’s bubbly bimbo. She was always interested in improving her craft, and ultimately, wanted to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress. She did the former in 1955 when she joined Lee Strasberg’s Actor’s Studio and took classes on method acting. The investment in her craft later materialized with a Golden Globe win for Best Actress in 1956’s “Bus Stop.”

Monroe was also an avid reader, with a 430-book library when she died. She even took a literature extension at UCLA. If you thought she was an idiot prior to reading this piece, do the honorable thing and check how much of her book collection you’ve read.

***

3. One of first women to start own production company

Monroe battled the Hollywood image that made her a star her entire career, which finally culminated in 1954 when she co-founded Marilyn Monroe Productions (MMP) with photographer Milton Greene. On its own, the move demands respect, but it was actually influenced by some contractual issues she was having with Fox not agreeing to change her contract. Way to stick it to the man, Marilyn.

Unfortunately, MMP independently produced only one film, 1957’s “The Prince and the Showgirl,” while also sponsoring “Bus Stop,” which was produced by Fox. Monroe’s decision did pay off though; her and Fox came to a new seven-year contract, which allowed her to choose her own projects, directors, and cinematographers.

Marilyn never fulfilled that contract though, as a barbiturate overdose in 1962 ended her life at age 36.

To this day her legacy remains as firm as ever. So firm that a dress she wore in “The Seven Year Itch” sold for 4.6 million in 2011. Then that price was topped by the famous limestone encrusted dress she serenaded JFK in, which sold for 4.8 million in 2016.

Let’s revisit that moment, shall we?

***

Read about other inspiring men, women, places, and moments in time, all a part of VK Nagrani’s Badass series.

***

In memory of Marilyn Monroe:

The Women’s March may be over but the fight for equality isn’t. This coming Women’s Day, let us keep supporting women who inspire us to be better. At VK Nagrani, we are proudly supporting a small local woman-owned business called Tatas & Vag NYC.

Feel free to visit our store at 87H or at tatasnvagnyc.com to check out their tote bags!

What makes a man sexy from a straight man’s perspective?

As a straight man, do I really have the credentials to discuss what makes a man sexy? After all, that would be counterintuitive, correct? One would agree; however, being in a rather superficial, judgmental, often full of hot air industry, I think we are well versed to provide you with what we believe makes a man sexy. Everyone has their type, but can we assume there is a universal set of traits, behaviors that we can all agree make a man sexy?

Let’s start with the totally superficial, the phenotype or physical characteristics. Be it a chiseled mid-section or a soft belly, to each her own. But the following physical attributes can objectively be included in defining the primitive, sexy male essence.

  • Sexy guys are groomed. This does not mean overly “man-scaped” but rather neatly groomed yet still apparent that one is a man. Having lunch lurking around your teeth or grime in your nails may appeal to a few, but remember we are talking about universally sexy.
  • Sexy guys tend to be in decent shape. Not everyone has the time or desire to spend most of the day in a gym and eating salads. A decent physical shape sends a message that one has discipline and takes care of him self and therefore would prove to be a good mate. This is simply an evolutionary fact. This let’s the female know you are physically able to provide and protect.
  • Sexy guys smell good. Well, this is a strange one. Our pheromones vary and like any chemical reaction, it appeals or repeals others. The good news is that a bit of fragrance, and I mean just a hint allows us all a fair chance.
  • Sexy guys have style. This is not particularly about the way a man dress, it is a way a man carries himself. With the right swag, sexy ranges from a vee neck t-shirt and jeans to a tailored suit. Style is about the way in which a man carries himself. Guys with a more relaxed, easy walk tend to be sexier than a guy with an awkward walk, jus’ sayin’.

Now, let us move our attention to demeanor. The way in which a man exists can be even sexier than the physical attributes.

  • Sexy guys have a cool, calm and level head. The “it will all be fine” attitude is the perfect balance to most women’s constant sense of urgency, inquiry or worry.
  • Sexy guys are courteous. Men who open doors for women or stand when a woman enters or exits exhibit a sense of culture and refinement. Again, a good indicator of a better gene pool. By now, she could careless what you look like or smell like, she see’s future generations of good genes.
  • Sexy guys are attentive. Men who listen and remember what they heard tend to have an edge over guys who just pretend to listen.
  • Sexy guys are confident, not arrogant. However, the two are often interchangeable to most people. There is a very big difference. Confidence is defined in silence where arrogance is exhibited with noise.

And last but not least, a woman needs to be stimulated mentally just as much as she does physically.

  • Sexy guys tend to be witty and funny. Usually this is a sign of intelligence, but in reality, the ability to lighten the mood or make someone laugh will always be in style. If you are neither, perhaps learning a few magic tricks will be helpful.
  • Sexy guys can engage in various topics of discussion. Look, you need not be a PhD in anything, but you should have a sense of the world at large. This usually comes from reading books, not Facebook or Instagram updates. Have an opinion and do not be afraid to express it. But equally be ready to learn and hear other perspectives.
  • Sexy guys have good intuition. Being able to read body language, energy and other non-verbal ques is very important. Touching without being invited is perky. Also, being drunk is never sexy.

 

****These are merely the opinions of a few idiots hanging out at the Lodge.
They do not in anyway have scientific proof or validation. ****