Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Gatsby Complex, part 3: The Ladies of Gatsby

Welcome back, I hope you guys are enjoying this spring time weather. The NFL draft has just been completed, and this is the perfect time for me to reveal part 3 of my Gatsby complex series. This article will focus on the ladies of The Great Gatsby: Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker and Myrtle Wilson. Let me introduce you to Gatsby’s ladies…

The narrator of The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway describes Daisy Buchanan, his second cousin once removed, as having been,
“Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth-but there was an excitement in her voice that men who cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour [. . . she was] by far the most popular of all the young girls in Louisville. The dressed in white and had a little white roadster and all day long the telephone rang in her house and exited young officers from Camp Taylor demanded the privilege of monopolizing her that night, “anyways for an hour” [. . .] “She’s got an indiscreet voice,” I remarked. “It’s full of [. . .] money-that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the jingle of it, the cymbals’ song of it. . . High in a white palace the king’s daughter, the golden girl. . . .”
Nick later describes Jordan Baker as
“She was a slender, small breasted girl with an erect carriage which she accentuated by throwing her body backward at the shoulders like a young cadet. Her grey sun-strained eyes looked back at me with polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming discontented face. [. . . her face had a] pleasing contemptuous expression. [. . .] I had heard some story of her too, a critical, unpleasant story [. . .] I wasn’t actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity. The bored haughty face that she turned to the world concealed something [. . .] she left a borrowed car out in the rain with the top down, and then lied about it-and suddenly I remembered the story about her that had eluded me [. . .] there was a row that nearly reached the newspapers-a suggestion that she had moved her ball from a bad lie in the semi-final round. The thing approached the proportions of a scandal-then died away. A caddy retracted his statement and the only other witness admitted that he might have been mistaken [. . .] Jordan Baker instinctively avoided clever shrewd men and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible. She was incurably honest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness, I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep that cool insolent smile turned to the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard jaunty body.”
Nick meets Tom Buchanan’s mistress, Myrtle Wilson as being
"[. . .] in the middle thirties, and faintly stout, but she carried her surplus flesh sensuously as some women can. Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blur crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smoldering. She smiled slowly and walking through her husband as if he were a ghost [. . .] Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time before [. . . and] the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change. The intense vitality that had been so remarkable in the garage was converted into impressive hauteur. Her laughter, her gestures, her assertions became more violently affected moment by moment and as she expanded the room grew smaller around her until she seemed to be revolving on a noisy, creaking pivot through the smoky air.”
"Daisys" are raised to believe that they are the princesses of society. They have beauty, grace, class, and style. They are never loud or discourteous. They are polite almost to a fault. They are the golden girls in every since of the word. Always smiling, always shining. They are the ultimate bride; they speak multiple languages; they know which forks and spoons to use; they know china; they know crystal; they know design. They are prim, proper ladies. The only thing they do not truly know is themselves. The only thing they know that they need is security. These girls are not going to hold a nine-to-five. They are accustomed to the very best and will not settle for less. They are not fools; they are quite intelligent; however, they do perpetuate the ignorance is bliss stereotype. They will put up with their husbands’ infidelity to maintain their lifestyle. They live with that whole, “I have the name” ideal. They are simpering and docile, and they have fabulous, lush lives that many of us would find amazing, but instead she says, “[. . .] I think everything’s terrible anyhow [. . .] Everybody thinks so-the most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything [. . .] Sophisticated—God, I’m so sophisticated!” She shops; she entertains; she has children; she has nannies (who often know more about the children than she does). Outwardly, she is everything you want, but these girls are careless. They destroy things and people and leave the mess for others to clean-up.
Sixties  Chic

"Jordans" are the “Alpha” females. They are the emancipated woman. They have many of the characteristics of a “Daisy,” with one exception; they don’t need the man for security. They may come from a wealthy, a middle class, or a poor family. They have used all of their talents to their advantage. They are smart; they are beautiful; they are selfish; they are careless and reckless. Their goal is to prove they don’t need a man, but because society expects them to ultimately be brides, they will not settle for less than the best, usually a “beta male” with money (if they marry an “alpha” male, the clashes will lead to divorce, because only one can be in charge). They are at the top of their game and do not mind stepping on people to get what they feel like they deserve. They will expect no less of their husband, but leave no doubt. Jordans are about Jordans everything else is secondary, including that wealthy husband who usually is just a means to an end.

Taylor's Cleopatra

“Myrtles” are the most interesting of these ladies.
They are usually from the poorer end of the spectrum. They are the poor Daisys. They have been taught that they, too, are princesses. They, too, deserve the best. The difference is they will use their raw sexuality to get it. They feel like they deserve what Daisy has, too, even if that means they have to take what Daisy has to get it. These girls often end up being the naïve mistress to some rich man. They are easily deluded by the gifts that come with being the mistress. Some may be married, but most see that husband like a cell phone and are constantly looking to upgrade. They are often rude, crude, and not the least bit subtle. These girls may feel they are classy, but often it’s just a façade. They, like Daisy, are not going to work a regular nine-to-five. Like the “alpha” females, they will do whatever they need to to get ahead. They are often impulsive and street savvy. They want the good life, but they aren’t going to work to get there. Sadly, all you have to do to find a Myrtle these days is look in the gossip rags. They are the girls with whom Elin Nordegren and Sandra Bullock are dealing.

Rachel Uchitel, one of Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses, picks up some prescription dog food while running errands with an unidentified male

These women don’t represent every woman in the world. But, they are three types that you really want to avoid. You won’t truly find happiness with any of these women. They are above all selfish divas, who want what they want, when they want it, and they usually want it now. New millionaires, watch out for these women…

Coming soon, the final part-Gatsby.

Until just remember boys, Hall and Oates said it best,
“So many have paid to see what you think you're getting for free/The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a jaguar/Money's the matter, if you're in it for love, you ain't gonna get too far.”

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