The Ecphorizer

The Miracle of Pennsylvania Avenue
Ed Rehmus

Issue #29 (January 1984)

Not even the first lady is safe from critics

I wish Nancy would appear more often on television. I can't tell if she's gaining or losing weight.

That anyone is still a blonde at 77 is at least one miracle to me, though, and God bless a miracle, as I've always said! Actually, she's more of a strawberry roan, but even a

Orange and pink always clash unless you're a punk star.

roan of 77 is something. Maybe that's not her own hair, though I can hardly believe [quoteright]that because her forehead seems much higher than it used to be and it even looks as though she has been plucking her part. And have you noticed the wonderful new breakthroughs the science of cosmetology has made? They don't seem to be using that thick netting any longer, even though she looks "younger" all the time. Those big moles, for instance, have been covered up beautifully and seem but superficial facial lumps now. As for the nose, that was never really offensive but it did have that too-thin, longish quality we tend to associate with certain hysterical types, but even that has somewhat improved since her last appearance. Some plaster of paris on the alar areas would help to flatten it out a bit more, though. But surely they did something to her nose when she had that other operation, along with another facelift thrown in. That, at least, is clear, because the crow's feet are quite taut now and her face seems both puffy and thin at the same time. That's no easy effect to create, you know.

But I simply have to object to that orange makeup. Even though her complexion is fairly sallow and she needs almost any color to overcome the sickly green cast we remember, one would think that a simple rouge, one that is quite dark and copiously applied, along with a lot of rice powder elsewhere would create a better masking effect.

And I for one would be glad to see her return to the false eyelashes so that her eyes can be brought forward more. Eyes that recede too far into the skull often remind us of cadavers. Besides, if she used the proper eye makeup it could help to draw attention away from the left eye which is so much lower than the right one - a sign, according the science of Physiognomy, of definite criminal tendencies. But let's hurry away from those eyes (by the way, doesn't she know that drooping eyelids can easily be corrected by plastic surgery?). As we travel on down slowly to the jawline one is almost struck dumb! How on earth could this be? Yet it's true! The jawline has also changed! Perhaps it's simply part of the aging process, but I suspect it's just a new set of dentures, a set, unfortunately, way too large for her gums, it would appear. These teeth cause her chin to look wide for the shape of the rest of her face, resulting in a kind of pulled-down drooping of the mouth corners that in certain lights give an unflattering, bulldog look. That type of chin is very objectionable, let's be honest. We have to be cruel to be kind, don't we?

At any rate, when we arrive at the neck we are bound to agree that she is very wise to have chosen to wear these new high collars. Whether they are meant to conceal the old "turkeyneck" that we all get at her age or whether the collars are meant to compensate for an incipient goiter, we cannot say, but it's better to be safe than sorry, isn't it? The same goes for the long sleeves which hide arms that can seem spindly and bony if you're not used to them - though in her case I'm sure we can say we need never fear liver spots, thanks to Porcelana. I do modestly suggest, however, that any First Lady should be more considerate about fingernails. Clear nail polish is always a mistake because they can't help showing the dirt underneath, regardless of how impeccably groomed she might otherwise seem to be. A nice, dark polish would be more politic when handling expensive china paid for by taxpayers.

Some people claim that it helps a little when she dresses in pink, but I think that dress with the lace cuffs is hideous. Orange and pink always clash unless you're a punk star. And the cut is all wrong, too, especially since It draws undue attention to her shoulders, which though not humped are somewhat more rounded than average. But the cut also makes her look as if she isn't wearing any bra - and if anyone ever needed padding both before and behind, this little old actress does. Moreover, why does the camera invariably avoid showing her legs? What's wrong with them? Briarpatch or what? Are we to assume further spindliness, bowlegs, piano legs, pigeon toes, edema or just thick ankles? And what out-size shoe does she sport? The public has a right to know these things!

Finally a word about the First Lady's voice. Has anyone noticed that it seems a bit less grating than it used to? Despite the barely audible whistling of these new dentures, that whiney tone with the too high treble quality has almost vanished. As one ages, of course, the voice loses its power, but how to explain the absence of phlegminess she used to have? At any rate, a voicebox that sounds thickened by tapioca pudding is a definite improvement - dare I use the word "miracle" again?

I am confident that Nancy will be pleased to hear these constructive criticisms and compliments, and I offer them to her absolutely free of charge. In fact, so certain am I of her delight, I will be only too happy to offer up a new column every month from now on, dedicated strictly to Nancy's appearance. We've barely scratched the surface, after all. 

Iconoclast Ed Rehmus lives in a San Francisco post office box and drafts his articles for us on the backs of change-of-address forms.  He is widely regarded as a threat to life as we know it.

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