The Ideal Woman
I was in Paris on assignment, but I was given a day to adjust and re-orient after having spent a year in Syria. My options were limited: stand in line with five-hundred Chinese tourists at the Eiffel Tower or visit the Louvre.
Before I went to the museum I chose to enhance my aesthetic experience by taking a hit of pure acid. I then stopped at an up-scale café for some quiche and a nice bottle of Bordeaux. The name of my server was Pierre. How’s that for a nom de guerre? I spoke in impeccable French making sure to over-emphasize my American accent. Oh Pretty Pierre. I’m sure after work he exchanged his black vest for a yellow one. The French have to be the biggest complainers in the world, am I right?
By the time I got to the Louvre the acid was starting to kick in. This could get interesting.
Everyone has their favorites, right? I happen to like the Impressionists. Yes I know that “mind blown” is a tired old cliché, but on acid the term was “le mot juste”.
My next stop was Giaconda herself – LV’s little masterpiece. I swear… the painting seemed to beckon to me with some mystical magnetic force. As I drew nearer I suddenly realized why so many artists and critics believe the painting to be so extraordinary.
“My God she’s beautiful!” I uttered a bit too loudly.
Her enigmatic smile instantly changed into a frown. Those gentle eyes became fierce and defiant. She was clearly angry.
“How dare you objectify me!” she said.
“But Lisa…I’m just being honest”
“You are focusing on my physical features as if they alone define who I am. Moreover, I know what men are doing when they call you beautiful. It is an attempt at leverage over a woman. To make her self-conscious of how she looks”
I happen to love feisty women. And her sassy attitude really turned me on.
“I want to kiss you Mona Lisa!”
At that point two security guards grabbed me by my melting arms and took me to a room with no paintings. I was still seeing colors though. They started playing fifty questions with me which was ridiculously ironic, but it was messing with my high as well. To save my ass I had to blow my cover and confess that I worked for CNN and the CIA.
Their supervisor called the embassy and within minutes I was released with polite apologies and two free tickets to the Moulin Rouge.
Paul Kindlon is a Professor of Humanities. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and Russian Literature and taught in Moscow, Russia, from 1994-2017. His publications include 11 short stories, 9 poems, 30 polemics, and a brief memoir.