Sunday, July 21, 2013

Public Gaze

I can't imagine being famous.  Even in my most wild fantasies of an idealised life fame does not figure.

Alright, I'll admit to sometimes liking the idea of being interviewed, on the couch style by a warm friend-host.  But honestly?  This is more to do with liking the idea of having done something interview worthy than the idea of the interview itself.  

Because in truth I'd be terrible in an interview situation.  I'd be completely self-conscious.  I'd say something stupid while trying too hard to look smart.

No, fame is not for me.  I'd definitely hate being "papped" messily eating a burger, exiting a car or with bad skin and unkempt hair.  And I'd certainly hate being followed around by aggressive men I didn't know who were alternately hurling compliments and abuse at me in order to get a reaction.

So I really cannot fathom being Kate Middleton right now.  As her speculated due date has come and gone the media frenzy has reached fever pitch, a massive congregation of press clamouring for the best position to capture her as she enters the hospital to give birth.

It's such a private and personal experience the birth of your first baby - and one that you will remember forever.  No, I just can't imagine having to share something so intimate with people I don't know, for whom I was a job, an assignment, a commodity.

When she arrives on the steps of the hospital in front of the gathered crowd will she be expected to stop?  To smile and wave?  Will anyone remember that she is a woman in labour?  Will she be dressed, made up, hair done?  I can't imagine her being smuggled in wearing her trackies, her hair in a birds nest a top a naked face.

When I began labouring with my first child I was so excited and nervous - I didn't even wake my partner for the first few hours.  No, that was a special time between me and my soon to be born baby.  And we enjoyed it, riding those amazing waves alone together, sharing a body.

And once we were in the thick of it, my partner on board, I wasn't interested in telling friends or relatives "This is it - it's happening!"  No, for me it was a time to focus solely on the task at hand and I didn't want the pressure of outside anticipation.

So I simply cannot imagine what it is like to be Kate Middleton with not only the expectations of parents, in laws, siblings and friends but the whole world's media.

I hope everything goes well for her and she has an amazing experience welcoming her first child into the world.  I hope she savours those few moments she gets to share privately with her partner and her baby.  Because they will be so fleeting before she has to introduce her newborn to public life, just days after it has left the womb.

It's a strange existence and one I cannot comprehend.  And yet so many people now court it, desire fame for fames sake, perhaps I am in the minority.  

What is it that is so desirable about fame?  It can't be the intrusion, the lack of privacy, the constant scrutiny.  And it can't be (surely?) the idea of popularity, adoration, approval, when the negativity thrown about is at least the equal.

No, I couldn't give up my anonymity, and I'd crumble under the pressure of that sort of constant judgment and critique.  Just as well then I've never done anything fame-worthy or notorious.  Never married a Prince, leaked a sex tape or had a YouTube upload go viral.  

Not yet anyway.

Would you want to be famous?

Listen to David Bowie Fame

Image Licensed Under Creative Commons