Wednesday, September 5


This explanation about my post "Perfection" may disappoint.

I wrote it in a nostalgic mood, I suppose mourning the fact that I now wear my Grandmother's skin, and possibly her body as well! To me, 'white' or Pakeha skin ages rather gracelessly.

In my nursing days, I would watch babies being born. I was always struck by how red & wrinkled Pakeha babies appeared when they emerged, but how beautiful & seemingly creaseless the little Maori babies appeared, with their beautiful brown skin.

When I was a young girl, I often went to dances, with my Best Friend J. I have often written about our evenings dancing & the fun we had on Saturday nights.

It was at a dance I met this young man. He was a good dancer, & very polite. He asked me out for coffee. Which used to be a 'date' in those early '60s days. The idea was, you went & sat in some dimly lit Coffee Lounge, & drank coffee, & smoked cigarettes, if you smoked, & talked.

These Coffee Lounges often had 'clever' names like the Little Red Rooster, or the Purple Onion, & were decorated with Chianti bottles with candles stuck into the neck, & the more wax dripped down the bottles the 'cooler' they were. Red, orange & blue light bulbs would be used for mood lighting. Often the walls & ceiling were painted solid black, so that a suitable dimness prevailed amid the smoke, & the flickering candles. Any windows would be obscured by black drapes, ensuring no light got inside the cavernous atmosphere.

So, in this very moody atmosphere, couples would sit, sipping coffee, & talking, getting to know each other.

I will call this young man Adonis. I fell in love with his perfect body, with it's beautiful satin brown skin. We had a light Summer romance, I suppose. I was completely infatuated with his body, skin, facial features, wonderful thick black hair. And his dark brown velvet eyes.

We spent hours lying on a beach we would visit. And I would admire his wonderful skin, & yes, I licked his satin arm. The weekends would be spent going to the beach, & dances on the Saturday nights. Or spending an evening with his married friends. We liked going to Coffee Lounges, & just sitting & talking.

Adonis' father was Maori, his mother was what was known as Dalmation.
I have put the link in, as there is very interesting history of the Dalmation people who went to live in New Zealand. Originally as Gum Diggers, but they began the wine industry in New Zealand, & their story is very interesting. They were also fishermen, & Maori were keen fisher folk too.

Adonis seemed totally unaware of his 'perfect' beauty. He had 2 brothers who were both older, & they too, were handsome men. His skin was really almost hairless, which is common among Maori people.

There is no wonderful story here of unrequited love, or hankering after lost love. We spent the Summer dancing, & beach going. The Autumn came, & we just drifted apart. He wanted to become part of the Young Rotarians, or somesuch. I was never keen on politics, & was not a 'joiner'. His thoughts were turning to different things, & so were mine.

The infatuation for his body had worn off. And I was, after all destined to marry a man with skin tone the same as mine.

I look at my SIL, with her lovely bronze skin, & my nephews, who have the same beautiful skin as Adonis, though from a different mix, & I remember how I saw -& still do- perfection in that skin tone.

And when I was young & naive, I used to think we should all be blended together in a big melting pot, so we all became a coffee coloured mixture.

I hope the story behind the headlines does not disappoint too much.

Leonard Cohen, Suzanne


fifi said...

Oh, that's nice, I was imagining you licking some beautiful little golden brown maori baby.
Nice story. I have witnessed some spectacularly gorgeous maori guys round here!!!(and some not so gorgeous)

I do think we will all end up the same colour. My best friend is chinese/german, son's best mate is anglo-african, etc etc. And mine are a dalmatian/german blend, though, unusually, I am very plain anglo.
(One who has dreamt all her life of being golden and shiny with long dark hair)

Being fair in Australia is a health risk!

Ian Lidster said...

I loved this story, and personally, I think the world would be a much more contented place if we were all blended. As for beauty and lovely skin, I saw that with the Maoris on Rarotonga, and also with Hawaiians, and so many Asians. Sometimes I feel inadequate being a 'plain old white guy' with no hint of the exotic about me.

meggie said...

Fifi, glad you were not disappointed. We have a lot of different nationalities in our wider family. We joke about being United Nations.
Ian, MY SIL is Chinese/Samoan, so she has that lovely smooth skin, with the golden hue.

smilnsigh said...

"...& yes, I licked his satin arm"

Damn sexy story there, Girlfriend! I love it! :-))))


Stomper Girl said...

Part of my mother's family harks from Dalmatia. Sadly, I inherited all the Irish genes and have skin so white it can blind you in strong sunlight.

jellyhead said...

Meggie, how could this explanation ever be disapponting? To tell the truth, I suspected your poem was about a long-ago love, but didn't wish to presume.

I have fair, ever-more-speckly skin, too. Like fifi, I have always yearned for darker skin. SIGH!

Bren said...

Your explaination was wonderful...I was glued to every word. Could have been a romance novel. You are correct about darker skin aging more gracefully. I have a friend from Jamaca who is near 70 and she looks 40!

Catalyst said...

Wonderful story, Meggie.

sheoflittlebrain said...

I loved both your story and your poem, meggie. I'm of german and swedish descent..too pasty white, and now too wrinkled and thin skined..

crafty said...

Once when I whinged about my pale complexion, somebody told me not to worry, when my freckles joined up then I would have a tan.

Somehow that didn't help.

Aunty Evil said...

My skin burns, peels, then goes back to white.

MDH, of Greek heritage, spends 5 minutes outside and turns a glorious brown colour.


Henri said...

Meggie , I guessed the Who in your poem and the Why you wrote it HaHa -- Like you I was always attracted by the beautiful eyes and gorgeous skin -- and still am. Our three sons vary in skin tone , but all tan beautifully at so much as a hint of sun .

bluemountainsmary said...

A lovely summery explanation on a grey and cold day here. One of the racial combinations (for want of a better phrase) I find absolutely exquisite is Eurasian - ie caucasian and asian. When I returned to Australia in the mid nineties after 5 years away I was very taken by the numbers of glorious looking young girls whose features were the clear results of relationships between different ethnic backgrounds.

My float said...

What a beautiful post. (I seem to write this often in your comment boxes!!)

If only we could overcome all our differences...

Lee said...

No, it doesn't disappoint. It's a lovely story.

tracey petersen said...

My skin is so white that it is almost translucent. I am so proud to have bred a daughter with a beautiful olive tone.
I understand completely your adoration of a brown hairless skin.

Joni said...

This post makes me blush. LOL. Ah to be a young girl again eh?

Thimbleanna said...

Ahh, it's all clear now. Definitely not disappointing -- another wonderful post!

riseoutofme said...

Not disappointing at all, at all.

T*mmy said...

The "clever" names of the lounges you frequented sounds like some of the blog names I've run across.

I'm weird but I look at all the young men and boys I had infatuations with and think "What was I thinking", for they are not handsome at all, and I wonder what they look like now.....

Have a great day!

Josie said...

Meggie, that's a lovely story. It's true that "white" skin suffers the ravages of sun, time and the elements, doesn't it? I'm thankful that I live in rainy British Columbia, and my skin has not been affected too much.

I hate to say it, but those funky little coffee bars were very cool, weren't they? And the Chianti bottles? I still think Chianti bottles with wax dripping down them have a certain "cache".


leslie said...

I can remember the chianti bottles and candles dripping. And I've always been attracted to dark skin - I remember in the 60s coming home on the bus and I saw a woman sitting with her husband and she had her baby on her lap. She was white and he was black. But he had the most gorgeous milk chocolatey coloured skin and beautiful dark eyes. I kept peeking at him because he was so handsome but I wondered at the same time if they thought I was looking because they were a "mixed" couple. I'll never forget that moment.

ancient one said...

No, no, not disappointed... Loved the story...In my younger days I stayed in the sun...and tanned and tanned... thinking all was fine, after all I had been told that we had Indian blood in our veins and I did get very brown... But, I forgot about how fair my mom with her blue eyes is and that I had probably inhertied some of her genes too. Now, the meds I take keep me out of the sun and my skin is telling me that I should have stayed out of the sun even back then... Part of today was spent in the dermatologist office having two places on my face frozen to remove the unwanted blemishes...and I can see my skin looking more like my moms day by day!!