Great news: Bitches are back!
Being noble and self-denying and altruistic is totally over. Self-involved disco slags with flippy bangs are suddenly all the rage! The caring celeb—that gal who cannot accept an award without professing how “humbled” she is by it—is suddenly déjà vu. The era when even Ginger Spice became a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador appears to have finally come to an end.
Personally, I am delighted to see the return of the overachieving, stop-at-nothing, nakedly ambitious media whore. The holier-than-thou movement was starting to rot the elastic on my sequined headband.
Re sequins, let’s talk about the reigning queen of the new bitch trend: Madonna.
“New York is not for little pussies who scream,” singeth Madge on her new, utterly great Confessions on a Dance Floor CD, adding, “If you don’t like my attitude then you can F off.” This new and delicious Madge incarnation—trashy 70’s hairdo, fishnets, hooker blousons, spangled shoes—feels a lot more authentic than the English lady of the manor, the Kabbalist or—most preposterous of all—the demure children’s author in the print shift dress and pastel cardigan.
Madge, you have finally figured it out: We love you because you have clawed your way to the top. You are a driven, talented bitch. You wanted fame, glamour, adulation and wealth, and you wanted it for one reason only: It was your reward for being more fabulous than the rest of us. Voilà!
Madonna is not the only bitch in town at the moment.
One of the c**tiest characters ever to strut the boards has finally arrived in the U.S. I’m talking about the wondrous, gin-swilling Beverly—as interpreted by Jennifer Jason Leigh in the revival of the 70’s Mike Leigh cult classic Abigail’s Party (the Acorn Theater, 410 West 42nd Street between Ninth and 10th avenues, 212-279-4200).
I would strongly advise you not to miss this demented production. Ms. Jason Leigh’s imperfect accent and her whiny voice, though jarring at first, ultimately work in her favor to create an even more bitchy Beverly than the Alison Steadman original. Watching Ms. Jason Leigh, whose hairdo is tellingly and startlingly identical to Madge’s new ’do, I was transported back to an era when media folk were mercifully apolitical and nobody expected them to play a role in solving the world’s problems.
For those of you who are too fabulous to go to the theater and experience this brilliant play, there is no shortage of nouveau bitchery on television: Court TV crime-buster Nancy Grace, Julie Cooper-Nichol of The O.C. and Tanya Turner on Footballers’ Wives, to name but three.
Now back to Madge: Not everyone loves the new back-on-top, hard-as-nails Mrs. Ritchie. Writing on Salon last week, that clever bitch Camille Paglia expressed her concern that Madonna “is starting to morph into the mature Joan Crawford of Torch Song, still ferociously dancing but with her fascist willpower signaled by brute, staring eyes and fixed jawline.” In a kind and caring way, Ms. Paglia goes on to posit the notion that Madonna runs the risk of “turning into a pasty powdered crumpet like the aging Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (What gives? I thought you Italian bitches always stuck together?)
Madge, don’t listen to her. She crazy. We love your new CD and we adore the insanely careerist you. A Garboesque retreat from the public gaze would deprive us all of so much in the coming years. Powdery crumpet, anyone?
So now let’s talk about that über-bitch hairdo. I, for one, am giving it a major thumbs-up. Y’all have been sporting that Kate Moss seaweedy look for far too long. It’s time to bitch it up.
I consulted top celebrity hairdresser Jimmy Paul—Madge’s scalp is one of the few he has not touched—for tips on how to replicate the Madge/ Abigail’s Party look.
“I call it a Farrah-slash-Gilda, as in the Rita Hayworth movie. It’s all about a deep side part and loads of Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray,” said Mr. Paul when I grilled him during a Barneys ad shoot last week. He continued, “It’s not as hard as it looks. Put electric rollers in at a 45-degree angle. While they cook—and I do mean cook!—you will have plenty of time to paint your face.”
Burn, baby, burn!
Follow Simon Doonan via RSS.