Award show season has opened, and much like hunting season there will be some women verbally slaughtered this year as they stroll down the red carpet.
These are women with incredible talent, yet they are asked to walk down the red carpet slowly, like beautiful, innocent deer entering a hunt club. As soon as these accomplished women step out of their limos, I begin to panic for them, watching the camera flashes that will signal the "best" or "worst" label that will tag them the next morning.
I want to tell them to wear blaze orange so maybe the cameras won't shoot them. Because, odds are unless they are so thin they look like an actual wire hanger or are one of the fashion faves (i.e. Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren), odds are they're going to get verbally ambushed.
My panic elevates for every woman who proceeds down that runway in her daughter's design, or in white if she's more than 85 lbs, or even worse, Spanx-less. I admire their self-confidence and determination, but feel for the barbs they will have to read the next day.
At the age of 52, I have to admit that I've dreamed repeatedly about winning my own award. I have imagined the phone call from an industry insider saying, Donna Highfill, the last blog you posted was so funny you are up for an Emmy in the blogging category. I know that category doesn't exist, but I'm going to suggest it to the Academy.
I will prepare my speech, a little ditty that mixes in a story from my past to show my humanity, a touching line about somebody else that doesn't take too much time but touches the heart, and a couple of zingers that make George Clooney laugh uncontrollably and then give me a look that says, If only you weren't married . . .
Yes, I will be the queen of banter during commercials, charming Richard Gere and Meryl Streep who ask after I pass, Who is that hilarious woman? I will ignore Taylor Swift, just because she annoys me, but wink at Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, because we are soon to be fast friends.
The only thing missing from my very detailed dream is the walk down the red carpet, and I realize that if I don't complete this visualization it may not come true. So, I imagine the cameramen as hunters, looking for their next kill. I realize that my runway walk will be like the Hunger Games -- a dash to safety where the greatest opportunity for survival is to blend in.
As I step out of the rented limo, my shoes will have wide straps at the ankle. covering the collection of bulging veins and slight puffiness that has the audacity to still call itself an ankle. Fishnet stockings with a variety of firework-like designs in purple and blue will cover my legs, blending with the broken veins on my thighs.
My dress will be red, the exact color of the carpet beneath my feet. My hair will be cut in a bob, the most common of all haircuts. On my face I will wear so much light-reflecting make-up that it will fight the camera flash, and every photo of me will show a bright light where my face should be.
When the hunters ask my rented publicist for my name, she will say, Florence Henderson. I've always been told that I look like her, and she seems to have a fabulous sense of humor so, perhaps, she will not sue me.
My walk will have to be quick, since my mother always told me that I have a gait like Y.A. Tittle, the old football star. He lumbered a lot, and so do I. It's a great name, so I might use that when they yell, Who are you wearing? I will smile, look down at my dress as I speed past them, and volley with, Y.A. Tittle!
Once I make it past the runway, perhaps slamming into Hugh Jackman because I wasn't paying careful attention to where I was going, I will be safe. I will be ready to whisper to the stars clever lines that will make them beg me to write their next screen play.
And, once I am a famous writer, I will blog during the red carpet events, and I will be kind to every woman who walks down it. I will point out everything of beauty about them, including their confidence, and I will applaud every single one of them for having the courage to face the camera.
Even Taylor Swift.