Watching Kate Gosselin's desperately "happy" smiles, her increasing levels of personal discomfort and, finally, her rehearsal fit-turned-crying-jag on Monday night's Dancing With The Stars made me realize one sad thing. No matter how many tummy-tucks, tooth veneers or hair extensions she gets to meet some external standard of beauty, she'll never feel beautiful and thus, to a great degree, she'll never be beautiful. And no matter how many times Bruno tells her to let herself play a character on the dance floor, what he doesn't really understand is that she already is, and she doesn't know how to stop.
Kate Gosselin in a 35-year-old divorced mother of 8 children with a douchebag, tabloid-baiting, midlife crisis-having, younger-lady boning ex-husband who will forever more be colloquially known as "Stubby," the nickname given to him by Kate's doctor's 22-year-old daughter, who became "the other woman." And if the thought of having (painful, expensive) plastic surgery to make yourself more attractive for your husband only to have him hook up with your doctor's daughter doesn't evoke in you some amount of sympathy, then you've bought into the projection of Kate as the Mean Mommy a little too much.
Sure, she's rigid and she's used to setting the rules. She has eight kids that, even without television cameras around, she's got to help feed, clothe and get places. She has said she always wanted to be a mom, which is why she and Stubby underwent fertility treatments in the first place, and she got her wish in spades. But now, it's pretty clear she doesn't remember how to be anything but a mommy, and it's the only role she's comfortable making primary.
Even a MILF is a mother first, and a sex object second -- but she's neither the only nor the oldest mother on the show. Niecy Nash has three kids and is five years older than Kate; Pamela Anderson is 8 years older than Kate and has 3 kids. Yet neither actress hypes their mommy-ness as much as Kate, and both are infinitely more comfortable in their skin as women, as evidenced by their feminine and sexy performances to date.
Watching Kate dance is a painful experience for the viewer -- nearly as painful as it appears to be for Kate. She obviously doesn't regularly wear heels, shake her hips or move her body (i.e., dance) for fun. She doesn't know where her arms are, let alone where they should be, she stands with her feet further apart than her hips, which projects an air of authority when standing in pants and an air of clumsiness when dancing in a short skirt. And her rehearsal videos show she finds the experience frustrating: why can't she make her body act like the other women in the show? Why is Tony's language about what to do with it so frustratingly confusing and vague?
Kate's used to finding people to blame -- we all are -- and it's easy to say that when a teacher isn't getting through to a student that the teacher needs to find another way. But Tony can't make Kate connect with the feminine part of dance because Kate's disconnected from her own feminine self. Mom is mom, she isn't a sexual being, in Kate's mind, and although she's gone under the knife to an unnecessary degree to achieve the outward appearance of sexiness, she doesn't appear sexy because she doesn't feel sexy. It shows in her body, in her frustration with how she can't make it behave as she wants it to behave, in her brittle smiles and her tensed-up shoulders.
All the haters on the internet can't hate Kate Gosselin as much as she hates herself, and not because of her dancing. What I'd like to see is for Kate to look into a mirror instead of the camera and mouth the words, "I love you" to her own reflection and really mean it. Until then, even the love of her 8 children isn't going to make her feel right inside.