First, let me say: I’ve been there.
I’ve been trapped in a room, gazing balefully through rain-spattered windows, dressed in a couture day-to-night ensemble, wondering if I’d ever be able to leave. Actually, maybe you haven’t yet imagined you could escape your rarefied, sequestered existence. In which case, I have been there too.
Forgive me, you may not know who I am. I understand that you are a fashion model from Slovenia, and that perhaps your arts education consists of a few Helmut Newton photos and the Eurovision contest, so you may not recognize my name. It is Nora Helmer, and I am the main character in a classic play called A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen in 1879.
Don’t worry if you haven’t seen Part One of my story! I think that you are living the gist. I am currently living Part Two on Broadway (that’s the festive section of town about 12 blocks from your gold penthouse. Walk over to your Southeast-facing windows. Look down. See all those blinky electric lights? That’s where I am now! Hey, girl!).
Though you and I hail from different centuries, we have a lot in common. We’re both mothers, we both enjoy wearing wide belts, and we have both lived with a controlling, narcissistic mansplainer (I just learned that word! Isn’t it perfect? I wish we’d had it back in my day. It would have saved me so much time!) whom, on many occasions, we have fantasized about braining with a soup ladle during dinner. (One difference between us: our crowning glories. I just don’t know how you deal with that long, blown out mane. It creates a wall of hair on either side of your face! Do you even have any peripheral vision? It reminds me of the blinders they put on my horse Tabitha. Wait. Actually, I can see how the hairstyle may come in handy for you.)
A little bit about me: since I left my husband Torvald 15 years ago, slamming the door behind me, I have found independence, but not without extreme complications (The good news is that most of these complications were due to antiquated, sexist laws that have been changed. The bad news is that your husband’s administration seems hell-bent on reinstating most of these laws!). Still, I do not regret leaving. And now, Melania, I am urging you to do the same.
I can’t promise you a better life. I can tell you that, regardless of income, life will be much better outside that gilded cage than it is inside it, because you will no longer be some pussy grabber’s penthouse pet- you will be free.
But what you first need to find is inner freedom. And that is something I can help you with. You see, theater (as well as all The Arts) feeds the soul. You need to feed that soul, Mrs. Trump. (Or, shall I say, Ms. Knauss?) Because the more art you experience, the more self-knowledge you will attain. And as you do, the truth of who you are will be so clear that you won’t need a $51,000 Dolce and Gabbana 3-D coat, a package from Tiffany’s (or a package from Tiffany’s, bokay?) (I just learned that word too! Isn’t it fun? The confirmed bachelors in my new neighborhood are so clever with language!) or 50 million taxpayer dollars a year to isolate you, to define you, to make you feel that you are valuable. You can just tear up that nondisclosure agreement and speak your truth. I assure you, nothing feels as rich as truth tastes. And I can also assure you that the country will be much better served by the truth than you will be by whatever sad little pittance he has earmarked for your silence. For starters, those 50 million taxpayer dollars could be put back in the NEA budget, so that more stories like mine can be told!
(Sorry, I can’t stop thinking about your hair. Maybe it would help you to visualize your future if you get it out of your face! Have you tried a simple but stylish Gibson Girl updo? It’s a lot easier to style than it looks. I can give you a tutorial!)
Many people I have met during this Broadway experience have expressed anger toward you. I have to tell you, Melania, I feel nothing but sadness. It is difficult for me to understand that the position of women in our society is still lower than men’s. I can’t believe how marriage, and life, are still so difficult for women. Once I slammed that door, I figured the rest of society would catch up with me in 20 years, tops! Sadly, the struggle continues. But however this society tries to limit and marginalize me, at least I have my self-worth, and it is sterling.
Come see me. We’ll hang out, drink some absinthe, and I’ll scrape those ombré blinders into a stylish bouffant! You’ll be amazed by the world you’ll see around you, the people that have been outside your field of vision.
Remember how good it felt, swatting that little hand? Imagine slamming that little hand in that tacky gold door!
Oh, and about the child- you can take him with you...if you want to.
Slam the door, Melania. Slam. The. Door!
Your devoted friend on the other side of male-dominated time,
Nora Jonson (Helmer, until that goddamned paperwork goes through)