Jennifer: So, we are debating whether we prefer Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe. This seems relevant to Hunger Games week as I think they represent two different, very desirable body types, and, to some extent, the characteristics associated with those body types. Marilyn is the ultimate hourglass figure, while Audrey is super slim, partly because she suffered from severe malnutrition in her youth. I think we associate Marilyn with warmth, sexuality and honestly, being just a bit dumb or, umm, soft hearted? Childlike?
While Audrey is seen as elegant, poised, sophisticated. I will be arguing in favor of Audrey, you in favor of Marilyn.
Ashley: You really laid that out.
Jennifer: Now, initially, I was a little sad when you screamed “dibs on marilyn” because Audrey Hepburn–through no fault of her own!–always reminds me of a little monkey wearing a black dress. But then I thought about all the great things monkeys can do. Like, I believe they can fashion crude tools and make fire? No, they can’t make fire, can they?
Ashley: I did not scream “dibs on Marilyn.” I try never to raise my voice. I said “I will argue in favor of Marilyn” at an exceptionally civilized volume because you know I’m not really an Audrey fan. And that I dislike Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And of course monkeys can make fire. But that’s not enough to support them.
Jennifer: I don’t understand why you always have to be so down on monkeys. If a monkey had a cigarette holder it would be funny, right? In a 1910s silent movie sort of way? Actually hell, in an ANY ERA silent movie way.
Ashley: I prefer apes. I’m a huge supporter of opposable thumbs, while I distrust prehensile tails. Tangentially, someday I wish to look a bonobo in the eye and say, “Am I you? Are you me?” and then we’d gaze upon each other, probingly, with much intellectual yearning as we spanned the depths of time and nothing would be solved. Furthermore, yes, monkey with a cigarette holder would be great.
Jennifer: There are so many pictures of monkeys with cigarettes. It’s so funny.
Ashley: Oh my god really??? Like, on Google?
Jennifer: Google “monkey with cigarette”
[Some time later]
Jennifer: OH MY GOD NO! The 4th picture is where that woman had her face torn off! DON’T DO IT! Don’t Google “monkey with cigarette”!
Ashley: I did it. It as horrible. Luckily I have the attention span of a monkey with a cigarette, so after like 4 seconds, I started Googling “monkey with guitar.”
Jennifer: Is it great?
Jennifer: Wait, I’m googling “monkey dressed up as Audrey Hepburn.” Oh.
Jennifer: It’s just pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Ashley: Oh, wait, though, these photos of Audrey Hepburn petting a monkey are so charming!!
Jennifer: I like her more! Okay, I am now proud to argue her sde. You can’t argue that Marilyn’s movies are more enjoyable right? With the possible exception of The Prince and the Showgirl, obviously?
Ashley: Wait. I just tried googling “Marilyn Monroe petting stuff” to see what kind of animals she liked, but Google autocorrected it to “Marilyn Monroe biting stuff.” This is weird.
Jennifer: And even then, if you’re pitting that against Love in the Afternoon, that’s tough. Oh, wait. That’s actually a good story: Marilyn had a pet cow, but she wanted to move it into the house because she didn’t like it getting rained on. And in the Truman Capote story, A Beautiful Child, she runs up to a strange dog and starts petting it. And the owner says “you shouldn’t pet strange dogs, miss, you might get bit.” And Marilyn replies “dogs never hurt me, only people.” Which is really sad.
Ashley: Dude. You do realize you just argued in favor of Marilyn like really, really hard right? I mean, not because of thedevastating poeticism in her statement, but because she had a pet cow and didn’t want it to get rained on.
Jennifer: Oh, the part I love most in Truman Capote’s essays about her is when Marilyn always wants to know what famous people are really like and Truman tells her about them in his negative Truman Capote way and Marilyn is always like “No, no, it must be so nice to have Katherine Hepburn as a friend and just call her up, and talk about things.” And finally, at the end, she asks Truman what he’d say if people asked him what Marilyn Monroe was really like and she says “I bet you’d tell them I was just a slob, wouldn’t you? Just a fat old slob.” And Truman says “I would say that you are a beautiful child.”
Ashley: Wow, that’s really sad.
Jennifer: I know.
Ashley: I just remembered Audrey Hepburn had a pet deer.
Ashley: Wait, though, I’m arguing Marilyn.
Ashley: Okay. I think the only thing that matters here is this: Some Like It Hot > All Audrey Hepburn movies
Jennifer: Never seen it. I’ve seen all the other ones.
Jennifer: Isn’t that her sell-out movie or some such? What about The Misfits? Isn’t that the quintessential Marilyn movie?
Ashley: Yeah. I heard a story about how when Marilyn was filming The Misfits, she stayed in her trailer all day long and fostered on-set rumors that she was doing drugs. But really she just didn’t want to film in the middle of the day because she was self-conscious about aging and thought the broad daylight would make her look old. Also, The Misfits is the source of The Misfits’ (the band) name, and they’re the best. So, there’s also just an intense bias here. …MONKEYFACE.
Jennifer: God, every single story about Marilyn makes you feel for her.
me: Yeah. That still doesn’t make everything single thing Lindsay Lohan does okay.
Jennifer: Where are those stories about Audrey? Maybe that’s the problem for me. Audrey really represents everything I admire in a woman: she’s poised and polished and intelligent and beautifully dressed and I know many people do love her. But I kind of am never able to find the creamy vulnerable center under that beautiful faberge eggshell. I mean, yeah, she fought the Nazis. But she FOUGHT THE NAZIS. And she was like 12 right? I mean, that’s awesome. And then she went out and helped starving children?
Ashley: She really is like a robot version of a perfect woman.
Jennifer: Yes! Yes, that’s exactly my problem. Even her quirks are charming. Like she would drink two fingers of whiskey a day. Frank Sinatra loved her and called her “Princess.” Audrey is just so perfect and appealing pretty much across the board and Marilyn is just so fucked up, but in a way where you feel like you could help her, right? But in reality, I’d totally rather hang out being an awesome robot with Audrey. Frank could call her “princess,” I’d call her “my little monkeyface.”
Ashley: I’m betting Frank Sinatra called a lot of pretty women “Princess”…
Ashley: Okay. Marilyn was a mess with good comedic timing who exclusively dated ubermenschs and whose body made physics feel embarrassed. That’s pretty cool, Monkeyface.
Jennifer: Are you calling me Monkeyface now? As a new little pet name?
Ashley: Mon petit Monkeyface!
Jennifer: Because I have delightfully high cheekbones?
Ashley: …Yes. That’s… why.