In Search of my Inner Audrey

Breakfast at Tiffany'sShe was elegance, glamour, sophistication, and charm personified. She taught us the meaning of the word “gamine,” and was the epitome of boyish beauty. It’s been 14 years since her death and almost 30 years since her last major film role, but Audrey Hepburn is still an icon. Today would have been her 78th birthday, and it’s in her honor that I’ve spent the week channeling my inner Audrey.

Day 1

I immerse myself in all that is Audrey by watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Roman Holiday,” “Charade,” “Sabrina” and “My Fair Lady,” while gracefully sipping champagne and delicately nibbling on Bon Bons. When my husband asks, “What’s for dinner?” I laugh charmingly and say, “Love darling, we’ll dine on love.” He looks hungry and annoyed.

Day 2

I consider getting a pixie haircut, but it’s taken forever to grow the layers out, and I don’t think I have the cheekbones to pull it off. Instead, I buy an enormously stylish hat, which they still sell at Nordstrom. Since I don’t have access to the Ascot Race, I wear it to a Little League game instead. Everything goes with jeans, right? Bad news: my hat blocks the view of the five people behind me. Good news: it stops a foul ball from denting my skull, plus I get a 50 cent coupon to use at the snack bar. Thanks, Audrey.

Day 3

I need a dashing man to accessorize my outfit, but Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, and Rex Harrison are all dead. My husband dresses in shorts and Hawaiian shirts, so he won’t do. I settle on the ticket taker at the Arlington. He’s a snappy dresser, and in the motion picture business.

Day 4

Trying to make my speech more ladylike, I walk around Paseo Nuevo with marbles in my mouth mumbling, “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain,” and “wouldn’t it be loverly.” Bad news: I choke on a marble and have to be Heimliched by a group of tourists. Good news: I’m Heimliched with grace and style.

Day 5

I buy myself a swanky cigarette holder, fill it with licorice, and fling it around saying (sans marbles) ” I do well on trips to the powder room. Any gentleman will give a girl $50 for the powder room.” My husband says, “Yeah. What’s for dinner?” What’s this guy’s problem?

Day 6

I do my best to lose the sarcasm. Audrey once claimed, “I could never be cynical. I wouldn’t dare. I’d roll over and die before that.” I do quite well until 7:30 a.m. when my son wakes up. Yeah, like I’m going to spend a whole day not being sarcastic.

Day 7

I try to emulate Audrey’s saintly side by volunteering to read to the blind, sing for the deaf, and walk for the wounded. I get a little discouraged when the news crews don’t show up, and can’t believe that no one brings me Bon Bons. Can I be Audrey? I’ll never fit into those skinny black pants, and her stylish flats make my feet look like U-Boats.

Instead I decide to embrace the one Audrey legacy I can actually live up to: “The most important thing is to enjoy your life –to be happy–that’s all that matters.” To celebrate her birthday I have her quote etched on a champagne glass. I toast my emaciated husband. Cheers to the inner Audrey in all of us.

Originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on May 4, 2007

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