Magic a wide-open field for women
by Michael Howlett
I don’t know about you, but I love me some good magic. Yes siree, cut a woman in half, make a tiger disappear, or escape from a burning box sight unseen, and I’m a happy man. Of course, we all know there’s no magic … or so the dark side would have you believe … it’s all illusion. There are no magicians, there are illusionists. Nevertheless, we’re going to talk about magic.
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but there are few women performing magic. It’s always some guy in a tux or a flamenco outfit with puffy sleeves doing the magic. Of course, all his helpers are leggy beauties, but all they are good for is being cut up, disappearing or making you take your eyes off the magician. Why is that, you may ask? Well, I’ve given it some thought and come up with a few ideas.
The best reason, I suspect, is because they’re afraid they’ll be killed. We have a long history in this country of killing women who allegedly perform magic. We don’t tolerate that stuff. If there’s any magic to be done, the men will take care of it.
Why not long ago, I think it was in 1692, the beautiful little burg of Salem, Mass., decided it had a few too many witches. Now, a witch here or there is one thing, but when you have as many as Salem had you just have to thin the herd, and thin the herd those pious people of Salem did. According to a Robert Calef, a contemporary writer of the time, 19 women were hanged and one was “prest” to death. He did not say what was used to flatten her, but I’m guessing a bunch of rocks, or, possibly, a wagon. In addition, eight more women were condemned, 50 confessed to be witches and another 150 were in prison on witchcraft charges, all felonies.
Now, for the life of me, I can’t understand why everybody was so upset with all the witches. I understand if the ones they killed were those green, mole-covered, hawk-nosed, piles of human waste that ate children. But I know for a fact … okay, I surmise … that not all witches looked like that. Some were hot, which makes sense. If you’re a witch and can work magic, would you prefer to look like something that crawled out of Rush Limbaugh or a babe? I think most witches would go with babe.
I remember becoming intrigued; at least that’s what we’ll call it for the time being, with the TV show “Bewitched.” Elizabeth Montgomery played Samantha, a witch who was married to a mortal. I was 14 at the time and thought what could be better; you’re married to a beautiful witch; my goodness, the thoughts that raced through my hormone-filled mind. Yippee ki-yay!
Although as a young fellow I fantasized about having a beautiful witch as a wife, it turns out I was actually bewitched several years later by a fetching young beauty who eventually became the Mistress of the Manor; and, although she does have some dandy tricks, I still haven’t seen her make a tiger disappear.
Although the United States and Europe both have a history of burning, hanging, drowning and pressing witches, Asia has a totally different outlook. In fact, a few hundred years ago a woman performing magic was considered high art. Their magic took the form of parlor tricks, and if there’s one thing I like besides magic, its parlor tricks. Again, yippee ki-yay!
But today, the world of magic is desperately lacking when it comes to women performers, and there are some legitimate reasons, according to some female magicians. First, women’s hands are smaller, making prestidigitation harder for the female gender, and then there’s the clothing. Most magic tricks assume a person is wearing a jacket and pants, so as to better hide things. If you’re wearing a gown … well, it’s much harder to hide stuff, especially if you need to get to it quickly. Where a man might pull a rabbit out of a hat, a woman might have to pull the rabbit out of her … well, you figure it out.
There is one famous … okay, I’ve never heard of her either … female magician by the name of Celeste Evans, who performed in the 1960s. She did a bird act while wearing a form-fitting gown. Lisa Mena, one of the few modern female magicians, says, to this day, “nobody has a clue where those birds came from.” Hmmm, makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
Then again, some people theorize that women just aren’t into magic as much as men, which seems strange since a lot of women have a long list of things they would change about their husbands if they could. Just think, women, if you learn magic, maybe you can turn someone like, say … “Rooster” Edwards … into someone like, say … George Clooney. Okay, that’s a bit far-fetched, Merlin couldn’t do that, but you get the idea.
So I say, women, become magicians! Make tigers disappear, cut men in half, pull bunnies out of hidden places and by all means do parlor tricks. Yippe ki-yay!
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