Friday, April 20, 2007

Hello Poodle

Aren't poodles the campest thing in the world? Every time I look at the above picture (which is often), I start laughing. Perhaps it's the quizzical way the head is tipped on one side, the green "fashion" neckerchief that's been accessorised so jauntily, or the ridiculous shaving style, making it look like it's got a big powder puff on its head. Poodles are so silly and fab.

They were very popular on the council estate I grew up on in the 1970s, particular among working-class older women who were a bit above themselves. Both my friend's Mum and the women who lived over the road from us had white poodles (both called Peppi).

My great-aunt Ethel also always had poodles, although hers where black. She always had to have two at once, and they were always called Mimsy and Trudy. If one died she would go out and buy another one immediately and give it the name of the dead one. So there was always a Mimsy and Trudy when I was growing up. Aunt Ethel didn't had any children, so Mimsy and Trudy were indulged. Utterly. They were the most neurotic, high-maintenance, whiny dogs in the world. I guess that's inbreeding for you.

Until me, Aunt Ethel was the poshest member of our family and everyone was a bit (or a lot) scared of her. She wore a real leapord skin coat (before it became common) and her home was always a treasure trove of kitsch, and it was one of the happiest days of my life when she gave me her Sensational 70s Reader's Digest boxed set of 10 albums, each one consisting of a different year from the 1970s.

I think my love of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford stems from having a great-aunt Ethel. I have noted a tendency for gay men to have somewhat fabulous or camp aunts or mothers - and I think Ethel was one of my influences. A mixture of Aunt Mame and The Snow Queen. When I am older I think I will get a Mimsy and Trudy of my own. Just as long as I don't have to be seen outside with them.


Malcolm said...

Someone at work compared me to a poodle last week. I gave them a stern look!! Cheek!

Fin De Fichier said...

Count me in on the rich spinster aunt, too.

Ackworth Born said...

My eldest brother had a black poodle called Mandy -- I used to take it long walks over the fields surrounding our council estate when I was around 10 or 11 years old. Maybe it was the colour but no-one thought it was camp or the like.

matty said...

My mom had a poodle when I was growing up. One of those prissy white toy poodles. It was very mean! ...which somehow convinced me that all poodles are mean. They certainly seem smart.

I guess I have poodle issues.

Give me a stupid/inbred shit-tzu.

Old movie stars seem to be drawn to poodles. We should do a full on study and determine why.