Friday, February 05, 2016

Naked Ambition

You know how the Universe is always throwing out random questions at you? Like, when you’re on a hot date, you might suddenly think to yourself, ‘Why didn’t I wear that other pair of underwear?’. Or, you wake up the morning after a wild night out with the boys and you think, ‘Now…how did I get home?’
            Of course, some Universe questions are a bit more nuanced.
            Like a few mornings ago, when Amanda suddenly looked up from her iPad and asked, “Where did they go wrong?”
            As Saffy later pointed out, the question was just so loaded, you might as well have asked why Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’ was snubbed for Best Video of the Year at the MTV VMA.
            “Yah, lor,” said Sharyn, a huge Nicki Minaj fan though you could never have told from her auntie get-up. “So suay! Aiyah, they all lay-cist, lah! Fann Wong oh-so never nominated what!”
            Saffy stopped mid-sip of her honeydew bubble tea. “Wait, what? Fann Wong sings?”
            “Abuden? You think, what? She just Chris Lee wife, issit?”
“Gosh, how did I not know that? She’s so multi-faceted, that woman!” Saffy said, admiration soaking every word.
“Haizz… So, Amanda say who go wrong?”
Some people start their morning by reading the Straits Times to see what’s happened in the world. Some do a bit of meditating while others go for a jog. Amanda, third in her class at Harvard Law School, kicks off her day with ten minutes on, surely the world’s best and bitchiest gossip site.
Which is where she spotted a picture of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner looking really glum. Which is what prompted her existential question.
“I thought they really had it together,” she went on. “Such cute kids. But then look who he married. That Jennifer is gorgeous. With that kind of gene pool, how could you not produce cute kids?”
From the first time she laid eyes on Ben Affleck in ‘Good Will Hunting’, Amanda has always entertained fantasies of being married to him. She has followed his career with the same kind of dewy-eyed fanaticism that in some jurisdictions would qualify as stalking. And if she ever lived in the same city as he does, you’d be seeing her name all the time in the tabloids in the context of restraining orders.
Gigli. Daredevil. Jennifer Lopez. Gwyneth. The children, Violet, Seraphina, Samuel. Pearl Harbor. Armageddon…Every up and down, Amanda has gone through it all with Ben from a safe, legal distance. And when he finally settled down and married Jennifer Garner, that marriage became the template upon which she based all her relationships.
That is, until she saw the shower scene towards the end of Gone Girl.
As Amanda later said, at first, she couldn’t be quite sure she’d seen what she’d thought she’d seen. “I mean, it was like a two millisecond flash right?” she said at lunch, after she and Saffy had caught a morning screening.
“My God, that amazing bubble butt!” Saffy had cooed at the time.
“Well, yes, that butt, but what about his…other bit!” Amanda had said, carefully looking around the occupied tables at Crystal Jade. “Was it just me or was it…enormous?”
“Well, if you were Jennifer Garner, you’d have your hands full, if catch my drift!” Saffy cackled.
            The question haunted Amanda so much that when Sharyn announced her sister had bought a pirated DVD of Gone Girl from Johor, she rushed over to Sharyn’s to re-watch the scene.
            “Aiyoh,” Sharyn later complained. “She, hor, keep rewinding and freezing that shower scene, I get headache, ah, I tell you. Ay, I ask you, she never see naked man before, issit?”
            “Not a naked man like that!” Saffy said. “Honestly, it’s just so beautifully shaped and proportioned! I totally get it now. That Jennifer Garner is so lucky!”
            “Right?” Amanda said.
            “Totally!” Saffy told her.
            The all round perfection of Ben Affleck – seen in all its side-frontal close-up glory in a steamy shower – continues to consume Amanda’s waking hours.
            Just this morning, she looked up from her Retina-enhanced MacBook on which she was gazing at a screenshot of That Shower Scene and asked again, “Seriously, where did it all go wrong? How could Jennifer Garner give this up?”
            “Maybe he’s not very good in bed?” Saffy said.
            Amanda looked at her screen. “I seriously doubt it. Not when you’re packing that kind of equipment!”
            Maybe, I ventured, a successful marriage is more than just about sex? To which Saffy replied that this was surely the stupidest thing she’d ever heard.
            “The second the sex goes,” she said, her bosom rising impressively like over-yeasted bread dough, “so does the marriage. Just ask Kris Jenner. She’ll tell you!”

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