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Otto Suggestion (to a Horse in Drag)
Dreamed 1995/8/8 by Chris Wayan
I'm at the beach. My uncle Otto rides up, on a slender, leggy, coltish horse who wears a red plastic cloak with a hood that partly veils its face. Under it, the horse has make-up on? Shocking pink lipstick. It's smeared. Looks silly. I don't even think it's a mare! A gelding or stallion in drag?
Who did this and why? Certainly not the horse; no hands. It looks embarrassed. Knows.
Then the horses gallop out of the sea. Glossy, strong, beautiful. Elegant women ride them, in impeccable riding form. As the horses pass, you can see they've been carefully groomed: make-up too, but so much subtler! Maybe Otto's horse would look that good, if cared for properly. His horse balks, won't go on down the beach to greet them. Ashamed? Just stands, staring at those beautiful mares.
Otto laughs. "Yeah, stare at them! They're REAL horses. Not like you, you wimp."
I feel a wave of anger mount. The horse didn't tie that raincoat on, or smear that ridiculous lipstick! And under the red slicker, this Otto's horse is leggy and lightly built, but not necessarily out of shape--a beautiful runner, in fact.
Just saddled with an appallingly negative Otto suggestion.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
But not with an auto-suggestive nag on my back.
- Beach, horses, funny-looking guy with pointy beard: Gauguin! He painted horses & riders on a Polynesian beach; in every version I've seen, one figure (human, not equine, I admit) even has a red hood on. And my uncle Otto liked to wear straw hats like Gauguin, and had a pointy goat-beard a lot like his. Too many parallels for chance! The dream deliberately parodied his Polynesian paintings. So the girls riding sea-mares may mean escape, freedom, romance... or art!
- Beautiful horses come out of the sea: in Tove Jansson's Moomintroll at Sea, a family moves to a lonely island. Moomintroll discovers beautiful, magical sea-mares slip out of the waves by moonlight. But they're vain; tease him for being an ugly troll. Definite parallels with her life--Jansson was gay, and most of the (early 20th Century) girls she was attracted to would've rejected her with disgust. Though she eventually did find a girlfriend and live a long, pretty happy life on an island. Quite parallel with Gauguin--both eccentric writer-artists who found happiness on islands "apart from the main" as John Donne put it. Devalued at home? Move!
- ACTION: Stop telling my body I'm skinny, ugly, weak! Just family brainwashing. No, I'm not the sleek groomed mare I wish I were, nor the musclebound stallion type so worshipped here in America. I'm a racehorse! Light elegant and beautiful. And able, quite possibly, to outrun them all...
LISTS AND LINKS:
body image -
nags and critics -
negativity and pessimism -
gender dysphoria -
family values -
dream puns -
pencil dream art -
two horses use lipstick for VERY different reasons:
Stallion, not Mare &
Misfits On Mars -
an explicitly Gauguin-inspired dream:
A Sphinx's Sketchbook
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