Holly Golightly eats a Danish and is thin. Holly Golightly takes a shit and rose petals come out instead. There’s nothing Holly Golightly can’t make dainty. “Feminine,” as the definition of the word is associated by men. That is to say, elegant, staid–never uncouth. Even when she’s hooking, she makes it look chic, like the most sophisticated job in the world. As though any girl who has moved to New York without a sou would be a fool not to start right away. Only do be somewhat discerning in the clientele you choose, for if they’re going to be criminals they must be of the big-time mafioso variety. That’s where the real danger comes in, sure, but also the real money. Plus, who doesn’t like the intrigue of delivering coded messages via the “weather report”? It’s all so glamorously John le Carré.
When strait-laced (despite being a gigolo), pleasant-looking fellows that remind you of your brother move into the same building, it’s best not to get attached–only to make him think you are, as that classic kiss of death assignation, “just friends,” comes into play. The perfect title to keep him forever on the hook and doing things for you that only a lover should have to until he can finally keep his ardor bottled up inside no more, and ends up declaring his undying devotion. At this point, all you’ll need to say to get yourself out of jail free, so to speak, from that is: “You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky.”
And in your adamant declaration of independence, you somehow become all the more desirable, making men only try harder to pin you down in a cage, that cage Paul Varjak claims will follow you wherever you go because it’s of your own making, seething in his state of jealousy over your freedom and overall effortless fabulosity. That’s why he gives faux psychological insight like, “You’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well, baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somaliland. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”
Thank Christ for that, Holly secretly thinks as she watches Paul run out of the taxi like a little bitch. Because if I didn’t have myself to run into all the time, I’d be bloody bored out of my skull with no one to entertain me. She knows she’s not British, but she still can’t stop herself from saying “bloody.” The British lilt is the only thing that can stamp out any residual sign of her inherent white trash nature. Born in the wrong city and state (and maybe at the wrong time, too). Didn’t God notice right out the gate that she was not meant to be among Texans? Sure, she liked the concept of “gentlemanly hospitality,” but that veneer sheds itself rather quickly once you’re in someone’s car. She preferred the overt sloppiness of New York City men. Their sinisterness always on gregarious display at nightclubs, on the streets, at Coney Island. Not that she ever deigned to spend any time there. That’s not where one consorts with men of means. Though she did clandestinely enjoy an occasional romp with a carney before heading to the boardwalk and delighting in a soft pretzel with the same gusto–if not more–that she possessed in eating her Danish in front of the Tiffany’s window. Sometimes, she had to admit, there is comfort in being trash.
It keeps her grounded to remember that it can all go away if she becomes too arrogant, loses sight of why she does what she does. Which is, in essence, she assures Paul, acting as a modern day Venus, relishing in the art of love and the material objects it can bring one. “I told you: you can make yourself love anybody.” Especially when it comes with a stunning piece of glittering jewelry. Raccoon-like in her love of shiny things, Holly felt obliged to wear heavy maquillage when sporting her baubles in the evening. Applying a thick daub of black eyeliner along her undereye in subliminal salute to the raccoon and his similar reverence for the shiny things in life. For who wants to live in a world of lusterlessness? No, that was not for Holly. She was too magical of a being for that. Celestial, practically. Did you not hear that she can eat Danishes and remain thin? Shit out rose petals instead of, well, shit? Does this strike you as the type of person who can live anything but a life that is extraordinary? Or rather, as extraordinary as life can be, for it’s rather limiting if you’re living it as one ought to be. There is a finite amount of fun when you’re actually having it every day. This can soon cause the mean reds to set in. That horrendous feeling when “suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.” Except what you’re really afraid of is that you know exactly what you’re afraid of: that nothing will ever recapture the excitement and energy of youth. Of embarking on a journey “from the beginning.”
This is partially why Holly has such grand plans to flee to South America with José da Silva Pereira, yet another rich mark on her list of suitable eligible bachelors to make her husband so that she might afford the lifestyle she so loves without having to collect the Cracker Jack sum of fifty dollars for the powder room (one for the money, two for the show–fifty for the powder room, as it were). Because a new environment means that jolt of adrenaline that creates a spark of enthusiasm. The same one Holly had when she first moved to New York to reinvent herself. To shed the skin of a Texan named Lula Mae Barnes.
Yet in this way, you see, “Holly” is not extraordinary at all. She is the everywoman who pours into the city thinking that, just as she views herself, New York is something special. The ideal milieu for self-rejuvenation (even though it’s actually quite the opposite, tearing at the very fabric of your soul and will until there’s none left). Where perpetual anonymity makes carving out a new identity as simple as un, deux, trois (for Holly loves to insert French phrases into her dialect as well). After enough time on the scene, however, anonymity becomes scarce. And Holly, just as dainty and garden variety as the next “socialite” (a.k.a. party girl), has to leave because soon the Danish intake will make her fat and her shit will start to stink. She will be exposed for the fraud that she is.