Monday, 24 October 2011

How to become Woody Allen's muse in 10 easy lessons

He might be short, neurotic and balding, but Woody Allen is also one of the biggest cultural icons of our time. He has turned sex into an existential and philosophical matter, and he has turned existentialism and philosophy into laughing matters. No one had ever done that before (although Groucho Marx had hinted it). You may not like all of his movies; I have different feelings about them myself. I think Annie Hall is one of the great films in movie history; Manhattan Murder Mystery, Radio Days or The Curse of the Jade Scorpion are fantastic classic comedies; Hannah and her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors are insightful works about the human nature; and Anything Else should forever be forgotten. Whatever you think about the man and his films, one thing is certain: Woody has created a lot of unforgettable feminine characters. In his films, women are never mere sidekicks to leading men: they are always protagonists, and often have more power, more intelligence and more emotional depth than their male counterparts. And they also have great style (next to Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Annie Hall is the movie character that inspires most girls when they dress up in the morning). So what's not to love about Woody Allen's muses? They have the wits, the charm and the style; in short, they can conquer the world. And now you too can become Mr. Allen's next muse! Just follow my 10 easy lessons. Success guaranteed!

Lesson 1: Embrace your inner nerdy intellectual.

After years of hiding what I really was to most people (a philosophy graduate who read Dickens at 11, quoted Bogart at 15 and mentioned Walter Benjamin in jokes at 20) for fear of being seen as a total freak (yeah, I was bullied at school for preferring Gershwin over the Backstreet Boys) I decided to come out of the closet and not give a damn what people thought. After all, if I mention Orson Welles in a conversation and people don't know who he is it's their problem. So go ahead, put your glasses on, wear clothes that hint your Columbia education (cozy cashmere sweaters and masculine-cut trousers are comfortable and culturally-conscious enough) and show to the world that your main concern in this life is whether Rousseau or Hobbes were right about humankind.

Lesson 2: Play femme fatale

As arty references go, you can't get much better than Hollywood's golden age film noir. And since you are a bit of a cultural nerd, of course you have read every line Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett ever wrote, so acting like a femme fatale should come naturally to you. Seducing men like this is easy: just add a sophistication touch to your usual Phd-in-progress look (a shiny brooch or bracelet, long gloves, a satin blouse or red lipstick), be mysterious about yourself (answer questions with other witty questions) and look down on men as if they were worms asking for mercy. This allows you to be sexy while staying powerful and independent, and it works with Woody every single time.

Lesson 3: Big, chaotic, messy families are the new black

Quit being embarrassed by your huge 150-cousin yelling family. A house inhabited by 38 people who love to eat, gossip and fight during Christmas/Passover can be annoying, granted, but hey, that's life! And not only that, it's way more colourful and fun, and has infinitely more dramatic possibilities than your average perfect waspy family.

Lesson 4: Expand your mind

All feminine characters in Woody Allen's pictures have one thing in common: they never stop evolving, growing and expanding their horizons. I think "I've started taking courses at Columbia" is one of the most repeated sentences in Allen's filmography. But it doesn't just have to be university courses. You have thousands of options, from Freudian therapy to art workshops, music lessons or zen meditation. Ultimately, expanding your mind helps you heal and strenghtens you, so you become happier with yourself and you are able to re-shape your life to find it more satisfactory (which in Woody's movies generally leads to breaking up a romantic relationship. Oh, the ironies of life...).

Lesson 5: Get the androgynous look on

There's no doubt about you being a woman. If you have followed the four previous lessons you are indeed an extremely feminine creature, and you show it through your gestures and actions. You don't need to show it any further with a Wonderbra and a strapless red minidress. Keep some mystery and some ambiguity by choosing to wear boyfriend jeans, crisp white shirts and woolen blazers. Any man who knows what femininity really is about will recognize it in you, even if you are disguised as Annie Hall. And any man who doesn't is just not worth it.

Lesson 6: Empower yourself...

If you carefully analyze Woody Allen's pictures, you'll often see him comically trying to take control of situations in a constant but subtle battle of the sexes, while, as a matter of fact, it's the women around him who lead things most of the time. All you need to know is that you have the power!

Lesson 7: ... but don't be afraid to be vulnerable

The fact that Woody's muses are generally empowered doesn't mean they are superwomen. Far from it, they are frequently subjected to situations that make them feel vulnerable, sad or insecure. All girls, at one point or another, feel identified with these moods. Why hide them? Woody never does.

Lesson 8: Black is the new black

At a loss for what to wear? Some things never go out of style, and head-to-toe black is one of them. Choose a little black dress or a V-neck cardigan and a scarf worn over trousers for an "intello-bobo" chic look (yeah, the French have the perfect words for this kind of things). Top it with a bohemian accessory for a maximum muse effect.

Lesson 9: Wear the right attire in bed

I don't mean sexy lingerie (altough of course feel free to wear it) but actual pyjamas. In Woody Allen's films many crucial dialogues take place when the characters are in bed. Comfortable apparel is hence mandatory: silk pyjama pants, cotton knickers and oversized t-shirts are perfect...

Lesson 10: Know your Cole Porter

Music is as important as New York in Woody's movies. He is a big fan of jazz, dixieland, Gershwin and Cole Porter. Learn to sing It Had To Be You and your training is completed: you are now Woody Allen's next muse... or at least a living version of his feminine characters!


  1. Vale...resulta que reuno todos los requisitos...por no mencionar que ADORO a Cole Porter, el jazz...estoy lista para ser la siguiente! jajajaj ;)

    GENIAL post, enserio.


  2. Incredible post!
    I really adore your blog.

    Fan from Spain ;)

  3. So funny - I was just using a blog entry of yours from 2 years ago - I wanted to find the list from Manhattan of things he loves - and when I came to your home page - Woody Allen again!

  4. I love this! Excellent article. :)
    Woody would be proud.

    <3 Anika

  5. Wonderful article, I like your blog!

  6. I'm curious if Woody Allen's real-life history with his love life ever bothers you? I find I try hard to, but have not yet been able to get past, his weird history with being romantically involved with his stepdaughter. To be honest, it prevents me from enjoying his films, because I can't help seeing that aspect of his personality in everything he does! I know, I'm weird... judging people is not a healthy thing to do! But that history really influences my thoughts on his work! What do you think?

    1. Hi Knic! Thanks for your comment! I don't know, I have never found it to be a problem at all for me... Soon Yi was not adopted by Woody, she was adopted by Mia Farrow and André Prévin before Mia met Woody and I don't think Woody even knew her as a child. So I think their relationship is very far from incest. Plus I don't know, but I have this image of Mia Farrow being a sort of compulsive adopter, she has like 300 adopted sons, no? (at least it feels like hudreds), so I'm not even sure how much of a family feeling she has with all those tons of adoptive kids. Also, I'll admit I've never liked her, whilst I like Soon Yi's serene demeanour. So all in all, I think things like that can happen... especially if you spend half your life adopting all sorts of kids you should be wary of that happening!

    2. She meet Woody Allen in 1979 when she was 9 years old so...


Thanks for your lovely comments.