Carbs, Cats, and Caring: 3 Things I Learned from Holly Golightly

I rewatched Breakfast at Tiffany’s last night for probably the seventy-fifth time, but each time I watch it, I find myself more intrigued by Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) and her glamorous lifestyle. The film is not without its faults, but Holly’s charmed lifestyle is, perhaps, not without its lessons for the modern woman. I learned a thing or two from Holly that I’d like to share with you. 

Glamorous and beautiful women can eat carbs in public

The very first scene of the film follows Holly walking the empty street of New York in the early morning–dressed to the nines–with a pastry and a coffee in her hand. I never realized why that scene was important to me until much later in my life–Holly is eating. In public. She doesn’t care who sees her and she’s not trying to be glamorous. She’s hungry, so she eats (and it’s not a salad). Speaking for myself, from the age of fifteen onward, there was a lot of pressure from my mother, and others, to be “ladylike”, and that consisted of only eating lettuce wraps or smoothies or whatever. While I believe in a healthy lifestyle, it bothered me that I saw my friends in high school worrying about what they ate and who they ate in front of.

Seeing Holly Golightly chowing down on a croissant…it is oddly comforting, probably because every woman’s fitness and wellness magazine tells us that carbs are akin to the plague.

It’s okay to be a cat lady/person

Although I give the Mutineer a good heckling now and again for her devotion to her feline children, the truth is that I don’t know why we give “cat ladies” such a bad rep. Actually, that’s a lie. I do. The idea of the “crazy cat lady” was closely linked to witch hunts, and it was believed that cats were familiars to witches. The Puritanism of the late sixteenth century construed a single woman with a cat to a witch…with a cat familiar. Fast forward 500 years and the idea of a woman who only has feline companions equates her to being unwanted and unmarriageable.

This is a completely ridiculous notion, and one that Breakfast at Tiffany’s dispels. Holly Golightly is a single woman who lives alone with a cat, and she’s freaking fabulous.

It’s okay to be emotional

Holly Golightly is classy AF, but that doesn’t mean that she is stoic and aloof. Rather, she is just the opposite. If she’s excited, she’s exuberant, and if she’s upset, well, Paul darling, you better buy her a drink because she means to get drunk and probably cry.

I live in a world where being described as “emotional” or being told that I “care too much” is a bad thing; that somehow my capacity to feel makes me weaker, and lesser than others. I have heard this from women as well as men, and I really dislike seeing women in film/television/literature who have to “hold in” their emotions in order to be perceived as strong, or classy, or interesting. Watching Holly squeal with excitement, or fall apart from sadness, showed me that strong, beautiful, classy women should be allowed to feel. In public. And not be thought less of for it (isn’t that a thought?)

So, this is your daily reminder to eat some carbs, pet a cat, and care about anything you damn well please, because that’s what Holly Golightly would do.

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5 thoughts

  1. I’m going to walk up to the local bakery and get some croissants for breakfast. I didn’t really need permission but I’d been waffling because there’s fresh fruit and yogurt (that I’ve been eating all week long) in the fridge. Thanks for the push.

  2. A further reminder that our perception of ourselves is defined by others and those others sometimes have horrible taste (and absolutely no sense of fun). I love this movie and I love what you took from it. Here’s to eating those lovely buttery carbs, embracing those around us (furry or otherwise) and shouting to the world how much we love it all!

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