I used to own a T-shirt with the slogan ‘I Love Sue Ellen’ embossed across the front. It was dusty purple, made from that thin, soft cotton that feels like luxury – even though it costs next to nothing and is likely fashioned into garments by oppressed children, from scraggy old bits of fabric found discarded on the floors of Third World factories. And it used to cling to my boobies in a very fetching manner, and rise up to reveal my midriff, which, at the time – due to exercise, youth and genetics – was toned and washboard flat.
I fucking loved that T-shirt. Although I have absolutely no idea where it is now. It has gone to the heaven of lost things, along with all the earrings I have ever purchased and that sky-blue Paul Smith stiletto I misplaced a few years ago, when I threw it at my brother, on Plumstead common, during a drunken fight in the snow.
But I digress.
The thing I want to tell you about is Sue Ellen. You know, the character off Dallas. Married to JR Ewing (him of the oil baroning, massive Stetson hat and philandering). Let’s ignore the fact that this is an ancient cultural reference and get to the important point: what a woman.
If I could be anyone when I grow up, I’d be Sue Ellen.
That face. The pearlescent teeth. The permanent, unchipped manicure. The lingerie business. The alcoholism that never quite got the better of her. The shoulder pads. Those watery great eyes that lull you into thinking she’s fallen for it, but then there’s a golden flash and you realise: shit, this bitch has a gun in her purse and she is not afraid to use it.
The only thing that would dampen the experience of being Sue Ellen, as far as I can tell, is the disastrous relationship with JR – the man she loved, for her sins, but who didn’t know how to love her back (and also that stint in a mental institution, and the subsequent postnatal depression). For example, despite the fact he had the world’s sharpest woman waiting at home, JR kept shagging about with lithe, dumb, younger women and making up daft excuses that Sue Ellen was too smart to fall for, but that she sometimes pretended to believe, as women are wont to do, because dealing with an unfaithful lover is a massive faff. As she proved when she embarked upon a revenge affair, and fell pregnant, and was never quite sure if her husband or his arch nemesis was the father.
Poor, beautiful Sue Ellen – made to deal with having her self-esteem smashed to bits on a regular basis – which, of course, was JR’s method of control. In betraying her, he made himself the main thing about her life. He became the sun around which she was forced to orbit. And that was sad, because, as I’ve proved, she was capable of so much more.
If only JR had been brave enough to be with her properly, and love her without the drama and cruelty, as she deserved to be loved. But that was never going to happen, except when it did and then it turned out to be a dream (don’t fret too much babe, that happens to me most nights).
No-one can convince me that Sue Ellen wouldn’t have been better off single. Just imagine the life a woman that fabulous might have led, if she hadn’t married a podgy smooth-talker who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants. It’s a good job she’s fictional, and can therefore remain a role model for ladies like me, who haven’t quite decided how to live yet.
And let’s not forget, she divorced the bastard in the end.
(Then the horrendous 2012 series went and ruined it. But we won’t discuss that here because: for fuck’s sake.)
*Got the image off Google. Via virginmedia.com. I’ll take it down if you own the copyright and ask me. Don’t bother suing – as ever, I’m skint.