If you’ve never seen Romancing the Stone, you’re going to want to take care of that immediately. There is a moment in the movie when (spoiler alert!) Michael Douglas is lying on top of Kathleen Turner. They are naked, and he places his left hand on her ribs just under her right breast and slowly but very firmly slides it down the length of her body down to her naked hip, the bone of which you can just make out above the concavity of the dimple on the side of her buttcheek. I was 10 years old when I saw this moment, and it simultaneously made me want very badly to have sex with a man with a gun in Hotel Cartagena and also strongly wonder if I might be gay.
Kathleen Turner. Oh my God. Kathleen Turner.
What is it about her? Her voice is part of it. The voice that broke a little when it told William Hurt, “Oh God, I’m so sore,” in Body Heat. The voice that brought Jessica Rabbit to life. Patty-cake, anyone? Yeah, that’s part of it.
Her ripe, inviting, slightly parted lips?
Her perfectly curvy but also perfectly ordinary body and the way it tilts toward a man just so?
All of these things add up. But if you had a Sexy Woman Cookbook, those ingredients would only be equivalent to the salt and spices. The foundation of the recipe for Kathleen Turner, the 5 pounds of pork butt or hamburger, if you will, is what the French call Je ne sais quois. They can’t say what it is, but don’t worry, I can. It’s her confidence. It’s how perfectly, 100% comfortable with herself and self-assured she is. She’s Kathleen Turner and she doesn’t want to be anyone else. The detestable stink of insecurity, self-doubt, eagerness to please, desire to be desired, and hunger for acceptance that wafts across the scent of an unfortunately large number of women has no place with Kathleen Turner. She’s a physically attractive woman, but not exceptionally so. She has magnetism. The iron cord of self-acceptance and self-love that runs through her body vibrates with a power that sends shimmering waves of heat cascading off her skin, and you can almost hear her clothes screaming in agony, “Get us off of her! Get us off of her! It hurts us to cover this up!” She should be naked, always, and she usually does look naked even when clothed. She shines. She embodies the axiom, “Wear your clothes. Don’t let your clothes wear you.” And when she wears those clothes, baby, she is a woman. No bows, no circle skirts, no plastic accessories or too-short hemlines. She also accomplices what so many try to do and fail: she shows off her body without looking like a total skank. She dresses like a grown up.
Try it out, will you?
The sexiest thing you can possibly do when you get dressed is not try. Quit piling on makeup and going through a million outfits before you find the right one. Trust that no matter what you wear, the only thing you need is your Je ne sais quois. Effort, lady, does not become you.
And yeah, yeah, I know Ms. Turner got old and fat. She did that with confidence and style, too.