Prisoner of the comfort zone

[my story behind a 1950s photograph by Lilian Bassmann]

Her name is Gwendoline. She inherited from her Welch ancestors the taste for danger. But like it is the case for the majority of women of her generation, her life went on another track.

Lillian Bassmann . Margie Cato, Junior Bazaar (White Gloves/White Dress) . 1950

Lillian Bassmann . Margie Cato, Junior Bazaar (White Gloves/White Dress) . 1950

She got married at 18 with the son of the neighbour’s next door. Oh, he was quite a nice man but she never ever dreamt of such a respectable life.

As a little girl, she imagined herself exploring wild lands like Deborah Kerr in King Salomon’s Mines movie. How amazing it should be to face the danger and feel the adrenaline throughout the body.

In the new suburb where they are living now, the wildest animal she has ever bumped into is the cat of her friend Rosie, who from time to time surreptitiously enters into the house to steal some food. There is no wilderness in her daily routine: three kids to educate, a husband to please, and little room for thinking at being herself.

While visiting her hairdresser on Saturday earlier this month, like she does every week for refreshing her hairdo, she came upon the advertising of a perfume in the latest edition of Harper’s Bazaar. The ad said “Depend upon it – for anything”. Tabu, the “forbidden” perfume by Dana.

Her first reaction was to cry, but she quickly refrained to show her emotions in public. She realised that she forgot during all these years that everything was possible if you are ready to risk yourself out of the comfort zone.

It was settled. Next week, she would take the bus to go to the city. She will find any excuse to justify it to John, her husband, and she will visit a perfumery.

It is a strange thing that new opportunities arose when you decide any change in your life. On next Thursday, she exited the house in the early morning and jumped into the bus. She was light-hearted and she felt she could conquer the world today. She sat at the rear of the bus close to the window, and her imagination ran fast during the ride, in such a way that she almost missed the bus stop.

Once outside, she ventured into this part of the city she likes, made of curvy and shady streets. At a glimpse, she recognised him, he was there on the opposite pavement. They did not say anything to each other. Words were unnecessary. But they intensely looked at each other. The sun that hardly broke through the street bathed their faces with its warm light. After this fleeting moment that seemed to last minutes, they both continued on their ways.

Will they see each other again?

Tabu . 1950s Depend upon it - for anything | The "forbidden" perfume by Dana

Tabu . 1950s
Depend upon it - for anything | The "forbidden" perfume by Dana

King Solomon's Mines . 1950 . Official trailer