Laguna Beach storefronts display some of the strangest mannequins I’ve ever seen. I find the resemblance of tourists to these mannequins uncanny. It is difficult to guess the age of many Orange County women from a frontal view – the bee-stung lips, the deer-in-the-headlights expression, tiny pinched noses, not to mention breasts that might double as mooring buoys if put to the test. Even so, there are some things plastic surgery can’t hide – the stooped figure, hands and feet, profound disappointment and unhappiness; the line between perfection and monstrous begins to blur after a certain point. I am always grateful to encounter a woman who wears her years with dignity and whose facial muscles still allow for a range of expressions, especially expressions of humor. Still a land of beautiful people, many of the Laguna locals seem to have resisted (miraculously) the influence of other Orange County cities.
These mannequins lead a secret life of puppets – one that speaks more of a cultural pandemic than anything else.