Okay, so I wasn’t proud when George Bush, Sr. tossed his cookies on that Japanese Prime Minister, and I was pretty embarrassed when George Bush, Jr. winked at the Queen of England that time, but I have to say that Obama and his wife are right up there in cringe-making with their behavior in London yesterday. I remember writing about Obama’s raving on and on about the luxurious interior of a private jet that he’d accepted a ride in back when he was even more naive than he is now (um, two, maybe three years ago), so at least he wasn’t “ooh’ing” and “ahhh’ing” over the sumptuous decor at Buckingham Palace like some kind of . . . well, like some kind of caricature of George W. Bush.
But why did both he and his wife have to grab the Queen of England with both hands? And why did his wife have to put her arm around her and then later hug her? I know people are saying, quite rightly it seems from the vid, that the Queen initiated the grope fest by placing her arm across Michelle Obama’s back, but I honestly don’t see that she (the Queen) had much choice with MO inching in and looming over her as she did; we’ve all been forced to touch people who invade our space. She’s far more adept and familiar with the whole being a world leader thing (having been monarch since before Barack was born), and I am sure that she was being polite and dignified, and hoping to waylay some of the bad press that MO’s action would have engendered had she not. But I am just a bit old-fashioned about things, I guess, and I find this bumpkin behavior from our president and his wife totally embarrassing.
And as kind of an aside here: why was MO wearing that hideous sleeveless shift this early in April? Who goes bare-armed to formal state functions? Or is that okay now? I lost track when the “no white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day” rule was tossed out. I totally loathe Michelle Obama’s “style,” and find it embarrassing that she always looks so frumpy and disheveled (can’t we afford to buy her a travel iron or steamer? I’d rather my tax money went to that than to most of her hubby’s take over the world policies). And I do like JCrew, so I’m not dissing that store (heck, I have a LOT of JCrew in my own wardrobe), but I just think that it’s ridiculous to compare Michelle Obama to Jackie Kennedy as so many people seem compelled to do–much to MO’s detriment, I think, holding her up next to Jackie O does nothing to improve MO’s image, just makes her look dowdier and frumpier than she usually does. Jackie Kennedy had style and grace and carried herself with dignity; Michelle Obama has a JCrew catalogue to guide her fashion choices (they conveniently put outfits together for you, like GrrAnimals), galumphs about like a huge ungainly horse, and carries herself awkwardly (she never seems to know what to do with her hands and flaps them about when she’s not clutching them in front of her–maybe to keep them from flying out and grabbing passersby?). I just can’t stand Michelle Obama, though, never have been able to. At least her husband is elegant and charming in his naivete; he’s got that going for him.
Back to the mauling the Queen thing: I hug my friends when I see them or when we are parting . . . maybe do the “kiss, kiss” thing if we’re not that great of friends. I shake hands with people when I must (and that’s tricky because as a woman, I’m not really expected to extend my hand in most circumstances–and quite honestly am not comfortable doing so; good thing I’m not a head of state . . . or married to one). I think that I may have hugged Wendy the first day that I met her, but that was different, we’d been on each other’s blogs for well over a year at that point, and we felt like we knew each other as a result. I don’t think seeing a documentary of the Queen and seeing her face on postage stamps is quite the same familiarity builder.
Sure, some people are touchy people, they love to put their arm around you or touch your thigh or arm when they tell a joke. I’m not a big toucher of people that I don’t know, so it’s not my favorite thing about other people–I don’t understand the need to touch people you don’t know very well. But I do like that I can predict with near 100% accuracy that no one is going to put their arm around me or (yikes!) hug me within hours of meeting me. That’s just not done. Or it shouldn’t be. It’s a terrible liberty to take with someone you don’t know, and anyone who’s owned a television over the last thirty or so years (maybe longer, but I can’t remember that far back) knows that touching the Queen is not proper behavior. Heck, I think they–the Queen flunkies in charge of ensuring that Her Majesty is not molested by visitors–talk to you for hours before you meet her, and they tell you to keep your hands off her. Doesn’t seem too much to ask.
And how hard can it be to remember not to fondle the Queen of England? I mean really? She doesn’t seem like the come give me a big hug and cuddle type, so why not have a little respect, if not for her position then at least for her own boundaries and sensibilities? I just don’t get it. If President or Laura Bush did these things, we’d hear nothing but what a rube and idiot he or she is, but because it’s the golden couple, it’s okay, it’s more than okay, it’s downright sweet! Give me Bush, Sr. vomiting on someone any day, at least that wasn’t down to him being unpolished, tacky, and disrespectful.