One of the best presents I received this year was a "1981 Miss Piggy Cover Girl Fantasy Calendar," given by a friend who knows my taste in Muppets.
Perusing the glossy pictures of the porky star that adorn each month, I wondered again why Miss Piggy, above all the other creations of Jim Henson, has been such an inspiration to moi. I decided, mon cheri, that the answer had to lie deeper than my admiration of her mastery of the French language.
Perhaps it is her figure I so admire -- or rather that she carries her embonpoint so proudly in a culture dedicated to the pursuit of thinness. After many years of struggling to maintain the desired waif look (an especially difficult feat during the holiday season), I envy anyone who dares be so pleasingly plump.
One of the few other stars whose full-bodied curves are as much a part of her legend as Miss Piggy's is the late Mae West. Indeed, Miss Piggy, with her come-hither look, reminds one of that other great sex symbol, the only difference being that Ms. West hankered after men, whereas Miss Piggy prefers frogs named Kermit.
Also, there is Miss Piggy's undeniable spirit and aplomb in dealing with the trickiest of situations. While so many of us dither and dally about making such trivial decisions as which dessert to order (if, indeed, we should order dessert at all), Miss Piggy struts right in there with enthusiasm and confidence.
The January page of her calendar quotes her as saying, "When opportunity knocks, you don't just let him in -- you put on some soft music, get out the Taittinger '66, and pin him to the couch." There are those of us who are not even sure just what Taittinger '66 is.
But, mostly, Miss Piggy can be envied her fame, since her talent has allowed her to enter the elite world of show-biz winners. As a somewhat typical adolescent, I went through a stage -- which is still continuing into later decades of my life -- of wishing to be a movie star. A rock singer. Or at least a groupie. Anything but plain, ordinary, middle class.
Miss Piggy not only dreamed, but she achieved. One can see her when she was only a gleam in her sire's sowly eye, sparkling and shining. A winner from the first.
At this stage of her career, while I am still plodding up the GS ladder, Miss Piggy has sung with Paul Simon, danced with Rudolph Nureyev, and shared a stage with Raquel Welch, without once being upstaged by any of them. The appearance with Ms. Welch on the Muppet Show did upset the Divine Miss P. somewhat. She glowered at her human rival during their duet of "I Enjoy Being a Girl (Pig)," and afterward was heard to bellow at the stage hands, "All right, boys, now get her out of here."
She does not allow social niceties to obscure her true feelings of jealousy and competition. Any psychiatrist who tried to lure her into analysis would probably find himself pinned to the coach.
The Perfect Piggy must never get lonely or bored, since she shares quarters with such luminaries as Kermit and Fozzie Bear. And, if she feels manipulated occasionally by her creators, she does not kneel and beg for their deliverance from car payments and nuclear explosions. Rather, she stands up to the Great Oz (puppeteer Frank, that is), and tells him to stop following her.
Miss Piggy is brash, yet tender; gentle, yet aggressive; an inspiration for those of us who would be truly liberated, yet faminine. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. I have a good start already; many of the princes I've kissed have turned out to be toads.
And so I've decided that even if I can't find a Pygmalion to turn me into a Muppet in 1981, I'm going to at least, as Miss Piggy would say, be "mad about moi."