On why I love the way Mickey Rourke looks right now

It is a truth universally acknowledged that male celebrities seldom are subject to fashion critiques the way female ones are. Dressing female celebrities is big business. Men, well, men seldom get a mention at all, although some dress very very well, indeed (Will Smith comes to mind).

When Mickey Rourke emerged from his own ashes to star, brilliantly, in The Wrestler, a collective gasp was heard around the world. He looks terrible, they said. He used to be so hot.

The same could be said of a lot of us, people.

Now the dialogue about his appearance is mainly patronizing–he’s so wacky, look at what he’s been through, that wacky comeback guy.

What doesn’t seem to sink in is that by the rigid standards of youth and botox, Mickey looks like hell, and yet he refuses to be invisible. He doesn’t slink around, make excuses, or try to be somebody he isn’t any longer. He is the man he is, wounded and broken but flamboyant nonetheless, joyful to have to walked through the misery of addiction and come out, for today, alive and doing work.

His little geegaws and trinkets he keeps with him–like the names of the dogs who gave him companionship when he had few other real friends–these to me reflect a fragile’s man need for tactile reminders of his friendships in an ocean of crazy-making celebrity.

This what I see when I look at him: the dedication to craft to come to work even after by virtually any measure he lost everything, and the guts to allow his body to bear the reality of his experiences and choices.

Here hoping he stays ok.