- DJames McGee
Creating a femme fatale
It would seem that the present zeitgeist is to promote warrior women in the media. From Viking's Lagertha to The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen we're spoiled for choice.
Maybe I've missed the boat here. I mean, a strong, beautiful and cunning femme fatale isn't exactly new or original, but there are a few unique facets about my newly constructed protagonist that are worthy of mentioning.
The Lady Laura Lacy (pardon the illiteration) was constructed using the facets of some very real women, most of whom I actually know, but two of whom are historical figures.
When I moved to Dublin, Ireland in the early 1990s, I began training in a Kenpo studio on Lower Leeson Street. The area is filled with whole streets of beautiful Georgian houses famous for their ornate front doors. These houses have now been converted into office buildings where people of the city go about their business of well...business.
Many types of people would train at that studio in relative harmony. Working class Joes and upper echelon professionals gleefully exchanged punches and kicks with the occasional head butt, knee and elbow.
I was a teenager and completely alone in a (somewhat) foreign country at that time and was desperate to make friends and have some kind of support system.
Anyway, I met a woman there by the name of Cara Gregg. She was an executive in a premier advertising agency when I met her and just so happened to be one of my first instructors in Ireland in the art of Kenpo Karate. I found out that she was a former model and member of the Stunt Association of Ireland, an equestrian and had some strange esoteric powers.
After a break up (my fault obviously), I was searching for a new place to live and it just so happened that Cara had been blighted by some misogyny in her firm so had decided to set up her own business in her house. She therefore suggested that I move in with her. This would give me a nice place to live and provide a modicum of security for her. I did just that and she became the closest thing to a mother I had in Ireland at the time.
Cara ran in some illustrious circles and knew everything there was to know about being a lady, but if things got tough she could be an out and out ball-buster to the poor sod who crossed her.
I came to California in 2001 for what I thought would be a training vacation (I'm still here). During my first week in Huntington Beach I met a fellow black belt by the name of Melissa (Missy ) Dalton. She was tall, blonde and in shape, oh and just happened to be a multiple times world champion. She was an actress and had to keep her face well preserved for auditions, photo shoots and whatever else the thespian types of Hollywood have to do to succeed. During one of our first training sessions together I kicked out her two front teeth and broke her nose. She was absolutely furious.
During another incident in a night club in Universal City, I witnessed her knock out a soldier on Christmas leave from the Army's 82 Airborne Division. Her punch was the catalyst for the mass fight that ensued comprised of us (the bouncers) and them (the squadies).
All this being said Missy knew how to play the game when it came to donning an evening dress and mingling with the elite.
Princess Diana was my inspiration for most of Lady Laura's wardrobe and public persona.
I have family and friends on all sides when it comes to Irish political views, so I tend to stay clear of the subject. That being said, I find the life of Constance Markievicz aka Countess Markievicz fascinating. A socialite turned revolutionary she traded in her parties and gown for gunpowder and rifles during Ireland's revolutionary war. She played a pivotal role in the Easter Rising for which she was sentenced to death. Her sentenced was commuted on account of her being a woman and she became the first woman elected to parliament in 1918. She turned down her seat and instead was elected Minister of Labour in Ireland's first Dail. This made her the first female minister in Europe.
Thanks Cara, Missy, Diana and Constance for the inspiration and thanks to the few others who I dare not mention. I believe they know who they are.