An American beauty


Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 


Every small town, and especially our strip of beach of about 2,000 people, has their glamour girl. The one who stands out even among the chiseled featured, carefully nurtured lovelies from the finest white stables in California. The kind who go to college and end up marrying techie nerds and live out their lives in the finest gated communities in California. What we call trophy wives. The kind who somehow end up stress queens.

Not our American beauty.

Now, there are many beautiful women who are not quite sexy, and many very sexy women who are not close to beautiful. But our American beauty combines both these qualities with just the right touch of Marilyn Monroe.

Of course she is blond, at least I think so. And she is not overly stacked, and doesn’t need to be, because her every languid move, her expressions, her smile, ooze the kind of incandescent carnality that stops boys and men of all ages in their tracks to stare and fantasize. And instantly feel let down because they might go an entire lifetime without touching such a succulent sizzle of raw American beauty. Oh well, eat your hearts out, guys.

Our American beauty is good with the onus of stunning beauty and sensuality. She knows how to handle it, unlike so many rare beauties who struggle with the rapt attention, the goofiness overcoming men in their presence, the stupid wisecracks and the lame conversation; or the lies and boasting from men overcome by their own imagined vanity and arrogance.

And by the jealous women who take an instinctive sexiness for promiscuousness as they stand watching the somehow sleek and voluptuous American beauty handle the adoration and near idolatry, as well as everything coming her way, with the wisdom and ease of somebody who knows who she is and delights in it.


She knows, first of all, that she did not earn her beauty, her sexiness, but that it is a gift. She knows how to use it to her advantage, yes, without lording it over everybody like an insecure narcissist. This American beauty possesses just enough vanity and sense of herself to attire body and visage with some of the most outlandish — but somehow stylish — thrift store adornments, perfectly highlighting all of her rich endowments. Oh yeah.

And she has this walk. It is not overdone, just enough sway and shake. And she has these legs, jock legs perfectly formed, slightly muscular. And those hips. And they all move in a sort of innate symphony of one moving part.

When she sees you coming and staring, feeling that walk — and you are a man suddenly rattled — she smiles at you and almost winks, for she more than relishes being an American beauty. Life is good being an American beauty. And when you ask her why she has covered up a part of this American beauty with tattoos, she looks you in the eye and says, “I love ’em. So deal with it.”

That’s kind of the way she talks. No nonsense. No snark. To the point. Just sassy enough.

This American beauty hails from Santa Cruz, where, as the saying goes, they let it “all hang out.” She moved to Cayucos about a decade ago with her young daughter and ex-husband, and hit the town like a thunderbolt.

Every eligible guy was hat in hand. She got a job waiting tables and tending bar at Schooner’s Wharf. Sometimes behind that bar, where she was quick and wise and conversational and had a row of stools filled with middle-aged male admirers, she wore short shorts and grinned when she caught you staring at those gams, and that magical ass. Oh yeah. Eat your hearts out, guys.

This American beauty also likes to cocktail. She loves the bar life. Before she met her now husband and put all local male daydreams to sleep, she liked to flirt. Why not? This American beauty not only had the walk, but also the smile, a face perfectly sculpted yet pliable, with just enough makeup to accentuate those stunning Irish eyes.

She holds that cocktail and leans on one hip and spots you staring, and lifts a hand to wave and smiles and says hello. And you pass a few items of conversation, all friendly and harmless; for this American beauty is not stuck up, and is not out to prove anything, has married a working-class man younger in years who worships her, as it should be, because, best of all, she is vulnerable, like all of us.

These days, after going to beauty school and giving up bar and restaurant work, she has taken over a longstanding beauty parlor/barber shop on the main drag. And to say she is artistic is an understatement, and to say she has become an institution in so short a time period — unlike the Pirate and Tag Morel — is the truth. She is a good Mom, easy company, a sparkle in a sleepy old town hanging onto its image as the last outpost.

She deserves her place, and we’re all good for it.

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