Imported Culture

Describe a personal experience that has changed your life.

“Lower your lids!”

Gilad, my drama instructor, paced back and forth on the stage, arms folded over his belly, Israeli impatience rising in his voice. His eyes narrowed, scanned me through bushy slits, and he barked new commands.

“Let your smile raise your cheekbones… Arch your back just so slightly!”

Gilad did not enjoy dealing with the feminine dimension of my monologue. He expected me to radiate inner charm and elegance; in his opinion, these were second nature to all women. Yet my monologue could not continue before I assumed the precise pose and wore the blessed expression of a woman in full awareness of her irresistible charm. Thus, short and big-bellied Gilad flaunted an impressive repertoire of coquettish behaviors; batting his eyelashes, tossing invisible locks of lustrous hair from side to side, swinging his hips like a young girl and clicking his palate with his tongue.

I laughed and borrowed all I could from the unfortunate, big-bellied man. After we completed the lesson, Gilad reassumed his masculine authority and assigned me to write a description of the woman I portrayed in my monologue.

“A beautiful woman is not beautiful on stage unless she is something more,” he belabored “Don’t filter or edit. Once you gain...

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