As a man I find feminine vulnerability very attractive but as a woman I find female strength irresistible! This could be in my nature, but it’s probably because, in 1979, at the tender age of fourteen, I saw Sigourney Weaver in Alien. Oh my goodness, Ripley! You where a shining beacon in my adolescent years! At a time when my female role models consisted almost entirely of girls being silly at the back of the school bus you stepped up. You not only showed the world that a woman could be heroic and a strong leader, you rescued it from an alien beast so terrifying that even after nearly forty years it still haunts the dark corridors of our minds. Now before I go any further I must recognise that, sadly, Ripley, you are just as much a stereotype as the dizzy blonde. Real women lie somewhere in between you and Marilyn. I recognise too that I probably would not want to live with a woman as steely, focussed and, frankly, as scary as you. I think you would have become so frustrated at my inability to do the washing up or tidy away my clothes that you would have hit the eject button and jettisoned into space years ago. I would probably have got fed up living in near constant darkness, with you always having to slide around the door frames into rooms before me. However, we are allowed to dream about what could have been! So here is ‘Alien: The Wardrobe Artist’s Cut!
When you bash on my cabin door I have been off duty for two shifts with ‘a headache’ and no one has thought to update me on the unfolding situation on board. It is only the ‘Emergency – Abandon Ship’ Klaxon that makes me open the door. In a single glance you size me up. You can see that I have been indulging myself in an orgy of cross-dressing – I am standing there in my wig and high heels in a skirt short enough to make a space marine blush. But you take this in your stride and, with a cool acceptance for which I will be forever grateful, you say ‘Come on Barton (that’s me), grab your handbag. We’ve got to leave!’ You take me by the hand and off we go down the dark corridors – you with your improvised flame thrower and me tottering in my heels behind you. You don’t say much and I have no idea whats going on. I express some concern about how the rest of the crew will react to seeing me like this. “All dead” you say. That at least is one less thing to worry about but I’m having my own troubles. My heels keep getting caught in the steel grating floor ‘Take them off!’ you hiss. I’m worried that anyone hiding under the grill floor can see up my skirt. “You’re already showing everything!” I’m told.
You keep looking up into the shadows overhead and I am getting concerned. “Are you worried about spiders?”, I enquire. Suddenly a horrible thought hits me. “Ripley, I’ve left my make up bag behind!” We go back. I can see you find me frustrating. You have a mission and I am a distraction. If our situation wasn’t so difficult I could show you what I could do. I’d ease the tension in those shoulders with a nice massage, listen to your worries about how so many people rely on you, or show you how good you would look in purple eyeshadow. But this is your world. I am utterly in your hands.
Finally we reach the escape pod and I am a real mess. My wig keeps coming off and my mascara has run in all that dripping water. My hold-ups are around my ankles and my skirt is just a scrunched up belt around my waist. We launch. Somehow we survive the shock waves of the exploding ship and it looks as if we’ve made it. But wait! Some terrifyingly hideous scuttling thing has come with us and is taking a nap in the equipment locker. It seems this is what we were running from. But even now you have a plan. You signal me to climb into the spacesuit that is conveniently hanging next to me in the cupboard were hiding in – we’re going to open the airlock and blow that sucker out into space. “We’re going to make it!” you tell me. You feel along the wall for the purge button but, oh no! There, taped over it, is a notice: ‘Temporarily out of order – we apologise for any inconvenience’. We’ve come so far but our luck has run out. The creature stirs and towers above you. Its drooling jaw slowly opens. Its inner-mouth thingy extends towards your staring face and… There is a furious scream of pain as I drive my stiletto heel up into the alien’s chest. “Take that you bitch! You don’t get to eat my Ripley!” I scream, and with a flick of my wrist I hurl its lifeless body into the corner.
We have made it after all. We don’t need to speak – we share that bond that survivors have, that will join us forever. The rest of the story is uneventful. We prepare for our long flight home. You dress me in a neglige that you have somehow found in the emergency supplies and help me into my cryo-pod. As the cover slides shut the last thing I see is your strong, reassuring, womanly face looking down at me – something I will hold in my mind for the rest of my life, however long that proves to be.
Disclaimer: The characters in this film are entirely fictitious and any similarity to persons living is unintended. Their opinions and wardrobe choices are entirely their own.