Enough With the Kooky Ingénues — Bring Back the Dame!

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TIME

The passing of Lauren Bacall, she of The Look, her chin canted downward ever so slightly, at once coy and challenging, made me wistful for a time in Hollywood long bygone: the era of the Dame.

You would never call Audrey Hepburn one. Nor Meg Ryan nor even Meryl Streep: Too delicate, too flaky, too august. A Dame must be feminine and tough. She is glamorous and sensible. She is a guy’s gal and a girl’s girl. And we need her. Desperately.

An archetype born out of serious times that called for serious women, a Dame was seriously stunning, seriously funny, seriously game. Think Katherine Hepburn, resplendent in a floor-length gown, crowing, “I was born on the side of a hill!” as she limped along Cary Grant in broken heels.

The Dame is not to be confused with the Femme Fatale. While the latter is devious and destructive, the…

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