Do As Nora Charles


Don’t be embarrassed.

We have all experienced a moment, a point in time, of tripping and falling flat on our face. The fall can be physical – a moment of clumsiness or brought on by wearing the wrong shoes – or, most often, the fall is emotional. This is a tricky one because dented pride and emotional scars run deep. It happens to all of us. We make mistakes, we stumble, fail and we experience major wrongs when nothing appears to be going as planned. The most integral thing is not the fall: it’s the recovery.

This occurred to me the other night while re-watching The Thin Man (1934), the unparalleled film series about the sleuthing adventures of Nick and Nora Charles (the divine Williams Powell and Myrna Loy). Nora’s entrance is classic screwball farce. While Nick is dapper and demonstrating the art of how to shake a perfect Martini at the bar, the beautiful and impeccably tailored Nora is dragged in by Asta, the couple’s wire haired terrier. With arms filled with Christmas shopping she looses her footing to take one of the most elegant prat falls in memory, perfectly splaying herself on the floor before being helped up by those around her. Nick does not help as much as watch on with an amused, yet loving, smile.

Yet, as she stands up, she is still perfect with not a hair out of place. She could dwell on her fall but instead the couple launch into their witty repartee for which the show is so adored. So what that she has fallen? She is not embarrassed- why should she be? Instead she points to her husband’s martini and asks “how many drinks have you had?”. When he replies, “this will make six Martinis,” she casually asks the waiter “will you bring me five more Martinis, Leo? Line them right up here”. She carries on as if nothing had happened.

If you fall – for whatever reason – so what? Don’t slink off with your tail between your legs. Remember the mantra: DO AS NORA CHARLES. Her pride is not sore (although her head certainly is the morning after). Don’t fret and wallow on the ground, pick yourself off, stand up straight and down six martinis.

Nora’s entrance