We’ve been gripped lately with a harrowing fascination that shames us to the core. Someone we love to hate has given us something we love to love, and the resulting struggle to reconcile the contradiction has left us feeling a little, well, dirty.
We’re referring, of course, to our dark obsession with Heather Mills’s fake leg.
Obviously, no one could ever like Heather Mills the Person. We revile the way she’s gleefully dragging Paul McCartney’s name through the mud, presumably to wring more millions out of him in their nasty divorce. When you list your profession as “charity campaigner” and yet barely a single person in your natal nation is on your side, it’s safe to say that you’re probably pretty evil.
Now Lady Mills is trying to curry favor on this side of the Atlantic. Her loathsome PR tour hinges on a Dancing With the Stars stint in which she shamelessly trades on her disability. In promo spots and interviews, she cheerfully admits that it would be hilarious if her prosthetic leg flew off mid-mambo (even though she’s actually wearing a special prosthetic that straps securely to her thigh, tragically ensuring that the leg will never whack audience member Brian Austin Green in the head). During practice, she likes to make sure she’s caught goofing off with the leg on camera — or at least pointing to a bag of them and saying, “Would you like to grab my legs?” If all you knew of her were these jokes told through a gap-toothed grin, you might say, “That Heather Mills has serious moxie.” And, unfortunately, it’s working.
Theoretically, pimping out your peg leg is weird, inappropriate, and blatantly opportunistic. But Mills’s fake leg is actually really interesting. Aside from all the perfectly logical questions it raises — how does it look so darn real? Can she ever wear strapless shoes? — her leg has managed to capture our hearts and become a character unto itself. It’s not a leg, it’s Leg.
We’ve seen Leg lying on the ground, cradled by Mills’s curious dance partner Jonathan Roberts. We’ve seen Leg strapped on blithely, as if she were changing shoes. Jonathan has referred to Leg as “unpredictable.” In just two weeks on Dancing With the People Who Can’t Find Any Other Work, Leg has completed a saucy mambo and a gliding foxtrot, been awarded the highest cumulative score from the judges, and executed a competent backflip. We can’t do that on our two flesh legs! That is some seriously advanced technology. Dealing with the rest of Heather Mills has got to be an uphill battle, and yet Leg excels.
This tears us apart. We desperately don’t want to encourage Heather Mills the Beatle Basher, yet we are compelled to root for Leg. We wish Leg could make a run for it, and if there were a way to vote for Leg independent of its owner, we would do so.
What to do? The only answer is to lapse into a warm, cozy period of denial. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some “Team Leg” shirts to design. —The Fug Girls