Ernest Hemingway Rewrites ‘Esquire’s’ Profile of Penelope Cruz, Sexiest Woman Alive


Madrid is a noble city because bulls die an honest death in the arena there. After people go to the seaside, the plazas empty. The remaining men drink white wine as the blood of the bulls spills on the sand. The wine is cold and every man is sad.

The white bull moves towards the matador and the matador charges the bull. The spectators smell the onset of death. At first it is a beautiful night. But then the matador misses. He is not a strong man like the others. The crowd stirs. They came here to see death, but not this kind of death. They run out into the night and think about death.

The journalist, having watched the bull and the matador, goes to meet the woman. She is a beautiful woman, yet she is mysterious. Her face has no secrets, but she does. She has borne two children, and she has been with the same man for many years, but she does not speak of him. Sometimes she acts in the moving pictures. That is how we know her. Her art is good art. It is real and strange. Real and strange like an angry bull, dying on the sand.

She is the sexiest woman alive, and she now sits in the shade, sipping white wine and looking at the hills. The man has a cold beer and thinks, again, about death.

The actress says to the man, “I do not feel beautiful. I feel like a mother.” This brings to mind the dying bull. He does not know why he feels the constant need to compare women and animals, but to him it feels good.

“Have you ever watched the bullfights?”

“Sometimes the parts I play in films and my own life blur together, in my mind.”

He writes this down. He thinks about the war. He thinks once more about bulls and beautiful women.

A man is coming with a camera.

“It’s all perfectly natural.”

“It will be all right, and we’ll be happy?”

“Of course it will be all right. They just let the air in.”

“That’s the only thing that’s bothering us, really.”

She is the sexiest woman alive. She walks every day across ground stained with the blood of bulls and men. She has enormous breasts in the photos, and we are all sad, as sad as an unworn pair of baby shoes.