Saturday, September 10, 2005

Men, the sucklings

Dreams make promises they can't keep,
they can swindle you while you sleep.
Morning finds you wondering why.

When we are young in dreams we trust,
so maybe growing up is just
kissing these certain dreams good-bye.

I could not sleep tonight, so I threw a DVD on the laser, hoping I'd doze off in front of it. It was Same Time, Next Year. I didn't see it on the stage when it made the rounds the last time, probably 15 years ago, so I only vaguely knew the set-up. It was sort-of suggested to me months (years?) ago, and I got the DVD, but somehow never got around to watcing it. Till tonight.

This version starred Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda. The thing about Alda is that he really is not a really good actor, and he tends to always play that same, over-the-top character. And on top of it, the character in the play is not much more than a nauseating stereotypical American male: Chauvinistic, vain, and filled with fucked-up values, aggression, and an inferiority complex to boot.

But Burstyn was good. And sexy. In this one scene, she sports Marilyn-ish short, blonde, slightly curly locks, and pairs them with a black dress and diamonds. Not quite Miss Monroe, but loaded in her own right. And the character gets to just continue growing and getting stronger all the way through the movie, breaking through glass ceilings of education, self-esteem, and power. That part I did like. I find literally nothing as interesting or engaging as a smart, determined, and strong woman, flexing her muscles.

And then there is the story. As I said, the male lead is somewhat pathetic, so you really have to concentrate if you want to empathize with the guy. His selfishness and arrogance is just so overbearing that it makes it distinctly incredulous that this intelligent woman stays under his spell for all this time. Sure, we are lead to believe that she can see beyond that and into his 'real', considerably nicer self. How he really is a decent person underneath it all. Puh-lease.

Actually though, that is what women tend to do. And not just in this country. Bright, beautiful women go out every day and choose to spend their lives with obnoxious, fat, sweaty slobs, that are no match for them in any way. And to top it off, a woman like that will let her Neanderthal spend both their lives yapping about his own, tiny little world of pro football, Nascar or some other god-awful sport, some mind-numbingly boring interest such as fishing or bowling or computers, or to drive them around, way too fast and recklessly, in his ridiculously proportioned pick-up truck or loud, obese, gas-guzzling SUV. What could possibly be attractive about this picture? What is the allure? Curiosity?

Maybe that's the deal. Women's inate thirst for knowledge, coupled with their longing to conduct controlled experiments, mostly unfulfilled because of gender-biases in the school system and an almost total general lack of encouragement to study sciences in school rather than just languages and liberal arts, all of this makes it irresistable to them to take on these men, for clinical observation.

Lab rats? Pets? Makes sense to me. You try to come up with a better explanation.