Dating at the Movies
If it’s New Year’s week, and you’re a single woman, and you have a TV, you’re probably watching “When Harry Met Sally” right now. From “BabyFishMouth” to “tell me I’ll never have to be out there again,” you’re equal parts loving and hating yourself as you watch for the 20th time. The film itself has some of the most perfect comedic timing ever seen in movies over the past 20 years, and, since we’ve all grown up on this film and experienced it deeply personally, we can’t help but feel that since Harry and Sally got their perfect wedding to their perfect soulmate, so should we. In short, it built romantic expectations for a generation.
But then we run into the central premise, and debate it ad nauseam with our male and female friends. Can men and women be friends? And is that really what the movie is about? Let’s hear from co-author Nora Ephron. (I read this in the book edition of the screenplay and copied it out to share with you.)
…What “When Harry Met Sally” is really about – not, as i said, whether men and women can be friends, but about how different men and women are. The truth is that men don’t want to be friends with women. Men know they don’t understand women, and they don’t much care. They want women as lovers, as wives, as mothers, but they’re not really interested in them as friends. They have friends. Men are their friends. and they talk to their male friends about sports, and I have no idea what else.
Women, on the other hand, are dying to be friends with men. Women know they don’t understand men, and it bothers them. They think that if only they could be friends with them, they would understand them and, what’s more (and this is their gravest mistake), it would help. Women think if they could just understand men, they could do something.
I’ve been thinking about these words, and Nora Ephron’s wisdom about this topic. What we’re really trying to achieve is not friendship, it’s understanding why they do what they do (presumably to us). It’s only fitting, since I’ve spent decades thinking about whether men and women can be friends, that I try to give this some serious thought. I have some men friends, but the level of friendship isn’t even close – the trust, the reliability, the sympatico…it’s just a miss. And when they’re in relationships, they’re just gone. If the relationships don’t work out, they’re back. And then, when they vanish again, I know there’s someone else.
It’s fine. I mean, I get why it happens. But the fact that I get it doesn’t mean that I think that’s optimal behavior for friends. But of course now, we have a new definition for friends. And so I declare, “we have reached a new era, an era when men and women can be friends. On Facebook.”
If you have thoughts on this issue, please, share with the group.
And whatever you do this New Year’s Eve, keep your expectations reasonable, and find a designated driver. Wishing you all a safe and happy new year.
My old “nondating” bloggerfriend Ken Wheaton (who’s got a novel coming out, btw), posted this to Facebook, noting that women are crazy and that he had no idea if this was true or a stunt. So I clicked play hesitantly, prepared to defend the honor of this particular woman and all women everywhere, noting that we are not crazy, or that the whole thing sounded made up to me.
And so it began:
During the Summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to backpack around Europe for 2 weeks. I talked about it often before I left. My girlfriend however, although great in many respects, was not the world’s greatest listener. I left on Friday June 1st. Despite even calling her to say goodbye the night before, she never realized I left. When I arrived home 2 weeks later, I had several emails from her, waiting in my inbox…
On his site, JD notes (about all his content), “
After viewing it, I’m not sure what to think. Is her descent into relationship madness funny/relatable/pathetic? Yes. Are some of her reactions over the top? Of course. Should she have listened when her boyfriend told her he’d be out of town for two weeks? Given. But do we know that said boyfriend is an excellent communicator? Nope, we don’t. And what kind of human being doesn’t check email even once for two whole weeks? I know most people feel we’re too connected these days, but two weeks without phone or email, even to Mom? I don’t know.
Maybe it’s like the statistic quoted in a number of (pre-2001) films, including “Sleepless in Seattle,” which noted that women over 40 were more likely to be killed in a terrorist attack than they were to get married – fictional, but that it doesn’t matter if the story is actually true, as Rosie O’Donnell’s character says in “Sleepless”: it feels true. (But don’t worry: the “doomed spinsters” are getting married, says Newsweek.)
So: crazy? Or not crazy? True? Or just “feels true”? I don’t have answers. But what I do have (without spoiling the ending of the clip) is some idea that when they’re in relationships, people need to communicate more clearly in advance of an absence, and yes – I’ll go out there and say it – even when they’re not absent. Now, watch the clip. Laugh. Think it insane or untrue, or crazy or accurate, but enjoy the outstanding musical accompaniment and the dramatic escalation. (And for more of JD’s stories, check out jdsmanstories.blogspot.com.)
[Thanks for your patience, all. I’ve been across the Atlantic twice, and back once. I’m now in Israel again and overworked as usual. But finally, here’s a new post…]
I can’t get “Knocked Up” out of my head. Not just because it was a hilarious movie, which it was, or because it was the brainchild of the previously over-aforementioned Judd Apatow. And not even because it contained this gem of a clip that seemed so random and so on-point at the same time in its absurd level of Jewish pride in the movie “Munich.”
I just can’t stop thinking about the plot. Funny Seth Rogen–who was working on a career as the Solid Stoner King of Sidekickland– lands beautiful Katharine Heigl. When beauty meets hilarious person, it always seems to be a gorgeous girl and a schlubby guy. Or alternately, a gorgeous girl who wears glasses and a ponytail and at the end of the movie takes down her hair, and gets contact lenses, and is suddenly beautiful, and a gorgeous guy… Heigl’s character comes to appreciate Rogen’s character for his loyalty, his devotion, his humor, and his good nature. I’m a fan of the message–get to know someone before you judge them and you might discover something unexpected. But here’s the thing: I’m worried about the backlash.
Newsweek called Rogen’s ilk (fellow members of the “non-matinee idol” type, or as I like to call it, the “Schlub Club,” the “Beta Male“–and I admit, when it comes to this “Alpha Beta” scale, I’m a beta female. But is there a danger that my potential beta male companions will go searching for alpha females? And if so, where do the “beta-ettes” go? To the gammas? Deltas?
To clarify, this does not stop me from loving this movie. I will have to see it again…