Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Last Sunday my friend Carrie and I went to go see the movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You.” It was the most painful two-and-a-half hours I’ve spent since I was on that bus in Costa Rica that didn’t have a bathroom.
Whatever progress the feminists thought they were making for us back in the ’60s when they burned their bras has completely backfired. It turns out women in the new millennium are still desperate for male approval and as helpless as ever. It doesn’t matter if they are rich or beautiful or successful. The message this movie sends is, unless you are in your early 20s and look like Scarlett Johansson, you’re delusional, irrational, and unwilling to accept the fact that men just want to screw women who look like Scarlett Johansson.
In fact, the only guys in the movie who are confused are the guys who are screwing Anna, Johansson’s character: There’s Conor, the one who wants to be her boyfriend but isn’t (a whimpy, unflattering portrayal by Kevin Connolly of “Entourage” fame) and the married guy Ben who is faced with a dilemma when his wife Janine (played by the ever-stunning Jennifer Connelly) wants to screw him in his office while Anna is hiding in the closet. (Of course he does it anyway). I guess Ben Affleck’s character Neil is sort of confused, too, but it’s hard to tell because Affleck is just such a bad actor.
Hello, I’ve seen plenty of guys act the same way when they’re the ones getting rejected. I’m pretty sure it’s a matter of classic relationship dynamics.
Like my own brother, who was completely freaking out when he broke up with his fiance, changed his mind, and then couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t take him back. All of a sudden he went from Overconfident Success Guy to Whiny Little Bitch, just like that. He was a flurry of “what does this mean?” and “what does that mean” when the message she was sending, at least from where I was sitting, was pretty clear.
What’s more, Candace Bushnell, the writer of the original Sex and the City column, is an avid feminist. She’s the one who unapologetically brought to light the boldness of modern female sexuality by exposing the truth about the singles scene in New York City. When she came to Aspen for an Aspen Writers Foundation event, she said most of her friends are more like Samantha than the other characters that were created entirely by the writers of the show. She said things like, “I never thought I’d find the one. I always thought I’d find the many,” and told the story of how she rebelled against her mother after she was told she had a choice between becoming a secretary, a teacher or a stay-at-home mom.
When I met Bushnell after her talk, I was dumb enough to go on and on about this book I still haven’t written and about how I wanted to “integrate some underlying social commentary about the age of post-feminism.”
“What!” Bushnell said with such shock and rage I thought she might throw her drink in my face. “We are so not in an era of post-feminism yet! Don’t you dare drop the ball on me now!”
Bushnell would never burn her bra because, if her lingerie collection is anything like her quiver of shoes, she likely paid hundreds of dollars for it.
I have to wonder what Bushnell would say about this movie that was spun from a book that was spun from an episode of a show that was spun from Bushnell’s original writing. It’s kind of like that kid’s game “telephone” where the message has been passed along so many times that it’s become totally misconstrued.
As if to make the movie’s point, my friend Betsy has been calling me at 12-hour intervals for the last two days to update me on her latest theory about a guy she met two weeks ago. With each call, her perceptions vacillate wildly. One minute she says he seems like a solid guy who treats her well, the next he’s a player who drinks too much and should be pushed away before he breaks her heart.
I ask her if he called or said or did anything to cause her to arrive at these conclusions. “No, not really,” she says. “It’s all pretty much in my head.”
It’s not like I can’t relate. I dated a guy on and off for two years who could not have been more clear about not wanting to be in a serious relationship. Like once, I asked him what he’d want to name his firstborn son. I was just curious if he planned to pass along his namesake for the fourth time. After all, he shares the same name with his father and grandfather even though his legacy, as far as I can tell, is nothing more than the ability to drink enough to pass out while sitting up at the dinner table. I mean, his Dad might have been the King of Beers, but that was about it.
He practically jumped out of his chair and said, “That’s none of your business!”
I did all the stuff the movie accuses me of doing. I rationalized, I turned stuff around in my head, I read into things and believed what I wanted to believe.
As much as I hate backing up the basic premise of the movie, when someone is totally into you, they will be the first to let you know.
Maybe the truth hurts, but still. Are we really all that stupid? I think we all know the person of the opposite sex who isn’t a total mystery only comes along once. Until then, you might have to sit tight and wait. Just don’t do it in the theater watching that horrible movie.
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