Friday, December 26, 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

So I went back to the movie theater where I had left my cell phone, and caught this movie.

Hmm. OK. It's beautiful to watch. The story is magical, the characters are well done. Brad Pitt is mesmerizing, and Cate Blanchett remains freakishly beautiful and stupendous.


It's slow. Loooooong and slo-ho-ho-ow. It's arguable that the pace and length were instrumental in establishing the impact of the central plot, but I confess there were times when I just wanted them to get on with it. I sensed others in the theater felt the same.

The love story is magical, but more and more I find myself watching these kinds of movies and saying to myself, "Sure, he loves her; he'll follow her to new York and Paris and he'll sail the coast with her, but does he leave a sink of dirty dishes to go watch the game on TV? Does he ever do the laundry? Does he know that bathrooms don't clean themselves?"

I talk with women who get a sort of kindly patronizing smile when I explain that I just can't be with a man who thinks I'm his mom. They tell me that I'm looking for the wrong thing, yet when pressed, they reluctantly admit that things on their side of the fence aren't so great. A co-worker recently admitted that even though she works 12-hour days, her husband never cooks because -- wait for it-- he CAN'T. She's an intelligent manager at my company and still manages to make herself utter such total crap.

She then admitted that she takes most of the care of their baby, and he takes more work that keeps him out of the house. When I explained that I would not put up with that and would divorce such a person, she got that smile and said that I had to "look for the right things."

"Like what?" I asked. "The delusion that I need someone who causes me to spend less time doing things for myself because I'm too busy doing everything for him and our shared home, while he makes almost no concessions with his own time? Someone for whom I have to cook and shop and clean up after? And for what? Sex? Sex when I'm exhausted and fed up after doing everything around the house, when all I want to do is sleep in? The illusion that I'm important because I have a husband who will maybe manage to buy me flowers at the last minute on Valentine's Day after a media advertising campaign has been reminding him every five minutes for three weeks? Shackling myself to someone who will take me for granted every day so that I can pretend that being married is some kind of bonus, and that being the only adult who can wash a floor makes me gifted?"

Yeah; this movie doesn't suggest these things. There were no dishes or laundry. So I guess in many ways it is a nice fantasy.

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