The first real love story I deeply felt in my bones was Mamet’s “Sexual Perversions in Chicago”. Actually it was the movie version “About Last Night”, with Rob Lowe at his prettiest, and Demi Moore, when she still looked human and not the divine incarnation she currently is. I was 12 or 13, and somebody left the video in the VCR (that’s what we had before DVDs children).
I really shouldn’t have watched it, but I did.
It was the 80’s, and the sexual revolution had come and long gone. Love had new rules, yet we still yearned for permanence, even the dysfunctional one of our parent’s mistakes. So when Lowe (don’t ask me the characters names, to me it was much more real then that) gets asininely provoked over Demi leaving a Tampax wrapper on the bathroom floor, you know then it should have been better left at the one night stand.
Yet I fell in, head over heels. Not with Lowe, or Demi-goddess for that matter, but with the vulnerability of two unbaked people trying to stretch the ephemeral one-night stand into a relationship. At the pit of my stomach I hungered, hungered for the warmth, the warmth of the fleeting, it’s so much more precious then.
These days, its surreally different. We live in a world of arrogantly-demanded haves, without a concept of those who may have-not. Nurtured on a diet of Hannah Montana and Dark Knight, little children daydream of being princesses and superheroes. And they grow into divas with an Amazonian appetite for the self. Enough to fill the river, the forest, an urban jungle or two with utter dis-balance, in order to negate the proverbial void. Perhaps they have it right.
We grew up a little more insecure. On days I was over-compensating I’d allow myself a Cinderella complex, worshiping the emotionally incapable Heathcliffs and Darcies of my Bronte/Austen infused youth, but disallowing myself to formally attend the ball. The self-attention-deficit combined with the unrealistic expectations B/Hollywood gave me about the L word, curdled odd fantasies where deprivation was not only an essential ingredient, but the culmination of it. The beloved would indeed not only un-notice my devotion, but his oblivion would actually land death and me in a scraping match. My pre-pubescent delirium saw me accidentally locked outside in thunderstorms, perhaps floundering overboard, trapped in a tower, and other such masochismos, until I was nearly lost and HE–the inevitable HE–but had to realize my utter adoration for him.
Pain seemed to be an ordained pre-requisite for fulfillment. Even then, the only way I felt deserving of return of affections was if I did not relent despite torture, ambivalence, distance, abhorrence, contempt, and just wretched misery for a good long while.
And there it is. Everything I had ever anticipated has come true.
Rob and Demi, in a Mamet-created bar scene hell, make each other miserable. But apparently in this day and age there is no easier way to be together. How did I know at 12? And why did I imagine that this self-perpetuated prophecy of mutually assured destruction could actually result in something healthy? I mean who really cares in this day and age how loyal you are? What matters most is how pissed you can get on the moment someone misses a basket with a Tampax wrapper in the bathroom.
And then all hell breaks lose.
May the gods give us all mad-basketing skills.