44. Sunday in New York (1963)
Directed by Peter Tewksbury
Written by Norman Krasna
Starring Jane Fonda, Rod Taylor, and Cliff Robertson
Despite my lifelong atheism, the sexual politics of my Catholic upbringing still managed to fuck me up. A general, secular patriarchy would have done the same on its own. I was a late bloomer, but that didn’t stop high school me from being shitty about demands for female purity. Youth wasn’t all bad, though, was it? I just finished writing an essay about virginity and teenage skinny dipping, and it dawned on me how joyful and profoundly unsexual the latter always was. Emotions are never as big as when you were sixteen, except for brief flashes in the fall, when the weather chills and the air smells like a fireplace and the five o’clock sunsets make everything feel lonely but also replete with immeasurable significance. I told X that my writing is fueled by the need to recapture those feelings, which I often worry I’ll lose forever. She was like, Well, yeah. Is it better or worse that Mike fears instead of preys on Eileen’s virginity? Meeting cute twice in one movie is excessive. There are an uncanny number of parallels between their quasi-date in Central Park and one X and I had just a few months after 9/11. It’s disconcerting how many goth and darkwave songs I loved half a lifetime ago are about spurned men slut-shaming their former women partners. In that regard, Depeche Mode and Siouxsie and the Banshees hold up way better than the Cure. Two sessions into getting my facial hair lasered off and there’s still so much masculinity in me to purge. My new, femme power move is to apply tinted lip balm (Neutrogena “Fresh Plum 60”) while entering a men’s bathroom. Adam and Mona’s desperate search for a place to fuck is like the longest episode of Frasier ever. That is, if Frasier was a pilot and not a psychiatrist. I like movies based on plays that feel like a play, probably because the characters just put it all out there and say what they mean without irony or pretense. Poststructuralism ruined me. I get that meaning is mutable, and words are imperfect carriers of information. The singer in my punk band, who went to grad school for Rhetoric over a decade ago, even wrote a song about it. He says those lyrics were the only thing his Master’s degree was good for.