Monday, August 28, 2006

Movie heat

I couldn't resist watching more John Wayne last night. It was a feast I fully enjoyed, watching some of my favorite Wayne movies: McClintock! and Hatari. I remember having such a crush on Patrick Wayne who I now find out is 16 years old than I am. Doesn't matter, McClintock! is a wonderful funny film and I have to admit I rooted for John Wayne when he spanked Maureen O'Hara with a fireplace shovel on her corseted and bloomered backside. She deserved it. The spanking, despite her death threats, howling and curses, didn't stop her from running after John Wayne when he and Chill Wills drove off in the carriage. She caught up with them and jumped onto the back of the carriage, hanging on with all her strength as they drove off in a cloud of dust.

Sitting here now I realize I just advocated abuse, which is very strange considering I have been the victim of abuse in the past. John Wayne's rough handling of women and his grab them and kiss them style when they need kissing is a relic of the past, gone from all but the fringe of sadomasochistic relationships and movies, or at least that is the way it seems.

I read another LJ member's blog who ranted about the return of the 1960s style romance where the hero and heroine hate each other, fight every single time they're together and then fall into each other's arms at the end. She bemoaned the lack of sexual tension and the kind of rude, crude and socially unacceptable hero more misogynistic than romantic. He is silent, insensitive and emotionally unavailable. Contrasting Wayne with that kind of hero, I see what she means. 

Wayne's rough ways illustrate abuse or something more elemental, something earthier? Wayne is passionate, although he can be silent. His silences are deafening with barely restrained anger and frustration.

Oftentimes his sidekick mumbles disapproval and discontent sotto voce, but not Wayne. He is not passive-aggressive nor does he send mixed messages. He is silent as he struggles to rein in his temper. He drowns his emotions in whiskey or a game of chess, but he is easy to read. His women, especially Maureen O'Hara, run roughshod over him for a while, but eventually his passion boils over and he stings from the sharp spurs and he gives them what they've been asking for -- attention, and lots of it.

Wayne's characters are not incapable of talking or introspection, but there is a time for words and a time for action. In The Quiet Man Wayne portrayed a professional boxer whose last bout ended with his opponent dead. He refuses to fight when he moves to Ireland and buys his family home. Though Maureen O'Hara's brother, a big brute of a man who is a bully and a blowhard, digs his spurs into the Yank, Wayne refuses to fight. The bully makes fun of Wayne and he takes it out on his horse, riding the big black hunter over hill and dale chasing the devil and his seething rage. Wayne's friends manage to trick O'Hara's brother into agreeing to allow her to marry Wayne, but the bully opens his mouth and puts his big booted foot into it, ruining the wedding gathering and refusing to pay his sister's promised dowry. She is devastated and Wayne is simply irritated -- mostly at O'Hara because she cares more for the money than for him . . . at least until they get home and she explains her dowry is her own and she's been dreaming of her things about her and not being married as if she were ashamed and living like a boarder instead of the woman of the house.

Wayne understands yet he will not humble himself and beg for her dowry. O'Hara loves him and cannot live with a man she is ashamed of, a man who won't fight for her -- or for her dowry. She leaves him in the morning while he's still asleep. When Wayne wakes up and finds her gone, he rides his big black hunter to the railroad station 5 miles away and drags her back -- the long way -- by her hand the whole 5 miles, just a stretch of the legs, he reminds her as she has told him, dragging her when she falls to the ground. A well meaning old lady offers a stick to beat the pretty lady and Wayne keeps dragging O'Hara right up to the bully brother working in his field.

He demands O'Hara's dowry. The bully refuses. Wayne throws O'Hara back at him. The marriage is off. "No dowry. No deal." The bully takes the money from his wallet and throws it at Wayne. O'Hara opens the door on the furnace and Wayne tosses the money inside. And the fight is on at last. The bully sucker punches Wayne and Wayne shakes it off, jumps up, and lands a big right hand. The men fight for hours . . . and Wayne fights, no longer afraid he can't fight unless he's intent on killing the bully. After all, he can't kill his brother-in-law. It might not look good and it will hurt his wife. But he's not holding back either and the fight is a real Donnybrook that lasts for hours -- minutes on the screen with a lot of traveling, much like Wayne chasing O'Hara through the streets of town only to catch her in her shift, put her over his knee, and spank her -- with a small shovel to make sure he gets through all the petticoats and unmentionables so she feels it.

We would be outraged were a man to treat us that way -- and be secretly pleased cared so much for us.

When Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady walks out of Professor Higgins's house and Freddy Ainsfor-Hill meets her outside on the street, she tells Freddy, who has been writing her every day, "sheets and sheets," that she is sick of words. She doesn't want any more talk, she knows lots of words, she wants Freddy to show her how he feels. "Talk, talk, that all you blighters can do?"

I would add, "Think, think, that all you can do?" Time to stop living in your head, figuring out all the angles and do something.

Sometimes a woman wants a man to go crazy over her, stop her from making a fool of herself, or simply let the inner caveman out to take her in his arms and let her known in no uncertain terms he is not fooled by her temper tantrums or her passionate protests. She craves his strong arms and his commanding presence. She no longer wants the lines between man and woman blurred or obscured. She wants his passion, his jealousy and his love without reservation or restraint. There is a time for romance and a time for unbridled, uncivilized and unabashed love. Mel Brooks illustrated that point quite amply in Young Frankenstein when Frankenstein's fiancée, Elizabeth, chose to marry the monster. He curled and streaked her hair when he ravaged her and she loved it. I guess the oh-so-proper doctor didn't have that caveman magnetism Elizabeth needed to make her want to quit digging in her spurs and let go.

A strong woman needs a strong man. That doesn't mean she wants someone to beat her, although a little spanking can be quite a turn-on in foreplay, but someone she can't control or dig her spurs into for long. She craves and needs limits because she cannot respect a man she can control. Basically, a woman can only feel like a woman when she's in the arms of a strong man. I know the feeling.

Sometimes I want to be with a man who will stop making excuses, take me in his arms and kiss me senseless. A little romance is nice, but I want him to forget the months of teasing and foreplay and get down to business. Leave me breathless. Let me see the fire of jealousy in your eyes. Brand me with your fingers. I can take it. Don't worry about buttons and zippers. I know how to sew and I need to buy new clothes anyway. Ignore propriety and don't leave me in doubt of your feelings. We don't need words. We need action and lots of it. I'll light the candles and heat up dinner; we can be romantic later.

There is a time for romance and sexual tension and then there's a time for heat. Give me heat . . . even when it hurts. At heart, there's a little cavewoman in us all that melts a little when the caveman grabs us by the hair and drags us off to his cave.

That is all.  Disperse. 

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