Tuesday, June 27, 2006
It is 2:00 am, Nome time, and I can't sleep.
I just finished watching a Sarah Polley film called Guinevere, which I found disturbing ONLY because I felt like I'd seen it before but I scarcely remembered it. It doesn't seem like the sort of movie I'd watch when excessively drunk or stoned. So why don't I remember it? Am I getting old?
And how come I find love stories between pre-pubescent girls and older men unbelievably revolting and insufferable, but the moment said girl hits about eighteen I pretty much think it's fair game and even kind of hot? I couldn't stomach more than 150 pages of Lolita, and THAT'S a classic of English literature, but for some reason I thought this film was a fairly legitimate love story, if not a very functional one. Sure, relationships between older men and 20-something-year-old women are usually exploitative, but at least they're not really, really gross.
I was pretty sure I'd seen the film before because of this one fantastic scene where Sarah Polley's sitting with the guy in a chair, and someone she's managed to capture absolutely beautifully in those heavy-lidded crystal blue eyes of hers that feeling of absolutely palpable desire just about to be consummated. And he unzips her jeans and touches her and she leans back like a slender vine just leaning in the wind. Somehow it manages to be both passionate and mellow, incredibly sexual and yet also kind of intimate. It's the sort of scene I'd love to come up with should I ever toss off the shackles of academia and decide to be a filmmaker.
It's hot out. In bed, tossing and turning and trying to not think about life and wishing I could get The Divinyls' I Touch Myself out of my head for JUST ten seconds so I could sleep, I finally pulled off my t-shirt so I was down to my Playboy boxers (Value Village, about $3, Hayley thinks they're quote "hilarious," and YES, I will post a photo eventually).
Then I started thinking. Have you ever heard the old gender cliche that boys take off their t-shirts by pulling through the neck with both hands, whereas girls cross their arms and pull from the bottom? Weeelll, I do it the girl way too, but only because that's how they do it in the movies and everyone who's seen me do it my way pretty much thought I was a total freak.
See, I don't do it the girl way or the boy way. I sort of awkwardly slide out one arm, always the left first, and then pull everything else out from the side. This causes a lot of trouble when I try to wear those really fragile girly shirts, which is often.
This is a small example of where gender really trips me up. Sometimes I think I'm the girliest creature alive because I like things like flowers and butterflies and the colour pink. But go ahead, show me a spider on the toilet seat, and you better believe that Hayley will run screaming out of the room while I kneel down and go "COOL!" and then "Don't worry, I'll take care of it." I never kill them, I couldn't possibly. I find a balcony or a porch or a window and I put them outside. I like spiders.
I had a discussion with PR today (who I'm now going to call Nate because he reminds me of the character from Six Feet Under) about what, if anything, gender stereotypes mean, and while he started out sounding pretty sure of himself he sure ended up being pretty confused.
I mean....girly -- me?
Girly girls are usually not so much like me, at least under the surface. They don't go to baseball games, go camping for fun, swear a lot, refuse to wear a lot of dresses or skirts, enjoy really tacky ties, like bugs, watch violent films, dream about dinosaurs, or think pornography is pretty much a lot of harmless fun. But then again, maybe they do. And maybe most of them don't actually paint their nails every few days or buy designer bags or change their clothing shades according to the season like I wantonly assume they do.
And then again, when most people see Hayley and I on the street, they're probably thinking that the one with the short bleached hair and black-and-white Keds and a lot of attitude is less girly than the one with the rainbow shoes and hair clips. But then, they've never watched the cult favourite: Hayley vs. Insect. Looks can be deceiving.
And so, apparently, can stereotypes.
And these, ladies and gentlemen, are my middle o' the night thoughts.