Some time ago I wrote a post that concerned itself with love – specifically how romantic love was depicted in a movie that influenced how I dealt with my feelings for the opposite sex for quite a number of years. It was quite a pessimistic post and I find myself returning to those feelings once again.
In that post I complained about the lack of another in my life and by that I mean a romantic partner. Quite a number of my friends and acquaintances seem to have had no trouble finding and keeping love in their lives. Yet, I find myself alone and am not happy about it.
I also feel that I really don’t have any recourse in fixing that at the moment, which leads to a lot of late night musings and bits of writing like the piece you are reading here.
So, in the post I mention at the start of this little expose, I vent about how my feelings of romance had been mis-informed by a film. Now, as silly as that sounds, its not really that different from someone saying that their feelings about how romance works between people who are attracted to one another was influenced by say Lolita or Wuthering Heights or Breakfast at Tiffany’s — name your poison. And while I ranted about how unrealistic or how doomed my ideal of what romantic love should be – I’d like to talk about another film (from around the same time as the first) also added to or modified that view of romance and love.
The first film I went on about (for those too lazy not to follow the link to my previous post) was Somewhere in Time. Its a sappy movie about a guy who becomes infatuated with a picture of a woman at a hotel, discovers clues that hint that he might have been there at the same time as her and finds a way to travel back in time to meet and fall in love with this woman of his dreams. Its ridiculous and wonderful. And I hope I never see it again.
The second film (if you can’t surmise from the title of this post) is Ladyhawke. The trailer doesn’t do it justice. The movie came out at a time that was perfect for me. I was going to college, living away from home and with a group of friends of like mind and temperament. It also helps that the score and soundtrack are by Andrew Powell and Alan Parsons — that’s right, that Alan Parsons and this Alan Parsons. My roommate at the time and I listened to a lot of Alan Parsons music – and I had been doing so for some time. It was the soundtrack to a lot of my creative writing endeavors at that time and still pops up on my iTunes and iPod a lot these days.
It seems a little anachronistic when you hear it in the film, which is set in a fictional middle ages type environment, but the music sounds like – well, like Alan Parsons – progressive rock meets orchestra. I loved it.
Getting back to how this film informed my romantic life… Much like Somewhere in Time, its a fantasy film. It has elements of magic, like SiT, but its set in a psuedo-D&D environment – there’s knights (both good and bad) and priests (both good and bad) a thief, a hawk, a wolf, a gorgeous heroine, handsome hero, magic or curses and some pretty badass costumes. It was directed by Richard Donner – of Superman fame, and it has a much more truer love than that of the Somewhere in Time film. I say truer because there are obstacles and not the overall sense of a crazy person who forces his love or idea of love on someone in a sort of stalker-like fashion that is presented in Somewhere in Time.
I think its a better love story for this reason – it presents the struggle of people trying to be together but separated by both circumstantial and physical boundaries. Even the opening titles present this yin-yang/male-female problem through the clever use of both sun and moon, light and dark imagery. This works on both conscious and unconscious levels – we see them physically separated by the curse and also understand that all couples feel this separation, the otherness of male vs. female energy or physicality – here in the film represented by Nevarre as a wolf at night, and Isabeau as a Hawk during the day. “Always together, eternally apart.” You are rooting for them to be together because the way the film is presented, through dialogue, character and imagery -they are supposed to be together. Their love is true and its what they both want. I won’t spoil it for you (if you haven’t seen it, you should), of course it works out, and in a very satisfying way.
Anyway, it informed the romantic in me because, again, it re-enforces the idea that true love will win out in the end. That love is the be-all and end-all to what this existence is all about. But again – Ladyhawke is a fantasy film. Then again I think that a lot of the films that are categorized as “love stories” in cinema are fantasy films. Not all, obviously – but in general the romantic movies I allow myself to watch are fantasy films. Which is telling – do I think about love in only a fantasy context? Can I not handle the reality of love – the ups and downs, the day to day irritations that arise because of life and the simple act of navigating through social interactions which don’t have any magic in them? Maybe, I guess. Or maybe I just think way too much about this because I am currently alone.
But then again – I can’t be the only one who thinks or feels that way. Listening to the dialogue or watching the images or reading passages in books and stories – the fantasy of love is presented again and again. There is a line in Ladyhawke something to the extant of: “Did you know Hawks and Wolves mate for life?” But are we humans wired for lifelong relationships? Research indicates that may not be the case, no matter how much we long for it. There is safety and security in a committed monogamous relationship – but dangers as well.
We get bored, we long for new experience. I remember a passage from a play about Shakespeare – I can’t remember the name of it exactly, but I remember the scene – Shakespeare’s wife confronts him about his affairs, asking why must he stray. His response is a list – reasons why other women are attractive. Is that our true nature, in the end? Our animal nature, the pursuit of multiple partners and experiences – is that our true self and that the societal necessity of monogamy is simply something that we invented because it was better for the social group in our early days as a species? I guess you could argue for either way. It certainly doesn’t seem to be a necessity in today’s modern digital age – we are moving toward virtual relationships everyday, and some find virtual relationships just as fulfilling as real ones.
If the internet and Tumblr have shown us anything – we hold the fantasy of love and sex extremely important – to the detriment of many a relationship and the notion of monogamy. How can you compete with some extremely beautiful B&W images of people engaged in coitus and kissing – especially when you look nothing like that in the mirror…
But can a virtual partner replace the real thing? Is fantasy the ideal and reality dying off?
Which brings me back to the present.
I’ve found myself caught up in some fairly nice personal success of late – and by success I mean recognition and the chance to meet and give back to fans of a television show I was lucky enough to have been apart of, and which I’ve written about before. Lately I’ve been ale to attend conventions, travel across the country and rub elbows with some of my childhood idols and be invited into a circle that gets a unique view of the world for a weekend or two over the past few months. And its fantasy in a way, because its outside the norm of my existence – its great and I’m not belittling it in anyway, but its not the norm of my routine.
And as fun and thrilling as this time is, its dimmed a little bit by the fact that I really don’t have anyone to share it with. It would be nice to come home after an event and talk about it – the good parts, the not so good parts. Sharing that fantasy weekend would certainly help to solidify it as a part of my reality.
I like my alone time – there are quite a few hours of the day I’d much rather spend in solitude, away from the noise and bustle of other people. But there are other hours when I need that close interaction with a special someone. Its a fundamental need everyone has – the need to feel wanted and appreciated, validated and unique. Its something that a crowd or fans can’t provide.
It worries me a little that I’m getting older and that I might very well spend the latter half of my life alone – but is that just pessimism or a result of how “love” is marketed to us? When I look at the majority of “love” stories that are presented to us in all media – it seems to be presented in a way that excludes a certain demographic. That love is only for the pretty, the slim and toned or the young — and by young I mean the under 35 crowd. It seems like if you don’t fall into those categories, you are doomed to a life of exclusion – but then, maybe that’s just me being cynical.
There are plenty of examples of writers and creative types throughout history who because of their unhappy personal lives produce some great works of art. Is it wrong for me to not want to be included in that category? The pain of solitude may fuel art and expression, but I’d gladly like to escape that fate.
In the end I think I’m alone because of my actions and decisions – conscious or unconscious – which ended relationships or prevented other ones. Hopefully I can stop making those mistakes and learn to cultivate a fun, sexy and romantic relationship. It would do my peace of mind a heck of a lot of good. And prevent whiney posts like this one 🙂
Ok, enough personal angst and b.s. — back to what’s really important.
Write, writer… and finish that Lincoln Bright story you’ve been working on for a year! 🙂