Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fatal Attraction Reaction

The other night my husband and I watched Fatal Attraction the ultimate cautionary tale for cheating husbands. He posted the fact on facebook and jokingly questioned whether it was a bad idea to watch it with your spouse. It was fine. Though it is difficult not to turn all men into Dan (Michael Douglas' character) when you watch him tromp all over his perfect life.

My husband kept catching me staring holes into him even though he is the best man I know and he is as loyal as they come. He also couldn't help but squirm and tremble a little whenever Alex "the other woman" showed up on screen. She may as well have been wearing the mask from Scream.

Anne Archer as Beth (Dan's bride) is the quintessential wife; beautiful, sexy, fun, trusting. For goodness sake, I'd marry her. The young actress Ellen Hamilton Latzen who plays the daughter Ellen in the film could teach a master class on non-precocious child acting. It's impossible not to buy into their family unit and take it personally that Dan can't keep his pee pee in his pants where it belongs.

I have seen Fatal Attraction at least fifty times. It's right up there with Goodfellas as one of those movies that it's impossible to ignore if you come across it while channel surfing. In college, my friends and I wore the tape out because as theatre majors we were convinced Glenn Close's performance as Alex was the most brilliant of all time. We analyzed her every move. Her performance was so distinct and detailed that we'd rewind scenes and marvel at how her expressions changed and contemplated her subtext. We believed from an acting perspective that Glenn Close's Alex was not evil or psychotic as many men determined but fragile and vulnerable. For years, Glenn Close has defended the character as misunderstood. We agreed.

A great deal has changed since I use to watch Fatal Attraction with my theatre pals. The biggest changes have come in the names of Bill, Thomas, Nora, Audra, and Drea; my husband and kids. This time, when I watched Fatal Attraction it wasn't about Glenn Close's performance at all. I was a Mother and a wife and I was no longer taking Dan and Alex's behavior personally on an intellectual level. This time, everything that happened to Beth (Anne Archer) was happening to me.

There's a scene where Dan watches his daughter practice her lines for the school play. The look of love on his face and the tender way he hugs her when she is finished reminded me of moments Bill has had with the girls. I understood the sweet look on Beth's face as she observed the exchange. There is nothing like seeing your husband get all gooey with his babies. My heart grows three sizes just thinking about it.

Another moment that resonates is when Dan watches Beth get dressed for a dinner party. He sits on the bed and watches her in the mirror with delight as she puts on lotion. She smiles, part shy, part reveling in her husband's attention. Bill has admired me like that whether I am wearing sweatpants or an evening gown. I know exactly how Beth feels.

But in another scene Alex kidnaps Ellen and takes her to an amusement park. They ride a roller coaster while poor Beth drives around like a crazy woman trying to find them. She ends up in an accident and has to wear a giant pathetic looking cast on her arm for the rest of the movie.

I started having an anxiety attack and the anger I felt toward Alex was palpable. How dare she take my--I mean poor Beth's child and put her on a roller coaster? The very idea of someone having the audacity to take my child and put them in peril illicited murderous thoughts in my mind. I don't mean murderous in a metaphoric way either. I. Mean. Murder.

My husband seemed to sense my stress or he was eager to get to the showdown between Alex and Beth in the last scene because he fast forwarded through that section. I was grateful. I don't think I would've handled watching it all that well.

When Dan confesses to Beth about the affair she gets on the phone and tells Alex, "If you ever come near my family again, I'll kill you," and hangs up. What a a bad-ass. She speaks for all Mothers to anyone who dares to f*** with our families. I hoot-hoot hooted, applauded, and fist pumped my support.

Alex was no longer the vulnerable and fragile victim defended by Glenn Close and some obsessed theater students. She was a woman who knew a man was married and slept with him anyway. It takes two to tango. The man doesn't have to do it and neither does the woman.

Sorry Glenn, you're on your own. Still a good movie, though.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Running As Fast As I Can

I am a runner: which is to say I am not a runner but a "runner wanna be" who started a walk/run program last week and feels really cool. As if I'm a runner. Even though I'm not. It's fun to say, "I am a runner." It's also fun to say, "I"m gonna go for a run." or "I gotta get my run in."

I was perusing an online running magazine and one of the experts told a novice they could call themselves a runner even if they were doing more walking than running. I like that. It seems to me that the running community is an inclusive one with an "I think-therefore-I-am philosophy. I ran into my friend Janelle at Fleet Street in Old Town. She's been running for years. I told her I was just getting started. She said, "Welcome," and gave me a hug. Runners are nice. Maybe runners should run the world.

My chronic body pain does not make me the best candidate for a running program. As I explained in my post "For the Sake of Exercise" having babies has thrown my body out of whack. In the past six months I've also added two herniated discs and physical therapy in order to be able to turn my head without pain or my arms going numb. I should probably be doing yoga or pilates; something with no impact. But I don't wanna. I wanna run. So, I'm gonna try. After all, isn't life in the trying, and the patience, and the perseverance?

So far, I have made it sixteen minutes on the treadmill with no foot pain. Yesterday, I tried to go for twenty minutes and my feet started to hurt. I looked up proper running form on YouTube. I think I'll join the Run Club at the Y and get some tips.

My friend Heidi is a runner and regularly sets goals like 5ks and half marathons. Her baby weight melted off of her and it keeps her sane. When she describes running as her outlet it sounds as romantic as any novel with Fabio on the cover. I want that romance. Just me and the open road, running free.

There's an 1980's film that stars the late Jill Clayburgh called "I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can" It's based on the memoir of a woman named Barbara Gordon; a filmmaker addicted to Valium who suffered a total breakdown when she tried to quit cold turkey, was kidnapped by her live-in lover and ended up institutionalized. Okay, that doesn't relate to my running at all but I do like the title. And I like the fact that even though I'm "running" super slow, I am running as fast as I can. And that is just fine.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Dream of Pajama Jeans

I was visiting my dear friend Arlene and bless her heart she opened the door and greeted me with, "You look fantastic. What are those jeans?" I jumped up and down like a twelve year old at a Justin Bieber concert. "You wanna know?" I teased as I removed my jacket in order to reveal the jeans in their full splendor. "They're PAJAMA JEANS!" I exclaimed as I danced and accented my moves with several booty shakes and spins. "No!" Arlene countered. "Yes!" I yawped. "Yes!"

I was out to lunch with my dear friends Lori and Curtis and I could hardly restrain myself, "Wanna know a secret?" I sipped my coffee as I waited for their reply. Lori looked worried and Curtis as usual was non-plussed. "No, I'm not pregnant--I'm wearing Pajama Jeans!" Their reaction was not quite as enthusiastic as Arlene's but I still reveled with pride in my reveal.

Pajama Jeans are denim on the outside and sweatpants soft material on the inside. Pajama Jeans are featured in a fantastic commercial that usually airs late at night or during female-centered programming. When I first saw the commercial I marveled and guffawed. I thought the idea was brilliant if these pants were legit but Pajama Jeans were a punchline in no need of a joke. They are currently skewered in the mainstage show at The Second City in Chicago and the commercial itself is custom made to be mocked.


When people say, "Jeans are sooo comfortable," I'm convinced they are lying in the same manner that women lie when they say their eighteen inch stilettos are "Sooooo comfortable." Jeans are constricting, and scratchy, and if they fit correctly I feel like the circulation in my thighs is being cut off. I simply cannot wear them but I like the idea of them. Jeans match everything. You can dress them up and you can dress them down. On occasion, I just want to dress like everyone else. I get sick of jersey or dress pants, and skirts with tights. By the by, for me, tights pose the same challenges that jeans do so I can hardly ever wear skirts in winter.

I wanted Pajama Jeans but I wasn't completely convinced I could get away with wearing them. If they did offer the comfort they promised how could I possibly sport them without people knowing they were Pajama Jeans then consequently pointing and laughing at me behind my back. My dignity was at stake along with my pocket book. Pajama jeans were forty dollars and only available online.

I'd been played before by ordering the Total Pillow online only to be completely disappointed. I couldn't get all my money back because it would have cost me more to ship it back or something along those lines according to the Total Pillow Rep on the phone. He said they'd let me keep it and refund some of my money instead. "So that's how you ensure you make a profit!" I admonished then hung up the phone. I would not be fooled again by taking a gamble and ordering Pajama Jeans no matter how tempting.

Then one fateful day I was at the Dominick's and in the cardboard hut section where they sell anything from therapeutic pillows, to novelty mugs I saw Pajama Jeans. One pair left. In. My. Size. My heart was a flutter and I rejoiced in the fact that I could take them home, try them on, have a good chuckle and then return them because they didn't do what they were suppose to do.

But something incredible happened when I returned home that day. My pajama jeans looked AMAZING. And they were really comfortable. Like sweatpants-after-Thanksgiving-dinner comfortable. Could it be? Had my blue jean prayers been answered?

Arlene went online and purchased a pair for herself before I left her house. She's considering them as presents for several of her friends. Everywhere I go, I am complimented and another woman devoted to her "sooo comfortable" jeans is inspired to buy a pair and know a comfort she's never known before. Pajama Jeans may be the best kept secret around but I feel it's my duty to pass on the good news.

Pajama Jeans! Pajama Jeans! Pajama! Jeans!

Sometimes dreams really do come true.