Friday, July 08, 2016

My View On Chasing Amy ...

So the other night, we were laying in bed channel surfing, when Stoney stopped on Chasing Amy.

Chasing Amy is one of my favorite films.  At least in my top five.  I'm a Kevin Smith fan.  I love Clerks and Mallrats and Dogma.  But I adore Chasing Amy.  Maybe it's because he's my age ... but Kevin gets my sense of humor.  Or rather ... I guess I have that backwards   I get his sense of humor.  In any case ... it's like Chasing Amy was written for me.

Do all girls think that?  Stoney told me once that all girls feel like Alanis Morrisette's "You Oughta Know" was written for them.  And, while I haven't taken a poll, I suspect that's true.  Maybe men too.  After all, most of us have a story of someone in our past who didn't appreciate us ... someone we wish would realize how much they gave up when they passed on us.

But back to Chasing Amy ... it's not really about me.  I'm not a lesbian so it's not like the character, Alyssa Jones, is my spirit animal.  But I get her.  I get her spirit and her openness and her attitude. If you haven't seen the movie, let me give you a quick run down ...

Holden and Banky are comic book artists and best friends.  At a convention, they are introduced to Alyssa Jones, an attractive, fellow comic book artist.  She's invites them to a club ... where Holden misinterprets her attention and is stunned to learn she's a lesbian.  The movie is about Holden and Alyssa's relationship and the strain their relationship creates between Holden and Banky. 

There is so much to like about this movie.  Even the smaller scenes are memorable ... like Banky and Alyssa comparing injuries they received while giving head to women ... or Holden teaching Alyssa how to play skee-ball ... or the scene with Jay and Silent Bob in the diner with Holden.

But two scenes in this movie affect me.  When Holden tells Alyssa he loves her for the first time ... it's a speech that every woman wishes she could hear.  It's long ... but you need to read this to appreciate it.
I love you. And not, not in a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. And not in a misplaced affection, puppy-dog way, although I'm sure that's what you'll call it. I love you. Very, very simple, very truly. You are the-the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being. And I know that you think of me as just a friend, and crossing that line is-is-is the furthest thing from an option you would ever consider. But I had to say it. I just, I can't take this anymore. I can't stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can't-I can't look into your eyes without feeling that-that longing you only read about in trashy romance novels. I can't talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. And I know this will probably queer our friendship - no pun intended - but I had to say it, 'cause I've never felt this way before, and I-I don't care. I like who I am because of it. And if bringing this to light means we can't hang out anymore, then that hurts me. But God, I just, I couldn't allow another day to go by without just getting it out there, regardless of the outcome, which by the look on your face is to be the inevitable shoot-down. And, you know, I'll accept that. But I know, I know that some part of you is hesitating for a moment, and if there's a moment of hesitation, then that means you feel something too. And all I ask, please, is that you just - you just not dismiss that, and try to dwell in it for just ten seconds. Alyssa, there isn't another soul on this fucking planet who has ever made me half the person I am when I'm with you, and I would risk this friendship for the chance to take it to the next plateau. Because it is there between you and me. You can't deny that. Even if, you know, even if we never talk again after tonight, please know that I am forever changed because of who you are and what you've meant to me, which - while I do appreciate it - I'd never need a painting of birds bought at a diner to remind me of.
And maybe that speech right there is why the hockey scene destroys me. 

Holden finds out something particularly racy about Alyssa's past and confronts her with it at a hockey game.  The way their argument builds in time with the fight happening on the ice ... the subtle sound of the heartbeat in the background ... it all comes together to make the tension almost unbearable.  When they take the argument to the parking lot, it gets exponentially worse.  Holden accuses Alyssa of being used, Alyssa screams back that it was just sex, and Alyssa winds up in tears ... sobbing on the ground after Holden tells her he wants something they can never have ... to just be a "normal" couple.

So ... I can't say I've ever had that argument.  Although I had something similar.  What I experienced was a fraction of what Alyssa experienced with Holden.  It's really not even comparable ... except that ... it is.

I went out handful of times with a particular man.  Our families had been close.  His mother and my grandmother were practically best friends.  He was much older than me ... probably 12 or 15 years at least ... but, even still, on paper we should've been a good match.  We had similar personalities ... or at least I thought we did.  It was a thing ... and for a hot minute there was a buzz throughout our families because we had started seeing each other.

Then one night he picked me up for dinner.  He pulled me across the truck's bench seat to sit next to him.  We were just casually talking ... when I said something about "back when I lived with someone."  His brow creased and he said, "What?"  I waved my hand and said, "Oh, you know ... I shared an apartment with someone after high school."  He physically reacted ... drawing away from me.  I was genuinely confused.  "What?  Didn't you know?"  "Did I know?  Know that you lived with someone?  No ... I didn't know you lived with someone.  Thirtywhat?  Little Thirtywhat???  You lived with someone?"  He looked shocked and disgusted.

It hit me at that moment.  His parents ... the ones that were best friends with my grandmother ... were deeply, deeply religious.  His father had been the preacher at my grandmother's Baptist church.  I drew away to the other side of the truck.  My face was hot and flushed.  I felt ashamed ... and angry.  Ashamed because the relationship I'd mentioned had been an abusive shit-show with someone I should've never been involved with in the first place.  But I was also angry ... angry that this man was judging me.

It didn't escalate to the degree of the argument in Chasing Amy ... primarily because we weren't in a relationship yet.  We hadn't spent the night together.  Neither one of us loved each other ... hell, we obviously didn't even know each other.  We each sat on opposite sides of the truck ... not speaking.  We didn't scream at one another.  We both quietly suffered through a terribly awkward dinner ... and afterwards I asked him to take me home.

He apologized later.  A got a telephone call assuring me that he didn't care that I lived with someone ... he was just surprised.   It took everything I had to be gracious ... because every cell in my body wanted to yell, "Thank you so much for not caring!  I was laying awake at night wracked with guilt because you might have an opinion about something I've done in the past."

The point of this overly-long post is this.  I watch Chasing Amy and I get that scene.  Alyssa isn't proud of her past ... but she is furious that Holden throws it up at her and holds it against her.  That scene breaks my heart all over again every time I see it.  Not for me, mind you ... because that guy was a douche and I thank the Lord Jesus Christ and all the saints of Heaven every day when I put my feet on the floor that I dodged that particular bullet.  But it breaks for Alyssa ... because she genuinely thought she found the love of her life in Holden.

Would it have worked if Banky hadn't told Holden about her sordid past?  Would they have lived happily ever after and had a mini-van full of adorable, squeaky-voiced children?   I suspect not.  Holden would've found a way to screw it up.  But still ... I watch this movie over and over (and over) ... and each time I think maybe this time Holden will sit in that swing on the playground ... and not come up with the world's worst solution to a relationship problem.

She's your girlfriend
It's getting harder to see
Better just take her home
Better just let her be
When she walks out that door ...
you'll come looking for me
Soul Asylum - We 3

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