Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ars Amatoria

My bride has - not one - but two master's degrees.
So, like the song says, she can spell s-e-x!

Just sayin'...

Caught the first half hour of "Get Yourself A College Girl" last night on TCM; a complete and utter shriek, and you can say I said so.

The title song above is so awful that it seems an almost intentional joke on what were known as "co-eds" back in the day. And compounding the joke is the scene a bit later where "Terri"'s fellow "co-eds" insist that she's, like, Joan of Arc leading them into this brave new world of female liberation. To have s-e-x, apparently. Which is, well, sorta not a real "Joan of Arc" thing, but, whatev'.

I understand that the rest of the film features some early Sixties musical brilliance (the reviewer at the link discusses perhaps the most famous; the appearance of Astrud Gilberto performing The Girl From Ipanema):
"My friends, what any viewer of this sequence has just experienced is pure -- repeat, untainted in any way -- musical perfection. Incredibly talented artists, at the absolute peak of their careers, captured on well photographed 35mm format performing their single most famous number.

It just doesn't get any better than this."
Plus some early British Invasion from The Animals and the Dave Clark Five...well, let's say that if I'd been perkier and the flick on earlier I'd have tried to watch the rest.

Instead I am left with the indelible impression of the 1959 Miss America crooning about how intellectual women are better because they really know how to screw.

Which is not how I recall it, but perhaps I went to the wrong school.


Lisa said...

Oh, that IS positively brilliant!

But you know, there's logic there: A college girl is supposedly freer, and breaking the bonds expressed in the Georgia Satellites tune, "No huggin' no kissin' til I get a weddin' ring". Truth is, most women were there to get the wedding certificate, and that free self was and is usually a flash in the pan that burns out pretty quickly.

As a dear feminist mentor explained to me: "We thought doing the laundry, cooking, having kids AND free sex was liberation. No -- that was servitude." It's a good insight.

When I was little I remember a PERFUME commercial with a woman in a business suit singing to the effect, "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan . . . and never, never let you FORGET YOU'RE A MAN!" That's significant, not only 'cause I remember it, but because that distilled the idea of the new woman: Pile it on!

I believe we still have not made peace with men's and women's roles.

FDChief said...

Like I said in the post; I had to check to make sure that this song wasn't SUPPOSED to be funny, it seemed like such a parody of the whole idea of "women's liberation"; us college wimmens, we're so smart we screw like mink!

I'm not sure whether this really has much to do with what a real college woman of 1964 - or 2024 - wants or things as much as it does some movie mogul's notion of what the rubes wanted to see...

But as far as how we see "what men do" versus "what women do", I tend to agree - we're still pretty damn clueless. Witness the whole "a man who sleeps around is a stud" versus "a woman who sleeps around is a slut" thing. And the reality that most women end up working AND frying the pan AND cleaning the house, etc, etc...

Us guys still have it pretty sweet; we've convinced you that you need to do what we do AND what you used to do, while we still avoid the hell out of your domestic work whenever possible.

Lisa said...

Yes, that's it -- the true partnership has not yet occurred. Of course each in himself or herself would have to be clear in order to partner up in that way. I don't think many people are clear, or even willing to uncover themselves.

Unfortunately, as I see it, we all get disjointed bits and pieces of what we need. Power is still the word, by and large, in sexual commerce, and I think power relations are antithetical to love relations.

I believe men know it will be a fairly short run of hot-and-heavy sex, which will dissipate after the ring. But for most, producing grandkids is still a card-puncher, and so the transaction occurs. So there is dissimulation out of the gate.

Studies say marriage rates are going down, out of wedlock births up. This is not a happy trend, but also one not hard to understand. Much to say on the topic, but unless you're Bergman and willing to risk an interminably boring go exploring relations, a film with sex sells.

This film is trying to validate the college girl as being a catch, anti Dorothy Parker (men don't make passes ...). Though it's probably just a little fillip, I think it does show how men would see the evolution of a good catch: Bright enough to discuss something other than favorite ice cream flavors, still sex kittens and liberated in the ways of not keeping the aspirin between her knees.

Of course, the effect of women's liberation is a real mish-mash. You get uppity, angry women; you still get their long-entrenched designing aspects; there is still the need to form a household. And books now are advising the successful woman on how to be less of a power-broker in her intimate relations. And people still divorce in throngs.

A little honesty would be nice, but isn't it peculiar how we don't always get what we say we want, but take on the often hopeless challenge, instead. Perhaps we're afraid of too much intimacy.

So give me a college girl like the Energizer bunny, and I can happy a blissful few years before entering the real world.

FDChief said...

Unfortunately, Lisa, the deal seems to be strongly slanted in one direction.

Us Y-chromosome types get to have most of the power and money, get to have most of the fun and the discretionary adventure, and get to pursue you and - if we catch you - it's your fault and not our problem.

You, on the other hand, get the short end of the income and and employment stick, and have to (at least in theory) confine yourselves to chastity, monogamy, or "slutdom: - there's little or no public support for a woman who chooses to take her pleasure "like a man"...

So I have a certain amount of sympathy for women who are unwilling to "uncover themselves" or be direct and honest; they risk censure for being "unfeminine" at best and slut-shaming/"ball-buster-shaming" at worst (remember how back in the Nineties Hillary had to bake fucking cookies and say she'd "stand by her man" to keep from being roughed up in the public press for being a castrating pants-wearing bitch? I wonder how she felt about that later when Bill's philandering helped destroy his influence in D.C. and tear down what they'd worked for?)

So I wonder if we men would really welcome a woman who was REALLY honest with us? Who took us on her own terms, as we expect her to take us on ours?

Lisa said...

So I wonder if we men would really welcome a woman who was REALLY honest with us?

Fascinating question! Evolutionary biology suggests that the female has developed secret ploys to level the playing field, like a more frequent estrus cycle which can also be concealed. Concealment and discovery is all part of the game, I s'pose.

I thank you for your honesty and commitment to exposing the views of your sex. I remain in awe of the fact that here we are, and after all these years, the self-help section remains bursting forth with titles like, "Think Like a Man, Act Like a Woman". It seems we really haven't a clue, or we don't wish to be honest about what we see in the mirror and in the other.

Then, of course, it would take that little leap to the dreaded "dialog", which some seem so terrified by or averse to.

basilbeast said...

Women and Portland, Oregon ( again ), bottom of the link.

I used to watch when I was a kid, never understood it though.


FDChief said...

Lisa: "It seems we really haven't a clue, or we don't wish to be honest about what we see in the mirror and in the other. Then, of course, it would take that little leap to the dreaded "dialog", which some seem so terrified by or averse to."

That, and we'd likely all have to come a long way out of our comfort zones in terms of what we like to think about the other gender; we'd have to abandon a lot of comforting platitudes about what "men are like" and "what do women want/like/think about"...

In particular I think that us guys have this bizarre need to separate women from women's genitals; we like to romanticize and idealize the women we desire, detatching them from the earthy realities of their human natures and human bodies.

And at the same time we harbor all these earthy fantasies and prejudices about sex, and in particular women's attitudes and aptitudes for and about sex...

So we get the whole "madonna/whore" thing, and the difficulty we seem to have dealing with the reality of human emotional/sexual interaction rather than our rather convoluted preconceptions of it.

So to go back to your comment, we end up with articles in Cosmo about how to think like a man and act like a woman because we've so hardwired the notions that "oh, that's a "man" way to think" and "that's a woman-thing" that the notion of people crossing or mixing those tropes kinda freaks us out and leaves us groping for a firm place to take our mental stand.

Of all the irking peculiarities of the hairless ape, the preference for being certain but mistaken over uncertain but open to correction/learning is perhaps one of the most irking...

FDChief said...

Basil: We loves us our Rollers, especially because of the DIY nature of the group. There's none of the usual pro-sports hype or puffery - the gals just love to play derby, play hard, and they're hella fun to watch.

Plus they're usually straight-talkin', fun and funny women.

Very cool.

Lisa said...

I think that us guys have this bizarre need to separate women from women's genitals

Interesting. So not only do we -- many of us -- suffer from some degree of dissociation, but we are further sliced and diced by the other. Perhaps this is why films like Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In" and "Boxing Helena" captivate (and repulse): Because we strive to capture the essence of the other, knowing that no matter how well-intentioned, there is a measure of handicapping in the act.

So, we are consigned to a no man's land of knowing oneself (if lucky), and imagining how that might accord with another. It is the Pygmalion quest to create a known quantity, yet even this so often goes awry, as that perfection walks out the door, or becomes a Frankensetinian monster.

I agree per this frustrating preference for "being certain but mistaken over uncertain but open to correction/learning". I am learning the only thing I can do is ask the questions, and if I have a kind interlocutor, he will bring me in by answering them. Then we can become more at equals. If he is unkind or ego-deficient, the possibility of approaching that equality will be sadly impossible.

I believe the great sadness for many men (people) is that they retain that view of separation (appearance from the realities), and their relations will always be strained, distant and lonely. Mass entertainment does its best trafficking on this gulf; if it shared solutions, its consumer base would be much reduced.

Lisa said...

I just came across the lyrics for "Quiet Girl" from "Wonderful Town" -- it is the argument to "College Girl". Some lyrics:

All right! Goodbye!
You've taught me my lesson!
Get mixed up with a genius from Ohio!
It happens overand over
I pick the sharp intellectual kind
Why couldn't this time be different
Why couldn't she - only be
Another kind - A different kind of girl

I love a quiet girl
I love a gentle girl
Warm as sunlight
Soft, soft as snow