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In Hot Pursuit of Happiness

He Said, She Said

He Said She Said, 1991

As if to rub in my latest foolish romantic indiscretions, Fate brought me the film “He Said She Said” a few evenings ago, an old movie starring Elizabeth Perkins in full Rosebud mode, and the ever delightful Kevin Bacon (whose sexiness is strangely unmarred by the ‘open’ nose that, I’ve always believed, rightly belongs only on African faces, which can carry them off…)

I actually couldn’t watch much of the movie – I wasn’t in the mood after I witnessed a humiliating few scenes that took me off to bed; the rest of the movie would have been too painful. In them, Elizabeth Perkins, who has obviously (thoroughly loneliness and Kevin’s cuteness) developed a pash for him, first of all contrives to have him dance with her, then after he drives her home, actually asks him up in language that I would rather die than use –or so thought, before I sent equally or more humiliating declarations to X, my Crush. They actually ended with… “Don’t you ever get lonely?” At which point Kevin gives her a pity kiss (it may also have been a ‘might-as-well’ kiss, which is just as bad) and they end up in bed. How I blushed for her… How I understood her… How I might have actually BEEN her, if X weren’t a continent away. And how I would have battled suicidal tendencies the next day… There is NOTHING worse, NOTHING AT ALL, Girls, than Throwing Yourself At A Man (TYAAM). NOTHING. Men can throw all they want –we find it romantic. But the other way around? Do anything –EVERYTHING to avoid it, no matter how you feel. If you have to hire a thug to bash you over the head so that you’re out cold for the night –do it. But do not, I repeat, NEVER, EVER TYAAM. A few scenes later, Elizabeth actually leans over her desk (they are journalists sharing an office) and tells him that she loves him. At that point, I was out.

TYAAMing will kill you, because men are ALWAYS in ‘might-as-well’ mode. To them, almost any opportunity is a good opportunity; and having a girl admit to a partiality for them is so flattering to their ever-present Ego that, when they reach middle-age, they feel compelled to go through that well-known crisis that has them looking for that very same attention once more. TYAAMing, in short will open you up to becoming a man’s play toy, and close you off almost certainly from any possible meaningful relationship. DON’T DO IT. It’s like saying ‘I love you’ and not getting it back…

Waking up the next morning, I thought about the title of the film, “He Said, She Said” then about some advice that I recently received.

‘You’re profile’s pretty open,’ a good friend said. ‘You need to remove a few options.’

I frowned as I replied that I might be picky, but I needed a pool of good prospects to pick FROM.

‘Still, she replied, you don’t want to expose yourself to divorced men, or men with children.’ ‘And why not?’

‘ Well,’ she said, ‘there’s two sides to every story.’

She was right, of course. While my profile says I’m open to relationships with divorced men, and men with children –why are they divorced? Or if they have children, why did they never marry? There are two sides to every story, but the only one that I’m likely to hear from such prospects will probably involve they’re being right and their ex being wrong. In fact, their ex is likely to be described as some money-grabbing, nagging, calculating witch with the manners of a harpy and the voice of a banshee.

If you’ve never been married before, I’m told, better to find a man who’s never been married before either. Then you can both start fresh, and build your marriage from scratch. You can learn to live with his impossible quirks, and he with the way you handle PMS. You can develop a signalling system for parties, one for agreeing to leave early, another for ‘You’re drinking too much’ and yet another for ‘You’re talking too much.’ You can decide on things to do when neither of you wants to cook, and where to get away to when both of you have a little money, and  are fried from work… You know –MARRIAGE.

Many girls, are tempted to believe, as I did before I thought about this, that marrying someone who’s been married before means that he’s experienced the domestic setting, and that things might be even easier for the new wife, the second time around. WRONG. He HAS experienced the domestic setting, but only in the context of another woman –who apparently couldn’t hack him. And what woman would willingly give up on a relationship with her husband and/or the father of her children, if there were any way to maintain it? In other words, my friend meant, ‘Tread Carefully.’ Certainly food for thought since I recently received a message from a seemingly charming fella who, from what I can gather, has been married at least once, got divorced (very acrimoniously), and has a child from a more recent relationship. Do I see the red flags? Yes. But nothing wrong with a little conversation… Right?

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About Ciggie Cramond

Ciggie Cramond is an author, writer, editor and translator currently living in Nairobi, where she is actively writing her next book, supporting Arsenal, and looking for The One... Online, naturally!

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