So I happened upon a black and white movie called Man-Proof on the Turner Classic Movies channel the other night. To my surprise — nay, horror — the movie was my life on film, and I’ve never felt more condemned by a fictional tale in all my days. Indeed, the last time I felt such shame stirred by something from 1938, it was my grannie laying into me because I’d sassed my ma.
Here is the short version:
Successful Girl meets Good-Looking Nefarious Guy. Good-Looking Nefarious Guy leads Successful Girl on. Always-There Guy warns Successful Girl not to fall for nefarious good-looker, but to no avail; SG falls hard. This is GLNG’s cue to divert his attention elsewhere — to someone less successful (and less attractive). GLNG marries less successful girl and SG is heartbroken. But, while GLNG & LSG are away on their honeymoon, SG picks herself up — with the help of Always There Guy, of course. SG gets a great job, a great apartment, and has a great life (how progressive of her!).
Like a heat-seeking missile, however, GLNG and LSG return from their honeymoon, smack dab in the middle of SG’s perfect new world. But SG, thinking she’s over being jilted, extends an olive branch to the happy couple, and she suggests that they all be friends. LSG — the fool that she is — thinks this is a fine idea. Of course, GLNG thinks its just swell because he did, after all, really enjoy SG’s company. And she is much smarter and prettier than his LSG. Always-There Guy warns SG again that this can only end in tears and that SG can NEVER be friends with an ex who was supposed to be her “great love.” But SG shoos him away. She values GLNG; her love for him was so great; he can never not be important to her; blah, blah, blah.
So GLNG makes a date with his wife LSG and his side-boo-friend-who’ll-always-love-him, SG. But, SG stumbles upon a stroke of luck as LSG becomes ill and cannot make the date afterall, leaving GLNG and SG to go together — unsupervised — dun, dun, dun!
(did I say this was the short version? I lied)
Anyway, GLNG and SG have such a wonderful time and, just like SG always dreamed of, GLNG remembered how great the two of them are together. Feeling emboldened by the wonderful time they had together, SG gets the nerve, the balls, and the gumption, to call this man’s wife and confess that she is still in love with that poor woman’s husband, thus ending the ladies’ (used loosely) friendship. She honestly believes that GLNG realized the error of his ways in marrying a less successful, less attractive girl, will divorce said girl, and will marry her. Oh, simple SG! If he liked it, then he would’ve put a ring on it!
Alas, GLNG confesses to SG that, while he enjoys her company, he wants to remain with his wife. He just got caught up in the fact that SG loves him so much, and he thought the love she had for him could be enough for the both of them — yes, he actually said that to her — but, her love could ne’er replace the lack of love he had for her. Thus, the end of a masochistic beautiful friendship.
This movie’s prophesy over my life rained down upon me like the Blagojevich verdict: Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty on all counts!
I sat in a funk as I watched my own future plans go up in smoke. You mean to tell me that being friends with an ex-love-of-your-life could never work?! Inconceivable!
But then I thought, what if she had just shut up about her “great love?” What if she had not said anything at all to his wife? Surely, the feelings would have dissipated — eventually. Certainly she valued the man as a person, and likewise, he enjoyed her company as a totally platonic friend. And SG even liked Less Successful Less Attractive Girl. Now, she lost two friends trying to Alicia Keys her way into someone else’s marriage (clearly, that method won’t work for everybody!).
If she had stopped obsessing over what was between her and GLNG and opened her eyes to the reality of the situation, she would’ve seen that her “great love” wasn’t that great after all. Indeed, she was super into him, and he was less so. All she wanted in life was to marry him, and all he wanted was to marry a less successful, less attractive girl whom he obviously felt suited his life’s purpose better.
But still, that doesn’t make him a total douche. Sure, he had a history of being nefarious, and in the past, he had been known to display a level of douchiness that rivaled the likes of Jon Gosselin, John Boehner, and pretty much every guy who still wears Ed Hardy anything on any day other than Halloween. But just because they weren’t right for each other, doesn’t mean she had to hate him and /or cut him out of her life. They could’ve been great friends, if she had only shut her mouth…Right?
It is the age-old question: Can you be friends with an ex? I mean, not just any ex, but the love-of-your-life ex? Perhaps — but only if you come to the conclusion that he really wasn’t the love of your life, after all, and it was really just the way too many trips on “The Notebook” roller-coaster that had you throwing up “love” all over the place.
But, I digress. Back to the film:
In typically contrite Hollywood fashion, SG realizes that she’s been in love with Always There Guy the whole time, and they end up together (because Lord knows, the movie simply can’t end until the woman is in a relationship and safely on the path to marriage! Fine, it was 1938. But what’s our excuse for today’s movies? Sigh.) So all I’m thinking — besides WOW, in real life, NO ONE marries Always There Guy — is she clearly could’ve continued a healthy friendship with GLNG and his wife. But, nooooo, she had to be all Team Edward, if I can’t have you I’d rather go into the sunlight and commit suicide by showing my crystals to the world on a holy day. If only she’da kept her eyes on the prize!
Or, maybe not. He didn’t seem like that great of a friend in the first place, and he certainly wasn’t that great of a husband, to be going on a date with another woman while his wife was at home sick. Maybe it was time to cut the cord, after all. Maybe if she wasn’t living and breathing that obsession over him anymore, then she didn’t really need to be validated anymore by the fact that at least they’d always be friends, even if they’d never again be lovers.
At any rate, I have no idea why the movie is called “Man-Proof,” but I have retitled it to apply directly to the forehead of my life: May all my relationship decisions — both platonic and romantic — be Fool-Proof, instead. If I can help it.
And while Fool-Proof will certainly be less fun to write about, “Man-Proof” would simply just depress me, quite frankly. But maybe I hope for too much. Maybe a fool-proof relationship with a man is oxymoronic and akin to the mythical unicorn that resides under the rainbow in our dreams. Maybe a fool-proof relationship with me bodes the same. And maybe that’s a whole ‘nother blog post for a day that’s not today.