I basically don’t care about the musical chairs relationships of Hollywood types, but I thought the following story was indicative of our culture in general…and that is not a good thing.
This headline was important enough to show up in the Top 20 stories of Google News recently: “Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz Get Cozy in Miami.” The piece started out: “Don’t tell Madonna, but New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was spotted getting cozy with Hollywood actress Cameron Diaz at a pre-Super Bowl party in Miami last weekend.” According to this inane report, she was tipsy, flirty, and began “grinding on ‘A-Rod’, who had just broken up with Kate Hudson. Clearly, sports is not the only thing for which you need a score card!
Generally, women who have nothing going on in their lives become groupies, because attachment to a star (even in their imaginations, much less their beds) brings them a feeling of importance. Madonna, Kate Hudson and Cameron Diaz are all successful in their own right, so “groupie-ness” is not the issue. Then what is? What makes women “give it up” so easily for a guy who is good-looking, successful and has lots of money? I guess it’s the looks and success, and the feeling that even more money is always good.
There is so little dignity left in Hollywood’s elite, and many political marriages are also aflame with betrayals. Our young girls grow up next to young boys who have both misguided values and expectations. The boys realize that respect and courtship are irrelevant when it comes to getting sex and companionship; the girls think that explosive beginnings mean something deeper.
I had one female caller who was just amazed at my admonition not to have sex as a flirtation, rite of dating, way to get to know someone, or stress releaser. She actually was surprised when I suggested to her (and her 21 year-old “reality”) that scarcity brings value. While that is an economic issue, it also works for interpersonal relationships. If the act of sexual intercourse is to mean anything, it has to have a context of love and commitment, and that is a scarce resource.
People wonder why they’re depressed, anxious, unhappy, unfulfilled, lost, or compulsive about hookups. There is an inherent knowledge that meaning and purpose are everything to their psychological well-being, but they are surrounded by the likes of an A-Rod and Madonna world which tells them there isn’t any, except for notoriety and sexual flamboyance.
It’s sad, really, because there is more to morality than just being a “rule system of the constipated,” which, unfortunately, is what too many people believe. Morality is a means by which we make human beings rise above the rest of the animal kingdom with symbols and actions: like marriage and commitment, for example.
Cruising through the news sites, I recently came across a list of the Top 25 Most Romantic Movies. I was amazed at a number of the choices: adult male dancer in cheap resort “doing” a teenage girl (like they have a future together!); a woman having sex with her fiancé’s younger brother; people who meet while on a European excursion and immediately become intimate, and on and on.
When I was younger, I used to just “watch” movies and get caught up in the mushy emotions. As an adult (and definitely as “Dr. Laura”), I watch movies on a much deeper level, and I’m not happy with the notion that as long as two people are swept up in fantasy and immediacy, it’s just b e a u t i f u l.
Maybe it’s because I spend hours each day on my radio program helping people extricate their hearts, minds, and collateral damage from their decisions to just go with the flow of erotic and romantic feelings. I’m left trying to help them remedy the hurts done to others as well as themselves and the “accidental” children who do not typically benefit from “conception-on-the-run.”
The film The African Queen was, for me, one of the most romantic movies of all time. Humphrey Bogart gives up being a surly, drunk, self-designated outcast for Katharine Hepburn, who gives up being an up-tight, prissy, self-avowed spinster, for a cause, using his little beat-up boat to sink a German war boat. Having that joint goal (well, she had to work hard to get him out of his shell to be brave enough to re-join the world), and having to deal with deadly elements on a six-foot power skiff together, they built something really romantic.
Those of you who are married and struggling with illness or the economic “elements” should watch that movie together…twice! I believe it will make you snuggle. What brings people really close together is not just itinerant sex. It is a joint goal, the attainment of which requires you both to become MORE. Sometimes that goal is survival, and at other times, it may be the birth of a child, or a commitment to some effort in the world. Great sex is the prize…it is not the substance of true love.
A few months ago, I saw the movie “The Bucket List.” It’s about these two older guys who, presumably, are terminally ill, and one of them mentions a “kick the bucket list,” meaning that you make a list of all the things you want to do before you die (and then, hopefully, go do them). The movie is interesting and well done, and well worth seeing. It stars Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.
Since then, I’ve had some thoughts on and off about the concept, and decided that I don’t want to have a bucket list when my time comes close. I want to do and see and say and experience the things that matter to me waaaaay before they become an almost-Last Supper moment. So I’ve been going over in my mind what it is that I would put on that list. And I’m happy to say……nothing.
I wanted an adventure on the high seas, so with a crew of experienced sailors, I’m going to be doing just that in mid-March, when we race from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. It will take about four days or so, and we have to work, sleep, and eat in shifts 24 hours per day of sailing. It will be grueling, cold, and sometimes scary at night if the winds are up. The food will be “ucky,” and there won’t be hot showers or heated blankets. And yet, I can’t wait, because it’s an ADVENTURE! It pushes my limits and challenges me in new ways. It’s good to have adventures, as long as you don’t ignore your responsibilities, and enjoy the challenges that are there.
Day-to-day experiences and routines can get monotonous – that’s just life. So don’t wait. Come up with your own adventure (camping with the family, training for some physical event or whatever you want) and just do it!!TrackBack URI
If you’re a frequent listener to my radio program, you’ve probably heard me say to someone seemingly immersed in a petty annoyance: “You must have a charmed and uncomplicated life to have the time and energy to be upset about something that’s ultimately so minuscule.”
Yeah, I know that sounds snarky, but the point is made. If your life is filled with the awe of the sky when the sun first comes up, scurrying to do some projects for charity, coming up with ideas to support a friend in emotional need, treating your spouse as though you adored every breath they take, having daily physical activity that makes you sweat and feel great afterwards, taking on a new challenge in a hobby or education at the local community college or adult extension, having a day a week you get together with buddies to play poker, make a quilt or whatever….when your life is filled in such expansive ways, then the quirky disappointments of family and friends will be shrugged off with a small smile and a lack of real concern.
Try activity instead of pouting or letting your anger simmer.
My birthday was a little over a week ago, and my husband actually got away with setting up a surprise party for me. I went to the party location under the guise that we were going to use a “Happy Birthday” coupon for a free dinner. It was wonderful to see the many people who have meant, do mean, and always will mean something important to me (and the cake and dancing were great too)!
I want to mention one particular gift: a bocce ball set. I sent out all my gift “thank yous,” and when it came to the bocce ball set, I said something like “”Thank you so much for the bocce ball set. I don’t know how to play it, but, heck, learning yet another sport is a great idea! Ha ha ha!”
I added the “ha ha ha” because I hike, I play tennis and badminton, I shoot pool, do yoga, race a sailboat and work out…and do at least one of these daily. But then I thought about my “joke” and realized it IS a very good idea to learn yet another “whatever” all the time. Part of the joy of being alive (and a large part of what keeps your brain and body healthy and your mood positive) is having purpose in your life and learning something new all the time.
People who don’t continue to grow, be challenged, learn and be involved in activities tend to “contract,” have depression problems, and compromise the quality of their aging and actual life span.
So, while this blog is not an ad for bocce ball, it is a suggestion (and don’t forget who’s making it!) for you to constantly challenge yourself with everything from crossword puzzles to chasing butterflies. The more you are invested in the opportunities of living, the more you will enjoy it and be alert and happy.TrackBack URI
A number of people have expressed to me that they feel somewhat guilty that their lives are so blessed and/or peaceful right now while people are being blown up in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places – and by their own countrymen! Or that people are suffering and dying by the tens of thousands in Haiti in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.
“How [they ask] can I dare to have a good day when all of this is happening?”
I think that’s a good question asked by decent people.
The answer is simple: what choice do you have?
Shall you undermine yourself and those who count on you by crumbling under the awareness of this cruelty of people and nature? Does that add to the miserly of the world? YES. Does that minimize the misery of the world? NO.
Your job is to do and be your best and to bring light into darkness in your own mind and home, and among family, friends, and community. Where you have the wherewithal and the expertise to extend that to deserving people and places, do so because all humanity benefits by your action of caring – if not aided directly, then at the very least inspired by your example.
Where you can’t extend yourself to some place around the world, be cognizant that compassion and love in a circle around you has a ripple effect to help perfect the world for whatever moments of bliss might exist. They add up.
Whether close at hand or off to a distant land, when you extend mercy, you do an act which magnificently defines humanity.TrackBack URI
Students in the American Fork High School Marching Band swept the awards not long ago in a competition at Brigham Young University. What made this story interesting and somewhat controversial is this: on the way back from another competition held in Idaho, the driver of the bus in which the students were riding fell asleep at the wheel. All of the students survived. The one fatality was the 33 year old instructor who grabbed for the steering wheel when she noticed the driver was out cold.
The controversial part occurred because some people believe that it is unseemly for life to go on, for joy to be in people’s hearts, or for friends and relatives to be happy and involved in their lives when someone dies. Some people believe that it is disrespectful, cavalier and insensitive for others to carry on as though a tragedy didn’t happen. Generally, this belief comes out of a confusion of pain, emotions and guilt over survival.
I think it’s a good thing that these students competed, and they did so in remembrance of Heather Christensen, the teacher who saved their lives. And that’s the point: she saved their lives so they could live, love, and play music. I believe they showed her immense respect by playing in her honor, continuing with the competition for which she coached them. Her immortality comes from being remembered fondly by her students who used the skills they learned from her to create the music she loved so much.
When someone we love dies, we don’t honor them by denying ourselves the normal pleasures of life. I find that to be an insult. Life is precious, and when somebody is gone from life, that which they lost should be treated with the utmost reverence by squeezing every moment of dignity, creativity, joy, adventure, work, love, compassion and fun that is possible. This is the way you honor the deceased: you carry on and do something of value with your life.
The students received a long, standing ovation as they marched off the field and embraced in tearful hugs. What a fitting memorial to a brave, caring teacher.TrackBack URI
I have watched film adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in all its incarnations many, many times, and I recently watched the 2005 film version again. I love the film…no matter what criticisms may be about a portrayal or a performance. I clearly have a profound attraction to this work.
First and foremost, I love the utter regard the men had for women, which is evident from how they addressed them: “Miss…” (and their first names if they were single) or “Mrs….” (and their last names if they were married). Men bowed upon entering and leaving a woman’s presence, and women curtsied, even under unpleasant conditions. Flirting was ever-so-subtle: a look, a light “accidental” touch of a hand. A man romantically yearned for and tried to earn the affections of a woman. The sweetness of the regard for women in this era (particularly in upper and middle classes) was something to be admired, and something we now miss. There was a clear distinction between a “good” woman and an easy, loose woman or whore.
That distinction is gone today. Now, women put down good money for music that represents them as whores without pay. So many young men are casual about women and sex in general, and sex is a casual expectation almost always fulfilled.
Young women scoff at dignity and modesty as just stupid, prudish, sexist notions. They “shack up” with some dude without a marital commitment, yet expect the love and respect, fidelity and loyalty to exist without the spoken vows, only to be disappointed, hurt, and generally confused.
There was a recent film comedy, called “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” in which Matthew McConaughey (in a twist on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”) got to go back into his life to see all his old girlfriends. There was one scene in the television ad for the movie which showed a seemingly endless dining table filled with hundreds of girls. Obviously, this was meant to show how shallow and manipulative he had been. To me, it just showed how many stupid girls there were (and are), “putting out” in a situation where there was clearly no respect, regard, or intent.
Men used to have to ask a woman’s dad for permission to “court” her, even when the woman was an adult! Now, all he has to do is show her a bedroom, back seat of a car, or a motel room, and the date is sealed. When men had to explain and express their intentions, they had to take the whole activity of dating much more seriously, as there were personal and social consequences to misleading a young lady. That reputation would annihilate any chances he might have had of marrying a good woman. He’d have to move states or provinces away. Now? That kind of rakish reputation makes girls/women want to line up to get some from an infamous entity.
The women’s revolution did not raise any consciousness worth elevating. It mostly diminished a woman’s sense of herself as special, minimized her value in the minds of men, put sex on the level of animals, created a nanny/baby-sitter/institutionalized day care financial boom (as women gave up the blessing of nurturing their own children), increased the use of abortion as a birth-control technique when an accidental pregnancy occurred with a guy who did not want fatherhood, created perpetually unhappy, angry, nasty wives, and made it very difficult for “nice girls” to be respected and cherished.
The last scene in Pride and Prejudice between the two now-married lovers has them discussing what she wants to be called by him when he is not using her given name. He suggests one name, and she rejects it sweetly, because it is what her father calls her. She then asks him what he will call her when he is angry. He, not being able to envision that situation, talks to her about always letting her know how lovingly important his happiness in wrapped up in her…forever…and he kisses her gently about her face as he says “Mrs. Darcy” over and over again. He gave her his heart, his life, his vows, and his name. And, in that era, giving a woman your name was the ultimate public and private statement of his total commitment to her, which makes that scene so moving to most of us, and infuriating to feminists who see that scene only as ripping away the woman’s identity.
I always cry at the end of the movie.
I cry also for what women have given up in exchange for wanting to have it all and not be subordinate to a man. I don’t know…I kinda think being on a pedestal is not subordinate. But what do I know? I’m only a recovered feminist.TrackBack URI