February 15, 2010

Valentine: An Education

This holiday is not one we celebrate with any kind of regularity because of its hallmark undertones, but yesterday, we just happened to have an outing, which consisted of brunch at our favorite little place in Louisville: eggs Benedict with hollandaise on the side (I dislike how a skin continues to develop atop the ramekin of yellow viscosity). Then an afternoon at the cinema, which was an odd experience. First, a young gentlemen, perhaps in his late teens/early twenties, enters the dark room as the film is about to start to tell us if we become disturbed by what we see that management is just outside. I didn't know anything about the film (CP chose it) as we sat down, but I began to wonder, what is the subject matter??? In addition, the older gentlemen behind us needed everything explained to him by his wife as the film unfolded. It wasn't clear if he had a hearing problem or a reading problem: subtext.

The film is about a 16-year old girl in the UK (based on a memoir), growing up in the early 60s (61-62) and studying to apply to Oxford to read English (literature), who suddenly gets swept up (seduced) by a man twice her age (i.e., THE controversial subject matter). The unbelievable aspect of this text is that her parents get swept up as well, allowing her to attend concerts & night clubs & weekends at Oxford, and eventually to travel to Paris with someone clearly inappropriate for their daughter.

Jenny, the main character, just before she loses her virginity on her 17th birthday, says to David, the inappropriate con man: "If tomorrow night does happen, it will never happen again."

David (worried and confused): "Why won't it ever happen again?"

Jenny (clearly his intellectual superior): "Because the first time can only happen once."

Jump cut to: Paris hotel room. David smoking post-coital cigarette (yes, cliche) in bed while Jenny stands at window, also smoking (also cliche).

Jenny: "It's funny, though, isn't it... All that poetry and all those songs about something that lasts no time at all."

David (all he can muster to say is): "Yeah."

And isn't this what's wrong with Valentine's Day? Who can live up to all the hype in poetry, songs, and film...