Tuesday, December 23, 2008

An obvious point that some other people have trouble getting

Some people are just plain off-limits romantically and sexually.

And I'm not even talking about like fifteen-year-olds who will grow out of being off-limits and whom you could always date later.

I'm talking about off-limits, for life, don't even try it.

For a few examples:

1. Catholic Preists. (Whether or not you are Catholic. And flirting with priests is just plain tacky, which is not to say that those of us who have priests teaching some classes don't see people do it all the time.)

2. Your therapist. (It's not the therapist, it's you. Trust me.)

3. Your mentally ill sister's husband

There. Wasn't that simple?

I honestly think few myths have done as much damage to the world as the idea that we each have one person out there who is "the one" and we could never truly be happy with anyone else so any crazy thing we do "for love" is automatically justified.

who fully expects Nora Ephron to go out and write a romantic, schmaltzy movie about a woman who falls in love with the priest who has been giving her spiritual counsel and is explicably married to her sister. BUT THAT WON'T MAKE IT RIGHT


PG said...

That seems a bit unfair to Nora Ephron -- in which of her movies do you think she advocates the idea that people should consider no one off limits? Certainly her characters will furtively consider romantic relationships with another person despite already being with someone, but fidelity to one's own partner is a separate ethical issue from "just say no to your mentally ill sister's husband."

Also, an admittedly excessive concept of "the one" seems like a necessary counter-force in order to make romantic love beat out the traditional way of getting married, i.e. having the elders of your community, especially your parents, decide the matter. Sticking by your commitments (there goes Tristan and Isolde) and showing loyalty to family (ditto Romeo and Juliet) apparently don't make as good stories in the Western canon.

Chalicechick said...

First of all "Unfair to Nora Ephron" is not a concept we even recognize here at the Chaliceblog.

Secondly, given that in that "You've got mail" movie, she had Meg Ryan falling in love with a guy who purposefully opened up a bookstore down the street and undersold so that he could destroy the bookstore Meg Ryan ran that her mother had started, I put little past Ephron in the "Love Conquers all, as long as it's the woman who is making all the sacrifices, and love makes everything OK" department.

Nora Ephron sucks.


James said...

Dear CC,

I don't understand why my most recent blog entry is now a "link" to this blog entry.

The only point of connection I can think of was my visiting you, entering from my blog...

If I ever understand how this is happening, I'll remedy it.

Yr fan,


Chalicechick said...


Maybe I'm just sleepy, but I didn't completely follow that.

Either way, I'm your fan, too.


Comrade Kevin said...

Doomed love is a mantra that keeps coming up over and over again---particularly when one contemplates if we really have control over those whom we are attracted to, or are instead at the whims of our past---and how our past shapes our present and future.

I am not so romantic as to believe that there is someone out there, but I do certainly believe there are many people left leaving alone forever. I don't believe in "The One" but I do believe in the "Not It".

PG said...


Wow, "You've Got Mail" is not the movie I would have thought you'd detest most of Ephron's oeuvre. From what I recall of the movie, while Joe knew that his bookstore would crush the neighborhood independents, he wasn't price-cutting in any unethical way (cutting prices to drive out competitors and then raising prices to a higher level than the competitors had offered actually is illegal under antitrust law). He just ran a big box chain that could get books at huge discounts and afford to sell them for lower prices while making a profit based on volume.

I would have thought a CostCo shopper like yourself would be OK with this.

Chalicechick said...

Shrug. The practice itself I don't have an issue with, or at least no more issues than most people have.

Meg falling in love with him after he drives HER out of business was the part that I found a little sickening.

My impression is that the women in Nora Ephron movies always seem to be willing to sacrifice everything for love at the drop of a hat and we're supposed to think it's romantic when really it just sort of sucks to be them.

The last Ephrom movie I saw was Bewitched. Will Ferell was more or less a dick to a woman with Nicole Kidman's looks WHO HAD SUPERPOWERS for the entire movie, so of course she falls desperately in love and the minute he decides to treat her like a human being she agrees to marry him.

Gag me.


Anonymous said...

The only Nora Ephron movie I've seen is When Harry Met Sally, and I remember thinking it was pretty good. It's been years, though.

I do think those people you mentioned should be off limits. Although there is an actor - can't remember his name - who is the product of a union between a former nun and former priest. That had to be an interesting family story!

PG said...

I didn't think "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle" or "You've Got Mail" (the only Ephron films I've seen) were about women's sacrificing for the One True Love. I thought they were more about the standard rom-com trope of Love In Unexpected Places.

I didn't really see his driving her out of business as something that should be unforgivable in an otherwise good person, so long as he did it ethically. Capitalism is competition. I suppose I incline more toward Joe's view in "You've Got Mail" (It's business, don't take it personally), even though Kathleen probably has the right of it in terms of having a decent, humane way of life:

Joe Fox: It wasn't... personal.

Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway?

Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.

Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.

Chalicechick said...

Personally, I would have a lot of trouble falling in love with someone who did that to my business (to say nothing of a business my beloved mother had started and passed down to me,) even if I believed it wasn't personal.

How about this, do you think it's an accident that the one who loses the business she loves and falls in love with the person who destroyed it anyway is the woman and the excutive is the man?

Is Ephron just as likely to have written it the other way?

who, FWIW, loved Meg Ryan and Ton Hanks together in Joe vs. the Volcano.

PG said...

I guess I don't see losing business to be something one's competitor does to you, so much as something one's faithless customers do to you.

If the question is whether Ephron trades in gender stereotypes (woman runs adorable child-oriented business; man runs big corporation), then hell yes, she does. So do most Hollywood writers, especially in her genre of romantic comedy. I carry no water for Ephron as being any kind of boundary-challenger. However, if for some reason Ephron did write a script where she had a SATC Miranda-type heroine and a less ambitious hero, I don't think she would have the hero hold a grudge over the woman's out-competing him.

We now live in a world where men and women are thrown into competition with one another, and this works beautifully for the My Dearest Enemy cliche beloved by romantic writers, whether in film or books. I expect a romance novelist probably would have had Fox not include a children's section in the bookstore just to preserve Kathleen from competition, but Ephron was writing about the Upper West Side of the '90s as much as she was about these characters. She was writing about what seems to her a tragedy: all the little neighborhood shops that had been there for decades were getting squeezed out by the Barnes & Nobles, Starbucks, Pottery Barns, etc. (The Upper West Side also has become a much more expensive place to live since the early 1990s, thanks to Giuliani's attack dog mode of policing. I saw a property near the Natural History Museum last year -- albeit during the real estate bubble -- that had been bought for less than $40k in the mid-70s when NYC was broke, that now was selling for $6 mil. Figure out how to shelter that capital gain.)

Chalicechick said...

Well, again, in the Bewitched Movie, the woman quite literally has all the power.

Not only does she literally have magic powers, but she and Will Ferrall are actors on a television show where she is the star and the more popular character.

She doesn't have him written out of the show and replaced with a more appealing actor, which one might argue is the "that's business" approach. She falls in love even as he is trying to get the size of her role reduced. For awhile he is decent to her.

Eventually, she feels she has to be honest with him and tells him that she has powers. He is, predictably at this point, threatened and irrationally freaks out.

So she decides to quit her job and run off. Until he changes his mind, chases her down and they get married and do the show together as equals.

And for the record, even with all that, my biggest objection to that movie is not the gender stuff but that she ripped off so much off of Shadow of the Vampire, a movie that I seriously love and that is a much more thoughtful explanation of the "Real supernatural character plays that supernatural character in a movie" theme.

Nora Ephron sucks.


Anonymous said...

lol number 3... Sounds like you may have crossed all of these boundaries? Sorry for being a random dolt to what seems like a serious discussion.