Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Comics + Movies = Celibacy

I hate Valentine's Day. To me, there's a heck of a lot more joy in Memorial Day (and at least you get a day off). Since I hung out with Kristina last Valentine's Day, I figured I'd post this essay in honour(?) of that day.

"You're never gonna get laid until you stop reading comic books and going to movies."

I was sitting in a restaurant with my pal Kristina, sharing beverages and talking about life, when she dropped that bombshell on me. I had been bemoaning my lack of success with a certain female friend of hers, and always outspoken and seldom mincing words (even when it hurt), Kristina just laid it out there on the table. The main problem with my relationship woes could be found in my leisure time activities.

With these words, my mind reeled. Could it be true? Was it not a flaw in my body, face, mind, or personality, but in where I chose to hang out and what I loved to do? Could dropping those things be what it takes to have success?

And why do I dwell on this?

I love movies. I used to love comics just as much. I must admit that there are times, whether it's remembering them, talking about them, or reading them, when I love them like that again. There's a great fantasy element and sense of wonder in superhero comics that rarely shows itself in superhero movies or TV shows. Simply the smell of an old comic can take off fifteen or twenty years.

On the other hand . . . sex. That's, well, just a much bigger deal.

Movies for me are a huge deal, though, probably right up there with sex at the top of the list. Going to movies, renting movies, talking about movies, making fun of movies, writing about movies, looking forward to movies (good ones and bad), wanting to make movies . . . these are things that really fuel me.

So losing comics and movies is quite a price to pay. I know what you're thinking: dude, I'd cut off my banana in exchange for sex!

Well, first of all: ewww. Second of all, if you did, how would you have sex? You really must think these things through a little better.

There is little that can beat the thrill of going to a movie and being swept away to a new world of wonder, with characters that live and breathe, adventure, laughter, anger, romance, and triumph that beggars any we have actually managed to experience in our little spheres.

But I also know that one of those few things that can beat that thrill is the spark of real-life romance, the chemistry between two people, the sparkle in an eye, and touch of a hand (and, let's be honest, the sparkle on a tongue and the touch of a breast) . . . the horizon of new possibilities that opens up when that human connection is there. This is important to a person's existence, on a level that's more vital than the need to tell and hear stories.

Would I never read another comic book in return for sex? Would I burn my AMC Moviewatcher card and let the local multiplex forge on without me in exchange for someone to spend my nights with (kicking me when she rolls over and insisting I breathe toward the wall)? Would it be worth it?

And a bigger question is: what kind of girl are we talking about, who would ask that I trade away one or two of the few things that bring me joy in order to be with her? Like the fairy tale trades where you must give up your kingdom or family or voice to be with the one you love? But this is no fairy tale, and it says a great deal about the character of a person who can be so selfish as to demand their mate give up what makes him happy in order to make her so.

Kristina, in her blunt way, was trying to help me, I'm sure (though ultimately, she proved to be one of those people who prefers to step on fingers rather than pull someone to safety), and because of that, I have never been able to dismiss her words outright.

I was quite horrified at the thought of a sexless existence, but some of the people around me didn't feel that way. I spoke to an ex-roommate of mine about it, and he said that TITANIC was a weaker film because the characters of Rose and Jack have sex. He told me he thought it would be a much stronger romance if they never had sex. Though I agree that their tragic parting (whoops, spoiler) would become tragic had they never gotten it on, but I didn't understand the "stronger romance" part. I asked him. He said, "Well, they had something pure going, then they ruined it by taking their clothes off." I didn't know how to respond to that, especially considering he was a 32 year old virgin (just about the saddest thing I can think of).

Practically every one of my married friends (save one, gor bless 'im) has told me that sex is overrated, a very small part of a relationship, and that the world don't revolve around it.

I talked to Matthew, who was Kristina's friend before she was mine (and loves comics more than I ever could), about what she had said and he only shrugged. "But do you think that could be possible? That comic books and movies taint us toward women, driving them away the way garlic repels vampires?" "What if it does?" Matthew said, "Who cares?" Well, I cared. Sex is a big deal to me. Matthew said, "Yeah, I guess, but comics are a bigger deal." We had discussed this many a time, and Matthew's sex drive is that of a seventy year old Buddhist monk. Like the wise man once said, "Ahh, who needs girls? I’m ambidextrous."

I wish I could be like that, but I feel the loss, and I recognise the void in my life (for something that makes a lot of people miserable, but they'd never trade away). If anyone has some advice for me, I'm in the market.

I once saw a movie (no, it wasn't CHASING AMY misremembered) where a guy who was into Sci-Fi and comics and such meets a totally cool girl who loves comic books and movies and geek culture just as much as he does, and here's the thing . . . she doesn't look like something that's been living in the New York City sewers, killing and eating homeless people for the past dozen years. I saw the movie, but it was a stupid one, and so unrealistic, it made that turd THE CORE look like a Ken Burns documentary. You just made that story up, there ain't no girl like that.

So, on this girlfriendless Valentine's Day, Kristina's proclamation comes back to me, a little stronger than it usually does. Do I compromise what I love--in essence, who I am--to find a new love, a new me? Or, if I did, would I find myself just as alone, just as unloved, but in a world even emptier than the one I used to have, with my celluloid and three-colour fantasies?

I don't have the answer. Just the question.

Rish Socrates Outfield
February 14, 2006

"I've got a Dungeon Master's Guide,
I've got a 12-sided die;
I've got Kitty Pryde,
And Nightcrawler too;
Waiting there for me, Yes I do.
In the garage, I feel safe;
No one laughs about my ways.
In the garage, where I belong;
No one hears me sing this song."



Merrill said...

Am I the guy who said it wasn't overrated...or have I made that mistake in the past sometime?

JunkyJane said...

Women who love movies and comics do exist outside the realm of fiction, so don't lose hope because I'm one of them. However, I think maybe the point your friend was making was that you should not let your hobbies eclipse the importance of your retlationship. But don't listen to me...I'm a drug addict.