In 2003, my divorce became final. I was happy to be away from my personal tyrant, but having suffered a great blow to my crystalline image of love, relationships, and marriage, I found it difficult to imagine finding a new guy. I don’t even think I wanted to find a new guy.
A year later, I’d rejected several different suitors. I was afraid and guarded and was about to turn my back on the greatest love affair of my time because I was scared.
It sounds super-melodramatic. And it was; I was enrolled in a Grad Business program and a particularly charismatic classmate asked me out. I was interested too, of course, but I wasn’t quite ready to take the plunge into a relationship. Sure, I’d dated, but none of the guys had ever made it home, to meet the kids, to meet my parents. Most of them didn’t make it past the first date.
But I agreed.
We were at T.G.I. Friday’s, and drinks were flowing. The occasion was my potential suitor’s going-away party. He would be stationed in Mexico for a month on a Quality Supplier venue for Chrysler. He was an Engineer and subject to many assignments abroad.
We were loaded with libations and laughing at the top of our lungs. I was slipping fast and had thrown caution to the wind. That’s when the Lemon Drops took control and illuminated his charm, his passion, that wonderfully luscious deep voice and brown eyes that you could stare into for hours. I tried to get a grip on myself, but he was magnetic.
And, in the morning, he would leave for Mexico City.
As we walked to our cars, our conversation slowed and we both knew that it would be weeks before he returned. So in front of his truck, the headlights providing the backdrop, he kissed me. It was a full and sensual kiss that almost forced my leg to kick into the air. And then, he was gone. The first man to pique my interest, and Chrysler had stolen him for me.
I talked myself into forgetting about him. I told myself that they all start out sexy and intriguing, interested in what you have to say, reminding you that after all you are a girl that yearns to be held. And then the bubble would burst.
It worked. Until one bored night alone with my DVD player and Pierce Brosnan changed my mind. I’d rented The Thomas Crown Affair from my neighborhood Blockbuster and settled in with a big bowl of Popcorn and some Pinot Noir. After such a traumatic marriage, and many years of suppressing the romance in my life, I hadn’t read or watched anything under the romance genre for what seemed like an eternity.
When the movie came out in 1999, I was in full-blown misery, and had never actually seen the movie, neither the original nor the most recent version. I don’t want you to think that I went in with the expectation of seeking out a romance. After all, the movie cites romance as a subplot. I was thinking a very deep and buried subplot. Boy, was I wrong.
It opens with a full shot of Pierce. He was magnificent. The opening scenes show a masterful Brosnan walking into the museum in a tailored suit after abandoning his car in the middle of rush hour New York traffic. He was almost run over and his hair didn’t even get mussed. He takes a seat in the museum and stares intently at the van Gogh, he even renamed them ‘his haystacks’.
Good gravy! What kind of man renames a van Gogh? The sexy kind. The kind that makes me want to run off with reckless abandon.
Pause. Had to take a quick break to remind myself that I hated men and none of them were any good at all. Okay, Play. The painting is stolen. During the investigation, a great pair of legs enters. It’s Rene Russo. She’s stunning, she drinks green shit and all of her coats match her outfits. Obviously, Crown will fall in love with her and tell her all his secrets. Right? Hells, no! Instead, he engages her in a game of cat and mouse as they embark in a chase that takes both of them down a path they hadn’t expected. I was taken with them.
My favorite scene, the one that actually made me long for the touch of a man and to have my own romance with the dude a few thousand miles away in Mexico City, involves a hang glider. They travel across several states, and when they crash land in a field of cows, Thomas simply whips out his cell phone. The next scene finds them on a airplane, private jet rather, and he takes her away to a mountaintop house supplied with clothing that is all in her size. It is there that they burn a painting, make love on the beach, he cooks for her, lounges around with her, and they make love for days.
Sigh. I love it. Well, being that this is Act II, and we know the big gloom is coming, the couple returns to New York to find pics of Crown with some girl and a devastated Catherine (Russo’s character) with nothing left but her job. She turns over the pictures of the painting borders which virtually ensure that Crown was involved in the robbery and off she goes—to dinner with Crown.
Rene and I are pissed with him. I could have jumped through the screen on his glider-flying ass! What does he do? He swears he is not trying to fool her, that he loves her and that he will give it all up if she really loves him . . . but does she?
Crown sets up a ruse to return the painting. With a thousand men dressed as the The Son of Man painting, he manages to confuse the police. Rene/Catherine is impressed. She is elated. Now, if they are together, since he successfully returned the painting, they won’t be fugitives. They could be free to love one another. Rene and I were happy. They were going to be together, living happily ever after.
But, when she got to the dock, he wasn’t there. He had absconded, leaving only another stolen painting behind. Catherine and I were ripped apart. We could barely contain ourselves, me on my couch and Catherine in the airport. On the plane, she’s drinking a goblet of none other than Crown Royal (tee-hee) and a hand reaches to her from between the seats. She looks back, and it’s him.
Thomas has returned. He hadn’t abandoned her. He was on the plane and she leaps into his arms. After a small death threat, the audience and I can safely assume that the pair lived happily ever after. I cheered through my tears. I had come alive. I couldn’t wait to take a chance again.
Some say that Hollywood has the ability to psychologically affect the audience in the way that no other communication medium can. I don’t know if all that is true, but a couple of weeks later, I was ready to return to the first day of our next class. And he was back. Not only that, his coat matched his clothes. I was ready to love again. I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew that without taking the leap before looking, without trying again, you stand the chance of living a life unfulfilled. He met my children, he met my parents, and right now as I type this post, he is lying on my couch asking when I’ll be done so that we can watch True Blood On Demand. It is for all of these reasons that I love romance. I have never turned my back on it again.