I watched Abilene Steve walking down the street towards his car from my window this morning, drying my tears and pondering Attachment. I deal with attachment and separation all the time in my classroom, and it's been clear to me for years that one of the reasons I'm a very good preschool teacher is that I'm really just a giant Three year-old with a decent expressive vocabulary and the ability to think abstractly. Little kids remain concrete thinkers for a very long time. Sometimes kids in my classroom watch from the window as somebody walks away. Good Byes are much easier when you know that you'll be saying Hello again soon. I don't know when I'll ever get to say Hello to Abilene Steve again. It's hard to know how things will develop between Grown Ups. Like they say in The Glass Bottom Boat, "Que Sera Sera."
My perspective on almost everything was informed by movies like Glass Bottom Boat, Please Don't Eat the Daisies and With Six You Get Eggroll. My mother says that Doris Day was a proto-feminist because she had a job in The Glass Bottom Boat and was, therefore, demonstrating that women can go to work. Granted, there's marriage and then staying home with kids in all the pictures - but still, there was a tantalizing hint of Independence.
Sophia Loren runs off from her father in Houseboat to get a taste of Independence too. Sophia's singing her song at 1:43 in this trailer.
Sandra Dee was in If a Man Answers in 1962 - just before The Feminine Mystique was first published. I'm not sure if the idea that husbands can be trained like dogs is a feminist notion, but I'm pretty sure that a beautiful French chorus girl becoming a society matron in Boston and managing her stuffy husband through sex and trickery is a manifestation of certain widely held societal beliefs of some kind.
I'm sorry to say that it looks like Sandra Dee as Gidget had a lasting impact on most of my ideas about men, women and romance.
With a little Ann-Margret thrown in:
Independence and Romance just don't seem to mix when the women are in their childbearing years. The Pill changed all that, but those kind of movies never made it on to network TV - especially not The Wonderful World of Disney, no matter what Walt and that bunch of stoners might have thought about the issue privately.
I'm not sure where I got my ideas on how grown women act - especially now that I'm a grown woman. Certainly I had better sense than to get pouty or clingy with Abilene Steve just because he had to leave much earlier than I wanted. He had to be at a meeting two hours up the highway at noon, so there was no lolling about all morning, and I didn't fix migas even though I had gotten chorizo and everything. One thing you know once you're grown is that things don't always work out the way you want, and sometimes, that might be for the best. Real life has a way of teaching us things that never show up in the movies - at least not when they are in technicolor. You may have to look at black and white movies to find the best shades of grey.
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