Call me soft and insipid, maybe gaga in my approaching age but I can see both sides in that little contretemps with Twilight and Amfortas over Bridges of Madison County.
I’ve not watched it but have seen stills, so had to go to Wiki, which concludes:
It is about the anticipation and consequences of passion—the slow dance of appraisal, of waiting to make a move that won’t be rejected, of debating what to do when the erotic heat matures into love light. What is the effect of an affair on a woman who has been faithful to her husband, and on a rootless man who only now realizes he needs the one woman he can have but not hold?” Corliss concludes “Madison County is Eastwood’s gift to women: to Francesca, to all the girls he’s loved before …
P-h-e-e-e-w-w [let’s breath slowly out]. Where to start?
There are the experiences of three people involved here and differing politics does affect outlook on issues – one a stickler for the rules, having been burnt, one more laissez-faire and “worldly”. I’m torn. Or put another way, for me, Amfortas represents the head ruling here and Twilight the heart ruling.
I’ve a confession – my first thoughts were, as with the tone of the post, in line with Twilight’s angle, i.e. just look at the romance, the emotion, the love but then, as Wiki put in the quote: “when the erotic heat matures into love light.”
And that’s the core issue and that’s where Amfortas kicks in and I’m afraid he’s right in this. But hell this is complicated. There is no doubt that that four day affair with Kincaid made her feel newly desired, newly wanted, alive, vindicated as a woman.
The very fact it was wrong gave it piquancy.
Yet that four day affair sits like a giant toad over their subsequent marriage, it is not put away in a box and forgotten. Where I take exception is if the director was trying to say – and I don’t know, having not seen it and any subtleties it had – that often it takes infidelity to reboot a marriage and if he was saying that, then that is just-plain-wrong and the sentiment is wicked, as the film is to be seen by millions .
In exactly the same way, Zhivago, with Lara’s theme, celebrates the illicit love, placing it way above that of Zhivago and Tonya. The way he dismisses Tonya as unsuited, as grumpy and all those things, the way he runs from his parental responsibilities, the way audiences embraced the torrid affair in all its passion and tragedy – it can be seen as romantic if you like but it’s also embracing the breaking up of a marriage.
Zhivago, instead of summarily dismissing Tonya, instead of working with her and being a man, going through what he needed to to work out a way, decides to go the weak way instead with a damaged girl. If I write with passion, it’s because I’ve been there on both sides of the divide. I’ve been cuckolded and I’ve been the one cuckolding – it’s a vicious cycle.
The grass is always greener. The incumbent is always on a hiding to nothing.
I can pour money in and woo another man’s woman, turn her head with newfound attention, bordering on worship and Woman is hugely susceptible and don’t try to tell me differently – I’ve seen a woman soften before my eyes more than once and I’m no great shakes as a model of manhood. And even in gaining that which I wanted, I realized she would do that to me with another when the time came.
Because giving way to the affair is not high and noble but is the sign of a weak character – I can say that because I’m applying it to myself. How many times I’ve been the drifter with tales of around the world, I’ve waltzed in, to the hospitality of someone else and in the early days, things might have happened, they might not have. But after the second time I was cuckolded, I said to myself no, never again – that’s a loser’s game.
However, what I did in a minor way, someone like Tiger Woods turned into an artform. And if you look at Rachel Uchitel [uchitel in Russian means “teacher”], she was willing to cheat with him on his wife and agreed, there were major issues but that’s not the point. It was her instant willingness, in the name of passion, to drop her own [what would be] later demand for faithfulness from him in order to do it which was so hypocritical.
If her attitude was that she would not try to possess his sole attentions, that she went in knowing she was just one of many, as he was to her, than that’s another issue. That’s the indiscriminate situation we have now in society, from early teenage up and it is destroying society.
But that’s not what her utterances said. What outraged her and also Imogen Thomas in the Giggs case, was that she discovered he was “unfaithful” to her, that all his whispered words were bunkum. Now hang on, who exactly was being unfaithful to whom? Because as the quote above said: “when the erotic heat matures into love light”.
It always will – it never remains as just an affair. One of the partners in crime wants more, feels the bond growing and wants what he or she cannot rightfully have. And unless that person is a masochist, then pain and suffering are the only things coming out of it, with ever-diminishing highs of course.
So Amfortas’s logic is correct in the end. However, you might disagree that it never remains as just an affair. You might say that two clever people, knowing it could never be, could work out a way they could be unfaithful when they met and faithful later, though faithful to each other.
I say it corrodes character. I’d never chide anyone on it personally, never come the moralist to their face because it would be the ultimate hypocrisy after what I’ve done.
Every person must make his or her own way but in my case, I ain’t gonna do it again, irrespective of probably never having the opportunity anyway these days. It’s a bitter pill because the passion for a new person can be torrid, or for an unreachable person at a distance from you and yet so close. It is, even when it reaches the day-to-day stage or routine, still wrong.
And that’s not because of my religion but for the social consequences.
And yet none of us are perfect, are we? In my trilogy, he tries so hard to be good, to do the right thing but the allure of the female is too strong – her fragrance, those lips, those eyes, those arms. He’s weak, led by his pecker and covering it in all sorts of romantic mumbo-jumbo to protect his conscience. In my book, he’s a well-spoken, decent sort of … monster.
And let’s face it – seeing one’s husband the other side of the bed year after year, him having snored all night, him having developed habits from overfamiliarity, with her now a slipper slob, focused on her own things and not on him, with a litany of unresolved petty differences, with both having to face the next day’s issues yet again – along comes lone drifter Kincaid and what is any woman going to feel? Therein lies the trap. What is going to stop her letting Kincaid in, off he goes four days later, no questions asked?
Or perhaps in that film, the marriage was reasonably OK and that compounds her felony – that she would so casually threaten what she’d constructed with great difficulty.
Therein lies the tragedy – it’s inside her. She can wreck what she’s built in a moment or she can cut the tie after the kiss and before the consummation with the stranger. And if she confesses that a year later to her husband, she clears the ledger and reinforces trust and honesty. That she would have the guts to admit it and put her lie of a marriage on the line that way would be quite something.
Everyone is tempted but there’s such a thing as partly giving way at the romantic dinner and the kiss and then there’s just giving in without restraint, perhaps fuelled by drugs.
As Bridges showed, it is never simple, it’s the human condition. And I’m not here to condemn the fellow fallen, I’m not God. All I can do is sort out my own path through, get my own head in order and then act accordingly.
And as if on cue, going into the day’s papers:
Not even going to ask why you’d want an affair with an Australian waitress.