Wednesday, 2 November 2011

"The Innocents"

I always have Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner and Hallowe'en on the same night. This year it was not on actual Hallowe'en but on All Hallows Night, so I was very tired this morning, let me tell you. I made all the food my family has for Thanksgiving, except for pumpkin pie, because I couldn't find anything pumpkin in Tesco, and the roast turkey was actually twin chickens. Plus I was dressed as "Dorothy" in The Wizard of Oz. I trotted around the kitchen in ruby slippers. Was I glad to finally sit down and have a glass of wine! Whoo!

After supper, the party settled down in the sitting-room to watch The Innocents, a film adaptation of Henry James' novella The Turn of the Screw. It stars Deborah Kerr, is very scary and is very interesting from a psychological point of view. Are there really ghosts, or is the heroine imagining it all?

This question was of particular interest for me because I am a very imaginative person and I have found it very, very important in my life to sort out what really is true from what I imagine to be true. But at the same time, I have discovered that sometimes I am absolutely right when others think I am just imagining things.

In matters of the heart, this can be particularly difficult to sort out. There's the problem of thinking Johnnie has a massive crush on me, and then discovering that maybe Johnnie doesn't have a massive crush on me, and then feeling disappointed because, actually, it wasn't that Johnnie had a crush on me but that I had a crush on Johnnie. How humiliating.

Unrequited love is one of the most humiliating aspects of everyday life that I can think of. And I am thinking about it today because recently I got a letter from a woman who chased a guy, without realizing/admitting that's what she was doing, and when he broke up with her, she was devastated. The break-up seemed to come out of nowhere. She was so sure they were meant for each other.

When "Volker" of my book (plot spoiler!) broke up with me, my friends and I were so shocked that we called all such surprise break-ups "Volkers" ever after. Volker would no doubt be horrified to know that, so let's hope he's not still reading. But after some years' distance from that humiliating and surprising event, I can admit that it was not so surprising after all. Although I tried reeeeeealllieeee hard not to pursue Volker, there was some serious Volker-pursuing behaviour in there. Boo. Left to his own devices, Volker would not have asked me out in the first place.

(For those who are new here, a cornerstone of my overarching theory of male psychology is that men don't stay interested very long in women who pursue them and therefore are easy to win. [Exception: much older men will fall for the happy-go-lucky girls crazy enough to flirt with them.] Despite massive social engineering, all but the laziest men want to woo and win the princess in the tower, taking a manhood-proving risks to do so. Being given everything on a plate makes boys bored, cranky and infantile. Polish guy over here agrees with me.)

Anyway, my correspondent described the courtship/dating period in great detail, so even if she could not see where she had been "the (courting) man" and her ex had been "the (courted) woman" (complete with early explanations that he had been hurt and needed time to reflect, etc.), I could. So I gritted my teeth and pointed them out. I felt rather awful about this because, really, facing up to one's mistakes when it comes to courtship is sooooo painful. If someone points them out to you, you don't feel like thanking them. You feel like killing them.

However, it is better to live in reality than in a fantasy world, which is what I think every time I sit down before Confession and force myself to do an examination of conscience. Bleah!


Maggie said...

So what about NCBs that are terribly shy? How does an NCG navigate that?

Seraphic said...

NCBs who are terribly shy should be thrown into pits of alligators or, alternatively, taken out into the wilderness of rural Quebec with a compass, a French phrase book and $100 Canadian and told to walk home.

Super-shy NCBs are not yet eligible for marriage, and NCGs should leave them strictly alone. Do not mother them; it will make them worse. I don't care how cute they are.

By the way, there is a very funny music hall song called "I'm Shy". It's about a man who is so shy of girls that when one finally gets him to marry her, he runs away from the church afterwards crying out "I'm shy!"

Seraphic said...

Oho! Found it. It's called "I'm Shy, Mary Ellen", and it is very, very funny indeed.

Little Mary said...

Sending your writer some virtual ice cream! She's so not alone! I've been there, and will probably be back again a few more times in the future... I hope she has some great friends who can remind her of how special she is, and that her worth is not defined by a man (unless that man is our Savior, who is definitely pursuing her!).

Some of my pursuing oopsies have come from applying "do unto others" a little too literally, and not being very educated on how men think differently from women...and not valuing myself enough, although most probably have more to do with me trying to make my will happen rather than seeking God's will...

I've read that men and women as they get older are a little more alike... as men get older there testosterone drops, so I wonder if that might be related to the older men falling for their pursuing younger lasses...

Jam said...

Virtual hugs and ice cream to the reader from me too. Oh, I've been there!

theobromophile said...

I tend to think of it more as pursuing men just delays the inevitable: they don't really want you, so you're just going through the drama to end up in the same place.

If you let men pursue you, you weed out the ones who aren't interested.