Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Thoughts on "Hitch"

Last night after Pirate was in bed, the grown-ups watched "Hitch". Pirate's mother had seen it already, but B.A. and I had not. We were charmed. It was a charming movie.

The premise of this film was that a man who trained other men to woo women successfully fell in love himself and acted like a dork. The object of his affections was a gossip columnist, a woman who hunted down the romances of stars and wrote about them in her newspaper. The film dodged any accusation that the hero was just a game-playing scum-pig by casting Will Smith, one of the most likable stars in America. Also, Will Smith can do smooth and dorky at the same time--quite a feat.

The film also underscored the good intentions of its hero by showing the nice (but dorky) men he helped and the nasty man whom he refuses to help. Most of the men who consult "the date doctor" have crushes on specific women and dream of marrying them but are too frightened even to approach them. The nasty man just wants to "pump and dump," and the "date doctor" realizes that the nasty man doesn't even like women.

Sadly, the nasty man is a lot closer to the reality of game and the Pick Up Artist movement. Men who study or teach "game" aren't usually interested in love and marriage but in getting sex. And given that the more partners a woman has, the more likely she is to contract HPV (which condoms don't necessarily prevent and for which men can't be tested) and cervical cancer, this sort of predatory behaviour can be lethal. (Sorry to mention cervical cancer again, but my friend Hilary has it and has just had a hysterectomy, and yesterday I had a nightmare in which I found her hairless and unconscious in an Italian airport. At this rate I might even end up giving chastity talks.)

The movie is sweet, and it would be nice if men thought more about how they appear to women--without thinking about how they can psychologically manipulate us onto our backs--so as to make good impressions and tweak our interest. Heaven knows we WANT men to impress us. It was heartwarming to see these men so humbled by love that they would seek help from another man. And it was heartwarming to see how much "the date doctor" cared about his clients.

The dark part of the film is that the heroine is a gossip columnist and is, during the inevitable crisis, shown to be in the wrong. Ironically, a large part of game is making women feel that we are in the wrong, that there is something wrong with us, and that we need to work harder or do something we might rather not do to win (or win back) a man's regard.

But I liked "Hitch" and he certainly seemed to have made a lot of money doing what I do for free, which is to give advice to my own sex to coping with feelings about the opposite sex. Hitch has the advantage, of course, in that men are naturally and traditionally, in most cultures, the suitors of women, not women the suitors of men. Hitch can tell men what to do, whereas I write an awful lot about what not to do. Hitch tell men, "Call her now", whereas my advice usually boils down to "Don't call him! Wait for him to call you! And if, despite your friendliness, he doesn't approach you at all, forget him!"

Update: I just visited the site of a man I think of as "the worst man on the internet". I'm not going to tell you who he is or link to his PUA blog. But I will tell you that once again I am convinced that PUAs hate women, even though they might think they love them. They hate women the way an alcoholic hates the bottle that has lost him everything he holds dear. They bed women the way nasty little boys kill frogs. And I'm not kidding about them spreading HPV. HPV doesn't hurt them after all, so why should they care? They can't even be tested for it; if they have it, nobody can know.

And now a light moment...

Seraphic (kidding): You got game, baby!

Benedict Ambrose: I do? In the fridge? Venison or rabbit?


berenike said...

I thought you meant the recently deceased hitch, and wanted to share a comment that I thought said it best:

Profoundly sad to hear of the death of Christopher Hitchens. Without a doubt one of the most likeable and interesting of the 'attack atheists'.
I wish Richard Dawkins no ill whatsoever, but he bores the knickers off me. And his sneery voice, which ranges from Bond villain to affronted old maid, doesn't have nearly the euphonious listenability of The Hitch. He'll probably live to be a hundred.

Battlements of Rubies.

JOEtheGUY said...

Ok - maybe one could say that a woman being a gossip columnist is a "dark part of the film", but I fail to see how you can say that because the female heroine was in the wrong that this was a "dark part of the film", because the female heroine was actually wrong and that she had jumped to wrong conclusions and made a bad character assessment as a result of this. I realize that you are trying to link this to PUAs( in general), but these points are very much independent.

The point that I think is more consistent with the one coming out of the crisis - belongs to this generality:

Women are wrong some of the time.

Men are wrong some of the time.

Sometimes, Both the man and the woman are wrong and it's just a big misunderstanding and they should to talk to each other and clarify things.

Sheila said...

I liked Hitch. I watched it years ago, but I will always remember the part where the chubby, dorky guy does every.single.thing the date doctor told him not to do -- and it ends up being the perfect thing to impress the girl. Because, after all, she was the right girl for him, and all he really had to do was be himself for her to like him. His dorkiness puts her at ease, when she's really a lot shyer than she looks. I identify with that a lot, and as a result I guess I find awkwardness really charming.

Just goes to show that "game" isn't always about saying the right things, or doing the right things. At its best -- when it's serious -- it's about the guy overcoming his trepidation, approaching the girl of his dreams, and then being himself around her to the extent that she can tell he's her type. All this fakey stuff, the "game" advice I read on the internet, isn't going to win you a long-lasting relationship. Sooner or later your "real self" comes out, and if it wasn't what you impressed the other person with in the first place, the relationship is going to be over.

hilary said...

Dear me! Nice to see you're thinking of me though. SOrry I've not been much in touch.

sciencegirl said...

I love "Hitch," especially the part where Kevin James stares at his inhaler and then hurls it away, not knowing that his dream girl can see the whole thing. Also the "make the pizza" dance. They may have food there, but it doesn't hurt to remind everyone how it was made, that's what I say! I still crack up watching Hitch on his mad ride from the smoothest, most romantic man alive to total wreck by the worst, most improbable accidents. Will Smith has it worse in that movie than he did when he had to punch out an alien and then drag it through the burning desert. To me, the dark part is when it looks like all will not end happily for our two heroes, but that horrible part is mercifully short before the joyous conclusion. I just hate seeing Will Smith and Kevin James look sad! I'm laughing right now just thinking of my favorite scenes. It's so great when a romantic comedy is actually a comedy.

Another good one I recently re-watched is "Bringing Up Baby," in which Katherine Hepburn breaks absolutely every Rule of "The Rules," along with several laws and the dictates of common sense, and STILL somehow manages to ensnare Cary Grant. My favorite quote is "But if he finds some clothes, he'll leave, and he's the only man I've ever loved!" The world needs more screwball comedies unsullied by Judd Apatow and his ilk.