Sex In The Movies
Letís just say I got felt up for the first time at the movies. It was
1977 or 78 or at some point during the post-Rocky, pre-Mad Max seventies.
I had only been wearing a bra for about two years, a beige
one-size-fits-all contraption that my mother picked out at Newmanís
Childrenís Store and frankly there wasnít much going on in that general
region of my body. Upon feeling them up myself once or twice, they were
really nothing to write home about. But it didnít matter, it was the
movies, the room was filled with strangers, there was a back row and I got
felt up. It was actually the point of going to the movies back then. It
was why we were there. To feel up. To get felt up. To feel something other
Stewart and I had been going out for exactly, well, actually we hadnít
been going out at all. We had exchanged one Carmex-laden kiss in the
parking lot of the Rodef Shalom Synagogue after a Sunday-School
ice-skating party. Apparently he liked me and I liked him and he thought I
was cute and I thought he was cute and his friends told mine and my
friends told his and there you have it. In that particular portion of the
seventies one Carmex-laden kiss with a minion of friends watching from the
back of a school bus constituted going out - at least for Stewart and me.
(For the record, it should be noted that Stewart was spelled "Stew" and
should not be confused with the post-Blood Simple pre-Repo Man
boyfriend, Stuart with a "Stu".)
Thus Stewart (with a Stew) and I had been going out since the Rodef
Shalom ice-skating party and we decided it was appropriate to take the
next step - the only next step one could take in Pittsburgh without a
driverís license. Stew and I walked silently down Wilkens, made a left on
Murray and down the eight blocks to The Squirrel Hill Movie Theater -
ostensibly into the unknown world of the next level of our relationship.
Movies at The Squirrel Hill punctuated all the major life events in the
microcosm of our neighborhood. Our innocent years flew by gaily in
Technicolor with The Love Bug, Bedknobs and Broomsticks,
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Sound of Music. "How
do you solve a problem like Maria?" was a major dilemma in this sheltered
existence. If there were any other sort of predicaments in the world, ones
that Dick Van Dyke or Kurt Russell couldnít fix in a jiffy, at The
Squirrel Hill we were blind to them. Over the years our cozy womb was
pierced by The Exorcist, scandalized by midnight showings of
Deep Throat, grief-stricken by Fiddler on the Roof, traumatized
by Jaws but eventually lulled back into harmony by Grease
and later ET.
So, was Julia a good movie for getting felt up? Letís just say
it was as good as any. Besides those were the days of one (yes, only one)
movie per theater and Julia was that one and only movie. As far as
the actual film goes, I recall a train, I recall Jane Fonda and Vanessa
Redgrave yabbering on about something, I recall large hats and long skirts
and I recall recalling enough to report back to my mother who was
impatiently waiting back home for my commentary from the young-dating
front: "Jane Fonda was yíknow, good. So was Vanessa-whatís-her face. It
was kinda depressing. Yeah, I had a pretty good time. Yes, we had popcorn.
No, I paid for my own ticket. Iíll be in my room."
Unbeknownst to mom, the highlight of the afternoon was of course, not
the critically acclaimed Oscar-winning movie but the feel-up itself - an
enthusiastic event not easily forgotten. While the film is often described
by critics as intelligent, fearless and haunting, it takes a thesaurus to
properly excavate the array of descriptors evocative of the main event of
the day: clumsy, inept, ungainly, awkward, bungling, ham-fisted,
ham-handed, inelegant, all thumbs in other words, maladroit.
The poor guy didnít really have his technique down, but neither did I.
Then again, according to all the movies Iíd seen depicting feeling-up at
the movies, neither did anyone. It was a common scene played out again and
again: boy yawns, boy puts arm around girl, girl stares straight ahead,
boy stares straight ahead, girl eats popcorn, boy reaches for breast, girl
stares straight ahead, boy squeezes breast in a compress-and-release type
motion as if inflating the thing, for, like 187 minutes. Thatís a lot of
yabbering from Jane and whatís-her-face.
Now I have since had various forms of sex in the movies. Who could
blame me really? Itís dark, itís already sticky, beverages and napkins
abound. And itís still gratifying in its own simple way to get ham-handed
and bungled during The Importance of Being Earnest for example. I
myself have even been known to bungle a thing or two during the dull
parts. My life still gets punctuated in this way. Ask the guy who sat
behind me during Amelie, ask the old couple one row ahead at The
Lord of the Rings, ask the zitty kid at the Larkspur Landing taking
tickets for The Royal Tenenbaums. It is still perhaps the point. It
is still perhaps why weíre there. To feel something other than oneself.
Editor-In-Chief of Core, The Dirty Magazine For Smart People,
Jennifer has made the exploration of relationships and sex a personal
mission. As an advertising writer, she was responsible for the original
Snapple campaign . She is currently finishing a novel Ju-Ju-Be,
which continues to delve into sex, women, Jews, advertising and humor.