Esther Greenwood

Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Sex Horror Stories, Part One

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2009 at 3:18 am

So, it’s been awhile.  I apologize.  To make up for it, I am going to share a funny true sex story shared with me by a med student acquaintance years ago.

My friend Josh was working as an intern at a hospital in New York.  Once, while working the late shift, a man and woman came in.  The woman had severe burns and the man was in extreme pain.  This was their story:

The man and woman, we’ll call them Claude and Claudette, decided to get high one night.  They got stoned, and started having such a good, relaxing time they decided getting naked could only add to the fun.  So they hung about the apartment butt-naked.  Joy.  Claude, as some stoned folk do, got hungry.  He decided to make himself some pancakes.  So he went into the kitchen and started flipping some flapjacks– still naked.

Well, nothing says sexy to a woman like a man who can cook.  Claudette felt herself getting a little horny, and decided in her stoned glory it was a good idea to go down on Claude while he was standing, flipping those flapjacks.  So she started giving him oral, and Claude got so into it he lost control of his pan and dropped it on Claudette’s fragile head.  Well, that pan was hot, dammit, and covered in hot pancake mix.  Claudette went into shock and bit down on Claude’s manparts.  This, of course, hurt like a bitch.  Claude, panicked, trying to get Claudette off of him, started beating Claudette over the head repeatedly with the burning pan. Both ended up in the hospital.

I can’t remember how they turned out, other than okay/alive.  Josh and I have lost touch and he hasn’t returned my text, so I can’t relieve your fears.  But there’s a funny story for you all!  The moral– carbs really are the enemy.

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Relationships in Nora Ephron’s “Julie & Julia”

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2009 at 1:27 am

While it’s not uncommon for me to cry during a “chick flick,” it is uncommon for me to cry during a comedic one.  Yet, Nora Ephron’s “Julie & Julia” elicited that reaction from both me and my mother (a repeat viewer) not once, but twice.

“Julie & Julia,” for those who don’t read the papers, watch commercials, or notice billboards, is the movie version of Julie Powell’s blog where she attempts to cook her way through Julia Child’s famous tome of French cooking.  While certainly a lighthearted flick in general (what movie with Meryl Streep portraying the hilarious Julia Child could fail to be so) there were many deeper, more meaningful moments in the film.  Moments that were anything but lighthearted– especially all those concerning the two heroines and their often beleaguered, albeit amused, husbands.

The love felt and, more importantly for the medium, shown, by the husbands for Julie and Julia took my breath away.  I fell in love with those relationships.  I have never before seen a movie for women about women where men weren’t the villains or the main focus.  Writes New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott, “Most strikingly, this is a Hollywood movie about women that is not about the desperate pursuit of men. Marriage is certainly the context both of Julia’s story and of Julie’s (about whom more in a moment), but it is not the point.”  Yet, for me, the portrayal of relationships in “Julie & Julia” was one of the points, if not one of the main high points.

Both Julie (Amy Adams) and Julia (Meryl Streep) are characters in their own right– neurotic, anxious, prone to fancy, slightly crazy, and while obviously in love with their respective spouses, not always the best at showing it.  The husbands, meanwhile, do an excellent job of supporting their women.  (While I was at first seriously displeased that the women weren’t portrayed as equally supportive, there is a nice moment where Julia Child supports a rather distressed Paul Child (the superb Stanley Tucci) regarding his career.)  Julie and Julia both reach for rather extraordinary, insane goals involving food, and the husbands, while fully aware that their wives’ ventures can end in disaster, are nonetheless supportive.  Not because they believe in the projects, per say, but because they believe in their wives.

When Julie experiences one of her many freak outs over her life/blog, her husband Eric (Chris Messina) responds in what we learn is his usual teasing, witty way that is meant to be nonetheless a simultaneous pick-me-up and a means to bring Julie back to Earth.  It’s both beautiful and enjoyable to watch the couple’s witty repartee and Chris Messina’s many amused reactions to his crazy love.

Tucci, meanwhile, has the best moments in the film– the ones that made me cry, the ones that made my mom and I look at each other and go, “I want that in a marriage.”  For example, there is a scene where The Childs host a Valentines Day dinner for their friends in Paris.  Tucci stands up, looks at his wife with this deep, soul-consuming love in his eyes, and proclaims, “You are the butter to my bread, the breath to my life.”  While it’s sappy in text, it’s anything but corny in context.  (Plus, Paul Child really did say those words to Julia Child.)  The way Tucci’s voice breaks and Julia smiles up at him, the way Paul kisses Julia’s hand or cheek, the way she blows him kisses, and the look in both the Child’s eyes…  they adore one another.  While it was a movie and the actors were acting, it felt real.  I wanted it to be real.  And because of that, it made me cry.

Plus, being a young woman living in très-hip New York, it was absolutely invigorating to watch these “based on a true story” romances where the men did not care if their women were bone-thin sticks or, as Julie sobs at one point, fat.  They still find their loves beautiful.  They still want to grow old– fat or thin, wrinkly or tan– together.

In an age where so many married couples seem to be unhappy or divorced, it was a relief to watch a film where support and nourishment– both physical and emotional– were the main entrees.  I have precious few examples of those relationships in real life, and yet I think it is what we all strive for.  Sure, Ephron throws in a random spat between Julie and Eric to show that no marriage is perfect, but spats are normal.  Disagreements are normal.  We all know that. What was nice about “Julie & Julia” was that the fights didn’t necessarily mean the husband would go off and cheat on his wife and the film would end with her victorious but alone.  They worked things out.

In most movies involving true love, the romance is unbelievably passionate and sexy.   And while Nora Ephron has no qualms  showing the healthy sexual lives of her two couples, the passion (specifically the Child’s) had, over time, begun to show itself in the ways the couples would hold hands or cook dinner together or just generally talk to one another.  For example, nothing seemed more romantic than the moment where Julie– feeling incredibly guilty– has to boil a live lobster.  The lid flies off the pot and she runs away screaming.  Eric, who had been singing “lobster killer” throughout the day to the theme of The Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer,” runs in and holds the pot down.  He helps her out on something he personally finds incredibly ludicrous.  That’s sexy.

While I’m not calling “Julie & Julia” realistic by far, in moments such as those it did seem more true.  No marriage or long-term-relationship that I know of is nonstop “tear off one another’s clothes” passionate… love, deep love, and passion, they’re there, but shown in ways other than good ol’ fashion sex.  And again, physical intimacy was most definitely still present.

I went to “Julie & Julia” expecting to hate it;  perhaps that’s why I enjoyed it so.  I had low expectations.  But I know one of the main reasons I left that movie wanting to see it again was it gave me hope.  Maybe even I, in my crazy, neurotic, scary-creative way, would not scare away the good guy.  Maybe I could end up happy and with someone to love.

My mother informs me that my father, upon seeing “Julie & Julia,” kept whispering to her throughout the film whenever Amy Adams came on the screen, “She looks like Emily!  That’s so Emily.”  In how the women (for the most part, again I’d be way more supportive of my other half) are members of a loving relationship well past their twenties, I can only reply– “I hope.”