I just watched Hitch.

If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth watching. It's funny, inventive, and romantic. A sharp film.

I'm going to assume you have seen it and reference it without giving details. You know how romantic comedies always work--guy and girl meet, fall in love, something goes wrong, massive misunderstanding, they don't see each other, then they get back together in the next-to-last scene.

There is a scene after everything starts to fall apart where Albert, the lovable schmuck, comes to see Hitch, the professional 'date doctor' who just closed up shop as a result of a gossip column story that ruined his ability to do his job. They have an argument in Hitch's kitchen. It was a surreal moment for me because it was as if I was watching my 18-year-old-self argue with my modern self. Albert screams at Hitch all the things I once believed and followed and thought would save me.

And I was wrong. I was wrong because you don't just need faith in the power of love. You need the right circumstances and the luck of the draw and the right smile. You need for her to be understanding and for the right words to be said and for yourself to be a little less like yourself than you are.

The movie, because it can't say these things, says what it should say to keep the viewer's hope alive: Albert is a great guy. It's Albert that wins the girl, not Hitch's advice. But I'm hung up on this fact: Hitch still pointed the way, and without his advice Albert would just be another piece of flotsam on the shoreline, and the gorgeous celebrity girl who falls for him would never have noticed him.

In truth, no matter how much movies like this make me smile, I don't believe them. I'm still Hitch. I can manufacture relationships out of the gossamer strands of a smile or a kind word or a glance across a crowded room. I can build a fantasy world that becomes a reality for other people, but I refuse to do it for myself. I can't stomach the thought that I would be forced to make something for myself that I want to be as natural as breathing, and so I refuse to try and turn away those who offer.

I have had my share of opportunities. I have had my share of entanglements. I have had my share of women wondering why I won't settle down. What makes me restless and guarded and distant and cold all of a sudden when I was so warm and welcoming only ten seconds earlier. I enjoy drawing a woman in, and I like being wanted--everyone does. But I'm like a catch-and-release fisherman. I don't want to commit to actually consuming what I catch, I just take pleasure from the sport of it.

Sickening, but true. And if there is any sport to it at all, I cannot bring myself to consider following through. The very process of making it a game for myself makes me keep my guard up and means I'll never let it down, even if the "right girl" ever does come along. Why would I? As long as she reacts positively, I'll just play the game until I've reeled her in and there's no more game, then I'll remove my hooks and let her go, even if she doesn't want to leave.

What I am waiting for is a fish that refuses to bite, but comes to the boat on its own. And that never happens. If it did, the entire concept of Hitch's job would be laughable and absurd, instead of being a very believable plot device.

And so I will keep playing my games because if I stop, I'll be completely alone, and won't even be able to pretend that I'm wanted anymore. [editor's note: this might be the most emo thing I have ever written.]

I won't be miserable again. I turned from that path long ago. But adrift in the currents of life, without one hand on misery, happiness may be beyond my grasp.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Post a Comment

<< Home