Some people sure know how to spoil a good time. To be honest, I was really unconcerned over the Blurred Lines controversy. The song has become part of my summer soundtrack and I don’t care if that makes me a terrible feminist. If I still had the skinny body I did in my twenties and could get it that close to Robin Thicke, I’d be the first one in line to sign up and they wouldn’t even have to pay me.
I’m convinced it was all just a big publicity stunt to stand out from the hundreds of other songs and videos that treat women solely as sexual objects. To me, it just shows a lack of imagination on the part of men. They’ve used this same theme over a million times already and by now quite frankly, I expect they would have been able to come up with something a little more clever. On the other hand, I could always use a little more sexual objectification in my personal life and I’ve been happy to get some from the nerdy painter guy I met over Memorial Day weekend. He’s not exactly the gorgeous, hot-bodied cabana boy women typically fantasize about; he’s more like the lovable, overstuffed, politically incorrect bear named Ted in that Mark Wahlberg movie, but even more cynical (if that’s possible) and covered in paint. He does smell good all the time though, even after a long day at work. It’s kind of awesome.
No matter how much I’d like us to just live in the moment, he’s determined to stay sensible about our summer romance. First of all, he decided to Google stalk me until he found my birth date with on a simple people search website (damn, Big Brother!) and every so often he does something to remind me that he was born the year I graduated from high school. Honestly, I think our cultural and political differences reveal a much larger hurdle to mount. We’re north and south, black and white, and red and blue. At least he claims to be more fiscally conservative than socially conservative, which is rather remarkable considering he grew up in Central Florida, attended a Christian faith-based college in Texas and faithfully watches Fox News. He’s not a racist, but I get aggravated when he doesn’t take the issue of racism in America as seriously as I do. The funny thing is I wasn’t even remotely interested in politics until I moved to DC where it’s inescapable and then left those comfortable liberal surroundings a few years later to teach in Georgia. It was a lot easier being a liberal in a city where nearly 91% of the population would vote for Obama in the 2012 election. Likewise, in theater, conservatives are just as likely to be similarly outnumbered by liberals. The fiscally or socially conservative starving artist is a rare breed for sure. It’s hard for me to understand the reasons why my big Teddy bear would have voted for McCain instead of Obama in 2008, or why he also voted for Romney in 2012, and when he described Paul Ryan as one of the most inspirational politicians of our time, that’s when I told him our affair should probably come to an end. I was just kidding. Sort of.
We can agree on one thing- that optimism in America is sharply on the decline. We miss romantic idealism, both in real life and in the stories we make up to entertain one another. So far we’ve given our thumbs down to The Man of Steel and The Lone Ranger for their dark and pessimistic Hollywood interpretations. Instead of enjoying a couple of hours of melodramatic escapism we were confronted with massive death and destruction featuring emasculated heroes who didn’t so much save the day as much as barely pull their shit together by the end of the movie. What’s the point of being super human if they are shown to be just as fallible and contemptuous as the rest of us? I’m not saying that reprehensible acts should be sugar-coated for the sake of entertainment, but I don’t want to walk away from a Disney picture feeling saddened, angry or disturbed either.
The real “blurred lines” these days seem to be between fantasy and reality and I find that more upsetting than a couple of naked girls and horny guys having some fun in a video; or perhaps I’m just feeling nostalgic for my youth since I turned a year older this month. I do get a little wistful when I listen to the “Old School” radio station and realize that Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Teena Marie and Heavy D are all gone. Most of us just can’t seem to help ourselves from idolizing celebrities as much as we do our fictional superheroes. I still love listening to John Mayer despite the fact he’s been demonized after his controversial interviews in Rolling Stone and Playboy. I bribed my Teddy and two other people with cheap lawn seats to see him in concert on my birthday. Sure, he might be kind of an ass, but he also writes some of the most beautiful (and, OK, some of the mushiest) songs I ever heard. Besides, I never asked to know anything about his personal life anyway. Funny how some celebrities are denounced for their bad behavior and others are glorified for it when it’s called reality TV.
As much as I’ve been enjoying my time with Ted, my love quest seems far from over. Lately he’s been working a lot of night shifts so we haven’t spent much time together. He needs more time to himself than I do and we sleep on different schedules. It’s probably best to keep a healthy emotional distance between us anyway. In a few weeks we’ll both go back to our respective homes. At this point it’s hard to say if we’re going to try to keep the romance going or just move on with our lives. I don’t deny there would be some challenges to face ahead of us, but sometimes they don’t seem any more difficult than the ones I’ve been facing alone. In the meantime, there are a lot more summer blockbusters we’re excited to see. I just hope they don’t keep us holding out for a hero for much longer.