I know, from other males of the species, that Bruce Willis made a whole lot of movies where he was a lone cop who fought off terrorists and psychopaths. There have been two or three James Bonds, and all kinds of Hulks, X-Men and even Iron Man movies. If it's got a car chase, helicopter crash or even an automatic weapon, I haven't seen it. I guess from the ads in the paper that they've made all kinds of gangster, kung fu and war movies. But while all this manly stuff has been happening on the big screen, I've been one theater over, stuck firmly in romantic comedy land, a bag of popcorn in one hand and a hankie in the other. Every once in a while I hear a BOOM through the theater wall, but that's about it.
It isn't that my wife flat out refuses to see testosterone-laden movies. Every time I pick a guy movie, she agrees, but so reluctantly, and with such a despondent sigh, that I keep looking through the listings till I find a flick that won't bore her to tears. Most often, the only other male in the theater is walking the aisle with a flashlight.
This summer, my wife surprised me by offering to go see the latest "Batman" movie, and it was like Christmas in July. The whole way out to the theater, I plotted in my head. If I could just show her a good time at a guy film, maybe this could be the start of something new.
The first two hours were great: I could barely sit still as half of Gotham City went up in huge explosions. But then, like the Energizer Bunny, the movie kept going, and going and going. I could feel my wife starting to squirm in her seat next to me. At the two-hour and 10-minute mark, my wife yawned and put her head back, staring at the ceiling. I wanted to run to the back of the theater and yank the plug on the projector. She started looking for her sweater before the final credits rolled. On the way out of the theater, she shook her head.
"You owe me," she said.
This week, my wife decided that it would be nice, in the middle of the week, to rent a movie on digital cable. At first I thought this seemed like a cool idea, until she mentioned the movie: "."
I'd managed to avoid seeing this movie in the theaters only by making a strong stand, refusing to even discuss it. Did she really want, I asked, to be married to the only guy in town who'd gone to this movie? I don't have much of a reputation around the neighborhood as a guy's guy, but what little I had might be worth saving.
I checked the windows before we started the movie on cable to make sure nobody was around. As we settled into the couch, I prepared to be bored to tears.
To my surprise, it was so, so much worse than that. Two and a half hours of women talking on the phone about relationships, broken up by the occasional brunch or gabfest over Cosmopolitans. There were whole scenes that seemed to be about nothing more than shoes. Somewhere around the "outfit montage," where the main character tries on her favorite dresses from the past, I began to feel dizzy. It was like somebody slipped estrogen pills into my beer. I reached up to my jaw and actually felt my beard retracting. I tried to talk, and my voice seemed just a little higher.
I staggered to my feet, just as I felt the last Y chromosome seeping away from my soul. My wife asked me where I was going.
"Don't know, don't care," I said. "But I gotta get outta here before we have to move to a state that's legalized same sex marriage!"