SPOILERS: For “The Age of Innocence” 1993 movie, with Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder
OK, in this post I am just going to try my hardest to just come out and say it. Once again this is one of these posts that could be somewhat awkward.
I’ve just watched the 1993 film, Age of Innocence, with Daniel Day Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Winona Ryder (plus others, of course) and oh my, it is incredibly moving. Actually, I did watch, or attempt to watch it once before, when I was a lot younger, but I think I must have been half asleep that first time because I completely missed the plot. All I remember from watching it first time around were the very pretty clothes and the historical setting. Other than that on rewatching it was essentially a movie I’d never seen before.
This is what is awkward to talk about: If you have not seen it, it will not be much of a spoiler for me to tell you that it is about frustrated sexual yearning, because any summary of the story will communicate that, or at least hint at it. People might politely refer to it as “romantic” yearning but it is actually sexual, and erm, yeah! It is a classic love triangle and very much a will-they/won’t they story, and my heart was in my mouth the entire time. It was rated “Universal” (U), so in theory suitable for even the youngest children to watch. However, it was so ripe with repressed longing and more than one passionate kissing scene that I think it should have been a 12 at the very least, if not a 15.
Anyway, that got me thinking, as it was bound to. This film strongly illustrated that marriage is or can be such a delicate balance of duty, respectability, community considerations, long-term focus, and yes, sexual desire. This was only a film, of course, not a scientific treatise on human nature. However, if it is in any way accurate about human nature, OR if what it depicts is representative of the way people behave, then you would conclude that many people would marry the “sensible” choice, but continue to pine for the unconventional choice, the person “who makes them feel alive”. That might sound really corny, but somehow in the context of the film it works.
You know, I was going to write that for my husband I hope he would only choose me if he was being honest with himself about truly wanting to be with me. But then it very quickly dawned on me, that actually, I tend to be the unconventional choice anyway! I am the person that someone would marry contrary to the advice of perhaps many people around him, for the sake of “being true to himself”. (Although there was also that incident when a whole group of
Christian church people seemed to conspire together to get me to marry a certain individual. Thankfully my head was firmly on my shoulders back then, and I managed to slip through their clutches…)
Anyway, yes I must admit that it does fill me with a little pride to know that I usually represent truth, unconventionality and apparently also passionate desire to a number of people. Apologies, I cannot now think of a way of softening that phrase. There I’ll be, innocently minding my own business, and then some man will start staring at me intently. I think I previously wrote on this blog about the man at the funeral who was glaring at me…sexually? Really! And I was not dressed seductively, or even attractively in the slightest. Furthermore my Dad was sitting right next to me.
I have so many stories.
In truth, I know that people often find it hard to believe about me that I am such a serious Christian because I am such a non-conformist while Christianity at least in its most frequently encountered modern Western incarnations is associated with being a conformist, and being socially obedient. I think that this is why I so often tend to attract non-Christian guys, because I apparently look like a personification of all that is mischievous and naughty. Which I am! I just also happen to be very holy. What can I say, Mr Huggie-Wuggie, I am a living contradiction just waiting for you to come and untangle all my mysteries. (Wink!) And so I sit waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting yet longer. I honestly don’t know how much longer you intend to keep me waiting! Oh very well, the truth is that I have deliberately nurtured these two aspects of my personality for many years, and being constantly noticed by guys is a side effect that I could not possibly have anticipated back when I was a cheeky nine-year-old, and now this personality is just too deeply ingrained (and honestly, I do quite like being noticed by guys! 🤣🤣🤣)
And yet, while I am undoubtedly somewhat proud to be the “being honest with himself choice”, I am not actually as proud of this as you might imagine. As much as it obviously excites me to possibly be the object of Huggie-Wuggie’s secret yearnings, I would also like to be his sensible choice too, the one he can proudly show off to his friends and family.
Perhaps the answer is that I need to hold out for someone who is a non-conformist like me, (whisper – and Jesus!) The truth is, by the grace of God, regardless of social conformity, I am going to be an outstanding wife, and I need someone who is ready to stand up in truth and confidence, and boldly claim me as his woman. Perhaps I need to understand that any appropriate husband for me is also likely to be a non-conformist, like me, or at least someone who thinks for himself.
So in all Huggie-Wuggie, firstly I hope that you are reading this and secondly I hope that you are feeling very very jealous!
In truth though, while I am playful etc, my marriage like my relationship with God is utterly sacrosanct, and something I will not be playing about with, ever ever ever. I made up my mind a very long time ago that I was never going to deliberately incur my husband’s jealousy, as surely as I am never going to withhold…anything for the sake of trying to manipulate him. If anyone is going to be getting headaches within our marriage, it is not going to be me! As one of my sisters once said of herself “Well I don’t get headaches now (while I am single) so why would I just start getting headaches then just because I happened to be married?!” And I laughed so hard! And just like her, I don’t get headaches now either, and I am not planning for that to change after I get married!
And while I am playful, I am also capable of being immensely serious. Some things are just not available to be joked with, and one of those things is my marriage. So while I will of course tease my husband within my marriage, and I will work to cultivate a playful and fun atmosphere within my marriage, with lots of laughter and lightheartedness, I am also going to make sure that people know that my marriage is not available for anyone else to joke about with. This is a serious covenant made before God, thank you very much. And if any other guy other than my husband even tries to look at me, I will coolly let him know that this is completely unwelcome. I am a married woman, thank you very much, kindly keep your eyes to yourself!
So you see, this is a matter of love-life balance in two ways. Firstly for my husband, balancing all the factors I mentioned above, of respectability, long-term thinking, community acceptance versus being true to himself, and attraction, and then also for myself, balancing the various aspects of my personality, playfulness versus holiness and seriousness. However, I have already decided the balance of all this, firmly in favour of my marriage. Please don’t try me on this. You know, I’ve previously said on this blog, “I am like this. If people fail to respect this, then I will have to act this way…” and then people decide to “try it”, and then I go ahead and do exactly what I said I would, and then people are surprised. Please trust me, I will do exactly what I say I will.
However while Mr would-be Huggie-Wuggie is still dawdling and dragging his feet, while I am sitting here hinting my head off, then I must admit, I don’t mind if he is made to feel a tiny bit jealous! The truth is, I think that we both increasingly know who he is supposed to be, but I suspect he is just playing me at my own game now! Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that writing the “Apology to short kings” post suddenly made me remember a few things…or rather a few people. One in particular was – wow! Sighs. Sadly not a Christian though 🙁 (But in some ways so close!) And actually I know a few tall kings too. Once again, one in particular…again sadly not a Christian…although he did hint, once. So if you like, Mr Could-You-Be-Huggie-Wuggie, please take all the time in the world. After all, you know I do now live in a certain metropolis, that is not called “Edinburgh”! I may even already be Facebook friends with at least one of these men!
Furthermore, Mr Could-You-Be-Huggie-Wuggie, I hope that if and hopefully when you do eventually decide to grab the
bull heifer by the horns, you will sweep me passionately into your arms with the desperation of someone who has been trying to listen to common-sense, but has finally decided to ignore common-sense to go instead for what his heart yearns for. Because that is the kind of marriage I dream of, the kind where my husband frequently sweeps me passionately into his arms. I would also ask for a passionate kiss, but I would gently remind you at this point that I don’t believe in premarital kissing, at least not that deep passionate kissing, so it would have to be a chaste forehead kiss, at least before we are actually married. Oh, happy sighs!
To go back to the movie, by the way, it was brilliantly acted. Winona Ryder was so beautiful and lovely as the innocent young bride, and so excellent at being naive, and yet not quite so naive. Michelle Pfeiffer was so good at playing the bold, unapologetic temptress. For his part, Daniel Day Lewis looked exactly like an older version of someone I was going to write about on this blog but completely forgot about.
Not too long ago, I met two adorable young men, twins, less than ten years old. And honestly, I was blown away, as was one of my close relatives, who was with me. I honestly wanted to run home and write an article about these two young men. I sincerely cannot articulate to you how sweet-natured these boys were, and how deeply impressed I was. Their entire family was lovely. Daniel Day Lewis looks like an older version of one of the twins. The reason I wanted to write about them was this: their whole family was lovely. In our Nigerian Yoruba culture, we so pride ourselves on intellect, and material acquisitions. However, spending time with this family reminded me of the importance of putting community first, and not letting yourself become preoccupied with material things. And because I am really into my faith, and anti-capitalist, I sometimes think myself above these things. However spending time with this family showed me that I am a lot more preoccupied with these material things than I usually realise.