The Masculine Mystique…

(Posted 8:42 PM PST, February 6, 2006)

My friend Angela finally got around to seeing BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. "I
cried like a baby," she said. I could hear a sob in her voice.

She'd gone on a night that her husband was out of town (not because he refused to see it with her. Heck, Tom practically invented
the term "metrosexual"–I mean, come on already, he was getting a
manicure before it was deemed good guy grooming…And besides, we live
in the San Francisco Bay Area, which means we're cutting edge, right?)
but because she was bored.

What better way to perk up a dull night than emotionally bedding down with Heath and Jake, right?

I validated her feelings (a must-do on the West Coast). "Yeah, I know
what you mean! I cried, too. That last scene, when Ennis sniffed Jack's

"Right! All that unrequited love," Angela sniffled. "It's so–so macho."

And perhaps that's the magic–the mystique--of Brokeback Mountain. It's not a guy's movie, per se. Or,
in my husband Martin's words: "When I was a kid and my mom was out of
town, my dad would slip out and see a cowboy movie. Today, when the
guys go on a road trip, the women go see them. Different era, I

Nope, just a different kind of cowboy.

Or the same: even straight cowboys have been known to be tongue-tied over love and lust.

that matter, a guy doesn't have to be a cowboy keep his feelings
inside. And I've known a few women who never developed the ability to
say what's on their minds, too.

Which is why I think the movie has touched a cord with so many.  It isn't about gay sex. It's about love. More to the point, letting love pass us by, because we're afraid of what others may think of our choices.

And that is something we can all relate to.

Like the Annie Proulx New Yorker short story on which it is based,
the movie's action begins in the early sixties, and ends somewhere in
the late seventies–a time of great social upheaval for both straight
and gay men, not to mention women: Betty Friedan's early 1960s classic,
THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, succinctly chronicles the middle class housewife's frustrations with her professional and personal limitations as well. 

Ironically they were all members of the same club, even if they didn't know it then.

The upheaval did us good. While many women hung up their aprons, lots of men have learned to wear them with pride.

Martin epitomizes the New Millennium Male: strong yet sensitive, a guy's guy, but a gal's pal, too.

in the kitchen. Today, for example, the French toast was on the
griddle before I'd gotten out of bed. By late afternoon, he'd taken
care of the grocery shopping; and every night he makes dinner. (My
culinary skills leave a lot to be desired.)

And he's not afraid to wear pink.

Well, okay, he'll do salmon….which he calls it "light orange."

That's fine with me. He can call it "49'er mauve" for all I care–just so long as he puts cinnamon on the French toast.

Climb every mountain,

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