Here is a small fact about myself: the state of my bed is a good indicator of my physical/mental well-being. I am one of those people who absolutely cannot start a day unless my bed is made; I will even make my bed at the expense of being late to work. Heaven forbid I leave the apartment with my bedclothes in disarray; I will be an absolute grump for the rest of the day.
I told Rachel that if she should ever come home to find me missing, my bed unmade, and White-Harp still snoozing, call the cops immediately—I’ve been abducted!
My life can be reduced to a series of simple equations, the variables of which involve the bed and White-Harp.
- Bed made + White-Harp tucked in = All is well in JJ’s world
- Bed made + White-Harp gone = JJ is in New Jersey with Teddy Bear
- Bed unmade + White-Harp on the couch = JJ is feeling sick/depressed/something else is wrong
- Bed unmade + White-Harp still under the covers = JJ’s been kidnapped
I spent all of Friday and Saturday in a state of #3. Thursday night Rachel, The Inimitable Bex, and I went to a screening of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid at the Brooklyn Bridge Park and I think I got sick from the damp. Consequently, White-Harp and I were relegated to our couch while I watched all of the original Star Wars trilogy with the commentary on this weekend.
Rachel and I both adore Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, but I remember saying to her that I resented Etta Place because I felt as though she interrupted the bromance between Cassidy and the Kid.
Now, there is absolutely no earthly reason for me to dislike Etta. By all accounts, she is pretty fabulous. She’s smart, she’s down-to-earth, and she’s pragmatic. She don’t got no romantic notions about her relationship with the Kid, but loves him in a quiet, steadfast way.
ETTA PLACE: I’m 26, and I’m single, and a school teacher, and that’s the bottom of the pit. And the only excitement I’ve known is here with me now. I’ll go with you, and I won’t whine, and I’ll sew your socks, and I’ll stitch you when you’re wounded, and I’ll do anything you ask of me except one thing. I won’t watch you die. I’ll miss that scene if you don’t mind.
Etta, she is fierce. She plans Bolivian robberies, speaks Spanish, and she ain’t a bad shot with a rifle nor a gun neither. By all rights, I should like Etta, but she makes me wary, even though I’ve seen this movie a million times.
Part of my discomfort with Etta is due to my inherent mistrust of love triangles. I hate them. No, really. Ask me how I feel about Gale and Peeta from THE HUNGER GAMES (and this is an example of a love triangle I understand, even!). Now Goldman does an admirable job of balancing the threesome nature of the relationship between Butch, the Kid, and Etta; Etta loves the Kid, the Kid loves Etta, and Butch loves them both.
THE SUNDANCE KID: (as Butch rides in with Etta on his bicycle) Hey, what are you doin’?
BUTCH CASSIDY: Stealin’ your woman?
THE SUNDANCE KID: (pause) Take her. (sighs) Take her.
BUTCH CASSIDY: Well, you’re a romantic bastard, I’ll give you that.
There isn’t really a love triangle in this movie, although film’s extended “romantic” sequence is actually between Butch and Etta as they ride together on his bike to B.J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head”. She even asks Butch that if she’d met him first, would she be with the Kid at all?
That line prejudiced me against Etta forever. But why does this bother me? Is it because Etta is a woman and I therefore expect her to be “faithful” to the Kid? I mean, would I expect the same from the Kid? Of course not. Shouldn’t I also be equally as annoyed with Butch for betraying his friend like that? (Even though there is, in fact, no betrayal at all?) Is it because I’m a woman and therefore hold her to a higher standard of…something? Virtue? Morality?
I don’t actually think that’s the case. Virtuous people are boring to me. No, what got me was the implication that Etta is only with the Kid because that’s the way things fell out, not because she chose him. The reason I loathe love triangles is because I hate it when people can’t seem to make up their damned minds. (Please see my eternal hatred of Kate from Lost.)
Now, if the scene had played out in the opposite way, I think the majority of my ire would have been directed at Butch. If Butch had been the one to ask that question, I would have exonerated Etta of any and all blame immediately. Because if Butch had been the one to wonder if Etta would have gone with him, it would imply to me that she chose the Kid and that she stands by that choice.
Of course, this is a minor, minor quibble because the movie is wonderful and I think it deftly handles the romantic aspects. But love triangles are a bit of a hot button for me, so I tend to be wary of books and movies with three main characters. Love triangles make me irrationally furious; I hate each leg of the triangle for various reasons. I hate the object for being unable to choose, I hate one or the other interest for being unable to stand up for him/herself, or else I hate one of the love interests because I think s/he gets in the way of the right relationship. (I therefore stand by the notion that the real relationship of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid is between Butch and the Kid and that Etta—awesome as she is—is superfluous.)
I think for the most part, my frustration with love triangles lies in the fact that the object can’t choose between his/her love interests. Make your bed and lie in it, please. If you truly can’t decide, then pls to be not choosing either, kthx.
Right, now back to finishing the 2nd draft of ELIJAH’S CHARIOT.