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Monday, August 29, 2011

Kissing Frogs

"Lena", dir. by Christophe von Rompaey, The Netherlands/Belgium
One of my most anticipated selections at TIFF this September.

Over the years, scores of movies have been made about skinny women being unlucky in love, triumphing over the odds, and getting the man of their dreams.

They are so boring.

Precious few movies have been made about large girls or women searching for love, so when one comes along, it’s definitely something I have to see.

TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) opens here on Sept. 8, and I will be in attendance. One of the films I am most looking forward to (and will be reviewing here afterward) is “Lena”. This film is from the Netherlands/Belgium, and it’s about a chubby young woman who meets a cute guy who says he wants to be with her. Here’s part of the description from the TIFF program:

Lena lives in Rotterdam with her mother Danka, who puts a flag in the window whenever she has a man in the apartment so that Lena doesn’t interrupt. Danka constantly reminds Lena that she’s overweight and in the way: a burden in every sense. Lena doesn’t want to be defined by her size, but it seems she’s only free of it while she’s dancing or having sex. All this changes when she meets Daan. She spots him one night while she’s riding her moped and he’s running from the cops. Daan is handsome and apparently wealthy. He doesn’t mind Lena’s size. He might even be in love with her. He buys her expensive gifts and asks her to move in. Lena is happy to flee her miserable home life, but can she trust Daan?

I can’t wait to find out. And you know I’ll be rooting for the happy ending.

The description of the film started me reminiscing about my search for love when I was a young woman. All of us can relate to feeling like outcasts, being treated unfairly because of our size, and the struggle to find a partner worthy of us. But when you’re in your late teens or early 20s, the struggle can feel endless. At least it did for me. What better way to compensate for feeling like you’re unwanted and left out (and unbelievably horny) than to have sex whenever the opportunity arises? You trick yourself into believing you’re unbelievably popular, you get to have fun, and you convince yourself that the formidable sexual skills you develop may actually lead to a relationship.

God knows I fell into that trap. Believe me, if I could take back all the making out, feeling up, blowjobs, and full-on sex that I indulged in with the lucky men who crossed my path in those days, I would. But then, I wouldn’t have learned anything. 

I wouldn’t have learned how to be more selective. I wouldn’t have learned about what I really needed, wanted, and respected in a partner. I wouldn’t have learned what kind of behaviour is truly repugnant to me, and I wouldn’t have developed the uncompromisingly high standards I have today.

Not that I’m saying you should go out and have all kinds of indiscriminate sex in order to find out what you want and who’s right for you. These days, that’s simply dangerous, in more ways than one. Hopefully, you’re self-aware enough to know what you want without having to go through all the nail-biting and heartbreak, and you’re a good enough judge of character to determine who’s being honest with you and who just wants to get laid. And hopefully, if you're choosing to play Russian Roulette in your sex life, you're protecting yourself from STDs by using a condom AT ALL TIMES.

One undeniable benefit: the sex I had back in those days was just a training ground and a warm-up for the men who were genuine, and became my real lovers. The worthy ones.

Unfortunately, in our quest for love, you may have to kiss a few frogs (or suck a few dicks) before finding Mr. Right. But when you do find him, there won’t even be a question in your mind … you’ll know it. And all that meaningless sex will be worth it. 

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