Maybe Means Probably Not
“Eclipse,” the third movie in the vampire romance saga, opened this week and made $30 million on its first night. That’s a new record for midnight showings and I am not at all surprised. At least not by the money.
Nor am I surprised how popular the books that spawned the movies have been. I read them all, and even though they are not exactly elegant works of literature, the author, Stephenie Meyer, is a genius at capturing exactly what it is to yearn.
Apparently, we have a bottomless capacity for this yearning business. And by we, I mean the girls and moms who’ve made this series an unstoppable phenomenon. (Even on Imax, the movie set a record, beating the testosterone-fest known as “Transformers.”)
Here’s the thing. Teen girls did not create this phenomenon on their own. Moms—who’ve dubbed themselves TwiMoms—are every bit as ardent in their admiration of Edward and Jacob, the yin and yang love interests of the series’ heroine, Bella Swan.
There’s been great debate over which potential romantic partners is better. Is it Edward, who may be 100-something but has chiseled marble pectoral muscles and golden eyes, the ability to read minds, and a very swift Volvo?
Or is it Jacob, who is younger, beefier, sometimes a werewolf and in possession of at least one motorcycle?
Although I appreciate a well sculpted set of abs as anyone, and maybe even more, since it’s been so long since I’ve seen any around my house, I do think we’re selling ourselves short with either of them.
If we’re going to dive headlong into the bittersweet pool of yearning (and oh, how I can’t wait till my daughters are old enough to swim in it with me), then we really ought to be directing our yen to yearn properly.
Consider Edward’s principle interests: staring at Bella, especially while she sleeps, and… what? He plays some piano, has a really nice bedroom that’s never used for sleeping or anything else a bedroom might be used for… does he once offer to do Bella’s laundry? Does he say, “Hey. I’ve been paying taxes for a century. Let me help you with your forms.” Does he say, “Don’t wait in line at the DMV getting the admissions on your truck tested. I’ll do it.”
No. He does not. And think of it, moms. A guy whose main hobby is staring at you is going to be really dull in the long run. The Volvo isn’t lying. Yes, they’re lovely safe cars. But they are BORING. And if you can’t die in a wreck and you can afford any car you want, you’re seriously going to choose the one with the really good side airbags?
For my money, Jacob is the better pick. He at least can fix cars, and his skin couldn’t be used to chill your eye-makeup remover.
But even Jacob has his limits. For starters, he’s not smart enough to pick up on the fact that neither he nor Bella has “imprinted” on each other. In the werewolf world, that’s the sign of true love. And yet, he keeps trying.
This is like the guy who keeps buying the season tickets for the losing team, and keeps buying airplane tickets to the Super Bowl, just in case. Cute, yes. But ultimately kind of pathetic. Especially after, say, your 20th wedding anniversary.
No, if we’re going to spend all our yearning, let it be for a monster who will continue to make our lives better for the long haul. Chances are, we don’t need anyone to keep us safe from vengeful redheads. Chances are, we don’t need the kind of worry you get from being with a guy who jumps off of cliffs for fun.
No, what is yearn-worthy is a guy who’ll always be there, asking how he can help. Which is why I choose Igor as the one true monster of my heart. He’s always there for his villains, getting the door when telemarketers knock, helping out around the house, being generally agreeable.
He might be a really short hunchback with bulgy eyes and the hair of a lesser Baldwin brother, but he knows that “Yes, Master” is the right answer to a request for assistance.
I know he’s going to be a hard sell with my daughters. They already hate it when I point out what a lovely husband Gonzo on the Muppets might make someday. (He already has the tux! And he’s so sensitive and attentive to his chickens!)
But if we’re going to yearn for something, shouldn’t the ideal be a guy who makes our lives better—not more complicated?
That way, when you look over at the real-life husband, who probably does improve your life without adding complications, and when you note that he isn’t hunchbacked or coiffed like a lesser Baldwin, you’ll think of yourself as the luckiest person in the world.
There’s something worth $30 million. And then some.
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