Last night I accompanied the Beloved Roommate and the Wandering Asian Gnome to a free screening of the classic rom-com When Harry Met Sally (1989). Though I generally reserve this film for New Year’s Eve celebrations, I understood how it might be fitting for a pre-Valentine’s Day fete, and so I indulged in a screening two months too late.
As every Cinema and Media Studies major will tell you, each time you watch a film over again, you notice something new. Sometimes it’s significant to understanding the narrative discourse, like the continuity disjunction in Agnes Varda’s Vagabound (1985), but other times it is limited to your personal cinematic experience.
Last night, I had the latter sensation. While watching Harry, Billy Crystal’s character, dispel of the notion that men and women can ever truly be platonic friends, I realized that his speech was familiar– and not just because I had seen the film ten times before– but because a certain high school teacher had used similar language when dissuading us from fraternizing with fifteen year old boys.
Rabbi F, my tenth grade Jewish Law teacher, said, “Ladies, boys won’t ever want to be your friends. Platonic relationships are a myth. And you know why? Because boys have one thing on their minds.” Now as a conservative pedagogical figure, Rabbi F did not explicitly state the s-word, but rather used the term “electricity,” which till today remains a euphemism in my vocabulary for sex.
His point, like Harry’s, was that men and women are biologically programmed to reproduce. And as a strict adherer to Jewish law, I was in no position to be engaging in said programming while a sophomore in high school. Harry, equally incapable of tackling the responsibility of reproduction when making his speech on relationships, eventually evolved into a marrying man.
Rabbi F, who I recently crossed paths with, noted that I, too, had evolved into an “eligible young woman.” This, of course, is rabbi speak for “the biological clock is ticking; wed immediately.” I grimaced when he made the comment, but upon reflection I realized that Rabbi F might be highlighting an idea Harry recognizes in the final scene of the film, when he reveals he loves Sally despite her overt obsessive compulsions.
I am not fifteen anymore. I no longer blush when someone says sex in public. I am capable of engaging in a mature and healthy adult relationship. And in seeking to do so, I have discovered my means of entrance into such a relationship– through my biggest compulsion: Starbucks . The post card, courtesy of the Beloved Roommate and Post Secret, reveals the means I intend to use in future romantic endeavors:
Because the truth is if he doesn’t love coffee, he cannot possibly love me.