More Time Lapsed Love

Before Hugh Jackman, before Gerard Butler, and long long before Michael Fassbender my celebrity crush was Chris O’Donnell. I was a young teenager when I first saw the movie “Circle of Friends” with him and Minnie Driver. He was so sweet and charming that I was a fan. Usually a celebrity crush is a template of wishes and desires projected onto a famous stranger. Certainly in the case of O’Donnell, he represented everything I was looking for in a boyfriend. He married a kindergarten teacher who was the sister of a college friend, was very Irish Catholic from Boston, organized in his affairs, scandal free, and married young. Today, the actor is still happily married and a father of five children. If anything he has only remained a symbol of my ideal man. But I am no longer a teenager and those days are long past. O’Donnell dropped out of sight for a few years and resurfaced about three years ago on NICS: LA. Part of the reason he stayed out of the spotlight was his commitment to family. He may not have gone on to be as famous as his Batman co-star George Clooney but his home life reflects his priorities. The point is… Chris O’Donnell was the long forgotten man of my dreams way back in junior high and as he has progressed in life stages his example of family man remains consistent with my heart’s desires.

Unfortunately I changed along the way. I turned my back on my deepest wishes in the realm of love and family. I was the ugly duckling who was chubby, awkward, and not blessed with a nice complexion. The day I turned 21 I had told myself that enough was enough so I decided to radically alter who I was. I set out to shed the Catholic values of my childhood, youth, and early adulthood. The first thing I did was run off to Europe. My Spanish grandmother had my father in Barcelona which allowed me a European passport. Two months after graduating from Santa Clara University I boarded a plane to London where my god sister was living. The moment I arrived in Heathrow Airport I started my self-imposed exile and makeover. My god sister and I lived in Hackney and thanks to a degree in English literature and European History I hustled my way into a PR firm in Mayfair promoting fashion and beauty products. Within a year I had networked myself into a staff writer job at a London style magazine that finally launched a career in journalism. From then on I was on a roll. Along the way I went from the conservative and insecure Catholic girl to a brazen assertive and rather iron fisted fashionista whose calling card was biting humor and a penchant for sarcasm. I had turned myself into a mixture of Carrie Bradshaw and Oriana Fallaci. There was a brief marriage born out of rebellion at 24 to a German man 13 years my senior with a five year old son from a previous marriage. He was more mentor than husband and Gunther knew I’d eventually want to be free again. Despite dreaming of a love marriage in a Catholic church during my youth I got hitched by a Scottish officiate in Edinburgh one weekend in July. Needless to say my family was appalled but still supported me.

Gunther introduced me to the art scene in Berlin and indulged my affection for foreign and independent films by taking me to film festivals in Europe and Asia. He made good money working for a major European bank and his lifestyle was definitely that of a culture vulture. What I learned about my husband was that he was a serial spouse who snapped up young women he could mold. His first wife was a budding painter and he directed her into a career until both grew apart. She had been 20 and he 29 when they met.  I had been his second project. Without Gunther I perhaps would never have become the multi-lingual writer. I absorbed his German humor and business savvy but our marriage was not a love match. It was a mentorship with attraction and affection but he did not want more children nor did want any kids with him. Every once in a while I still wondered what my life would be had I gotten my original wishes for the traditional Catholic family I had dearly wanted.

When I returned to California nearly a decade after running away to Europe my heart had become jaded. After getting a divorce I dated for dinner as they say. Basically when I didn’t feel like cooking I would go on a date. The guy would pay and all he got at the end of the night was a handshake. It wasn’t about love anymore but rather just networking and being social. The truth was that I was mad. Mad that my own Chris O’Donnell never showed up. Mad that I never created a family of my own with someone who captivated my soul. Instead I had turned into a chronic smoker of French cigarettes who saw the white picket fence as something that was being dangled in front of my face but could never be mine. The odd thing was, three years after coming home, a Chris O’Donnell of sorts crossed my path. I will call him Quinn. He was the good Catholic boy grown up. He even looked like him. Too bad he came across my radar too late. Once upon a time I would have been his Minnie Driver in our own version of “Circle of Friends” but the 21 year old me no longer exists. The young me had an open heart and would have leaped into his arms in a nanosecond. However, Quinn would never have looked at my young self who was no stunner in any way, shape, or form. It’s star crossed timing. I got my wish, sort of, just way too late. Even if Quinn were the right age it is still too late. I’m the farthest thing from that young adult Catholic woman who wanted that traditional marriage. I am simply too far gone.

From Heartbroken Kitten to Jaded Cougar: Time Lapse Love

The following is a guest post from my god-sister Michaele Connor:

Do you realize I am old enough to be your mother? If I had been 16 and pregnant you would be the same age as a son or daughter who would have been born to me back then. These are the words I long to say to him but the moment never arrives. From the start I noticed the eye glances and locking stares between us. When I was his age of 22 people thought I was still 16. Until I was 27 the common remarks I heard were that I looked so girly and baby faced that people assumed I was one of those very young women who were very mature emotionally for their age. Since I skipped a grade my intelligence was such a calling card that men calculated me as innocent jail bait they would rather protect like an older brother instead of try to date. Boys my own age were worse. They simply ignored me or relegated me to the “friend zone” and my status as the asexual female was fortified. Only when age 28 arrived did my looks suddenly take on a more adult appearance thanks to many late night cigarettes that deepened my voice and my expression lines. I looked like someone a few years out of college but the round baby face remained.

When the big 3-0 hit no one believed me and I was able to start passing myself off as younger and younger. I quit smoking, started dancing, and invested in a luxury skin care regime that seemed to slow down time. I added a complex nutritional diet filled with anti-aging vitamins recommended by Dr. Perricone that as I approach 40 in a few months, people guess my age as between 27 to 34 depending on my clothes and make-up. My hair may have thinned when I developed a low thyroid but the beauty tips I learned along the way during a youth spent yearning to be glamorous have paid off thanks to a knack for extensions. If you are wondering what I look like the complements I’ve received for the last decade is that I am a combination of Sarah Shahi and former Oakland cheerleading grandmother at 39 Kathy Ferrin. The men who approach me are often between 25 to 50 which shocks me every time. But he is the youngest man to ever look at me that way.

It began with eye glances that lingered and locked mutually for several seconds. He looked so much like my first love that I did stare only out of amazement at the resemblance. Somehow he looked back and now six months later that is all we seem to do. We hardly talk but when he does speak to me his face turns red and when he converses with the other younger women it is nowhere near that color. Once he sat by me at the staff brunch and for three hours neither of us said a word but I felt comfortable being beside him. Before you accuse me of being a cougar let me tell you a few things: I have always dated men my age or older and he is only 18 months older than my god-son. My niece is perfect for him age-wise. Young men under 32 look like little boys to me. My celebrity crush is the very manly Gerard Butler and I can’t stand immature pretty boys. Somehow this is not some weird Mrs. Robinson situation. He thinks I am only 27 or 28. He also has no clue that I am so much older than him. My feelings towards him are both protective and warm but nothing maternal about it. Is something wrong with me? Where was a guy like him back when I was 22? Does my worldliness of having lived in Germany, Australia, and France before coming home to California intrigued and intimated him? We hardly talk to one another but he always looks up towards me when I am speaking or joking with the other guys about Harley motorcycles and Steve McQueen.

Nothing is worth speculating. What is happening is nothing more than frequent eye contact, long held gazes, and sadness inside me. You see, he was the kind of boyfriend that I wanted, I needed, I wished for at 22. But back then those guys just walked on by. They never noticed me in favor of the Megan Fox type of her day … the Cindy Crawford look-a-like. So in feeling rejected, passed over, unattractive, and heartbroken in all that loneliness I created the person I am today. I decided one day at 22 that I would be a world traveler, fluent in three languages, able to ride a motorcycle, a Shutzhund trainer, and all around female James Bond except a journalist instead of a secret agent. I did it. Along the way I learned tricks of the trade among models in Paris and Milan. After a decade abroad I returned in 2009 to California a much more seasoned and skilled cosmopolitan person who had published three books after landing three separate book deals with three different publishers. My tactic and strategy was to become this intriguing daunting figure that would scare off men and therefore I had an explanation to why I was alone. I had it all figured out. It worked. My next step was the sperm bank so I could make some half-Viking babies. Men no longer scared me. You know why? Because I scared them first and they approach me with the kind of demeanor one would take if coming near a badass Czech German Shepherd Patrol Dog.

So why does this man-child melt my heart? Simple. He reminds me of that window of opportunity when I was capable of love and partnership. Had he shown up when I was 22 and the same age as he is now I would have become a very different person. Back then my innocence allowed me to have an open heart. I would have relished time with him. I would have treasured the joy of his attention. If he had been my lover and boyfriend back then I would have held on to the gift of him forever if God had intended us together.

When I see him it’s like a view to the young Hugh Jackman: masculine, kind, tough and tender, sensitive yet strong, smart, and most of all a beautiful soul. Sometimes I feel the tears come when it hits me just how much time has passed since I was that girl who wished for a boy like him to come along. A boy who would make me feel safe and happy in the simple joy of young love that got to grow up together. There was no partner to experience growing pains with. No man was there to have a pregnancy scare with or lament over parental issues during college. No. I was alone and just working surviving, getting ahead, building my writer’s portfolio, and plugging away at a PR career. Before I left for overseas adventures I did not have the iron heart I do now. I would see boys like him fawn over the beautiful girls and couples go away for a romantic weekend or holiday and it felt like a knife pierced my soul. It hurt. God it hurt a lot. So I ran away to distract myself from the ordinary pleasures of life and came back unable to even have hunger pangs for love. Instead of wanting a guy I fancied to reciprocate my goal was to scare the men with the well acquired assertiveness, fierce independence, Athena-like qualities of a man’s woman like Margaret Thatcher (aka The Iron Lady) in the form of a fashionista who emulated Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolos.

My program worked but it also failed. The moment I realized he and I were exchanging knowing glances and blushing faces it was obvious that all this time, all these years, the only thing I wanted was to meet and marry a boy like him and settle down in the suburbs of Walnut Creek, California. Besides, he has a girlfriend, a college sweetheart who looks like the young Mila Jovovich, whom he took out to dinner on her birthday and whose picture he proudly shows off to the other guys in the office. Perhaps this is all in my head. Maybe I have old maid’s disease and see affection and attraction where none exists. Whatever the case In know that the best way to see this temporary experience is to consider it just another passing fancy. The little moments are nothing more than the reminders of a broken heart and lonely tears my younger kitten-like and more innocent self once shed. The woman I am today doesn’t cry over boys. She just has learned to live without them unless said boy(s) is/are her own biological son(s). No cougar and cub situation for this old gal.

P.S. To be honest I’d rather gush over cute puppies than boys to men. At least a dog will never cheat on you as long as he is fixed. He should have shown up when I was 17.

 

Dreams of a Life (Carol Morley, 2011) * *

Dreams of a Life

Dreams of a Life

New Film: Dreams of a Life

San Francisco Green Film Festival

San Francisco Green Film Festival

SFGFF’s mission is to organize and present forward-thinking programs of films and discussions that inspire environmental action and advocacy. The films that we premiere explore the relationship between people and the planet and offer compelling insights into the environmental challenges we face as well as the creative social entrepreneurs who are crafting a vision for a greener future.

One More Kiss

When Sarah Hopson realizes her successful high-rise New York lifestyle is devoid of meaning, she packs her bags and heads for her home town in the Scottish Borders to look for Sam, her childhood sweetheart and the only man she ever loved. Sam Murray runs a restaurant. He and Sarah grew up together and Sam hoped they’d grow old together. His world fell apart the day Sarah left and now she’s back, standing on his doorstep and telling his wife she’d like to spend some time with him. Written by NybergerMeister

My Week With Marilyn

From Landmark Theaters:

In the early summer of 1956, 23-year-old Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) came down from Oxford determined to make his way in the film business. He worked as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that famously united Sir Laurence Olivier (Best Supporting Actor nominee Kenneth Branagh) and Marilyn Monroe (Best Actress nominee Michelle Williams), who was also on honeymoon with her new husband, the playwright Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott). Nearly 40 years on, his diary account The Prince, the Showgirl and Me was published, but one week was missing and this was published some years later as My Week with Marilyn. This is the story of that week. When Arthur Miller leaves England, the coast is clear for Colin to introduce Marilyn to some of the pleasures of British life—an idyllic week in which he escorted a Monroe desperate to get away from her retinue of Hollywood hangers-on and the pressures of work. Simon Curtis’ directorial debut also stars Judi Dench, Julia Ormond and Dominic Cooper

A Dangerous Method

From Landmark Theaters:

The cities of Zurich and Vienna on the eve of World War I are the setting for a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery. Drawn from true-life events, A Dangerous Method takes a glimpse into the turbulent relationships between fledgling psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender of Shame and Jane Eyre), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen, A History of Violence) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley, Atonement), the troubled but beautiful young woman who comes between them. Into the mix comes Otto Gross (Vincent Cassel, Black Swan), a free-thinker who encourages Jung to cross therapist-patient boundaries. This exploration of sensuality, ambition and deceit sets the scene for the pivotal moment when Jung, Freud and Sabina come together and split apart, forever changing the face of modern thought. Screenplay by Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons), based on his play The Talking Cure. Directed by David Cronenberg (Eastern Promises, A History of Violence)

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