she liked Imaginary Men best of all

Different decades, same dumbassery

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This weekend I enjoyed a classic movie fest. The theme was:

Beautiful but “Plain” Young Women of Means are Wooed by Handsome but Caddish Playboy Types who May be Trying to Marry Them for Their Money, and/or Trying to Kill Them.

If you’ve never seen Suspicion starring Joan Fontaine and Cary Grant, or The Heiress starring Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift – well get to it! Both are excellent movies with not only some of the most famous movie stars ever, but great pedigrees (Suspicion is a Hitchcock classic and Heiress is based on Washington Square by Henry James.)

I’d never seen Heiress and have watched Suspicion many times – but something struck me as I watched both films: The men in them were doing classic Annoying Boy Shit to the heroines, and the women – in turn – were reacting by doing Stupid Girl Things.

Example: Cary Grant sweeps Joan Fontaine off her feet with just a little intense flirting on a windy hilltop, and of course his charm and handsomeness (because he’s CARY GRANT!!) He then disappears for over a week causing her to do Stupid Girl Things like flip through the society pages and cut out his picture to hide in her books, and have operators dial his phone – which of course he never answers.

Cary waltzes back into her life (literally – he shows up uninvited at a ball and waltzes her away!) and tells her he stayed away because he was afraid he was falling in love with her and he didn’t know if he liked it. Does Joan say, “are you even serious right now?!” No, of course not! She lets him kiss her in HER car that HE’S driving and then accepts his marriage proposal!

Example: Montgomery Clift sweeps Olivia de Havilland off her feet with his lavish attentions, compliments and aggressive daily courting (and HIS handsomeness which is so handsome even Olivia’s father compliments him on it!) He arranges an elopement and she not only agrees, but she moves it up a day! Except she mentions her father forbids her marrying him and if she does, her inheritance will go down A LOT and she’ll never talk to her mean dad again anyway because she’ll be with the love of her life.

Monty of course abandons her and Olivia does Stupid Girl Things like pine over him for years instead of Getting On With Her Life. He then saunters back to her door when her dad is dead and she’s rich – and tries his old tricks again. I won’t spoil the ending but let’s say Olivia kicks some golddigging ass and she does it in an over-the-top Parisian ball gown while doing NEEDLEPOINT (as you do!)

So while I’m giggling over Joan’s stalking, and Olivia’s “fuck off I’d rather do Crush Crafts you asshole” attitude – I’m eye rolling that these movies – both over 60 years old and both taking place in different eras – have men doing the same kind of Annoying Boy Shit that guys are still doing today!! Acting as if they like you, then not returning texts! Breaking up with you without an explanation!

So listen up guys – UNLESS you are Cary Grant:

OR Montgomery Clift:

Those kind of behaviors just make you a dick 😉 And ladies? Keep your money close, and your Parisian ball gowns at the ready.

Author: Amy H. Johnson

Amy H. Johnson is the author of The Fangirl Files a memoir about Boy Bands, TV Boyfriends and imaginary betrothals to 80s English pop stars. She prefers to be referred to as a "Cute Famous Boy Aficionado".

One thought on “Different decades, same dumbassery

  1. Know these movies ,love them so so true.

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