Kristofferson


I almost fell in love with Kris Kristofferson… almost. He has very kind dark eyes. His beard is affectionately charming, like a teddy bear glued to his chin. Even the multi-aged tones of his hair are inviting, warm, and necessarily experienced. He wears plenty of demin. He rides horses.

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One time, I was making out with a boy who owned many Kris Kristofferson records (or maybe he owned just the one that he played… he gave the impression that he liked Kristofferson very much). The faintly acoustic melody was folky and forgettable (were there even acoustic guitars?… probably), which isn’t to say that I didn’t like Kris Kristofferson the musician, although I prefer him as Kris Kristofferson the actor. Actually, his time as a budding star and major Middle America heartthrob-the Kevin Costner of the 70s, perhaps-has long gone… just as Kevin Costner’s bland sort of afternoon delight died once the millennium struck (my mom wished she was Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, not because she wanted to be a pop singer, but mainly to be closer to Kevin Costner).

My first glimpse of him was in the Pee Wee Herman circus movie. He was the ring leader… Kris Kristofferson, not Kevin Costner.

It took me three days to watch Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. I was reluctant with this movie. Ellen Burstyn in the arms of Kris Kristofferson offered nothing less then some sort of touching romance that may speak to me when I’m a 37- year-old single mother in the suburbs. Otherwise, it leaves me as limp as a boy masturbating to grandma. Unless grandma is his thing. I dare not judge. Anyway, my point is that I completely underestimated most of the movie. Scorsese’s vision was fresh and carried the simple story along its shaky tracks. The dialogue and the characters were also very lively, making their dead end surroundings seem all the more lifeless and, thus, breathing meaning into small bars and busy diners. Monterey never really exists in the movie; motels are as big as NYC studios, the road is plentiful and stretches in a straight lines across miles of land.

I like reading the table of contents, which is a list of chapter names located in a grey plane on the right side of the movie screen. A chapter title is highlighted in bright blue when its corresponding sequence is played. I look forward to the clues they give to me, a predisposed outlook on the particular scene. So, it came to my surprise, when the titles “The Cab Stand” and “Paulie’s Confession” were revealed to me, because there were no cabs and no character named Paulie in Alice Doesnt Live Here. I read and re-read those chapter names aloud, and laughed alone. “The Wives”, “Janice”, “Lufthansa”- Goodfellas. These were the chapter names for Goodfellas. What to do but laugh! Two distinctly different movies, the body of the rural Southwest with the mind of a thriving Italian-American mob. Suddenly, the movie seemed all the more desperate and angrier, as if I was watching Joe Pesci fire bullets at the floor, making the man dance for him. I wasn’t, though. Instead, I watched a twenty-something Harvey Keitel storm into Alice’s motel in a fit of masculine rage. Wielding a knife, his slicked back hair trickles down the sides of his face like spider legs. Alice was never good with men.

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And this is why I didn’t like the ending of the seventies melodrama. In the movie, Alice heads for her childhood town, Monterey, after the death of her apathetic husband. Her wise-cracking son joins his mother on her trip, hoping to arrive just for his birthday. But, it seems Alice gets distracted. She is trapped in sleepy towns where the skyline is not over a horizon, but hangs so close to her that she can hardly see the roads that lead her back home. She has some success as a singer at a small piano bar, but eventually ends up a waitress in the most stereotypical Midwestern bar you can imagine, complete with a bouffant-boasting, gum-smacking waitress named Flo. Her son remains a clever and defiant young man who continues to push her buttons, lighting a fire up Alice’s ass. Anyway, she falls for Kris Kristofferson, who is just as demanding and as possessive as the previous men in her life. He yells at her son for having no sense of discipline with the guitar and questions Alice’s dreams of singing. Nonetheless, after she desperately tries to find footing for herself, he sweet-talks her back to his ranch. Monterey remains just a neon sign in someone else’s town, and Alice decides to settle down with the horse whisperer. Her son seems so suddenly pleased with his mother’s decision, which is out of character.1322here

Watching that moment when Alice runs into Kristofferson’s arms, embracing him in the middle of the diner, I thought I was watching a candle being snuffed. I know movies and their relationships mostly come neatly packaged, as redemption is always captured in the last 10 minutes of a film, but why suffer such a death? If Alice thinks Monterey is so important, then why should she give it up because Kristofferson tells her to? It made me angry at Alice, and then at myself, because I fell in love with Kristofferson too. Sure, he talked with cynicism and power in his voice. He never apologized or asked for my time. He wanted his politeness rewarded, and seemed only happy when I complied… I mean when Alice complied.

Assholes are what women dream of at night. This I can be sure. Technically, groupies wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for assholes because one has to be sort of an asshole to expect sex from a female fan… or to exploit himself for sexual satisfaction. Let’s face that truth. And what’s more dominating than an asshole with a microphone? This is why women find Dane Cook so sexy. I’ve watched his performances. Sure, he’s funny. But, could you imagine dating him? Could you imagine him telling those jokes at dinner parties… or anywhere for that matter? Sure, he seems charming and confident. But, most assholes are. Most assholes are also very funny. And since all women love to laugh, assholes get the quickest access to our panties by being assholes.

When introduced to this kinky source of foreplay in an acceptable manner, I know some women take great pleasure in playing with their male partner’s asshole because it brings them a greater sensation, and it’s the punchline to a gender joke. To make a heterosexual man grow weak in the knees with two fingers and a bottle of lubricant… well, you work it out in your own head.

We want to take care of them. We want to understand them. They’re a bit opposed to treating us like ladies, and we interpret that as equality when really it’s a fucked up form of denial. I don’t know many women who are akin to the male asshole; I guess the closest would run in the frigid bitch pack; but they’re also the most beguiled of the bunch because they’re almost always unattainable. They may fall for an asshole but it never lasts too long, because they’re technically too much alike. Frigid bitches are too proud; assholes are too stubborn.

If this is true, then Alice and Kris Kristofferson are meant for each other. Kristofferson continues to be who he is, and Alice continues to be someone else. No one has to change a thing, despite the misery underlying this cheap form of happiness. Opposites are always the source of one another’s reason for existing in the first place. Monterey doesn’t exist because Kris Kristofferson does, and that’s all Alice needs to feel whole again. Modern day romance.

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