You Mean Men?

Retrosexuals. (Instacurtsy).

Which reminds me. K-Lo has this spoiler-laden essay on the Sex In The City movie, which I went ahead and read because never will I see that flick. She notes:
There is a real focus on men, and on what women do to men: Women don’t forgive men. Women don’t think about men and their feelings. For as sensitive as the modern man is supposed to be to a women’s feelings and as sensitive as a man is supposed to look, he’s not really supposed to register an opinion. Or slip up. Or be honest.
I gather a main plot point is Carrie turns into bridezilla and her fiance goes along to please her, but without sufficient enthusiasm, damn him. Which gives me, because it's related, the courage to admit I watched the two Bridget Jones' Diary movies earlier this Spring when I was on my Jane Austen bender.

I feel compelled to defend myself on this point. It all started with a book club discussion on Mansfield Park during which my fellow interlocutors were put off --as Americans always are-- by the calculation involved in Edwardian era matchmaking. We are so accustomed to being free women--and having a social and an economic system in which poverty isn't a permanent condition-- that we judge Austen's heroines extremely harshly for taking their lovers' incomes into account. Nothing but pure, unalloyed love, independent of economic consideration will do. Thereafter I spent a few days wondering whether the story could be told in a contemporary setting thanks to the breakdown of class differences. The only real class difference Americans can still understand is that created by manners and taste. It was at that point I stumbled across the fact that Bridget Jones' Diary is loosely based on Pride & Prejudice and decided I would see them to see how someone else handled the question.

Their view of men & women rather astonished me, especially part two. (I'm not saying they aren't good examples of their genre as movies. The first one's a typical chick flick; the second's all slapstick, with Renee Zellweger proving herself a terrific comedienne. They're both a bit tawdry for my tastes. But this isn't a review, it's an observation about the cultural assumptions of the films.) The script perpetually tells us the love interest Mark Darcy is a terrible snob, but I couldn't find the evidence. He's humble enough to wear his mom's stupid Christmas sweaters to please her. He's dedicated himself to defending human rights. He saves Bridget from being fired. He stands up for her at a dinner party. He's concerned she not be hurt by a feckless cad. In the second film, He doesn't mind when Bridget gets fat. When she assumes he's having an affair and barges into a senior partner meeting, he can't stay mad at her. (Damn him.) She makes an ass of herself at a black-tie dinner essential for his career and he says nothing about it until she forces him to --and then she's the one who's angry! She lies and says she's an excellent skier and has the temerity to be angry when he assumes she can make it down a hill alone. She thinks she might be pregnant and does he act pained and betrayed or shuffle her off to an abortion clinic? No, he's delighted! She's uninterested in his work in human rights, disengaged from current events, unable to discuss art, politics, literature --anything. She lets herself go, makes herself unattractive and obnoxious -- and then she walks out on him. Which sounds like the situation K-Lo describes in Sex & the City. What have the guys done that is so wrong, I would like to understand?

And my next question is: women may complain of being desired only for the sex. But in the economy of these films, what else is there? The man is not allowed to want anything else!

Update. Hello. It's an Instalanche. Thanks.