For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, let me give you a little backstory.
Mr. Handsome Dick Manitoba, husband to my bff Zoe Hansen, and an endless source of amusement, got in a little argument with me the other day when he described a practice laid out in that movie favored by New York men of…ahem…a certain age called “The Wanderers”. This practice is called “elbow tittin'”.
I saw the movie when I was a teenager, and it seemed okay but it didn’t move me. This is not a statement about the quality of the film, just as a female child from Michigan in the 70’s, a story about marginally intelligent New York mooks set the 50’s was not high on my list of imperative viewing. Much higher on the list that year was “Nosferatu, The Vampyre” in which I learned that I wanted to look like Isabel Adjani, and “Rock and Roll High School”, in which I learned that it was possible to meet the Ramones if you wanted it badly enough.
But I digress. So Richard, while standing behind the bar of his fine establishment Manitoba’s and impeding his long-suffering wife from doing her best work as the bartender, described Elbow Tittin’ to me. He said it is a bump and grope: first the man fake bumps into the woman, then he cops a quick feel of her boob.
I said, “How is that a funny thing to do, Richard? It’s a minor form of sexual assault and it’s very upsetting to the woman on the receiving end.”
To which he responded with a bit of sputtering which ended with, “Well, you are a Nazi lesbian!”
And then Zoe and I immediately set upon screaming phrases like “sexist pig” at him in unison until he ran out of the bar with his ears covered. As he left he shouted out a blog challenge at me, something to the effect of, “Mary, you ignorant slut! This is not over! I will blog you to the death!”
I called out after him, in my best Cher from “Clueless” imitation, “AS IF!”
But he was not kidding! That bastard! Richard threw down the gauntlet this afternoon, with THE MARY RAFFAELE-HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA BLOG WARS, on his aptly titled “Maniblog”. I laid my eyes upon the link on my facebook page, spit out the bite of salad I was masticating and raised a fist to the sky and shouted, “AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, RICHARD MANITOBA, I WILL TURN YOU INTO A SENSITIVE, FEMALE EMPOWERING, 21ST CENTURY MAN IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO!!!”
Okay, that’s not true. I just rolled my eyes and thought, well, this is good. Having to blog a response tonight means I can postpone vacuuming for a day. So thank you for that, HDM. I hate vacuuming.
So I first had to refresh my memory on this dumbass movie. Here’s the scene:
I will say that it’s mildly amusing, and it’s nice that a woman wins out in the end against this obnoxious, pathetic, childish behavior, even if the woman in question is portrayed as a caricature, the underlying message being that a tall, self-sufficient female is little more than a man in a dress, and not someone to be taken seriously or loved in any real way.
And if you break it down, what is elbow titting anyway, except a simplistic way to take a woman down a peg or two, to show her that the power of her sexual appeal is not so strong that it can’t be toppled with a show of snarky neanderthal physicality.
So what do you have really? Little boys huddled in groups who can’t handle the way women make them feel inside (horny, frightened, confused?) so they resort to making them feel shitty in order to feel more powerful and in control using the most base manner possible. And if the woman wins, she wasn’t worth the effort anyway.
So, Richard Manitoba, pure comic genius? I think not. Sexist and dated? Perhaps. But I know that that wrinkly, dangly, fuzzy and weirdly changeable sac between your legs colors your perception in a way I might never fully understand. And thus, for the moment, I shall simply agree to disagree, and leave you with this, a true scene of comic genius featuring that brilliant female Joan Cusack.
I think it might remind you of two screaming females in your life: