…do we infantilize them?
I live in northeast Pa, not far from Pottsville, the home town of the writer John O’Hara. 2020 is the 115th anniversary of his birth, so the town is fêting him. Yesterday we attended a showing of the movie of his epistolary novella, Pal Joey.
I’ll say one thing: Joey is the rôle Frank Sinatra was born to play. I ate him up, as I’m sure every woman who has ever seen this movie did/does. I immersed myself in the novella beforehand, and….he was perfect. (Till the end: see below…)
But it’s too bad a movie couldnta been made of Pal Joey during Hollywood’s pre Code years. Or, why not now? Hollywood doesn’t mind portraying completely amoral or immoral characters in 2020!
Anyway throughout the movie, women protect and serve Joey. They do his laundry, they spend their money on him. They literally “invest” in him. Some commentator we heard after this showing said Joey is “ feminized”. Wha’!?! He’s infantilized: women are turned on by doing things for him! They want to do it. And I think we women all want to feel we can help and comfort the men we choose to love, if we didn’t think that, we wouldn’t love them.
In my opinion, the definition of “charm” is : a quality that makes people want to do things for you, even though they have no idea why they want to do it.
O’ Hara’s invention, Joey, is ruled by two things: money, (but that’s not greed: it’s tantamount to survival) ; and his trouser-snake,
In O’Hara’s novella, the women aren’t innocent, either. If Joey occasionally takes advantage, he is snookered by a con-woman just as often. Everybody he encounters is on the make.
in the end of the novella, Joey is unreformed. In the end of theBroadway musical, he’s unreformed ( which it’s why it was so shocking to audiences in its time) . In the end of the movie, he’s reformed, tamed.
But still remains the motif of how pleasurable we women find it, to assert the loving tyranny of the nursery, of the convalescent chamber, over the men we love.
This isn’t a critique: personally, I’ll take my pleasure wherever I can find it!