I admit, when Eyes Wide Shut first came out, I was younger and was hoping for something a lot different. Let’s be honest – we were all hoping for some light porn. But that’s not what was delivered -what we got was a slow tale about things we weren’t interested in at the time.
After re-watching it, I feel Kubrick did a masterful job at probing many of the sexual tensions we face. Of course, he’s not a writer – the movie was based on an old novel written back in 1926 – this is an interesting fact of course, because the issues in the movie are not new.
If you’ll recall Cruise plays Dr. Bill (Dollar Bill) – a doctor who makes a lot of money, believes himself to be successful and established in his life – he’s married to Alice (Alice in Wonderland) who seems more or less content, but detached in many ways from what her life is.
After a party the couple returns home and engage in a conversation. Alice asks Bill he slept with a couple women at the party, and he says that he didn’t – Bill explains that he loves Alice and they further their conversation about jealousy.
Alice: And why haven’t you ever been jealous of me?
Bill: Well, I don’t know, Alice. Maybe because you’re my wife, maybe because you’re the mother of my child and I know you would never be unfaithful to me.
Alice: You are very, very sure of yourself, aren’t you?
Bill: No, I’m sure of you.
Now, as I re-watched the movie, it had been so long that I had forgotten the dialogue, so when Bill says “No, I”m sure of you” – I thought for a moment, wow that sounded great.
Like something out of a Hallmark movie.
It screamed “I’m a romantic who believes in you – me – us” And while it sounded good – it demonstrated the common “Guys are studs – Girls are Sluts”.
Bill was fine with accepting his sexual desires and temptations, but couldn’t handle Alice’s. I can understand why though – this is how society speaks about human sexuality:
Guys are manly sexual beasts who need and want to fuck. Girls are mothers, prudes, and don’t need or want sex to find fulfillment
What a bunch of bullshit – and yet we wonder why.
We suppress sexuality – especially women’s to the point where it doesn’t really exist. Women aren’t supposed to think about sex – women aren’t supposed to fantasize about sex – and God forbid if they enjoy it.
This has a tragic result where women don’t view themselves as a sexual being – they don’t view themselves as a treasure. Women are forced to build walls – but these walls can’t sustain the weight of what a woman is – and needs to be.
That’s why it’s not surprising to see so many issues in relationships – marriages especially. It’s not surprising to see women read erotic novels as a means of escape – it’s not surprising to see novels like 50 Shades take off like a storm. Because in them, sexuality is presented in raw form.
The response to this portrayal is the desire to give in to a primal sexuality – to experience a deep connection with her partner.
But there’s a problem – women aren’t supposed to feel this way – they aren’t supposed to act this way, so they feel like they can’t turn to their partner. Ironically, men have the same primal urges – but they often feel like their woman isn’t supposed to be “that kind of woman”, so they fantasize about another – and they often seek to flesh out their desires with another.
This all comes down to the misrepresentation of human sexuality. What both need is a primal connection, but they reject sharing this level of connection with their partner – often out of fear.
And then there are those who take a leap of faith and open up a conversation with their partner about their desires. And the beautiful thing is – this conversation often leads to them diving in to the journey together – both finding that their fears were unfounded the whole time.
It’s not an easy journey. But it’s so worth it. Along the way, there may be struggles with finding a new language, a new way of being and connecting. There is so much false identity that has been soaked in by society, that it takes time to refine.