Posted by: Kristy | March 25, 2009

I’ll take an order of that, please. Extra hot.

“You’d better hang on tight, spider monkey.”

That’s when I figured it out. That may be an odd statement to trigger an epiphany, but the adorably crooked grin from my love, er, Edward that lit up the movie screen made an equally bright light bulb sputter on in my brain during my tryst to the dollar theater with Meg last night.

(Yes, I got to lose myself in gut-wrenching emotion, and stare at Robert Pattinson, for 2 hours for a mere dollar. And then had Cold Stone to, uh, cool down. Life couldn’t get much better last night, let me tell you.)

I know what makes “Twilight” so captivating. And it really has nothingvery little to do with Mr. Pattinson’s beautiful self.

While the casting for “Twilight” saved the movie version, that’s not what brings viewers in droves time and again, to the theater, to Redbox, to Family Video, or to wait in line for hours to purchase the DVD. Let’s all admit it, the editing was shaky, the dialogue ran the risk of falling flat and hokey and, overall, they better do a hell of an improved job with “New Moon,” that’s all I’m saying. (Yet I still totally am adding “Twilight” to my DVD collection. Also just saying.)

But the characterization. Stephanie Meyer’s dimension-rich, compassion-invoking heroes and heroines continue to drive the saga off the page and on the screen. I watch the film and don’t want Robert Pattinson, per say — not that I would complain if he were around — but yearn for pieces of what his character represents. And I know I’m not alone.

I’m convinced every man needs to read these books — not to feel compared to an incredibly high, nearly impossible standard, but to get a glimpse of what may be missing from the roles in our society. I’m equally convinced every woman needs to find the healthy balance between longing for a fictional character and realizing that character inundates very noble and worthwhile traits they deserve to find in a partner.

I get a little sad in the pit of my belly when I watch Edward and Bella’s interaction, or build scenes in my mind’s eye while reading. For in these images I see what I began dreaming of when I was 15 years old, see it represented not in a childish list made in a moment of teen-aged vision-casting or in yet another Christian dating and relationships book that has a lot to say but no real applicability to actual life. At least not my life. (I swear I’m going to write a book called “I Shoved My Tongue Down Dating’s Throat” and send an autographed copy to Joshua Harris.) I see chivalry. And acceptance of another person exactly the way they are, deep-set flaws and all. And a desire for the other person’s best at all times.

Edward is compassionate yet passionate. He realizes his faults but works to correct them. (“I don’t want to be a monster.”) He acts on his passions, but exhibits self-control in many forms — something severely lacking in the real world, I have discovered. (Yes, I became one of those women who found myself fighting every other day because I wouldn’t, um, express myself a little more freely physically. It sucks. I refuse to do it again. I should just carry a neon sign that says, “I do not put out. Thanks for stopping by.”) Even when Bella is the one who pushes his limits, he finds the strength to remove himself from a situation that could harm her in the end. But there’s no question of the electric attraction that is so carefully controlled. Exhibiting self-control does not mean shutting down all human emotions and desires completely. It means using them in a way to best further the relationship.

What woman doesn’t want to know that she is the culmination of what makes a lady, at least in her man’s eyes? That even the most minute aspects of her personality are interesting. (“I like watching you sleep. It’s kind of fascinating to me.”) That she’s the only one he wants. (“You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you.” Oh. My. Gosh. I would love to hear that.)

The commitment to family is unreal, from the entire clan. I love Carlisle’s line, “Bella is with Edward now. She is part of this family. We protect our family.” Gosh, imagine that. There are so many jokes of mothers-in-law, or the struggles of fitting two families into the same room for an evening. This instant trust of a family member’s judge of character and support of new additions to a family unit is awesome.

Edward longs to connect with Bella in more than physical ways. Watch the movie. They talk. And talk. And talk. And talk some more. Since he could hurt her so much physically, they have to find other ways to be intimate. They walk and talk. Climb trees and talk. Enjoy just being together … doing nothing. He wants to dance with her. Real dancing that includes connecting with another person through movement and music that only one person has wanted to share with me and I’m afraid no one will ever again want to share with me. (That’s the part of the movie where I start crying a little. Like, physical tears making mascara tracks on my face. Yeah.)

There is no mention of religion in the books, but Edward’s sense of old-world values and ideals screams to my soul, to the part of me who is excited and heartened by his old-fashioned method of thinking and even acting. There is nothing antiquated, inhibited nor unrealistic about such values and modes of thought. They may have a very small part in today’s society (as I have been informed more than once*) but they are no less valuable for being tossed to the wayside. On the contrary, I appreciate and respect those who exhibit them more-so now because they so often are disregarded or shut down. (And it is this very concept that makes “Eclipse” my favorite of the four novels.)

He aches to protect her, and support her and provide for her. To find her best interest even if it means denying himself — like being willing to leave. And he acts. After he got over his internal battle regarding stay or run and run fast, he acted on his desires to protect her, to watch over her, to be with her. Oh, good lord, a man who is not passive. Who takes action. Who is decisive. Amazing.

And she trusts him. He gives her a reason to respect him and trust him and follow him.

Does anyone else find that incredibly refreshing? And incredibly envy inducing?

I’ve found that even though many women scream independence and mistrust and equality, we really do want to act on the way we were created, to serve as equals but in such a way as we are the support system, the partner, the half of a greater whole. I won’t start a tangent about how the biblical view of submission is applicable and able to survive in today’s culture … I’ll save that one. But I have many an opinion on that as well. I will say that if I found someone who inspired that kind of trust and respect and desire to support because I knew my and our best interests were at the forefront of every decision, I would be able to act on that more easily than I am now, or have been in past relationships, or see other women act.

Those are reasons why there was no talking to me while I was reading the books. Why I can sit in a darkened theater and not drool over the appearance of an actor, not really, but sob quietly in my heart over a yearning, a desire I honestly at times feel is so unattainable, portrayed before me in fiction.

Is that all we can expect any more, fiction?

I’m convinced my God is bigger than that. Convinced.

* Of course, this same ideology came from the man who chose to break up with me for the aforementioned lack of free expression. Stellar.

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Responses

  1. Hello very nice post I like the blog alot if you would comment back on my site i would very much appreciate is http://windlife.wordpress.com/

  2. great post. i love how watching this movie reinforces faith in humanity and in God’s love for us and influence over us. i had a fantastic time last night, btw. again, again!

  3. sending some people your way. couldn’t resist.

  4. I just added an entry from my blog to your post as it was so lovely… I wonder how many guys are watching the film given that it such a chick flick? And of those who watch, how many understand what they are being called to?

    Now I’m off to the library to pick up a copy of the book!

  5. Thank you soooo much for putting into words exactly what I’ve been trying to say since reading the series! It’s very depressing reading those books because of the longing I have for that sort of connection and love, but great because now I won’t sell myself short. LOVE LOVE LOVE the post. 🙂


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