think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the
entertainment business every single day of the year, including
weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that
showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that
embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it
may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and
extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it.
So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of
positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll
help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in
their busy celluloid digesting day.
by Andrea Rothe (Facebook)
What I’m Thankful For
A Couple of Happy Whore Movies
I was majorly attracted to the subject
of whores as a budding teenager, and immediately latched on to Pretty
Woman, which became the signature film of my teenage years and early
adulthood. It isn’t a great film, but it sure is fun. The fact that
film makers can take what is in reality a dangerous and dirty
profession and turn it into whimsy is something I like. I’m a fan of
the truth. I’m a fan of documentary. Pretty Woman is not this, and it
isn’t trying to be. It is what it is: a fairy tale about a prostitute.
And then there is The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. The quintessential movie musical about prostitutes. You’ll never see so many smiling dancing people thrilled to be buying and selling sex. There’s a contagious sense of comraderie and fun in this film, and the music is… I think, great. The chemistry between Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds and the on-screen dissonance they’re able to portray by keeping their relationship to “afternoon lovers” terms works (like it probably wouldn’t in the real world.) Not that they’re worried about authenticity–the point was that they made what they were doing seem fun. And nothing else. No real stress. No resentment. No tension. They even achieve loyalty between the characters.
These films make prostitution cute.
Like thigh high boots and feather boas cute. Like dancing around and
getting your finger slammed in a box for expensive jewelry until you
giggle cute. Between the catchy songs in Best Little Whorehouse and
the Rodeo Drive shopping scenes in Pretty Woman where track breaks out into
Natalie Cole’s “Wiiiiild women do and they don’t regret iiiiiit!” who knew being a professional sex hole could be so great? You get to
go shopping and dance around with your girlfriends all the time. You
get to look good and get ogled. You get paid for pleasure. You get
paid for being good at giving pleasure. You get patted on the back
with fistfuls of money. If you work at the Chicken Ranch in
the middle of a recession you get paid in cock. (Chickens, ladies. Please.)
These two flicks seem like a celebration of what
we wish prostitution were. We don’t really hate prostitutes. We want to enjoy them. These movies help us to admit that. We’re
mesmerized by the choices these women make and we know whoredom ain’t
all bad. Not like it is in Monster. We wish it were all thigh high
boots and sexual comraderie. Although sex is a given, we are more
interested in the building romance before it and not the cleanup afterward. We wish it were more about the cocktail parties and dinners and dancing in the parlor in between and not the money shot in the mouth that she spits out in the trash can in a minute.
The price these women pay and the deep
personal concessions they make are only slightly alluded to. But even
when they are, they are… well… romantic. When Vivian (played by
Julia Roberts) has pillow talk time with Edward (Richard Gere) and
admits that she parked cars at wrestling and “couldn’t make the
rent” she tried it one night and “cried the whole time.” Of
course she did. And of course she didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol to
cope with her decisions. I don’t think there’s a secret room in the
Chicken Ranch where they kept that shit either.
The characters have little depth and a
lot of costume. There isn’t much tit to be seen. There isn’t much
sex. It’s all before and after, with no cleanup involved. And you know what? I like it that way. The positive, friendly sense of sexuality is preserved without the mess. Movie magic turns the story of sex between strangers into a story about the social graces we allow each other, and lets sex–even paid sex–be a celebration, a reward, a financial decision, a group effort, a business move, and a social event. Why not? Sometimes it really is those things. It ain’t always dirty and painful. It doesn’t always turn into rape. It doesn’t mean one party will be robbed while the other one is pissing in the bathroom.
Sex and sexuality are fun, simple, public, and celebratory. All of the things your mother said they shouldn’t be. So thanks, cute whore movies! I’ll keep watching you every year or so so you can keep me smiling.
The Dance Photography of Lois Greenfield