I
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.

10.25.10

By Elisabeth Rappe  Author Page Twitter Page Facebook Page

What I’m Thankful For:

Clint Eastwood, Dirty Harry, and its effect on my dating life



My Thankfuls have taken a rather maudlin tone of late, for which I won’t apologize.  I’m enjoying the entertainment psychotherapy these things provide, and I also enjoy seeing the response that a little intimacy brings out in CHUD’s readership. So, indulge me once more.

I’m often asked (and I mean this without a trace of ego) if a movie has changed my life. I have an answer for this that I’ve used a dozen times, but there’s a dark skeleton of a confession lurking in my closet.  I’m also asked “What the fuck is it with you and Clint Eastwood?” 

Well, I’ve got the answer to both:  Dirty Harry changed my life. Clint Eastwood saved me from dating losers. I’m forever thankful to both.

A few years ago, I was feeling especially lonely and desperate.  I’d left college, and with it went my entire social circle.  I took off and spent a month in England.  I came home, expecting certain people in my life to say “Oh, you’re back! Let’s meet up for dinner! Gosh I’ve missed you!”    Six months later, I heard through the grapevine that they were unaware I was even home. “Oh, she’s been back? Huh. Thought she was still in London or whatever.”   For all they knew or cared, I had drowned in the Thames.  Makes a girl’s heart soar, really.

By then I was working online, an avenue which doesn’t exactly help you meet new people, so I decided to suck it up and make an online dating profile.  I’d done this before with appalling results, but I was older, wiser, and tougher now.   I started emailing back and forth with a few local guys, and immediately found myself terrified by the responses. These guys were, to put it mildly, intense. They were planning for third and fourth dates before we’d gotten to a third email.  I remember talking about movies with one guy in particular. He hadn’t seen anything I was talking about, and he got cute with it. “You can lend it to me when we meet!” And lose my collector’s edition forever because I hate you? Just what kind of dating game was this, anyway? Are you naming our children now?  Is this normal? Have I been out of it too long?

As I was wondering whether I was just being too harsh or if they were being too needy, Dirty Harry arrived from Netflix.   I hadn’t seen it since I was a preteen, when I was utterly unimpressed with Eastwood’s canon, and he was someone that I felt I needed to give another shot. 

The timing couldn’t have been better.  I put it on and simply said “Holy shit. So this is what a man is.” 



I immediately filed it away as a barometer test. I shut off the dating profile.  “No way Callahan would be on a site like this!”    I was similarly critical when asked out by the wreckage of my social circle. Guys I would have normally been friendly and fair to in the interests of geekdom (“Let’s not be shallow, Elisabeth!”), I refused to go out with.  I recognized silly, slobby, and laziness for what they were.  The jokesters I convinced myself were Peter Venkman types were just masking a void of personality. When you can’t stop cracking wise long enough to talk to me,  you’re not Venkman, you’re a trainwreck.  I could see them from a mile away now. I recognized the pattern of complacency that I’d fallen into.

But Eastwood, well, he summed it up.  He ain’t perfect, but he knows the score: “I don’t like the wimp syndrome. No
matter how ardent a feminist may be, if she is a heterosexual female,
she wants the strength of a male companion as well as the sensitivity.
The most gentle people in the world are macho males, people who are
confident in their masculinity and have a feeling of well-being in
themselves. They don’t have to kick in doors, mistreat women, or make
fun of gays.


Confidence, well being, strength.  These are traits the “Hey-YO! HA HA!” types at the coffee shop didn’t have.  Guys who told me, post-graduation, they would have asked me out “but you were just too intimidating, isn’t it that sad?” couldn’t even comprehend the meaning of the words.  Eastwood wouldn’t blame a lady for his lack of gumption. He’d blame himself for his lack of balls. But he wouldn’t have to, because he never lacked a set, so we really don’t even need to go there.

So, yeah.  Dirty Harry changed my dating life.  I won’t settle for less than a sturdy Eastwood type, no matter how barren the landscape might be.  I find he’s the perfect reference point.  There are guys who get it, do their best to emulate it, and are found worthy. Those who don’t (“What? You want a guy who shoots you?”) are kicked to the curb, too ignorant in the finer points of the unflappable strut to even be a friend.   Yes, it’s a high ideal and not 100% attainable, but you have to have a template, especially in this awful new world of lowered standards.

I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn’t managed to rediscover the paragon of 1970s cool when I did. Who knows how many days and nights I’d have wasted on some jackass?  I might even be dead from some sinister online stalker! I can’t help but be thankful.