Tag Archives: James Bond

James Bond: Spectre

5 Dec

Manifesto

[Spoiler alert!]

Dear High School Jennifer,

You don’t need a sexy man in a tuxedo to validate you, love you, or save you. Looking for a man to do any of these things only makes you just as bad as the men who objectify women: you’re depending on someone else for your self worth.

Recently seeing the latest James Bond installment, Spectre, only strengthens my conviction. In the movie, James Bond runs around the world, trying to protect the gorgeous blonde Madeleine Swan in an effort to chase her from the movie’s villain. Swan starts out seemingly strong and independent, but in the end, she turns out like almost every other fair maiden: saved because she is beautiful, saved because she is pure (she wears white for much of the film), saved because one man decides she’s worth saving.

Seeing this conjured memories of once feeling worthless, and thus, I am writing to you today. Continue reading

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Running with James Bond

26 Sep

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I’ve been here a week now and reality settled in about an hour ago. It’s Saturday night, and in my empty apartment, I’m hate watching yet another James Bond marathon.

The sounds of the people around me, none of whom I know, makes me feel alone. The drunken twentysomethings on the street make me miss my friends and social life. I’m no longer part of Boston, but I am not part of Denver either.

The city lights outside my window usually comfort me with the promise of human activity, and I suppose they are better than no city lights, but knowing that there are all these people out there, just there, right outside my window, makes me feel the unbearable weight of everything that just happened. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. James Bond never would have sat home on a Saturday night.

It’s been nine days since Jake dumped me.

Two Thursdays ago, he got home from law school as I was finishing up a work report. He was home later than usual and hadn’t responded to my texts asking where he was, if he was okay. He quietly set his bag down, took his jacket off. He looked disturbed, and seemed in a daze. He sat down on the chair across from me.

“Hey.” I tried to catch his eye.

He stared unblinking for a few moments, then looked straight at me. “I can’t do this anymore.”

“What do you mean? Law school?” My heart raced and the blood rushed to my face.

“No. I can’t do ‘us’ anymore.”

“What?” I furrowed my brows at him.

“This is too much. I’m sorry, Dee. I just can’t. I’ve been walking around all night and I just – I’ve had to change so much.” He stopped for a moment, rubbed his hands together.

“In the midst of becoming the man I really want to be, and this was the hardest three years of my life, and God, I’ve had to study more than humanly possible, I’ve had my intelligence tested, I’ve also met all these incredibly interesting people, and it’s opened my eyes to the world, and got me thinking about what I want, and I—“ He stopped and looked back up at me.

“What the fuck? Are you saying?”

Jake took a defeated breath. “I’m not in love with you anymore.”

My chest tightened. My face was hot. I felt dizzy. Tears streamed down my face, onto my neck and the blanket. My mind raced and slowed at the same time, hyper-focusing on certain words and memories. I felt immobilized. He stayed where he was.

“Leave,” I finally said into my hands.

“What?”

I looked up, shooting invisible daggers at this face. “Get the fuck out.”

Jake nodded. Put his head down, hands on his knees, pushed himself up and walked to the door without looking at me. He put on his jacket with confidence.

“I’ll be at the pub if you need me.” He slammed the door behind him.

Maybe it was the pain, maybe I knew this time he meant it, maybe my heart couldn’t handle it, but something compelling came over me that I’ve never felt before. With remarkable clarity, I knew exactly what I had to do.

I ransacked our apartment, gathering everything I couldn’t live without. I pulled everything from my closet and dresser and, thinking about all the woman-on-the-run books and movies I’d consumed, I combed the apartment for paperwork and mementos. I packed my laptop and power cord, took off the ring and carefully packed it into my purse.

The furniture, dishes and most of my books stayed behind. Everything I didn’t want ended up in “donate” bags that I left in a corner of the bedroom. Then, I straightened the entire apartment. Terrified at getting caught, I worked at Super Woman speed.

Two hours later, I left my keys on the kitchen counter, lugged my suitcases downstairs, and hailed a taxi.

In the taxi, I logged into my bank account and transferred all my wedding money savings to my checking account. It was about 10 p.m. and there wouldn’t be any more flights tonight, so the taxi dropped me at an airport hotel.

From my hotel room, I texted just enough people to let them know not to worry.

“Jake dumped me. I moved out. Heading out of town. Will check in in a few days. Don’t worry.” I received several texts back but couldn’t bear to look at them. I also couldn’t help but notice that I hadn’t received any texts from Jake asking where I was, and haven’t received any from him since.

I had to leave as early as possible the next morning. I looked up the earliest flights, and Denver caught my eye. The expanse of empty land between Boston and Denver appealed to me very much.

The TV put me to sleep in my plush hotel bed, and when I woke, I was ecstatic about the idea of Denver. I felt strangely powerful. It was the exhilaration of running fast with the delusion that you are winning.

It was a flimsy feeling, because beneath it, a hole was burrowing itself where Jake used to be.

I need a distraction, a goal and a plan.

Every night is Saturday night when you are James Bond. Or, better yet, an International Woman of Mystery.

Why can’t I have my own Bond Movie?

22 Sep

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Between my work-from-anywhere marketing research job, I started binge-watching James Bond movies.

When I was in high school, my dad and I watched these movies together. I remember getting blissfully lost in the exotic locales and charming appeal of the hero.

We never traveled as a family, so watching James Bond made me feel like I was leaving the depressing confines of my hometown: London today, Thailand tomorrow. I lived vicariously through Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.

Or was I living vicariously through the Bond girls, daydreaming of the day some man would save me with his adventures?

Now, as I watch Bond movie after Bond movie, I feel increasingly terrible, and also foolish for realizing so late how blatantly these movies exclude a woman’s personal journey. They are hero movies for men – the male protagonist’s adventures lead him to some grand pinnacle of personal achievement, thus creating his deep sense of self worth.

Women spectate. Women get romantic comedies, where marriage is the heroine’s happy denouement.

For most of my teens, I think I genuinely believed that if I became the object of a man’s desire, it meant I was doing something right. I placed my happiness in a man’s hands. How ridiculous to place my happiness in anyone’s hands but my own. I was smart in every other way, but so dumb when it came to valuing myself.

Over the years, I lost myself waiting for someone else to make me happy.

Now, going through this breakup, I yearn for some story, some pop culture compass to tell me what to do. Where is the movie about the woman that has nothing to do with a man? Those stories are out there, I know.

Where are the stories of the strong women who gracefully rebounded from personal loss by giving an opposite, positive force to the world? These are the confident woman who never used their relationships to validate their self-worth, the women who had more important things to do than lament what they were better off without, the well-rounded women whose every happiness didn’t hinge on the self-loathing temperament of a selfish man.

Forget James Bond. I want to be THAT woman. That is not who I am now, but mark my words: Someday, I will be that woman.

I will be the International Woman of Mystery.