The past couple of nights I have been watching Bull Durham. This is the movie from 1988 with Kevin Costner playing an aging catcher in the minor leagues. This is a movie that appears to be about baseball life with its travails and hopes and the desperate desires of men who want to play ball for a living. It is seemingly a men’s movie with all the swearing, ass slapping and drinking and real life baseball lore. But no, this is really THE all time best chick flick.
Yes, we love Kevin Costner from the first moment he arrives in the locker room wearing his navy blazer, rumpled white shirt and khakis that are the perfect shade of tan with a hint of olive. He’s a manly man who in the first 20 minutes gives the fabulous, if too artful, monologue about his beliefs which includes, “I believe in the cock, the pussy,, the small of a woman’s back…that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap”, and which ends with his belief in “long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days”.
Yes! You had us at “long, slow and deep”—and yes, at the Susan Sontag part too.
But there is a later scene that truly grabs woman because it’s something we really want.
“Do you want to dance?” Sarandon asks Costner, sitting in the kitchen late at night. He says yes, but surprises her by not dancing but instead by sweeping all the food and dishes off the kitchen table onto the floor. He spins Sarandon onto that now empty table and they go at it rolling and clutching.
Oh, yes, what he does is part of it; We want a man to want us that much; we want a man who wants to make love a second time and who will go for it on the kitchen table. We want that kind of passion in our lives. But, there is something else in this scene that is a woman’s dream come true. What most women truly desire is not what Costner does, but what Sarandon does NOT do. As all of her dishes and the leftover food crash onto the floor Sarandon allows herself to be swept onto that table instead of diving for a broom, or a dish cloth and saying to her lover, “Hold on a second, I’ll clean up this mess and then meet you in the bedroom.”
No, she is in the moment and desires this man and this sex more than she desires a clean floor or neat kitchen. She wants the rapture of this man and his body even with cereal and milk oozing under the fridge. And she is not saying, “Oh dear God that was my mother’s china bowl.” Nope, she’s on that table screwing her brains out.
Oh, to be that kind of woman. We assume the power is in the man, that to be taken that way would free us. But what we see in Bull Durham is a woman who CAN be taken. She is not thinking, “When did we last wash these sheets?” while a man is dutifully going down on her.
Oh, we may wish for a partner to love us with such sweet abandon, but Sarandon, in Bull Durham, shows us a woman who can abandon herself.