Chris Rock’s I Think I Love My Wife

Has anyone else seen trailers for I Think I Love My Wife? Every time I see them I want to hurl something at my television: they portray Chris Rock’s character as some poor chap trapped in a loveless (read: sexless) marriage, and he spends his time fantasizing about other women.

From the summary:

Richard Cooper has it all. His wife, Brenda, is beautiful, intelligent and a fantastic mother to his children–but there’s just one little problem: he’s bored out of his suburban businessman’s mind. Richard can’t help but fantasize about having nearly every woman he sees.

It’s not his caricature that really gets me mad, though. It’s that of his wife (played by the fabulous and stunning Gina Torres) – she’s made out to be this bland creature without a sexual bone in her body. The tiny thirty second trailers we get to see show how the man in the relationship never loses his sexual urges, but as time goes on a woman becomes routine. Boring. Uninteresting to and uninterested in her husband in a way so obviously crucial to any red-blooded male, so that he has no  choice but to seek it out elsewhere.

Is this true? DO women lose their sexual drive after a certain point? At the risk of grossing people out, my parents have been caught in the act more times after the age of 50 than they were prior to that. They’re more kissy-face now than when I was young. There’s spark for both of them, after nearly 50 years of marriage.

I think we need to stop perpetuating this myth that women get sexually boring with age, and also stop using it as a punchline.

Comments

  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    In addition to your parent example – where neither partner’s lost interest, quite the contrary – it’s also often the man who loses sex drive with age. Women who hit their sexual peak around 35 sometimes find their husbands – whose urges have been in decline since age 17 – aren’t prepared to keep up with them.

    But the closest that situation comes to being a punchline is on Married With Children, in which Peg constantly nags Al to have sex with her. And even then, it’s not Al’s failing sex drive but Peg’s fault for somehow being unattractive to Al – he wants sex with everyone else he meets, just not her.

    This is one of those cases of a behavior that both genders can exhibit, but which people choose to ignore in one and emphasize in the other. Very tiresome.

  2. sbg says

    Part of me kneejerks about this because…how could anyone be married to someone who looks like Gina Torres and still feel the need to fantasize about every other woman he sees?

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    Because he’s one of those people who thinks if he’s feeling unfulfilled, the answer is to find someone else to fulfill him rather than to look within himself and see what’s missing?

    The idea that you’re responsible for your own happiness is a foreign concept to a lot of people.

  4. says

    wait – Gina Torres is in a big screen movie – and she plays the a-sexual wife?

    WTF?

    back to topic –

    Twain some has the best quotes about the subject in Letters From the Earth (something about wicks wilting and candlesticks being always at the ready) but I can’t find it online and my copy is buried under piles and piles of boxes.

  5. says

    I think I might want to see the movie, actually – it looks like it might address some of the issues its raising in an insightful way, which would be very awesome. But the marketing sure isn’t anything to get excited about. The blurb under the trailer at Apple.com (I like to watch trailers in fast-loading Quicktime whenever possible) reads:

    A sophisticated comedy about marriage and the lure of a new love. Nikki (Kerry Washington) is the exciting free spirit who makes Richard’s (Chris Rock) daydreams come true while Richard’s wife Brenda (Gina Torres) is so preoccupied with her own career and raising their two children that she has little time for her husband.

    And I’m left going “…So why isn’t he doing some of that child-raising, and freeing up her goddamn time???”

    “so preoccupied with her own career and raising their two children that she has little time for her husband” is a pretty innocuous phrase, really, but it’s just packed with patriarchy-approved assumptions.

  6. DNi says

    “…So why isn’t he doing some of that child-raising, and freeing up her goddamn time???”

    I’m willing to bet money that that’s what he learns by the end of the movie: that his relationship with his wife requires his own time and investment, and that true, rewarding happiness is earned.

  7. says

    And even then, it’s not Al’s failing sex drive but Peg’s fault for somehow being unattractive to Al – he wants sex with everyone else he meets, just not her.

    I don’t see it that way. Al wants to ogle and fantasize about every woman he meets, but he never tries to have sex with any of them, and on a couple of occasions refuses when given an opportunity to do so. I think the real issue here is that Al would much rather escape from the real world and go into his little fantasies than actually try to appreciate what he does have or work to better himself. He finds Peg uninteresting precisely because he has her and she is willing to have sex with him. Al either isn’t interested in appreciating what he has, or else deep down has such a low opinion of himself that he can’t think that someone who finds him attractive is worth having sex with. (Which is perhaps why he is fiated on “the nudie bar,” because the women who expose themselves there would not do so if they were not getting paid, and therefore he thinks that they, not being attracted to him, are worthy of attention).

    The best evidence for this is an episode in which Al takes Peg away for a romantic weekend. He only does this so as to visit an old flame of his from high school who asked for his help in getting rid of some punks who are vandalizing her store. During the episode, he repeatedly has sex with Peg, which he ckearky regards as an interminable chore, and then sneaks out to help his old flame, in the process repeatedly getting beaten up by the punks.

    In the end, he manages to get the punks to leave the store alone, and then he asks the old flame of his if, were he not married, would she have agreed to have sex with him after he what he did for her. When she tells him no, he says “then it was all worth it.” So either Al isn’t interested in a woman unless she is an unattainable fantasy, or else he “doesn’t want to belong to a vlub that would have him as a memeber,” as the saying goes.

  8. says

    But the closest that situation comes to being a punchline is on Married With Children, in which Peg constantly nags Al to have sex with her.

    What about Mrs. Roper on Three’s Company? It’s pretty clear there that Mr. Roper is less interested in sex than Mrs. Roper is.

  9. Jennifer Kesler says

    I didn’t watch Three’s Company, but I’ll take your word there. After all, the 70’s were practically enlightened compared to now.

    As for Al and Peg, I don’t disagree with your take. I think from a thorough reading of the show, most people would agree with you (I was aware of this, in fact, when I wrote what I said earlier). But I think a casual viewer would see it more in the way I describe, and on the whole shows are made for casual viewers, who vastly outnumber the more devoted and/or analytical viewers.

  10. sbg says

    IIRC, the Ropers’ relationship was still played as though the woman was somehow loathesome and unattractive to the man, not that it was his own waning sexual drive that was making him spurn her advances.

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