A convergance of several experiences have led me to reflect again about the difficulties of love and relationships. Dr Robin L Smith spoke about her new book “Lies at the Altar” on Oprah, describing how women often lose themselves in marriage. Then I watched the movie “Shopgirl” and was profoundly affected by it. Combine that with a scene from the movie “Casanova” where Francesca says: “Oh give me a man who is man enough to give himself just to the woman who is worth him. If that woman were me I would love him alone and forever.” And you have a recipe for some deep thoughts.
Mirabelle is the shopgirl who first hooks up with the clueless and quirky Jeremy, then is courted by a much older and richer man. Despite the warnings of Ray Porter (played by Steve Martin) that she is not to expect commitment, she falls in love with him. While gracious and generous with money, which is easy for him, he is not able to give of his heart. Eventually she realizes that he will never be capable of loving her. Meanwhile Jeremy has been working on self-improvement and has made changes that make him a better companion. His warm and appealing character shines through now that he is no longer so clueless about relationships.
The moment that affected me so deeply comes at the end of the movie when Ray runs into Mirabelle. “I did love you,” he tells her, when he so clearly didn’t. He probably believed that he did, even as he was not capable of it. He was as clueless about love as Jeremy previously was about relationships. We do not know why Ray is this way, but we do know he is not likely to change. To respond to being hurt by shutting ourselves off from sharing love is to ultimately hurt ourselves, depriving ourselves of the human experience.