By L.S. Hallgren
I had been thinking about love and sex for a long time, long before Daniel and thick-thighed Phyllis brought their cruel comes and electric brutality to my attention. It could be said that Daniel’s neanderthalistic observations of his wife, with all her robust breeding qualities and fleshy rolling tundras, are the result of his attempt at love. Perhaps Daniel is limited, damaged by the execution of his parents and subsequent lack of a childhood. I could agree with that. I would be willing to accept that Daniel might actually, in a broken, unclean way, love Phyllis. The real problem for me is that he doesn’t just like rough sex and a little smacking around. Daniel likes to hurt. Daniel likes to scare. Daniel likes to push the accelerator down and force Phyllis to take her pants off with their child in the backseat. The point was raised in class that masochists believe they love the person they torment. That may be true, but there are a few problems with applying that philosophy here. First of all, a masochist believing they love someone is not the same as loving someone. People believe a lot of things about themselves; that doesn’t make them true. Secondly, someone that is into masochistic sex most likely didn’t marry someone that’s not into that or at LEAST a little curious. Phyllis just seems scared of Daniel; she does what he wants out of fear, and usually because Daniel has waited until he has some kind of leverage before he makes his demands (the car, the child, her approaching orgasm).
There is a vast gap between, “Because I love you, I will let you tie me up and film this even though it’s not really my thing” and “you’re scaring me to death and endangering our child so I will do what you say.” One is love and one isn’t. My personal, unsolicited position on this is that Daniel isn’t capable of love. I think he uses sex and her vulnerability as a way of distancing himself from Phyllis. It’s much easier to be brutal than tender. Daniel’s worst tends to come out right at moments that require the most vulnerability. Making love to his wife (in any style), sharing a tender moment with his child in the park, and feeling an erotic desire for a little roadside action. But when it comes down to the wire, Daniel doesn’t soften, doesn’t bury himself in her femininity. He burns her. He frightens onlookers. What if, and this thought just occurred to me, Daniel does love her but just can’t allow himself to feel it? Perhaps his murderous tendencies are a knee jerk reaction to an emotion he is attempting to suppress. It’s just a thought.
I’m all for a good time, but I don’t think a desire to hurt and cause fear is part of any loving relationship, sexual or otherwise. Am I over thinking it? Does any of it matter anyway? As Tina Turner once said, “What’s love got to do with it?”