After watching a million hours of MSNBC News the other day, I decided to look for something else to watch. Lawrence of Arabia had just begun on Turner Classic Movies and since I’ve never seen it all the way through I decided to give it a shot.
Peter O’Toole was such a babe, duh, but I mean truly gorgeous. His black eyeliner was subtle but gorgeously queeny. I’m not a fan of blond men but in this case, I get it!
Since it’s a slow movie, I had the time to reflect on Peter O’Toole’s finely chiseled nose and wondered if he’d had a nosejob. Lots of actors did this back in the day, far more than actresses for some reason. So I googled it.
Google has removed all mystery from everything, a double-edged sword if ever there were one, right? I am constantly looking up everyone’s age to make sure I look better than them or at least less wrinkly. I particularly love before and after pictures of celebrities, who keep morphing before our eyes.
So anyway, yes, Peter O’Toole got his nosejob before he became a star but after he’d had some notable success. It came out much better than Harrison Ford’s or Jeremy Sisto’s. It works with his patrician facial structure and I’m okay with it not being natural.
I also read a review of a biography that catalogued his bad behavior on set and in his long marriage to Sian Somebody. His drinking is legendary and part of his persona, but I was disturbed by the account of his divorce. After his wife could no longer endure his affairs, she moved out of their house. He never let her return and refused to let her have her famed collection of antique jewelry. He banned her from visiting her children and a messy court battle went in his favor.
Here the story rung a sinister bell for me: A friend described him as “a man who prided himself on his resolutely unforgiving nature.” I’ll repeat it for emphasis:
a man who prided himself on his resolutely unforgiving nature.
Do you know anyone who might be described like this? I do.
In fact, I used to cherish a self-image that could be described as “You don’t know who you’re fucking with!” I enjoyed feeling like the embodiment of never giving an inch. I scoffed at people who gave up grudges and felt it was proof of how shallow they were; a person of substance should take their grudges to the grave. If you’re a longtime reader, you know this as deeply as my family and former friends.
Both of my children admired this posture. But Max was nothing like me in this respect. He forgave people right and left…including me. He never even hesitated when someone wanted to patch things up.
I’m trying hard to be different. I’m trying hard to be the shepherd, you might say. I’ve learned to say “I’m sorry, I was a jerk” and “Please forgive me!” In fact, I say it all the time these days.
Life is so hard, so full of calamity and tragedy and unexpected turns. It takes effort to be compassionate, like Morrissey says, but eventually it comes naturally. Empathy is sometimes all we can offer each other, but what are human relations without it?
So I’m trying and I’ll keep trying. There’s nothing noble about being stubborn and hardhearted.
Lawrence of Arabia also reminded me of the disastrous date I had with Michael Shamberg, who bought the movie for us to watch on his gigantic home movie screen and then got huffy when I said I enjoyed the homoerotic energy between the co-stars. So I was going to write about the part where we had terrible sex because he was so ignorant of female anatomy…but I decided not to.
That’s how nice I am now.