There is a particularly poignant scene in American Beauty where the main character, Lester, tries to seduce his somewhat-estranged wife on their couch:
Lester: What ever happened to that girl who used to fake seizures at frat parties when she got bored? And who used to run up to the roof of our first apartment building to flash the traffic helicopters? Have you totally forgotten about her? Because I haven’t.
It’s working, she’s getting all hot and bothered, and then it happens. The beer he’s holding starts to tilt, and instead of going with the moment, Lester’s wife simply cannot take her eye of the beer.
Carolyn: (barely audible) Lester. You’re going to spill beer on the couch.
It’s such a deflating moment – for Lester, and for me.
Not that I’ve ever had the dissatisfaction of being trapped in a loveless marriage for years on end, but I have seen the effects of waning interest / attraction, and it sucks.
There are few things sadder than watching the intimacy and sexual excitement drain from a relationship. Granted, Lester and Carolyn were beyond repair (he does end up with Mena Suvari after all, before… well… spoiler alert). But nonetheless, Lester has to go back to jerking off in the shower (see opening scene).
I got on an American Beauty kick a few days ago, and I got to thinking… how do we hang onto that girl who used to fake seizures at frat parties around? There is no answer, aside from constantly dating girls you’d find at frat parties. You might find a few having real seizures, but you’ll come across a faker eventually.
“You’re going to spill beer on the couch.”
“It’s 10pm. You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“That’s not safe to do while driving.”
What happened? What happened to that young woman who was so thrilled by the sight of you, so overwhelmed by your touch on her skin? What happened to that woman who you never thought you could get enough of?
She’s still in front of you. But you’re not longing to get her back. No, we’re all, just like Lester, chasing not the woman we used to know but instead, the feeling we used to share with her. And that feeling, it’s sad to say, is not coming back. Unless you’ve got Mena Suvari coming out of your closet in a cheerleader uniform. Then you’re set.