Thursday, June 3, 2010
The World According to Blanche Devereaux
For as long as I can remember, I've loved to watch re-runs of The Golden Girls. As a child of the 80's, I remember seeing commercials for it as a kid and wondering what a "golden girl" could possibly be. As I went through college, my roommates and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to decide who was who in our little group. The mothering, overprotective worrier was Dorothy, the one who tended to be a bit ditzy was our own Rose...
I was watching one of my favorite episodes the other night. Blanche (you all know who Blanche is, right? The man-crazy Southern belle. Come on, people, get with your 80s' pop culture!) falls head over heels for a man whose high school sweetheart wife passed away, and he hasn't dated since. She, in her usual lustful way, sees this as a man "ripe for the pickin'." She throws herself at him repeatedly, only to be continually rejected. Blanche, who usually has to bat men away like flies, can't understand his rejection of her advances. He tells her how he only knew the ways of courtship and treating a woman he was interested in as though she were special and treasured. He says he wants "an old fashioned romance." Blanche is caught off guard completely but falls in love with the idea of being courted and treated like the belles of the Old South.
As I get myself wrapped up in all these electronic forms of creating friendships, like online dating, Facebook, Meetup.com, have we moved on totally from the days of "old fashioned romance?" Not that there is anything wrong with any of those sites, and I do believe that they have probably helped a lot of people who either didn't have the time to do it any other way or maybe lacked the confidence to approach strangers in situations that provide relationship-building opportunities. Online dating and group sites like Meetup.com are definitely an advancement and a benefit of our modern times and technology. But, I wonder if "old fashioned romances" have gone the way of record players and dance cards.
I should probably (on behalf of all women everywhere) elaborate on my meaning of the words "old fashioned romance." By no means do I want to go back to the days of mail order brides, no matter how romantic Hallmark movies make it seem. I have no interest in rekindling the traditions of arranged marriages or male-dominated relationships where women are simply extensions of the husband's mother in his adulthood. But, courtship...I think most women would like a little of that in their life. To be pursued and sought after, to be admired and protected, to be looked at adoringly with just a healthy bit of jealousy towards any other man that shows interest. I think, deep down, no matter how independent we like to consider ourselves, these are traits most women would like to find in a parter.
As much as Blanche Devereaux liked to have a spicy love life, there is only one scene in the entire series (that I recall) that is poetic and magical looking when it comes to love for Blanche, and that is the one I described above. As often as she shares entirely too many details with her roommates about her previous night's escapades, there is but one moment where the light softens, Blanche seems to glow,(the overhead lighting is a bit obvious!) and, after he softly kisses her, she whispers, "He wants an old fashioned romance," as if that's all she's ever truly wanted herself.
As I went to publish this blog, coincidentally, I read online that Rue McClanahan, who played Blanche Devereaux, passed away early this morning. Thanks, Rue, for bringing Blanche to us!