Emma Thompson’s Courage and What It Means to You
“GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE”
When I read about Emma Thompson’s latest streaming movie, I actually bought a subscription on Hulu so I could watch it! After all, has there ever been another movie about a 55-year-old retired education teacher who hires a sex worker in his 20’s to teach her about pleasure?
At first blush the movie sounds like the reverse plot of the much loved “Pretty Woman”, one of my all-time favorites. But this film is not so much a rom-com as it is a delicate, humorous, and revealing story about a woman who decides to take a big leap — to learn about her own wants and have them met.
Sound groundbreaking? It is. Written as four evolving scenes in which Emma Thompson’s character goes from fear and self-conscious anxiety, to growth in understanding her desires, the film goes into territory never seen before.
The New York Times puts it this way: “If “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande: were a book, it might make a fine choice for a tipsy book club evening…it proves to be a tart and tender probe into sex and intimacy, power dynamic and human connection.”
IN HER OWN WORDS
In Emma Thompson’s opinion piece for Vogue magazine, she describes receiving the script for the movie. “Four pages in, I was hooked,” she said. “I wrote to Katy (the writer) to say that we absolutely had to do it.”
Growing up in a puritanical home in Scotland (“a glorious land, but not known for its commitment to the erotic”), Thompson was puzzled as to why talking about sex was verboten. When she asked questions, her mother deflected and took her to a gynecologist.
Thompson speaks to why talking about sexual feelings is so difficult: ”I think the root of it all is that we simply don’t respect our sexual desires. We easily joke about them – we make them the butt of our contempt, undermine their complexity, their radical nature (sometimes), even their humble need to exist often offends and disturb.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR DESIRES?
That got me thinking. When we re-enter the dating world after a break-up, a divorce, a death or any other circumstance, are we prepared to talk about what we want?
Have we reflected on what intimacy means to us?
Can we put words to what we are comfortable with?
To what we want and don’t want? What we yearn for?
If we don’t know or can’t speak it, our partners can’t provide it.
THREE TIPS FOR BEING HONEST ABOUT DATING AND SEX
Readers who like my book “Mom…You Just Need to Get Laid: The Adventures of Dating after Divorce” tell me my adventures help them navigate a new dating world. The fifteen men I write about are completely different from each other, and yet I approach them all the same way.
Here are three tips on how to be honest about dating and sex:
- Tell the truth about yourself to whatever extent you are comfortable. I never feel compelled to reveal more about me than I want. But what I do reveal is the gospel truth. And that includes my attitudes about and interest in intimacy.
- Ask what you want to know about your date. My experience is that the men I meet will tell me about themselves IF (and it’s a big IF) they believe I have their genuine interest at heart AND they can trust me. We are only vulnerable with people who will hold our truths with care.
- Say yes when you want to, and say no when you don’t. Although the title of my book is racy, the content is PG. Why? I want readers to get to know the men in my book without bogging down in racy descriptions about sex. I also want the reader to learn how to be in control in each new situation you encounter.
It all starts with knowing yourself and getting comfortable with what you like, need, and want to share. Perhaps a good place for you to start is watching Emma Thompson’s movie. Her bravery inspires me, and I am betting it will you too.
As always, I want to hear from you. Write to me with your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.