When my good friend of over 20 years emailed me yesterday to let me know he would be unfollowing me on Twitter and Instagram, I realized I’d crossed a line. I knew it was time to admit to myself that I have a serious problem: I cannot stop talking about Magic Mike.
On July 4th, I went to see Magic Mike, the Steven Soderbergh film (and soon-to-be musical) about a male stripper with a heart of gold — and hips like a god. If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need me to explain to you why this movie is hot. (Besides, a list of those reasons can be found in GIF form on Tumblr.) I’m here to try to put into words that while watching this movie SOMETHING. HAPPENED. TO. ME. I may have been Bat Mitzvahed in 1995, but on Wednesday night I became a woman.
Let me start off by saying I have never found myself attracted to Channing Tatum before. I don’t even date beefcake-looking men. In fact, to me, with the right amount of talent, just about any man can become attractive. It’s the reason I’d happily make out with Louis C.K.. Yet somehow, sitting among the rows of women (and older gay couples) of all shapes and sizes gasping at the gorgeous full moon Channing flashes us in the film’s opening shot, I was transformed into that Looney Tunes cartoon wolf. You know, the one that can’t contain himself when he sees a pretty lady so he smashes a bottle over his head just to put himself out of his misery.
Now, this is not the norm for me. I wasn’t one of those girls who dreamt of marrying one of the New Kids On The Block. I didn’t doodle J.T.T. (for Jonathan Taylor Thomas) onto my binders and sneakers, but after seeing MM I think I finally “get” that behavior.
This wasn’t even the first movie that’s had me biting my knuckle with arousal. (Although I think at one point in MM I was so overwhelmed, I tried to just bite my entire fist because I simply didn’t know what to do with myself). I’m of the generation of women that saw Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet in theaters. But at 14, I’d never even kissed a boy. I didn’t know what that tingly, lightheaded feeling was. So I certainly wasn’t going to look at my girlfriends and proclaim, “Tragedy shmagedy, that was hot! Let’s all discuss Leo’s lips over artichoke dip at Ruby Tuesday’s before Julie’s dad comes to pick us up.” What I will say is that Magic Mike is first movie where I found it not just socially acceptable, but highly encouraged to express an audible gasp, a howl and even turn to my Magic Mike wingwoman with a look of “What is happening to me?!” whenever something made my head spin.
Perhaps it was because this is the closest I’ve come to actually setting foot in a male strip club and it might be the first time I’ve actually seen men objectified. Watching them sweat, pump and grind simply for our enjoyment and witnessing women throw dollars at men — I felt like I was burning my bra.
Or perhaps because unlike 50 Shades Of Grey — this year’s erotic literary phenomenon that has women huddling together in a corner at a cocktail party whispering and giggling or poking fun at the salacious writing — no matter how much you chat about a book with your girlfriends, simply the act of reading is solitary. There’s something about experiencing the sexy, campy spectacle as a group that oddly gave me an immediate feeling of sisterhood with every single living thing in the theater.
(This was further confirmed by this bootleg clip of the now famous “Pony” scene which inadvertently captured two ladies’ running commentary. Oddly enough this was also my exact inner monologue. Yes, even the Spanish words I don’t know the translation to.)
Upon exiting the the movie, I immediately struck up a conversation with a group of women in line for the bathroom who I was sure from the expressions on their faces had just seen the flick. It was as if I found a new calling as the Eve Ensler of Magic Mike, compelled to listen to stories from women from all walks of life about their personal experiences and compile it into The Magic Mike Monologues.
This continued the next morning when I “interviewed” my co-workers. Then after I’d exhausted (as my dear friend mentioned above) every form of social media, I reached out to my high school girlfriends to see if they’d had a “Magic Mike Experience”. One described it as having “transported [her] to another world… “ specifically because it brought up “memories of the hot older counselors at camp dancing during ‘MTV Night’.” I even proceeded to discuss it via Gchat WITH. MY. OWN. MOTHER. She asked for a review. As gently as I could I told her in so many words that if she isn’t half dead, she would come home from the movie theater and ask my bald, scrawny dad with a bad back for a divorce — even though they’ve been happily married for over 35 years!
And yet I still feel like I could go on: about Big Dick Richie, about Matthew McConaughey’s clearly Oscar-worthy performance, about why dressing Channing Tatum in sweatpants and a hoodie was perhaps the sexiest and best costume choice ever — all of it. So, if you feel compelled to talk about your many, many feelings about Magic Mike and worry you’ve bored your girlfriends and boyfriends then please take below as an open forum. We’re in this together.
Also, to my future husband out there, please learn the “chair move.”