Monday, August 17, 2009
I first saw Love Jones when it came out in 1997. I was fresh out of a relationship that so incredibly paralleled the movie, I could barely stand to watch it the first time I saw it. However, this movie brings forth four archetypes that we often see in relationships. Now you may be asking yourself, four? I thought a relationship only involved two people. That is the goal, but normally, there are always "other folk" who end up playing a major role. What better way to foray into such a topic, but by discussing the film, Love Jones. This movie, in its simplicity uncovered the roles and the games that we often play when we're jonesin' and can't handle the vulnerability and emotions that come with it.
"I gather up each sound you left behind and stretch them on our bed. Each night I breathe you and become high." - Nina quoting Sonia Sanchez
Darius Lovehall and Nina Moseley were the lovers in this film. The two people who immediately connect, in an elemental way. It's a given fact upon their first meeting that they will indeed "hook up". As a woman, I hate that. It sucks to meet a man and be so chemically attracted to him, that it's blatant something is going to go down. Mainly because that, in and of itself is complicated. Rushing into something physical with someone new, ALWAYS complicates things, especially if you have loose ends that haven't quite been tied up yet.
The Loose Ends
"I'm going to get some mothafuckin toasted oats, cause you trippin." - Marvin
Often, the loose ends are exes. It's a given when you start something new, if there is an ex still in the picture, there will be drama. It's amazing how when you break up with someone, your ex is cool. You all may even find ways to amicably coexist. But as soon as your ex sees the new person, the drama begins and to hell with being amicable. The more complicated loose end is the "in-between person". You know those people we sometimes hook up with in-between relationships. This is a dangerous situation because unless you have a CLEAR understanding, the in-between person can become comfortable (for both of you) and can indirectly block you meeting someone new. Also, the in-between person can begin to feel a certain amount of entitlement, get used to a particular treatment and can find themselves competing with the new person. In Love Jones, the loose ends were Marvin and Lisa.
I always found the part in the film when Marvin decided to "see if there was still something there," interesting. The fact is, Nina knew she wasn't still interested in Marvin when he approached her. Yet, listening to her friend Josie, she decided to play games with Darius and go to NY and kick it with Marvin while looking for a job. But the fault wasn't all on her. When confronted with the situation, Darius played it cool, even though it killed him to see her go to NY where her ex was. Then to add insult to injury, he hooks back up with the in-between while she's gone. So, of course when she returns, the loose ends had complicated their whole groove.
This is where being grown comes to play. Now the game playing would have been understandable, had they been 12 and in junior high. But these almost 30 grown folks were pretending to be just "chillin," when they had both fallen from that first look. Life is too damn short to pretend when you find someone you truly love!
"Everybody is always talking about jumping, diving and falling in love. Please, somebody tell me how to stay there!" - Savon
Friends are like footnotes when you are in a relationship. You refer to them because you know they already check out, however, it may not be the information that you need. True friends will offer advice, but constantly remind you to follow your heart. Even if you get hurt, your friend will be there to pick you back up. Fake friends and associates masquerading as friends will give you "free advice," that will probably quickly end your relationship. In Love Jones, the friends were Savon and Josie. The interesting twist to these two was they were real friends. The problem was they were both ill-equipped in helping Nina and Darius. Savon was a married teacher, an intellectual who was falling out of love with his wife. His marriage had lost its steam and for someone who usually had the answer to everything, he didn't know how to fix it. Josie was the typical sisterfriend to Nina. She was sweet and attractive, outspoken and funny, yet she was single and didn't seem to have any prospects lined up. So she was invariably living vicariously through Nina, which meant all of her advice would be how SHE would handle it, not how Nina should handle it.
I am immune to this. I have too many friends who fall into the issues category and since I was a little girl, I have been known to not take advice from people I wouldn't change places with. This is no disrespect to some of my friends, but if they've never had a successful relationship or have issues with men how can they offer me advice on something potentially real? Again, back to the grown folks stuff. When you get to a certain age, you should know who you can and can't take advice from.
"I don't need poetry to get women. No, what you need is a personality. Try some breath mints and a Visa card." - Wood, Sheila and Savon
It is my belief that when God blesses you with the opportunity to find true love, and you accept it, you will be tested. If your heart is right, you will pass the test. But, if you are on that bowlshyt, the test will get the best of you. In Love Jones, without a doubt, the hater was Wood. The funny thing is, we knew Wood was a hater, before Nina and Darius hooked up. Why? Because the hater is usually an associate - masquerading as a friend. They are already jealous of you, and often walk around pontificating about things that just aren't true. They have to make themselves look good at all costs. As soon as Wood saw trouble in paradise, he swooped in to try and woo Nina. Nina, being the honest person she was assumed he was actually Darius's friend so she trusted him. She quickly found out the truth about him, even though he defamed her and tried to make it appear that the two of them were more than just friends. I've noticed that men tend to keep haters around them, maybe because they are more competitive than women, but the hater will most definitely test you, especially if it's obvious that this new thing is the real thing!
"Romance is about the possibility of the thang. You see its about the time between when you first meet some fine ass woman and when you first make love to her. And when you first ask a woman to marry you and when she says I do. When people who have been together a long time say that the romance is gone.. Mmm-hmm, what they really saying is.... they've exhausted the possibilities" - Darius Lovehall
So why do we go through all of these characters in our lives? Why do we play games? Why can't we just accept a good opportunity when we see it? I think it's fear. I don't care who you are, if you live long enough, you will get your heart broken. Love is the most infuriating wonderful thing to ever happen to the world. It can be so painful and so incredible all at the same time. A lot of this is the result of fear. But, fear is not of God, and since God is love, then seeking it is a risk we all must take!
"You always want what you want when you want it? Why is everything always so urgent with you?" - Nina
"Let me tell you somethin'. This here, right now, at this very moment, is all that matters to me. I love you. That's urgent like a motherfucker." - Darius
Just as an aside to this post. There are certain parts of this film that really spoke to me.
When Darius performed his poem for Nina..."I'm the blues in your left thigh, trying to become the funk in your right."
I also loved when he met up with her at Dr. Wax. Once he saw she wasn't trying to get hooked up, he asked if he could play something for her, and he played Charlie Parker.
The part when they had their first date and she was riding on the back of his motorcycle in her shades all close to him - that was HOT!
When their date night ended and he walked her to the door. From the kiss to the whole talk about just going upstairs to talk.
And of course the end, when he caught her in the rain and professed his urgent love for her. This movie exemplifies the consummate love story. But what I love about it, it's a black love story!