In the fall of 1972 the movie “I Want What I Want” came to Spokane. I was attending Spokane Falls Community College at the time and in my sophomore years. IMDB.com describes the movies as ‘A 20-something son of a military officer feels like a woman trapped in a man’s body. When he can’t hide it anymore he has a fallout with his ladies man father and leaves home. Now what?” I cannot recall how I learned of the movie, if I had known it was coming or if I had simply seen the ad or read a review in one of the two local newspaper. However, it was the first movie I had ever known to address the issues that I was facing and had been facing for ten years. For those who are interested you can watch the movie on Youtube — visit I Want What I Want.
The movie was playing as a double feature with another movie called The Statue starring David Niven. This movie is the story of a husband who learns that the nude statute of himself that his wife had scuptured had a body part that was not his own. The movie then becomes a round-the-globe comedy as he tries to find the man who had been the model for that body part. I will leave it to you to determine which body part he felt was worth the trouble to travel around the world.
I really wanted to see the one movie and the co-featured starred David Niven who at the time was one of my favorite actors. However, I was quite certain that if I attended the movie alone that everyone in the theater would know why I was there — that I was one of those men. A term I hear often on television is ‘beard,’ referring to a companion of the opposite sex who serves as a cover so you do not stand out as gay or lesbian. Or in my case as . . . Well, I am not sure I yet knew any label that applied to me except transvestite. Or crossdresser. I needed a date.
While it is true that I usually had dates for high school Prom nights and Homecoming dances, I would also make the case that as I considered finding myself a date for the movie, I had never gone out on a single date in my whole life. I say this because in high school peer pressure virtually dictates that everyone goes the dances. If I had not gone, my classmates would have noticed and talked about me. I needed to go to these dances to prove them and to myself that I was your average guy. Also, I never had a driver’s license in school so even for these dances I would be chauffered by my brother or older brother. Beyond these ‘required’ dates, I had never been on a date. I had never taken a girl to dinner. I had never asked a girl out to a movie. And now I found I needed a date.
At the time there was a girl at knew at school who was named Nancy. She was terribly sweet and quite shy. We had been connecting to a degree and because of her demeanor I knew she would go along with any recommendation I made as to which movie we attended. As best as I recall we had not decided on a movie previous to our date. I did not want to risk her learning too much about the one movie I wanted to attend. She was a bit reluctant when I suggested the movie I did which was the co-feature The Statue but as I knew she would she went along with my idea. I cannot recall which of the two movies we saw first. I do recall whichever movie we saw first she found it disturbing and did not want to stay for the second. I suspect the second movie was the one I came to see as I was pretty adamant that we stay. We never went out again. My movie choices had simply been too unsettling for her.
I did find the movie disappointing in one sense. A woman — Anne Heywood — had been given the lead. So for those scenes in which the lead character was the woman Wendy and not the man Roy she was very convincing. In those scenes where she was Roy, she was less convincing. It is possible that I had gone to the movie in hope of getting some tips on how to be more convincingly feminine. A few weeks later I would met a girl named Ann. She was only the second woman in my life I really wanted to date and over the next several months we went out on a lot of dates. Eventually we married. And eventually after that we divorced. Since divorcing Ann I have date two different women, one for a few dates and the other for a single date.
If you exclued my dates with and were to count up the total number of everytime I had asked a girl out on a date and spent the evening with her, the number would not exceed ten. The movie title was ‘I Want What I Want.” I feel it would be safe to say that at the age of twenty I did not yet know what I wanted. However, it is pretty clear that girls were not high on my list until I met Ann. And yet Ann and I were only married for five years and spent a good chunk of that seperated. Ann was an exception for me but being married was not the answer for me.