Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What's good for the goose . . .

192 pounds
If you've seen It's Complicated, you know that Alec Baldwin appears in the film without his shirt on, sporting an extremely large stomach.

The reason his character has disrobed is so that he can seduce his ex-wife, played by Meryl Streep in the film. Unfortunately for Baldwin's character, Streep's is horrified when she returns to her bedroom only to find her ex stripped down to his birthday suit.

But what's really interesting about this scene is what happens when the characters talk about it the next day. Baldwin's character comes back to apologize, and when Streep's character asks him what he was thinking, he says, "I just thought you would find me irresistible," and he really means it.

Never mind the fact that Baldwin's stomach is a bit hippo-like. He really believes that she'll find him irresistible.

And what's crazy is that when he admits this, those of us in the audience kind of find him irresistible in that moment too. I mean, how can you not love someone who, despite his flaws, is that confident?

Of course, what we should all learn from this is that it's not the hot bod that we're attracted to, it's the attitude. Alec Baldwin is still a huge star not because he's as hot as he was in The Hunt for Red October (as pictured here) but because he believes in himself, and that's what makes him so appealing.

I'm sure you might be thinking that Baldwin, at his current size, wouldn't be able to get leading roles if he were a women, and you're right. In fact, it's incredibly frustrating to see Meryl Streep looking absolutely fabulous in this film even though Baldwin doesn't have to.

Unfortunately, that's how it goes in the movies these days, and this film makes it clear that Hollywood still has a double standard for men and women: men can look like real people, and women have to look like goddesses. (See The King of Queens, Still Standing, According to Jim, and almost any movie with Jack Nicholson for more evidence of this.)

But that doesn't mean that we can't learn something from Baldwin's character in this film. And what we can learn is that beauty is more about the way we see ourselves than the way others see us.

What this means is that the next time you decide to strip down and seduce your mate, you have to be sure to tell yourself the same thing that Baldwin's character believes himself . . . you're irresistible.

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