I Was a Male War Bride…

Or how I came to believe relationships should be combative (both in real life and in books).

First order of business – this is my 100th post!

Second order of business – War Bride.
The twincesses are sick and I had insomnia last night, so I watched an old favorite, I Was a Male War Bride, starring Cary Grant and Anne Sheridan, a black and white romantic comedy from shortly after World War II.  The basic premise is a French Army captain (Grant as Henri Rochard) and an Army Lieutenant (Sheridan as Katherine Gates) have had a rather colorful (and I’m not kidding – in pre-movie time, Rochard found himself doused in a vat of blue dye, thanks to Gates) past.  They banter, having a playful, combative relationship until during Rochard’s final mission when he finally owns up to loving her (he says it first, though the audience has had it made plainly clear that she was in love with him – the big fathead – since the get-go).  The rest of the movie centers around getting his travel visa in time to go back to America with the army as it ships out of Europe.  Not only do they end up having to get married 3 times, thanks to a variety of regulations, but their wedding night keeps getting interrupted.  It culminates in Rochard wearing a dress.  And that’s all I’ll say about that.

I’ve come to realize that my basic understanding of marriage/love all stems from a love of the movies from the 30’s and 40’s, wherein such relationships were common.  Almost any Cary Grant movie, the female/male leads bicker throughout.  Heck, everyone banters, and that’s the fun in the old movies – the constant bickering (okay, for me). 

For example, in Bringing Up Baby (starring Katherine Hepburn as the female lead), the following dialogue is classic. At one point, Katherine has divested Grant of his clothes (he was showering and she sent them off to be cleaned, ‘forgetting’ he had nothing else to put on, thereby trapping him out in the country with her) and he runs into her Aunt, who he’s been trying to convince to donate a large sum of money to his museum while less than properly dressed:

Aunt: You look perfectly idiotic wearing those clothes.
Grant (wearing a pink bathrobe): These aren’t my clothes!
Aunt: Well, where are your clothes?
Grant: I’ve lost my clothes.
Aunt: Well, why are you wearing those clothes?
Grant: Because I just went gay all of a sudden (does a little funny hop/dance step).

I bring this up, because I’m in the finishing pages of the first draft of War and I went back to read it, and glanced at Rage, and some of Dreams.  Common theme in all of them – at least in the beginning, none of the protags are particularly lovey-dovey.  In War, more than any of the others, the leads banter all the way throughout.  To me, this is a perfectly normal, healthy relationship.

What about you?  Do you think it’s normal and healthy to bicker constantly in a relationship?  I know I do with my husband (sneaky devil always claimed he didn’t like arguing, but just last year finally admitted he likes arguing just as much as I do – when it’s all in good fun, of course).


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