Tony Montana has taken just so much shit his whole life. He’s been oppressed and repressed and mocked and called a spic and turned on by his own country (Cuba) that he’s just not going to take any shit anymore. He’ll shoot someone just for pissing him off, which is almost admirable, or at the very least understandable. I’m not advocating violence; all I’m saying is that we all have our limits and if someone treated me the way Tony Montana had been treated his whole life – if they spit on me, and degraded me, and mocked me and doubted any power I might have, I might want to prove them wrong.
Of course, it’s a movie, and we know it well; Scarface with Al Pacino as the Cuban immigrant turned drug lord with his mountains of coke and his beautiful but, basically dead, wife, Elvira, living what he believes is the American dream.
Elvira, Tony’s wife, played perfectly by Michelle Pfieffer, is beautiful and so cool she’s ice cold, whose only job is to be an ornament, and who comes from somewhere in Baltimore, we’re told, and whose only goal, it seems, is to just be taken care of by all these rich and violent thugs. She doesn’t seem phased by all the guns and underworld thugs that hang around the house, but then, her nose is so packed full of coke that this is not really a surprise. Most of the time, she’s got this false cocaine-calm aloofness that lends itself to comparisons with a mannequin.
Her power and her trump is that ultimately, we get the sense that it’s a role she’s chosen – not one that was ever put upon her. That it’s all within her control. Men like Tony Montana are brought to their knees by her cool beauty and icy aloofness. She’s like coke they can’t buy or trade or snort or get enough of, but surely as powerful . But ultimately, she’s just some middle-class chick form Baltimore who was probably really bored and moved to Miami for some excitement. She’s a bitch. As Tony says to her, “You got a look like you haven’t been fucked in a year.” And it’s true. Maybe she knows her power is in the withholding, but this can only last for so long; a tease works because ultimately, there has to be something at the end of it. If it’s all attitude and cock tease, after a while, that gets boring and the furthest thing from sexy. Something’s gotta give.
Tony Montana wants, as he says, “what’s coming to me,” which is “the world and everything in it.” Never satisfied, never settled, the immigrant with the chip on the shoulder who sees Miami as ” a great big pussy just waiting to be fucked,” and he’s the guy to do it. I love that he sees himself so well endowed; it shows a moxie and an appealing verve that today’s sensitive men lack (or more accurately, feel they must keep under wraps.) Tony’s energy is violent, sexual, intense; he’s all about conquest and triumph and most of all, proving himself. A guy who knows that in “this country, you gotta get the money first” That money is power and all flows from that.
When Elvira laughs and mocks at his tiger-striped, tricked-out Cadillac (read; his interpretation of money versus what people who have money do), he goes and buys a new car, bringing her along. She canpick the car. He’s adapative, comprising, and mostly, wooing. That he’s willing to shake-off the guido-trappings he can then have the ultimate American male accessory – the beautiful and aloff womean who doesn’t give a shit, and as she says, “doesn’t fuck around with the help” which is him, but not matter. She will. The icier she is, the harder he tries. It’s a little dance we see a lot on our society and I wonder why we can’t just say what we mean and mean what we say and why we have to pretend we’re not interested in the first place. But okay.
Her nose is packed with coke, she needs to relax more than a little and should be doing Valium and Prozac and Ritalin instead of coke and she does look like she needs to be fucked, especially by someone like Tony Montana. But what Elvira fears is her own sexual appetite – and basically anything that makes her human, and this reminds me of other girls.
My point is that Elvira is afraid of need and wanting which is like a lot of girls in the world that I see every day. We kill our natural desire will pills and yoga and shopping and expensive highlights and blow-outs and make-up from Nars and Armani that we don’t need, but believe are The Answer, because all these panaceas makes us feel better – for a brief time.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that we pursue the latest make-up or perfume to create the seasons’ smoky lid and crimson lips and cheeks all flushed and wear blush called Orgasm and wear perfume that smells of musk and civet (from the balls of a wild cat), all in an effort to create the illusion that we have just had a night of mind-blowing, boot-banging, spank me-fuck me sex with some guy like Tony Montana.
Why not just fuck Tony Montana or whoever it is that appeals. We’re just trading dependencies by falling into consumerism instead of relationships. Product can’t talk back or betray or hurt us the way a person can, and god help if us we should live life and take a chance at love, and yes, that includes hurt. It’s fear that controls us, but ultimately we’re not living. Instead, we create this illusion of life, like the illusion of post-coitus achieved with make-up and hair-texturizers with names like Bed Head. It’s stupid.
For our all of our so-called liberation and advancement as women, I think we had a helluva lot more fun in the seventies, when women were just beginning to enjoy the sort of rights men had always enjoyed; a time when women grew their hair long and brown and used Herbal Essence in the original green bottle and didn’t feel the need to trim and shape their public hair into neat little strips; when women fell in love and fucked and married and felt love and heartache and betrayal and wrote great songs about it, like Carole King, whose songs wouldn’t be possible without all of those messy emotions, that today, we just don’t want to deal with.
Look: I don’t find a huge pubic bush particularly sexy, but I find the choice sexy, I find that back in the seventies, women weren’t trying to shape-shift themselves into acceptable fem-bots for men. For as much as we say we have more now and deny that we aren’t concerning with making ourselves attractive to men (which, is also stupid, because it’s natural to want that, to want to be attractive), we nonetheless fit ourselves into this neat little box, ultimately defined by men and glossy magazines that serve as guide-books to snagging a husband; so we trim and stuff our chests with saline and silicone and plump our lips with chicken fat (chicken fat!), which is just disgusting, and even inject poison into our faces when in the seventies, we wouldn’t even buy canned goods at King Kullen if they were even slightly dented for fear of botulism. All this time and effort to fit in, be attractive. But why bother fitting the type if no man is ever going to see it. In short, why make yourself desirable when you are so afraid of this desire and insist in a shrill voice that you don’t want “this kind of attention” and insist , oh really, we’re doing it all for ourselves because it makes us feel better.
It’s not even close to believable. If you lived alone in a hut on the top of a mountain, would you really care about creating pubic topiaries. Would you go out and find some tree-sap and some leaves and paste them on your bikini line and rip the hair out by the root to create pretty shapes because it pleases you.’ I wouldn’t.
Our problem is not that we need other people or want to be desired – that’s normal and human and healthy. And it’s not a problem that there are some women who do things to their bodies that I personally would never do, but then there I things I do that they would find just as ridiculous, like the fact that I sprinkle my underwear drawer with Chanel No. 5. Our problem is that we expend all this effort and money and energy to be desirable and even achieve desirability, but it stops there. It doesn’t go anywhere, because it’s part of a greater effort that is not of the moment, but for the future, which means it’s all an effort to secure a husband.
Instead of an expected and triumphant Hooray, because your feminine wiles have worked when a man responds, we seem to prefer the power of all this seduction so that at the critical moment we can say “No”. We choose power over fucking and engaging with another human being, and we do this because of fear. Because in this age of psychotherapy, were everything is a fucking issue (pun intended) as if our boyfriend cheating or leaving us would cause a complete breakdown, as it has and does for so many girls today. Girls today, with few exceptions, don’t get back out there like Carole King or Carly Simon and belt out our anger and pain in some healthy way in a song with scathing lyrics. Instead, young women today run for the shelter of pastel pills and their standby bottles of Xanax and Zoloft and frantic calls to their therapists and lock themselves in their Back Bay apartments with their cats because we’re all so fucking fragile. It’s pathetic.
Carole King and Carly Simon and so many others went through the same heartache but they didn’t run away; they belted it out in songs like “You’re so Vain” or “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (sang by Bonnie Tyler by written by Meatloaf), and Abba and Fleetwood Mac who made a life-style of heartache and fucking – because that is life. These women seem a lot braver to me.