Dressing in high heels or an expensive suit, sometimes we are in the manufacturing business.

Positive energy, feel good sensations, spiritual enlightenment or on the opposite end of the spectrum, the absolute terror of losing your job; those are subjective emotions that can be manufactured and projected by others.

Many emotions and feelings can be manufactured.

Actors know this well.

Try as we may and hope that we might, one emotion that cannot be manufactured is being madly in love with someone.

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A true story.

In our circle, one evening we were invited to dinner at a married co-worker’s spacious six bedroom home located in a gated community.

Since he talked about it so much to certain people and as you know when it comes to gossip, nothing is sacred and no secret is kept, we knew that he and his wife were going through some severe marital problems.

Having said that, at work, he and a beautiful blonde who we’ll call Sarah, about 15 years younger than him were constantly flirting.

At times they would go to lunch.

She was at the party too.

His wife wasn’t.

All were having a good time and suddenly he and Sarah went off together alone.

I could see that they sat down in his spacious back yard and were just talking.

The sensuous beauty was a single mom with one child and later he would tell me that they were discussing the possibility of him coaching her daughter in tennis.

He would also tell me something else.

Well, actually two more things that I would never forget.

He explained with mild surprise that two separate people at the party later told him that when he and Sarah temporarily left, they thought that he and the beautiful blonde went off to another room, closed the door and made love.

He sighed, first of all, that house was his wife’s domain and that he would never make love with any woman on his wife’s turf nor at the home of a single mother whose house was the turf of her child.

Those places should remain sacred.

A nice expensive hotel would be better, even though that is not morally ideal. His words.

He had never cheated on his wife. Ever.

But he was reeling. Why?

The guests privately said this themselves.

It was obvious that the two co-workers were attracted to each other. You can’t hide it.

Would he pursue the beautiful younger woman?

In a private conversation he would tell me that even though he had fallen madly in love with her, married, he made a decision not to pursue his love interest.

It wasn’t about his children since both were in college.

It was about something else that had to do with love or the lack thereof on her part.

What was it?

Let’s travel to the movies for an answer.

Two films come to mind.

The first, Two Lovers, is a 2008 American romantic drama.

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The movie is directed by James Gray and stars Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Vinessa Shaw. It is set in the largely Russian Jewish neighborhood Brighton Beach in New York City, as was Gray’s first movie Little Odessa.

Now for the plot.

Leonard (Phoenix) is walking along a bridge over a creek in Brooklyn, when suddenly he jumps into the water in an attempted suicide. He changes his mind and quickly walks home to his parents’ apartment. His mother, seeing him dripping wet, tells her husband their son has tried it again and it becomes evident that Leonard has tried to kill himself before.

His parents tell him that a potential business partner and his family are invited for dinner that night and politely asked him to be present. When they arrive, Leonard finds that he had been set up with the other family’s daughter, Sandra (Vinessa Shaw).

She mused about his interest in photography and noticed a photo of a girl above his headboard.

He explains he had been engaged to the girl for several years, but the relationship was broken off when it turned out both he and his fiancée carried the gene for Tay–Sachs disease, which results in diseased children who generally don’t live beyond age 12, so they would be unable to have healthy children.

Leonard meets a new blonde neighbor, Michelle (Paltrow), and is immediately attracted to her.

No, make that, he immediately falls deeply and passionately in love with her.

He learns that she is dating a married partner in her law firm, Ronald (Koteas). At her request, Leonard agrees to meet Ronald and Michelle for dinner at a restaurant. The couple leave him later that evening, as they have plans to attend the Metropolitan Opera.

Leonard returns home upset, but to his surprise, Sandra arrives, sent over by Leonard’s parents.

She is under the impression that Leonard wanted her to come by, but realizes by his surprised look, that she was set up. She apologizes for the misunderstanding and says that if he isn’t interested, a lot of other guys are. Leonard says that he likes her, and they kiss and eventually make love, and with time, his relationship with Sandra deepens.

Or so we think.

That was one movie reviewer’s interpretation but in regards to love, here is ours.

The gorgeous feminine blonde Michelle is attracted to Leonard but she is clearly not in love with him and the restaurant scene makes it abundantly clear as to why.

The married man at her law firm is powerful with money and he is very dominant over her in their clandestine relationship.

Some women like that and given her unstable personality, she is clearly drawn to his power, money, stability and very controlling approach since she seems to live a life that is swiftly spinning out of control.

Leonard on the other hand lives with his parents (Beta male dog tag), doesn’t make a lot of money and makes the classic mistake of letting the woman know that he is madly in love with her, thus she knows she has him wrapped around her finger like a puppy.

In terms of love, he is intensely in love with her and she is mildly attracted to him and enjoys his attention.

As far as the relationship that deepens between Leonard and Sandra, yes it deepens in the way it develops when two people are set up because of their culture, religion or small town ties.

It is possesses many things but passionate love is not one of them.

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Over time they will care for one another, especially if they have children, but it is more like a brother or sister or a Ma and Pa Kettle relationship of regularity and duty.

Stated another way, they Ma and Pa Kettle settled.

When Leonard has a choice between the two, he picks passionate love. He doesn’t want to settle.

Oh you already know. There is a but coming.

If fact, three of them.

But, but, but. The beautiful blonde is not in love with him. At least not like that.

He would soon find that out the hard way.

Now for the other film.

Come Undone, a romantic drama, is a 2010 Italian film directed by the great Italian director Silvio Soldini.

Here is the plot.

Anna (Alba Rohrwacher) works at an insurance company and is married to Alessio (Giuseppe Battiston) who wants to have a baby. She then happens to meet Domenico (Pierfrancesco Favino), headwaiter at a local restaurant.

Despite the fact that he is married with two children and she is married as well, strapped with a 20 year mortgage that she feels imprisoned by, the two start a passionate and extremely intense adulterous relationship.

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The New York Times reviewer, Stephen Holden states it well, “Except during its three heated sex scenes, “Come Undone,” a sober exploration of the disruptive effects of adultery on family life, portrays infidelity, despite its thrills, as almost more trouble than it’s worth.

Miserable and agitated when not together, Anna (Alba Rohrwacher), a comfortably married accountant for a small insurance agency, and Domenico (Pierfrancesco Favino), a slightly older waiter who is married, are seized by an irresistible carnal attraction once Anna impulsively makes the first move.”

When this film begins, just in the opening scene, we knew her husband was in trouble.

Since we write about Curvy Models and appreciate their insights in terms of phraseology, so while we won’t say that he is plump, let’s just say that he makes the Pillsbury Doughboy look like Charles Atlas.

Why are you looking at us like that?

Okay fine. He’s curvy. Really curvy.

No? You don’t like that one either?

Okay fine. He’s plus size (plus a +).

Strike one.

At any rate, one look at this guy compared to the slender, super cute and vibrant Anna, we know in this relationship who fell in love with whom and who settled.

Too, he doesn’t make good money.

Strike two.

To pile on top of all of that, he’s the kind of guy who likes to get together with other couples and play charades and yap a lot to show how super clever and intelligent he is and when he’s alone with Anna, sit on the couch and watch deep movies while he explains them to her.

Lipstick yawn.

Anna’s mouth opens so wide with boredom that we can see both Amtrak and Japanese Bullet trains riding on separate tracks down her esophagus.

To put it mildly, he’s not Anna’s virile, risk taking, exciting and dynamic Head Waiter.

He’s Pa Kettle reincarnated complete with a first name ending in a vowel.

He wants to have a baby and she absolutely doesn’t. Not his anyway.

Does Anna love her husband?

Sure, sure. Of course. Say, in the same way that you love a Cocker Spaniel who knows how to build a dog house from milk biscuits.

So when she meets her virile, passionate and risk taking lover, the sparks are so hot that they make the Fourth of July fireworks look like a lit candle on a one year old’s birthday cake.


These two make the love making between Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in 9-1/2 Weeks look like Edith and Archie Bunker on their 70th birthdays.

This looks like love to us and even though we know adultery invariably ends very badly, there is no mistaking it.

These two love one another.

Anna settled for security, cultural comfortableness, a mortgage and please don’t take this the wrong way, but the excitement of working for an insurance company (yawn), that partnered with a husband who gets excited about installing showers and you can tell she is headed for a Ma and Pa Kettle meltdown.

Look class, in honor of Anna’s husband, let’s play a little cross word puzzle.


What is one word that best describes a husband who plans a weekend getaway with his wife and another couple (of course) and at the last minute she tells him she can’t make it because she has to work on Saturday and he actually believes her.

I mean, how many insurance companies are open on Saturday?

Now if she was in Real Estate or even an Insurance Agent herself, I might buy it.

But she works inside the office for crying out loud.

Even if Anna worked for a bank and she told him she couldn’t go to one of his charades or knitting parties, possibly a discussion on how to review a Lifetime Movie on being the perfect sensitive male or maybe one of his How To Install A Sceptic Tank seminars on Sunday, because she had to work…….at the bank, this guy would believe her.

Hmm, how shall we describe him?

The word contains five letters, starts with a D and rhymes with fence.

Do I respect her husband?

Of course. This not personal.

I respect him in the same way that I respect Curly, Larry, Moe, Maxwell Smart, Grady from Sanford and Son (good googly wooks), Gilligan, Barney Fife of Mayberry, Dr. Smith from Lost In Space, Gomer Pyle, Eb Dawson on Green Acres, Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies and of course, last but not least, Inspector Clouseau.

He’s so witty at charades but he can’t figure out that his wife is flat out lying to him?

Which now brings us back to our real life friend Mark in the gated community marital prison.

He told me that he was morally solid as a rock but because his wife made it clear that he didn’t make enough money and at their socials, was clearly attracted to men who made more money and had power jobs, as the years went on, it started to wear him down.

Preach on.

Sometimes while she was cooking in the kitchen, he would come up behind her and put his arms around her waist and instinctively without even thinking she would forcefully brush him off, get a little embarrassed and then make up an excuse of how she wanted to finish the meal preparation.

It was similar to Anna’s response to her husband’s advances.

When asked to jump in the shower with him (naked of course) after he just freshly installed it, christening it so to speak, Anna initially said no and made an excuse.

By contrast at work Sarah the blonde would drop some subtle hints.

They worked for a large company and his shift ended earlier than hers. When he would walk out she would say out loud, “I wish I could go home with Mark.”

But she never did.

Or, when there was going to be a new seating arrangement, she would say out loud, “I wish I could sit next to Mark.”

But she never did.

The worst was when he wore a certain outfit, she would say out loud, “Wow Mark, that looks good on you.”

So when Mark told another friend about Sarah, who also flirted with every male in the office, the eternal cheerleader syndrome where she needs the constant reassurance from men that she is attractive, that she was saying those things to him, here is how his other friend responded.

“Why don’t you ask her, are you saying what I think you are saying?”

Mark was never going to do that.

Why not you ask?

What the blonde didn’t realize, and a common mistake that most of us make, is that she saw Mark for who he is now.

She didn’t know who he was before.

Except for not being curvy and unable to build bathroom showers from scratch, Mark in many ways had become just like Anna’s husband.

He was stable, worked a safe but uninspiring position (a euphemism for a dead end job), coached his children, went to church, got together with couples (gossip, massive yawn) and was married to a wife who clearly wanted someone else.

What Sarah didn’t see was that when Mark was young, had a virile sports car, a great power teenage job, worked out with his football buddies and had money to burn, he evolved into an Alpha Male who made it clear to teenage girls that if they didn’t give him what he wanted, he would dump them and there would be ten to take their place.

Talk about bad adult karma.

The girls responded. Virtually no one said no to him.

It was what he saw in their eyes that was very telling even though he was developing a reputation for being a dog.

Fear and respect.

So, after he felt that he hurt the wrong person, he decided to permanently leave that life behind and found religion.

Symbolic Alpha Male castration.

Thus when he looked into the blonde’s eyes, he didn’t see fear or respect. Yes he felt something emanating from her in terms of attraction but it wasn’t love.

While he’s in front of her, like a moth attracted to the flame, she’s interested. Once he is gone, she doesn’t think about him at all.

For her, he is Leonard. The safe stable (weak guy that I can walk all over) male that she enjoys having fawn over her but let’s say if she did marry him, clearly settled.

More important he knew from his teenage days that when girls are attracted to you?

They don’t throw compliments at you out loud.

They flirt and then get together with you in the dark.

Pronto. No dinner or date necessary.

With Sarah the blonde?

She’s not for real.

So he was never going to ask her that stupid question regarding her flirtatious innuendos.

Too, he knew that she was actually in love with a co-worker who did have a reputation for sleeping with one woman after another and was literally having a relationship with a married woman in the office.

Some women are predictable.

We shared that in the film, Anna’s passionate lover was married.

What we didn’t mention was that he was constantly broke, tried to borrow money from his brother, was unable to properly pay for his daughter’s dance lessons that she so badly wanted and struggled to get the best medicine for his youngest who had a bad infection.

What did he have money for?

To pay for local and faraway hotels for he and Anna’s love trysts.

What a guy.

One day, Mark happened to walk by Sarah’s desk and saw a picture of her and the co-worker.

The employee that Sarah was really in love with looked nonchalant.

Sarah by contrast looked ecstatic, incredibly happy with a vibrant smile like Anna did after she had just passionately made love to the head Waiter.

When it came time for a showdown between Sarah and the adulterous married woman, the married woman won easily.

Mark was simply a way to reassure herself that she was attractive, on the rebound.

Mark stopped asking her out to lunch.

He would later explain to me while we were hanging out and drinking coffee at a street side café that even if he and his wife divorced, he would never pursue Sarah.

Why not?

Because he didn’t want someone who was settling ever again. He had enough of that with his own wife.

Low self-esteem would describe the behavior of someone who would settle.

He deserved better than that.

He would rather live alone than settle.

So for those who find passionate mutual love, they are very fortunate.

The trick is to be in a position to follow through on a real long-term relationship.

Not easy.

But passionate love is not nebulous.

We know it when we see it and more important?

We know it when we feel it.

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