Saturday, February 18, 2006

Girlsy Man

From a film by a noted German director with a heavy accent that, today sounds charming and innocent but would have scared the turds out of our greatest generation grandparents comes the story of The Caustic Bunny, a man grew up in a nice, albeit fraught with stupid child tricks, suburban household and, as an adult, set out to become some sort of writer. Italicized paragraphs are the voice of the noted director. All other comments are identified.

However, on a trip through Bryn Mawr, taken in his early twenties, he became fascinated with places, like the campus, where only women gathered to live, socialize, hunt and accessorize. Realizing that he was witnessing a unique species in a unique place that was constantly being threatened by the encroaching outside world of St. Joe's and Villanova grads, not to mention U. Penn poachers who could fall one of these magnificent beauties with a single well placed degree or trust fund shot, he decided that his life should take a dramatic turn: he would dedicate himself to the preservation of this beautiful habitat and these awe inspiring creatures that lived there.

Against the advice of family, friends, drinking buddies and anyone who's ever picked up a dinner and movie tab, he began to camp in the places where only women lived.

"The camera is rolling and the cab that brought me here has left. I won't tell you where I am because I don't want other men to find out and follow me here. I want to observe, to interact with and to be with these women all by myself in their space, on their terms. Maybe that's a little crazy, maybe I'm a little nuts, but there are so few of these places left and they're very dangerous and therein lies the thrill. Like I said, the cab has left and he won't be back until the fall to pick me up, so here I am in my first expedition."-C. Bunny

"Yep. I hated going there. Usually, its a good fare, but it's awful hard to find and the parking is awful. I remember dropping him off and thinking, if he gets out of here with both balls, it'll be a fucking miracle." -Dumpft Off - Taxi driver.

As a film maker, Bunny sometimes wandered into the magical serendipity of that that happens after the shot has ended. This was never so apparent as the clip in the coffeehouse where he is observing in his first season, the women in their natural setting, oblivious to the danger all around him.

"Well, (in a hushed voice) that's the one I'll call 'Lisa' just finishing up her espresso grande. Its the first one of the morning and she's clearly wrapped up in her copy of the Wall Street Journal so I feel pretty safe here with the camera rolling on her. She's in her spring finery. Clearly, she's been to the hunting grounds at Nordstrom's which is just a few miles downriver. I'll tell you, even for a relative outsider like me, I can tell when it's been a long winter season by how worn their outer coats are." C. Bunny

At this point, he clearly wants to cut the scene. Watch as a woman wanders into the frame to the left of the camera. This is part of the magic that big studios cannot capture in films like "Must Love Dogs."

"Excuse me, are you some kind of a film maker?"

"Yes I am. My name is Bunny."

"I'm Christine."

Christine snatches the baseball cap from his head and he proceeds to give chase. He follows her to the den of her loft and we do not see Caustic Bunny for several hours. He emerges to finish the shot. This is the one time that he allows himself one of the luxuries of the outside world he has otherwise sworn off of.

"Probably not a good idea, smoking cigarettes like this but old habits are hard to break." -C. Bunny

Bunny constantly tempted the gods of danger and peril, making his films in such close proximity to women. Living amongst them, one can see over time, as he appears on screen, that he feels more and more confident and safe in his environment. It is hard to argue, even as an outside observer, that there is not absolute beauty in the scenes, particularly the ones shot at gathering places and watering holes. However, we constantly, as viewers, have to remind ourselves that this man, living with and amongst women, was as entirely out of his element as a fish out of water or a magazine editor without a blog. There were scenes of the film where that danger became imminently apparent and we, particuarly the men, cannot watch the movie without a chill running up our spines and our hands involuntarily covering our groins.

"And so this one, I'll call her Elizabeth, can be seen every morning running the same path-"

"Excuse me. Are you filming me?"

"Uh. Well, yes. Um. Sort of."

"Are you fucking insane?!! It's seven in the morning! I just crawled out of bed to go get a newspaper!! I've barely brushed my hair, no makeup, look at what I'm wearing and you've got a camera!!!!"

"As far as I'm concerned, he was a wild eyed dreamer who got exactly what was coming to him. Now my people, the guys from the softball team, have been living around women for, oh, the last twenty years. But our culture understands it's us and them and we draw a line and don't cross it. I think that when he crossed the line, he signed his own papers." H. Moss Central Falls 'Buckeyes' pitcher.

We can only imagine the panic as we hear his tortured breathing, running from the scene, camera bouncing wildly only occasionally capturing his original subject chasing him in sweatpants and an NYU t-shirt. Was this the woman who finally cut him down? As we know, the lens cap was left on in a moment of terror that was the last, unfortunate scene of his film. We may never know what happened to Bunny, but an appearance on "Letterman" a few months earlier, before his tragic disappearance.

"Please welcome Caustic Bunny, who is living among women."

(applause and a few gasps)

"Now, you live with them?"

"In their midst, yes."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"It can be, it all depends on how you approach them. You don't want to get too close."

"I mean, close. You're taking some chances aren't you? Are we going to read that one of these days, one of them has, you know, married you?"

How close to the final truth Letterman was, we will never know. All we have left of Caustic Bunny, the only evidence that he was ever here, is his camera with the chilling audio record of his last encounter and season passes to the Red Sox. This is made all the more terrifying in that, he knew, he knew his ultimate fate and he left them behind. Just off of third base, close enough to insult Jeter, yet mementos of a life to which he would never return.

We listen to the final recording. This is not appropriate for children. The woman's voice is the first you hear.

"So, I had a good time last night. The movie was a little long but dinner was good."

"I'm glad. Can I call you next weekend? I'm busy this week but I thought we could see Capote or something?"

"Funny you should mention next weekend. My parents are in town. I'd like you to meet them."

We can only thank a merciful providence that the lens cap was on.


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