Charlie is left to plead for some sign of intimacy — or at least an acknowledgement — during the act, reduced to whispering, “Hey, look at me. Look at me. Let’s look at each other …”
“I’m going to turn around,” she says, disgusted.
“It’s like I don’t even know how to make love to you anymore,” he laments.
The fawning devotion, cloying sensitivity, prissy euphemizing about sex (“making love”) — Charles is the perfect guy. As neuters go. Marnie later tells Hannah, “He’s so busy respecting me, you know, that he looks right past me and everything I need from him.”
Hannah, meanwhile, who imagines herself the voice — or at least a voice — of her generation, is seeking the very respect and love that Marnie takes for granted. Though Hannah passively submits to Adam, it’s clear that she’s not into his kinky sex fantasies. When they make out, Hannah tries to have a conversation, but he interrupts her: “Is this some of your poetry?” When they have sex, he suggests they “play the quiet game.” When she asks him in bed, “You want me to call you?” he pushes her head down against the pillow to shut her up, and continues having sex with her.
At one point, Hannah asks Marnie, “What does it feel like to be loved that much?”
Hannah wouldn’t know. She was tutored by a popular culture that doesn’t much care.
By Mark Mix
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