You know how sometimes when you watch a horror movie you shout at the characters like they’ll hear you? “Don’t go in there!” “Look behind you!” “Don’t bother with the condom, you’re about to die!”
I did that with prostitution rom-com The Wedding Date.
Debra Messing stars as Kat, your typical neurotic protagonist in this sort of movie, although she’s perhaps not as fussy as she seems because she yanks six grand from her 401k to hire a prostitute as her date for her sister’s wedding.
Her sister, you see, is younger (OH NO!) and is marrying Kat’s ex-fiance’s best friend (EEP!). She clearly needs to bring along a stud and show everyone, but most importantly her ex, how great she’s doing.
So she hires Nick, a Brown-educated hooker, or “escort” if you think contracting to function as arm candy and charging extra for sex entitles one to a more genteel label than other sex workers. Ooch. Did that come across as too judgmental and sex-negative and do I need to send my credentials back to Feminism HQ? I’m sorry! This is very dangerous ground for me, as someone who would like to keep her feminist credentials, and doesn’t want to disrespect any sex workers in the real world, but at the same time found the “business arrangement” in this PG-13 wedding movie to be… let’s say “oogie.” (Hey, the film uses the expression “morally repugnant.” Don’t fight me! Fight the man!)
What’s oogie about it? I don’t begrudge Kat her desire to craft a lie to take away the pain of being in a wedding party with an ex-fiance, particularly when her mother spends most of her toast at the welcome cocktail party mocking her for her failed love life. But I did start yelling “Don’t go in there!” when her prostitute starts to lay all of his seductive powers on her in some sort of attempt to guru her out of her neuroses. And I cried “look behind you!” when Kat drunkenly stops at an ATM and withdraws the maximum number of pounds from four different accounts so that she may take advantage of the upsell that Nick’s been dangling in front of her.
This switched to a different sort of yelling at the TV, of the “Are you KIDDING me?” variety, when Nick insists that he wasn’t on the clock during their horizontal romp, and HOW DARE SHE think he was? Also, she didn’t withdraw enough cash, especially because she [insert euphemism for oral sex]!
UGH. This is the thing that drives me batty about prostitution in the movies. So often, “I’m a prostitute, but that doesn’t give you any excuse to deny me human dignity” [Good!] is accidentally translated into, “I’m a prostitute, but that doesn’t give you any excuse to expect I take money for sex with my clients!” [Wait, what?] Like, if Nick has itemized that a blow job (received) costs £300, and is going to snip about that with the woman who paid him $6,000 plus travel expenses to pretend to be dating her, he should probably not be outraged that she stopped at an ATM before sleeping with him, right?
Nick gets over it, almost immediately, because he’s in love with Kat, for some reason. There’s still half a movie left, so the characters have to stumble into new conflicts so Kat has reason to judge his profession anew. She says something like, “You lied to me! But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, because you accepted $6,000 to participate in an elaborate lie!” He says something like, “How dare you judge me when you orchestrated said lie and tendered payment of said $6,000!” I scream something like, “SHUT UP, SAID CHARACTERS!”
Meanwhile, a wedding happens, and considering this is my wedding blog instead of my hand-wringing-over-sex-work blog I should probably discuss that for a moment.
It’s in the UK, so there are many fabulous hats in attendance:
The costume designer should be given mad props for the bridesmaid dresses. I feel like it is not often you see realistic bridesmaid dresses in wedding movies. Either they are designed to be comically ugly or they don’t look anything like bridesmaid dresses. These are on the money:
Also, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I like the bride’s tiara:
Wedding lessons learned:
- Consider the effects on society that may trickle down from wanton granting of plus ones.
- But also keep in mind that having someone around whose business is love may save your wedding from last-minute cancellation.
- Don’t wear heavy eyeliner and frosted lipstick if you a pale blonde bride. Even if you are the only woman in the universe who can look cool wearing a wedding tiara.