Bob and Weave

Musings of an impostor. Welcome to the masquerade.

So Free and So Money

Posted by flyingbk on 01/24/2017

On Sunday, I bestowed the privilege of watching a seminal bro film. My younger bro was only three years old when Swingers debuted on the silver screen in 1996. Thus, it was mandatory for me, as a caring older bro, to show him this timeless classic.

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I’ve watched Swingers so many times. It’s a movie that holds a special place in my heart because I eminently relate to the main character, Mikey (played by Jon Favreau), who’s taking forever to recover from a broken heart. With the encouragement of his buddies (played prominently by a young Vince Vaughn and Ron Livingston), Mikey tries to pick up girls at parties and bars, but he fails constantly, usually spectacularly. If you’ve watched the movie, you know that there are fewer cringe-inducing scenes than when he interminably leaves messages for Nikki (Brooke Langton). You sympathize with Mikey’s loneliness and desperation for companionship even as you shake your head at his complete lack of cool and game.

One theme jumped out at me as I re-watched on Sunday night. In his earlier interactions, Mikey is always trying to prove himself: He wants the ladies to know that he now has an agent, and he pretends that his comedian career is taking off and that he’s busy all the time. The continual fronting painfully reminded me of many of my first dates (usually as a result of online dating) when I always tried to put my best foot forward and sought to frame my job and career in the most positive light possible. Thankfully, there was no aspiring model or actress who asked me what kind of car I drive.

It’s all so exhausting. I once was an online dating addict, but I’m happy to say that I’ve been Coffee Meets Bagel-free for almost six months. There are still times when I notice that it’s noon, and I’m relieved that there’s no bagels to check. Don’t get me wrong: I encourage online dating and I celebrate the couples that I know have originated from it. I have simply concluded that it’s not for me anymore, and it’s been so liberating not having to do any more framing.

Fast forward to the end of Swingers. With Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing in the background, Mikey meets Lorraine (Heather Graham). Lorraine is the one who makes a move first, asking Mikey to dance. After they swing dance up a storm, totally hitting it off, he walks her to her car. And what I love about their interaction is that Mikey is honest with her. As he hands her his business card, he admits that his career isn’t so hot.

(Personal aside: Want proof that this movie is my jam? When Mikey pins Lorraine’s number to the calendar, thereby exercising newfound discipline in his game, he pins it on… December 13. My birthday. Yup.)

Because Mikey senses that Lorraine is already interested in him, he is free. Free to be vulnerable. Free to be modest. Free to even be weak. Those vibes that Lorraine throws at him make all the difference. Now, I’m not suggesting that women should take the lead, and I’m certainly not a guy who’s qualified to dispense any dating advice.

But Mikey’s evolution did remind me of the gospel.

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The gospel tells us that if we believe in Jesus, we are deeply loved and completely accepted as we are. We don’t have to pretend to be something that we’re not. We don’t need to act like we have it all together and that our lives are on this perfectly secure path. We don’t have to exaggerate or tell fake stories about ourselves.

As the opening credits of Swingers roll, Dean Martin croons, “You’re nobody ’til somebody loves you.” Thank heavens that in Jesus Christ, we are deeply loved and validated by Somebody. He’s not so interested in what kind of car we drive. He loves us as we are, flailing job and career and all. And he’s ever pursuing us. As I read in a book last night, “God always gets the girl.” That is, His people.

Because of God’s great love, we’re all so money, whether we know it or not.


Hat tip (and recommended supplemental reading): This Mockingbird piece.

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2 Responses to “So Free and So Money”

  1. Anonymous said

    You’re money, man! (Nice panini btw)

  2. Wow! Thank you! I continuously wanted to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a fragment of your post to my website?

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