The Vagenda

Flying with Benefits

Friends With Benefits : This Generation’s Fear of Flying?

In the 1970s, Erica Jong wrote a fanfuckingtastic (no pun intended) novel about Isadora Wing, an unhappily married lady who decides to get in touch with her sexuality via meaningless, incredible sex with lots of different people. It’s kind of like Sex and the City minus the shoes, shopping, boy-talk and insipid girlfriends.
Watching the hit (maybe?) Kunis/Timberlake romcom vehicle ‘Friends With Benefits’ brought the novel to mind. Timberlake and Kunis’s desire for sex to “be like tennis” – “you play, game’s over, you shake hands and get on with your day” seems to echo what Jong christened “the zipless fuck”.
So, is the movie our generation’s Fear of Flying? And what would it even mean if the premiere statement on female sexual liberation for our generation was found in a Justin Trousersnake movie?
NO. Because:
1.     Before Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis get down to having the totally impromptu sex that they, we and the person who wrote the title never expected them to have, Kunis makes a weird pre-sex disclaimer. She argues since she wasn’t expecting their strictly platonic relationship to morph into something where they’re bumping genitalia, she didn’t shave her legs that morning. Then Trousersnake pipes up with something about having only just shaved his chest that morning (you can take the boy out of the boyband, etc) .
 Since when do people shave their legs before having sex – is that a thing now? Isn’t stubble kind of groovy? Like maybe you’ve got better things to do than sit around prepping for your booty call with a face mask on and those weird toe divider things in your feet while the varnish on your nails sets?  All I’m saying is, wouldn’t happen in the seventies. Bring back hair! (please)
2.     Can spontaneous sex really be called spontaneous if you  pre-empt it with a discussion about whether or not you find each other “physically attractive” (I don’t know, they make it sound like it’s in quotation marks)? And if so, which parts of each other?  And then a swearing on your Holy Bible app ( that this will not turn into a relationship?
So okay, this really isn’t Isadora’s fantasy of the vampy Italian widow and the soldier consummating their tryst while the train goes through the tunnel. Maybe you might as well sit with your feet in the toe divider thingy with the varnish drying while you and your lover-to-be (or not, as the case might be) talk pros and cons.
3.     Holy Bible app. Ugh.
4.     Is this the least sexy sex the world has ever seen? Let’s face it, both Kunis and Trousersnake are smokin, but they’ve all the combined sexual chemistry of a soggy flannel. I swear to god, Trousersnake’s face as he tries to “enter” (eurgh) Kunis looks exactly, but exactly, like he’s puzzling over a particularly tricky Su Doku. Is this modern sex? God, let’s hope not
      Yes!  Because:
1.     In FWB, everything’s creepily Freudian. Timberlake won’t let the laydeez touch his feet “because”, Kunis concludes gamely, he’s “got intimacy issues”.  Kunis never knew her father, so, Timberlake twinkles, she must “have daddy issues”. We get it, we get it, it’s set in New York, so in the grand tradition of Woody Allen et al. everyone’s a neurotic chain smoking mess and they all read The Interpretation of Dreams cover to cover before they reach their fifth birthdays, but does it have to be writ quite so large? 
But, I dunno, maybe it’s just America. Because for all Isadora’s flapping about how incredibly inane therapy is, let’s face it, she got hitched to her therapist, she’s holidaying in Vienna on a shrink convention (which seems like the equivalent of someone slagging off skiing and then only going on holidays on snowy mountains with an extremely steep gradient) and her rants about psychoanalysis have a distinct whiff of obsession about them.
You know, I thought Freud was dead as a cultural reference point, but it just goes to show, much like stonewashed jeans and bumbags, he’s so irrelevant that he’s come full circle and is bang on trend again. Who knew?
2.     In the hyper non PC environs that constitute Fear of Flying, all of the men Isadora has her wicked way with (please never headshrink me) are obsessed with her being Jewish. That’s her sexual superpower, that she’s Jewish and the goys are gaga for it. Similarly, Timberlake and Kunis spend the whole movie trying to pigeonhole (is that what they’re calling it now?!?!?! ROFL) each other.
They spend approximately an hour and a half mulling over the vast cultural differences between the two large, cosmopolitan, anonymous locales and what it might mean to be a Los Angelean (laid back, chillaxed, dead inside) compared to a New Yorker (dynamic, go getting, dead inside). So when they’re sexing, JT’s sleeping with his fantasy of New York and MK ditto but with LA. Kind of like when Fear of Flying’s Isadora has sex with a British therapist and has a fantasy about them living in Hampstead Heath together.
3.     Evil hippy mothers.