This is a semi-autobiographical article about losing your virginity through an act of adultery, the concept of love in the Clint Eastwood movie Breezy (1973) and my nerdy brush with Clint himself many years ago after growing up admiring him as a two-fisted role model of masculinity to an apparently clean-cut kid… It all adds up to nothing in particular except my initiation into the world of sex and love and how it destroyed my life as it does so many… but how love as a concept can still prevail and find contentment in the end… and the religious experience of sex! I’ll add a taboo subject for some and there you have it!!
Myself, despite being groomed into self-destruction and an early death by a family that considered me an ‘accident’ and where coldness was more common than the word ‘love’, I remain on this planet perhaps still a too tolerant and loving individual… I toughened up enough to survive a suicide attempt after burning out twice in the work-force.
Way back when I finished university and after experimenting with the hippie notion of drugs and fee love and sex…I used to use the word “man” at the end of sentences far too much and go around barefoot… I gave my hippy dream of making movies and writing novels away and went to start life in earnest my office job aged 21 as a journalist where they would later mention I wore a nice tie as well and slyly comment on the fact that I was of lax morals, that I was anybody’s – therefore nobody’s. “How’s tricks?”
It was the realisation that I was the louche and a ‘circumcidere’ one at that… A reputation gained before my short hippy period as I grew up in an almost closed industry where gossip naturally prevailed about the son of a newspaper executive. I also had to prove myself against what seemed like obvious nepotism… I was a well-known so-called schlemiel of old who no longer belonged to any group of males or a female individual – let alone a minority race or religion. A loner who otherwise, would have loved it to be the Easy and Breezy movie making writer who lived in his mind forever with the Bo Derek (1956-) character on the beach from the movie 10 (1979). It was a possibility dashed by my foolish embrace of convention in entering a job where I had already been judged. I wasn’t Clint Eastwood and yet I wasn’t quite Tennessee Williams (1911-83 choked on a bottle cap) either. Women avoided me because I was poor and all my money went on rent as my journalism failed to garner any attention in terms of kudos… I had unfinished business with another woman in another state going back to when I was a teenager… I perhaps foolishly resigned and went back to the city where I was born to encounter further humiliation in a snake pit of an newspaper office where the venom was concentrated and I was further despised due to the staff being old colleagues of my father.
The movies kept me sane, however, and remained a constant throughout my life, especially during a time of confused sexuality caused by neurosis… The second part-time job I was dealt in that city was as an usher in a cinema where the manager thought Clint Eastwood was “sexy” and bragged about how he broke in the boys on the cinema circuit… The possibilities revolted me physically and the consequences seemed hellish. If I was going to have such an experience it wouldn’t be with him! Once upon a time … and not in Hollywood.
Go back to my high school days and I had longed to lose my virginity but not with the unintelligent and slovenly girl which my best friend at high school had been dealt to lose his virginity… I was torn in some neurotic way but I would get my wish in the form of a beautiful and older woman who would become a revered poetess and her love would spoil me… Just as she did again when she turned up in my life a second time… anyway, in the end, it would perhaps spoil me forever. You can’t top a 10… You could amass a fortune working a lifetime and it still wouldn’t be worth it!
Breezy is the name of the character in the Clint Eastwood (1930-) directed movie of the same name and she is played by Kay Lenz (1953-) as a seventeen-year-old hippy girl who falls for a 55-year-old who starts to have feelings again after a bitter marriage break-up has left him a rich but hard-hearted cynic of a real estate agent in Hollywood. She reminds me of myself as a deluded hippy as well as the cynic I try to forget inhabits my, at times, salty mind between its bouts of pretentiousness. I mean pick a personality, when it comes to me!
Clint Eastwood directs Breezy but he declined to appear in this movie as he thought he was too young for the role and it was instead filled by William Holden (1918-81 bled to death). While Lenz could be considered underage… such is the provocative sexuality within this movie which possibly could not be tackled today in Hollywood without objection… However, there was an Australian movie called Breath (2017) where a fifteen-year-old beach boy is seduced by a much older woman, a film which barely raised an eyebrow upon release except to my aunty who I saw it with and who said audibly and seriously during the cinema session: “They should call child services!” Breath was based on a novel by respected Aussie novelist Tim Winton (1960-) and so I guess it was seen as legitimate art and above reproach… Pick me, I would have said to the woman.
As for me, at seventeen, I was seen as a geek and a nerd, the former class clown who had some street cred for a weekly column in the metropolitan Sunday newspaper reviewing music and had written some promising fiction, but the end of high school was fast approaching and I was still a virgin… Oh, the shame! Was there something wrong with me? Was the possibility of the already acknowledged bisexuality inside me holding me back in the era of AIDS? I had been slightly molested as a kid by an older boy although not penetrated and it had neurotic ramifications… Just put this in your mouth he told me after he woke me in the bunk-bedded room we shared one night! It looks the same as yours!! Yeah, just don’t piss in it! There’s always a root cause to each individual’s so-called perversions or idiosyncrasies. It’s just I didn’t identify with catching AIDS and dying all over a hard-on as time progressed… I seriously hadn’t taken to boys. It was wrong – for me. But I had the copycat experiences young boys have as a result and some are often confused forever as they continue the same behaviour throughout a lifetime. Some just don’t get over it! So, you’re not a full-blown poofter…
Anyway, instead I played football – extremely badly – for a while and remained a virgin until my final year in 1984. I had seen the movie Class (1983) the previous year and for some reason I thought that young Brat-Packer Andrew McCarthy (1962-) was my spitting image as he loses his virginity to his best friend’s mother. The older woman was played by Jacqueline Bisset (1944-) whose breasts I had admired through her wet t-shirt since I was eleven years old in The Deep (1977). I saw it several times at the drive-in thanks to my father. I also liked the relatively flat-chested Genevieve Bujold’s topless shower scene in Coma (1978) around that same era… All I wanted was to lose my virginity and I had already also passed going the route of finding a sole high school sweetheart and going the route of possible marriage… I didn’t want that… I wanted to screw as many women as possible as frustration mounted following the release of such films in that era as Losin’ it (1983) and The Last American Virgin (1982) taunted me with the fact no woman would ever have me.
It didn’t help that I never carried a condom and yet still harboured the fear of getting a girl pregnant… I even passed on the drunken evening in the sand-dunes as an unappealing girl who would later become a lesbian … I wanted something special, nothing less than a 10 … Or was it perhaps love that I really longed for with the experience of a woman who could take the bull by the horns? It was turning into a neurosis that love and sex shouldn’t necessarily go together especially if I wanted to get laid with copious amounts of women. Or did I just want to lose it and then go and drink beer and spirits and lie on the beach with my best mates? And forget women altogether?!…
The interesting thing about Eastwood’s Breezy and the movie Class is that Breezy was written by Clint’s friend Jo Heims (1930-78 breast cancer) who died four days after my eleventh birthday and the evening I saw the double bill of Jaws and The Deep at the drive-in with my then homeys as I afterwards raved about the end of the movie with them and secretly admired Bisset. Heims did the flip side to Breezy for Eastwood a couple of years earlier by writing the hit film Play Misty for Me (1971) about a female stalker… She also worked uncredited on Dirty Harry before tailing off into forgettable exploitation movies before her untimely death. Heims also wrote the film The First Time (1969) which was about three teenage friends out to lose their virginity at Niagara Falls…
They mistake the star of Class, a younger Jacqui Bisset, who is also in this movie, as a prostitute… One of the boys is a schlemiel bullshit artist – a schlemiel is a Jewish name used for a boy or man who sees himself as one of the boys simply because he has a matching vital statistic – whether it be what the Italians and Europeans call circumcidere or non-circumcidere, depending on your peer group at the time! But I never really cared about or took any notice of it as my best friends since I was a child were usually British, Dutch-German, from the country or Catholic…some of them bullied un-mercilessly for being ‘different’. I sat on the fence like a double agent while I had a peer group like the one Heims wrote about in The First Time which sealed my fate as an unattractive circumcidere or what the French would add was a louche on top of that… I simply refer to myself as a gross louche these days as it avoids the disappointment upon being judged the same.
I remember the realisation of the Italian and European conversation about vital statistics as I once watched an early 1960s World War Two movie starring Tony Curtis (1925-2010 heart attack) where an older European bar maid was joking about her lovers and how one eventually turned out to be “circumcidere”! Oh, the sweet mystery of life was over and yet it was just beginning in terms of the sex… as she says it with a sense of a surprise “so what?”… A much older Italian lover didn’t seem to take much notice or seem to care one way or the other… as she took my naked form into her arms and it didn’t even cross my mind.
And, I guess, as a man, about the on-going question of: is it a beany or a helmet?… I would prefer just as Keven Spacey’s character in Clint Eastwood’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) – and “not know”! I just assume everyone is non-circumcidere these days!!…. But I digress about a long-running philosophical joke and question of the ages which continues to fascinate or become a neurosis to all except those who were born blind or who chose to go blind… it’s just one revelatory moment between people and that’s it. And I go back to Jo Heim’s and how Bisset gives street cred to the virgin she deflowers after he bullshits his mates about a whorehouse named Rosie’s which was more about the rosy palm of their hands rather than the future it held in terms of women…
Back to the future poetess and academic, so beautiful as a physical education teacher at my school as she was aged 21 and married… But as she later admitted to me, there was no doubt she would remain vain about her age and looks…
The teacher and poetess ‘seduced’ me one night, after a drunken session at the pub with friends, on the deserted beach foreshore at one in the morning at the end of the street where I was born …. This happened after she declined to skinny dip, and then I had my first real kiss and the reaction in the loins came naturally to the point of hurting… it was then my fumbling school-boy fingers found her erect clitoris… And as Ron Howard’s nerdy character of Richie Cunningham in the tv show Happy Days would often break out in song: I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill! Yes, there it was, Rosebud as it was rumoured to be called in Citizen Kane, or the Love Apple of Jeremy Leven’s novel Creator… my fate was sealed and upon being asked: “Do you want to come in?” I lost my virginity without a condom… and in “all the excitement” to quote Eastwood from the original Dirty Harry (1970) movie I failed not to soften even after a couple of climaxes… Oh, the potency of youth!
Yet, this woman ignored the sand that must have irritated her nether-regions and sat astride me, ducking her head only when a police car with a searchlight passed along the foreshore missing us in the darkness by inches… Could you imagine the possible life-time of humiliation if we had been arrested? Perhaps just good cops telling us to move on… She told me she would “love me and leave me” that night… But we continued the affair on and off for months as we laughed and drank on more occasions than we had sex… It was a great summer! Then I wanted more sex with other women – I wanted to be a libertine in an era of AIDS and so failed as a result through my own and other’s fears of venereal disease – and eventually my family moved interstate… At seventeen I was already an experienced adulterer, but that’s something which wasn’t really mentioned in The Graduate (1967). It didn’t matter when you carried on such an affair at that age… It was just I remained such a callow youth.
Back to Breezy and Clint Eastwood was a uncomplicated man who loved women as a part of his masculine image on-screen and off, something which screenwriter Heims seemed to take into consideration with the script which was originally intended for him as the star. Eastwood had long been in a stifling marriage to Maggie Johnson (1931-) since 1954, when convention proclaimed you had to marry to have a sex life and a family. Johnson divorced Eastwood in 1984, the year I lost my virginity, while the actor’s fortune was at an all-time peak and ripe for the splitting… Holden’s character in Breezy hates his ex-wife with almost a sense of glee as he pays her alimony each month… Things just went sour as Holden possibly reached for the whiskey sours himself in real life. His character has kept himself in fine shape and still gets laid but there is no emotion as the lays are forgotten the next day… their phone numbers screwed up and discarded. Eastwood too kept himself in fine shape over the ensuing years and after divorcing his wife – he had already had many lovers and partners in the meantime, so ‘keep fit’ as they say… Yet, he chose convention again, in 1996, when he was 65, he settled down and officially married Diane Ruiz (1964-) who was some thirty-four years his junior. The other so-called love of his life came into his orbit around the time that Breezy was made and that was the actress and later director Sondra Locke (1944-2018 breast cancer) also a decade and a half younger than Eastwood.
It is possibly Locke who can be seen dressed in black and posing in dark sunglasses in a scene on a pier in Breezy where you can also see Clint Eastwood as a man leaning over the pier’s railing and looking out at the ocean over a docked masted ship. It was perhaps the beginning of Eastwood’s public sexual liberation… Locke would later claim that Eastwood forced her to have two abortions and a tubal ligation in a toxic end to the relationship which cost Eastwood over two million dollars and change and possibly led to Million Dollar Baby (2004) being one of his later movie titles which may also hint at the pay-outs for other illegitimate children throughout his lifetime. In fact, it is reported that the mother of his first illegitimate child, who was born during the production of Rawhide in 1964, turned up on the set of Breezy to confront Clint’s wife who had only recently given birth to her and Clint’s second child Alison Eastwood (1972-). The resulting conversation which had Eastwood, at the time, busy himself on the set was recorded as ‘civilised’. So, yes, Breezy was symbolic of Eastwood’s shaking off of convention, as the libertine within himself became unshackled, at least for a short time, yet he remained married but kept separate residences with women such as Locke. There is no shame in that. Eastwood is said to have at least eight children to this day. Money and power can buy as many women and children as you can perhaps cope with in your life… There’s always room for one more!
Just to mention Locke’s directorial career and she started it with the Razzie nominated Ratboy (1986) after her tenure as Eastwood’s nominal female star ended after the seriousness of the Dirty Harry movie Sudden Impact (1983). Locke was one of the few female directors at the time and was directing her best movie Impulse (1990) when the locks were changed on the Eastwood owned mansion where she lived and her career as a director ended as she says she was ‘ghosted’ and ‘blacklisted’ by Hollywood heavyweights through Eastwood’s fame and power. The film Impulse, incidentally, stars Theresa Russell (1957-) who was then married to and the muse of the very much older British director Nicolas Roeg (1928-2018 natural causes). Roeg died in the period between the death of Locke and its announcement the day before the release of Eastwood’s The Mule (2018). Hate to steal your thunder… said Eastwood’s former muse from beyond the grave, not that many noticed.
Just a mention of the last Dirty Harry movie The Dead Pool (1988) and in the wake of the deadly serious issue of rape in Sudden Impact, the last Dirty Harry movie is totally tongue in cheek as it explores film fandom and the stalking of movie industry figures such as Clint Eastwood. The whole thing seems like an in-joke. Previously, he had made the kinky Tightrope (1984) which is full of heavy double entendres as Clint shuts up a gay character who propositions Eastwood: How do you know if you haven’t tried it? … Eastwood says something like: Maybe I have? Tightrope’s a kind of seedy movie which also stars Genevieve Bujold from Coma and hints that you can have a homosexual encounter and still be a real man. My grandfather kept a copy of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) on VHS starring Paul Newman (1925-2008 lung cancer) to hint at that lesson in his rather weird collection!
Eastwood said of writer Jo Heims’s script for Breezy: “She wrote the men’s and women’s characters so well I thought: I don’t know if I’m going to act in it but I’d sure like to make it. I like the whole comment on the rejuvenation of a cynic living around Los Angeles, divorced, making good dough but hating it and then again finding about life through a seventeen-year-old. She teaches him more about it than he teaches her…”
I hook up with Rasputia Latimore and meet Clint Eastwood in person in PART TWO.