Countdown to Blast Off!

Photo by: mae.noelle

It’s official!  Before contracting the seven-year itch, one must first get through the three-year glitch.

According to a recent British study of 2,000 adults in steady relationships, couples start taking each other for granted after thirty-six months.

The wife thinks one more potato chip won’t make a difference and gains five pounds.  The husband assumes his dirty socks are part of the bedroom decor and leaves them strewn all over the floor.

She burps, and he farts.  The romance has vaporized, and they have sex once in a blue moon.

It’s true here, as well.  CNN, Fox, CBS, etc. – they all covered the study when the report was released.

And it might not even take three years to fall out of love, or, at least, to become disillusioned by one’s beloved.   Of the four situations when infidelity is most likely to occur during a relationship, the first is after the first year of togetherness.

Here’s more statistics.  Twenty percent of U.S. marriages will dissolve within five years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  One in three marriages will dissolve within ten years.

The average length of marriage has been slowly falling.  Thirty years ago couples were together for thirty-seven years; today, data shows that the average marriage only lasts for twenty-four years.

First marriages, which end in divorce, last eight years on average.  Second and third marriages are even shorter.  This is despite the fact that seven out of ten adults believe marriage should last forever, or so they claim.

Want to beat the odds?  Consultants say one of the best things to do is talk to each other.  However, beware the partner who says, “Let’s take a break.”  That pretty much means it’s over — with or without the fireworks.

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


When something itches, my dear sir, the natural tendency is to scratch.

–       Dr. Brubaker, a psychiatrist in The Seven Year Itch, 1955


Don’t Scratch That Itch.

Do husbands still send their wives and children off for the summer to escape the unbearable New York heat and humidity?  Probably not.   With so many women in the workplace, they go as a family or they don’t go at all.

Oh, that feels so good. Photo by: Jason Anfinsen

But when Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch was released in 1955 it was a different world.  Husbands stayed home to take care of business.  Wives were concerned about hearth and home.

In the opening scene 38-year old Richard Sherman takes his family to the train station for their trip to Maine. The little woman, fretting and fussing over him, reminds him, “You promised to eat properly and not smoke, like Dr. Murphy told you, and you promised not to drink for a while, like Dr. Summers told you.”

Richard spends the remainder of the film trying to live up to his promises, especially the one he made at the marriage altar.   When he meets his new neighbor played by Marilyn Monroe, referred to throughout the film as “The Girl,” he has his work cut out for him.  That’s part of the fun.

Of course, the other part is watching Marilyn, all fluff and sweetness, like pink cotton candy, filling out her clothes as if they had been painted on.  She just can’t be as innocent as she appears.

It’s apparent that Marilyn is in on the joke.  “The Girl” tells Richard that she’s a model, but she had lost a job after a picture of her was published in U.S. Camera. “They got all upset… It was one of these ‘artistic pictures,” she elaborated. “You could see three different types of textures: driftwood, the sand, and me.”

Only a blind bat living in a dark cave didn’t get the reference to the flap over Monroe’s nude photo in a pin-up calendar.

The movie alludes to many other pop topics of the times.  Home alone Richard, a book editor, settles down to proofread Of Man and the Unconscious by Dr. Ludwig Brubaker.  “Some title,” he grouses, and changes it to “Sex and Violence,” so the book will sell better. “Chapter three,” he continues reading, “The Repressed Urge of the Middle Aged Man: Its Roots and Its Consequences.”  The book takes direct aim at the controversial Kinsey Reports.

When his work doesn’t hold his interest, Richard daydreams about an extracurricular affair that takes place on the beach with waves lapping at the shore.  Is anyone familiar with From Here to Eternity?  It won the 1953 Best Picture Oscar.

In another fantasy Richard channels Liberace, dressed in a white tuxedo and tickling the ivories, as he woos the babe by his side.  Hardly coincidentally the renowned pianist was wooing them at the Riviera Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas for fifty thousand dollars a week.

The Seven Year Itch is so much more than a sex comedy.  Aside from leaving us with the lasting image of Monroe standing over a subway grate hoping to catch a breeze, it coined the phrase “the seven year itch.”  It’s an affliction for which there is still no cure.


© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


Feeling Hot Hot Hot in Chicago

That platinum blond hair.  Those red-lacquered toenails and bright lipstick.  A white halter dress… and matching panties.

Yep, that’s Marilyn Monroe looming over passersby in Chicago’s Pioneer Court.  The 26’ tall statue by artist Seward Johnson was revealed  last week as the sweltering day gave way to a more comfortable summer evening.  It received both criticism and acclaim.  Is it sexy or sexist?  Public art or a tourist ploy?  And why Chicago?

Photo by: Joshua Melin

“Forever Marilyn” captures the iconic moment in Billy Wilder’s 1955 The Seven Year Itch in which Monroe stands over a New York subway grate, enjoying the breeze created by passing trains below.

While the scene was actually filmed on a soundstage in Hollywood, movie stills were taken at Lexington and 52nd Street creating a great deal of publicity.  Stories about Marilyn had dominated the news for days.

When she arrived in town to begin filming, one paper ran the headline, “Marilyn Wiggles In.”

Another announced, “There won’t be any admission charge when Marilyn appears for the shooting of street sequences for her new film… Miss Monroe’s costume is expected to be more revealing than the one she wore yesterday to stop traffic.”

Not surprisingly, fifteen hundred fans showed up, including her husband, Joe DiMaggio.  He had followed her from Los Angeles to the Big Apple, concerned about her welfare, as well as being disturbed by the commotion she was causing.  He was the jealous type.

Dropping by Toots Shor’s, a hangout for celebrities of the day, he met up with columnist Walter Winchell who induced him to check out the scene.  And what a scene!

The crowd was whooping and hollering, cheering and shouting.  “More, more, Marilyn,” they chanted. “We want to see more.”  With the aid of a wind-blowing machine, her skirt whipped around and flew up and down, exposing not only her bare legs but also her dark pubic hair through two pairs of panties.  The spectacle continued for  five long hours.

The media hype disgusted DiMaggio, as did his belief in his wife’s willing participation in the promotion.  “I’ve had it,” he shouted and left.  There were reports that he knocked her around later that night.

Two months later Monroe filed for divorce.  The marriage of the movie star and the Yankee Clipper had lasted less than ten months.  The lustful leering goes on forever.

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved