The Movie: My Little Chickadee, 1940 (Mae West and W. C. Fields, screenwriters; Edward F. Cline, dir.)
Who says it: W. C. Fields as Cuthbert J. Twillie, a con man who becomes sheriff of Greasewood City.
The context: Twillie proposes to Flower Belle Lee (Mae West), who is no better than she should be.
How to use it: I think this would be a lovely wedding proposal. Seriously. It might also serve, as Lyle Lovett puts it, for a more temporal gratification. (That wouldn't make you a shallow person -- would it?)
One of my neighbors is a very nice man who tells me, every time I meet him, that he is gay. I'm not sure why he does this, since 1) it's obvious and 2) I don't care.
But it happened again yesterday afternoon, when Dizzy and I stopped to chat, so I smiled at him and said, "Well, and I'm straight. Not that there's anything wrong with that."
He did a double-take and said, "Really? I thought you were at least bi."
Now, I could list all the different reasons this disconcerted and annoyed me -- I'm not in the habit of speculating about my neighbors' private lives, and it hadn't occurred to me that my neighbors speculated about mine. And I know I'm not a girly girl, but the facts that I live alone, own power tools, and like to hammer things do not mean that I prefer the romantic companionship of my own gender. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
But my indignation couldn't gather much steam when I realized that his assumption, like his repeated outing of himself, had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that he is terribly, horrifyingly lonely, and looking for someone who'd sympathize with him.
Which I can do, a little, but not in the way that he was hoping for.
While we were standing outside talking, a car belonging to two of my other neighbors screeched into the parking lot. The man driving the car was screaming at the woman beside him. She got out of the car and ran into their home in tears, and he peeled rubber and drove away, a danger to himself and others.
There are as many ways to be lonely as there are humans on the planet. If you let yourself start noticing it, it's pretty overwhelming.