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Earlier today Salon published an op-ed // diary entry titled "How Anal Sex Ruined My Relationship." When I saw that headline on my Twitter feed, I dropped everything else I was doing. And then I almost abandoned ship early on when, after establishing the setting, players, and conflict, the narrator, Marilyn, took a detour with a truly uncomfortable summary of her losing her virginity. (It involves lots of crying.) The passage suggested something a little too intensely personal than what I'd bargained for, but thankfully I stuck with "How Anal Sex Ruined My Relationship," and the action really started humming along after Marilyn met her dashing prince Liam and called on her older, married sister Rochelle for advice on how to not "scare" this one away.
I decided I didn’t want to ruin it with Liam. So I called up a professional: my sister Rochelle. We both had big butts. But Rochelle was more disciplined than me. By starving herself and exercising two hours a day, she turned herself into a skinny, blond goddess. She married a handsome surgeon who lived in a mansion on the North Shore of Chicago. She was the ultimate playboy tamer.
Rochelle said, “If you want to get that ring on your finger, it’s going to be very painful and you have to be fully committed to the program that I put you on.”
“Just tell me what to do,” I said.
I got a $300 wardrobe at Anthropologie and a fancy bob at a Newbury Street salon instead of my usual bowl cut at Fantastic Sams. I looked in the mirror. I no longer saw a gawky Jewish girl, I saw Diana, the dating huntress.
It's at this point when something clicked. Once Rochelle entered the picture, this whole piece on knowing yourself and knowing your worth leveled up into more than just an account of one person's (at times gory) anecdotes and inner fears. When Rochelle advised Marilyn to do crunches to stave off any urge to call Liam (and in lieu of eating gummy bears!), this story leapt off the page and onto the silver screen (in my head). I'd seen Marilyn's likeness in dozens of half-watched rom-coms on HBO and TNT, and in the trailer for The Other Woman. And, truly, this story deserves its own cinematic adaptation. (Attn: movie studios, if you're reading this and making agent calls, I want 700%.) From there the story becomes not one of the misadventures of anal sex (although those are memorably featured), but one of Marilyn's journey of self-discovery. She compromised her personality for Liam, degraded herself even (her words), and still didn't land him. All it took was an anal mishap to learn she's been looking for love in all the wrong ways.
Without further ado, let's cast this essay-epic. Movie title suggestions are welcome in the comments section.
Marilyn, the unlucky, in-love heroine: Alison Brie. Her most popular role is that of an anxious, overzealous, at times naive cute girl who is unsure of herself. Her second most popular role is the inverse and full of the self-respect and weariness of the trashness of men that Marilyn finds within herself. A well known actress, but not yet a household name. Layup.
Rochelle, the mentor older sister: January Jones (or Kate Hudson) ((or Rosamund Pike)). The older, successful—in that she has a godly body and landed herself a rich husband—blonde bombshell of a sister. I originally thought of Chelsea Handler, but that's just transference from a similar role advising Reese Witherspoon in the watchably awful This Means War. She's not quite right, though. Jones is the slam dunk. I feel like Rochelle has a humorless kind of lifelong pity for Marilyn, like she was always the perfect one for their entire lives. She's been killing icy perfection for years now on Mad Men. Then again, there's a whole Cool Girl vibe to Marilyn and Rochelle's plot to make themselves wifey material. And if Rochelle succeeded then why not lean right into the obvious and cast thee Cool Girl herself, Rosamund Pike? (I included Kate Hudson as a choice because, like, is it even really a rom-com if Kate Hudson isn't in it?)
Liam, the would-be Prince Charming but actually deviant Gaston: James Franco. I know, I know, it's on the nose. But Franco's charm-to-smarm ratio is too perfect to ignore. Just imagine him patting the hotel bed for Marilyn to take a seat lovingly and then, with a straight face, asking for anal.
Jeff, the true prince in nerd clothing: Jesse Plemons (or Donald Glover). She had me at "Buddy Holly glasses." Every rom-com in the history of the moving picture ends with the unlucky protagonist shooting for a basic, shallowly attractive person before realizing their true match is the slightly more awkward friend right next to them. Jeff must be the anti-Liam, all gawking big glasses, bumbling instead of smooth mannerisms, and such earnestness. Jesse Plemons, most recently seen as smitten sociopath Todd on Breaking Bad, would fit this role hilariously. Donald Glover too, although I feel like he's more of an awkward type in his music than he is on-screen, cc: Magic Mike XXL.
And there you have it. Summer release, smash hit. Sexually adventurous, morally challenging, not to mention, quirky (swing dancing????). I need points on this box office revenue. You're welcome, Hollywood.
Frazier Tharpe is a staff writer for Complex, but feel free to cut him a percentage of the box office. Follow him @The_SummerMan.