Another reason why I didn’t much care for Monogamy (Oscilloscope, 3.11) is that it passes along negative judgments about an engaged photographer (Chris Messina) because he succumbs to a form of voyeurism. He’s a photographer who’s developed a business in which clients pay him to snap candids of them leading their day-to-day lives. The plot is about Messina getting involved in the life of a hot blonde client. We all know voyeurism is “wrong,” but that it’s also a guilty pleasure. Alfred Hitchcock knew that when he made Rear Window. But Monogamy is a drag, I feel, because it frowns and goes “tut-tut.”
I once wrote a script that had a similar idea. I called it Sex Detective, and I think the story was better than Monogamy‘s. It’s a little bit like The Conversation. It’s about a matchmaker-slash-shamus whom people go to in order to investigate someone that they’ve spotted in some public place and are enormously attracted to, but with whom they haven’t yet had a conversation, or a chance to strike one up even.
80% of the time someone you think you might want to know or possibly date based on looks or mutual interests or associations (or because he/she might be rich) turns out to be crazy or dull or even repulsive beyond measure, but we only find this out, of course, through the step-by-step dating process, which can eat up weeks or months and lead to all kinds of trouble. The protagonist of Sex Detective has made a business out of investigating prospective romantic partners by looking into more than just their career and family backgrounds but also, as much as possible, their emotional and sexual history. At the end of the search he/she provides a decent-sized dossier on the prospective “mark” (i.e., whether they’re known to be especially good in bed or not, or whether they’ve revealed themselves to be persons of character and are not just fair-weather friends when push comes to shove), and then the client can decide to pursue the matter or not.
Do friends not pass along precisely this kind of information to each other when they know (or have heard) something about a person their friend is interested in? So what’s wrong with paying for this info?
If and when the client is still interested after reading up on the prospective partner, the Sex Detective then offers Phase 2 of his/her service. He/she helps the interested party participate in some kind of “chance” meeting in which they can chat with the mark in some relaxed and unthreatening atmosphere, and perhaps, if things go well, really talk to the mark and (who knows?) possibly make the next move.
Everyone has experienced odd moments in which they’ve felt suddenly and intensely attracted to some super-hot stranger at a supermarket or a Starbucks, but they’ve never struck up a conversation because you can’t just go up to somebody and say “excuse me but I’m feeling this enormous chemical attraction to you and all I’m thinking about is sex.” That never works, and it’s always hard to think up the right clever line that might break the ice and lead to a possibly meaningful conversation. So most people just let it go and they never see that person again and that’s that. (This has happened to me dozens of times.) So the Sex Detective, entrepeneur that he/she is, helps facilitate this. Anyone can be approached and engaged. You just have to do it in the right way.
The Sex Detective service sounds a little weird, yes, but it does save time. Ultimately the client and the mark are left to their own devices. Either they click or they don’t. But by looking into prospective partners through our detective in advance, a client can at least eliminate the wackos and the losers plus save mess and stress, and the “mark” is never the wiser.
The story, of course, is about a male client who hires the Sex Detective to investigate a woman he says he doesn’t know. The client, of course, is interested in finding out about her personal background for reasons that have nothing to do with wanting to explore a relationship. And the Sex Detective, of course, develops a thing for the female stranger himself and steps in and takes her side when the male client makes his dastardly move. There are all kinds of ways to animate this side of the story, but the film would mainly be about exploring what people are really like and/or really want, and how they behave in order to hide themselves or attain their goals or whatever.
Tell me that’s not at least a Sundance movie, or perhaps an HBO series.