Scared Straight –

At a Halloween party in the early 1990’s I dressed in what I thought was a genius costume. I wore a black dress with pearls and an old lady haggy mask with long silver hair pulled into a tight bun at the base of my neck. I had a “Hello, My name is” tag on with the words ‘Mo Dean’ written in. I spent the rest of the night explaining she was John Dean’s wife. He served, as the White House Counsel to Richard Nixon and his testimony was pivotal to the Watergate proceedings. She was a stand-up blond who sat behind her man. OK, you don’t get it either. She was a pop icon for me. But, for everyone else at the party it fell flat.

The movie is Nuts (1987). It starred Barbra Streisand as a high priced call girl accused of murdering a client (Leslie Neilson) and Richard Dreyfuss as her court appointed attorney. I think she stabbed  Leslie to death and maybe it was bloody but that’s not what makes this film horrifying. It’s the fact that Babs at age 45* plays a $1,500 a night call girl! Truly scary.

There is a scene where she walks the length of a bar and all the men turn to stare at a pleasant looking, middle-aged lady in a gray suit. Sure the skirt is above the knee and she is an attractive woman but really? Have these guys been stuck in the bar for ten years and haven’t seen a woman since the late 70’s? (I am probably making this up but I think she was the only woman in the bar scene which makes me think it was really a gay bar and they were salivating because Barbra Streisand just walked in the room!)

Debra Winger was originally slated to the play the role. She would have been 31-years-old at the time. All that lazy screenplay writer would have had to done to make Barbra believable as $1,500 night hooker is to have her be a fetish call girl. She could be one of those pros who have clients that like to wear diapers and be spanked or sang to (Hello! Right up her alley! So to speak).** “Papa Can You Hear Me?”

You figure the cost of keeping stocked in adult diapers and industrial sized talcum there’s your $1,500 a night right there. Not to mention changing the stinky diapers of adult men. But, no, we are suppose to think she’s hot and gets these men all hexed up with her nude color panty hose and her sensible shoes.

And, how did they get Mister-Big-Shot-Serious-Actor-Dreyfuss to fall for this? Oh, that’s right he did Mr. Holland’s Opus. Nuff said.

This reminds me of the fiasco Yentl (1983). Barbra who at age 41 plays a twenty-something female impersonating a male Yeshiva student who has sex with Amy Irving using a candle. Why couldn’t it have been that cute Molly Ringwald going all gender-bending? She would have been maybe 19 years old at the time. That would have been hot and maybe have given Ringwald a career changer. (Miss Streisand looked like what she was a 40- year-old lady with a impressive rack)

Here’s the lesson just because to it makes sense to you doesn’t make it believable.

That next year for Halloween I went as The Invisible Man.

P. S. – I will try to make my next Halloween post about a traditional scary movie.

* In 1987, she doesn’t look like a 2011 Hollywood 45-years-old who has a lot of work done (Demi Moore) or the impossibly beautiful (Halle Berry) she looked like a real 45-year-old lady.

** If I remember correctly this fetish was covered in-depth by Phil Donahue around that time so everyone in the audience would have been like, “Oh, yea, I heard about this I saw it on Donahue.”

About Kari Wagner-Peck

Kari Wagner-Peck lives with her husband and son in Maine. She is a writer & storyteller who home schools with her son. She is the author of the memoir Not Always Happy: An Unusual Parenting Journey, May, 2017, Central Recovery Press. She has been published at CNN, Psychology Today online, The New York Times Well Family blog, The Huffington Post, The The Good Men Project, The Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life blog, BLOOM and Love That Max among others. Author page: Twitter @KariWagnerPeck and Facebook: Email:
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