Dear Mick LaSalle: In 1968, I was 15 years old and very newly in love with my 17-year-old boyfriend. We attended a showing of “Romeo and Juliet.” Directly following the balcony scene, when Romeo clambers joyfully and ecstatically down the brambles, my boyfriend leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I know exactly how he feels.” Wow. Wow. It remains one of my most splendid memories.
Elizabeth Koebsell, Forestville
Dear Elizabeth Koebsell: That’s lovely. And what a nice thing that your boyfriend had the emotional intelligence to recognize both the essence of the scene and the fact that he was living it. That he actually said it out loud is pretty impressive for 17. Men usually keep that sort of feeling quiet and express themselves more through what might be called activity. I have always loved that scene — or rather, interlude — because I think it expresses male nature in a way that gets short shrift in movies: It’s not just about sexual anticipation. It’s about the universe opening up. The feeling is like being a fish and finally there’s water in the fish tank. And of course I remember being that guy and doing exactly that — having a sober goodbye at the door and then, when I knew the girl couldn’t see me, running through the streets for half a mile out of sheer joy. Anyway, wow is right. Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. And consider this: That happened to you almost 50 years ago, but you could live to be 100 on that one and always have the dignity of the loved and the beautiful.