The Way Babs and Bob Were

I wasn’t exactly a fan of Barbra Streisand. I wasn’t one until I recently saw The Way We Were. She’s a Jewish girl who’s an idealistic Lefty. Yes, she wants to change the world and make it livable.
Does that sound familiar?

She falls hook, line and sinker for Robert Redford, who’s a handsome blonde WASP. Bob is ambling through life. He’s a writer who intends to use his trade to enable himself to continue the pleasant life he’s leading. The prestige that comes from being a successful writer will fit in well. But of course Barbra wants him to write “the great American novel” – and follow that up with more of the same.

Barbra, my dear, he’s a casual WASP, he’s not an intense Jew. He wants to have all the good things in life with no sweat and no strain. The sweat and strain are for people like you. And having you as a partner is going to mean sweat and strain for him.

But like all dreamers who fall in love, you want to have your cake and eat it too.

No, Bob is not going to change his spots. But Babs the hunter fells him, and they get hitched.

Of course the marriage is doomed and the doom does not take long to come. But not before Babs is pregnant. Bob hangs around until the birth – at her request. Then he’s off for a life of success in his trade. And that’s it. Being what he is, he can’t miss, and he won’t miss Barbra. Basically Bob gives people what they want, and it’s hard to fail at that.

The break is complete. He doesn’t drop in to see the daughter.

Time goes by.

Then they meet by chance. He’s coming down the Plaza steps on 59th Street with a beautiful blonde at his side. She’s beautiful in the sense of what elegant men want a partner to be. They are a perfect couple.

Barbara is across the street on the Central Park side agitating with women like her to “Ban the Bomb.” They see each other.

He’s the one she loved and still loves. He’s the love of her life, and he always will be. He will be till the day she dies. She has a man at home who’s what she wants a man to be, but Bob is the man who can make her heart beat faster.

Does this all say something about love? Seeing this scene breaks my heart. I have loved in this way. Notice I’m using the past tense, but that’ not accurate.

Why can’t Cupid’s bow hit the mark of those who match us? It’s always the prince or the princess.

Princes are handsome and princesses are beautiful and they’re charming, but charm and superficiality always seem to go hand in hand. It’s the tinsel that fascinates us.

– Herbert Kuhner