Thursday, June 30, 2005

Too groovy to be true

I consider Terry McMillan's divorce a full-scale cultural tragedy. I'm not even a chick flick kind of gal, and I've never seen (or read) How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Nonetheless, I find myself a wee bit emotionally invested in the fact that the story is ending in the fashion it is.

For those of you out of the 40-something woman cultural icon loop, ten years ago Terry McMillan took a Jamaican vacation to soothe her soul after her mother died. Instead of relaxation, McMillan, 43 at the time, found blow-your-doors-off, see-god-even-if-you-don't-believe-in-him sex with Jonathan Plummer a beautiful 20 year-old Jamaican guy. McMillan wrote How Stella Got Her Groove Back about the experience; she married Plummer; and 40-something women around the world said "Yeah, baby!"

As it turns out, Plummer is gay. And they're getting divorced. And it's ugly:
There are restraining orders on both sides. McMillan obtained one to keep Plummer from her house, according to documents, and claims she discovered he had embezzled at least $200,000 from her bank accounts. Plummer got his after he alleged she had harassed him for coming out of the closet, and had come to his dog-grooming business and thrown things. In a Jan. 14 letter filed with the court, McMillan wrote to Plummer, "The reason you're going to make a great fag is that most of you guys are just like dogs anyway. . . . You do whatever with whomever pleases you and don't seem to care about the consequences."

Plummer contends in documents that McMillan tried to prevent him from obtaining his share of royalties for "Stella." In her filed response, she says that is untrue, adding she gave him $150,000 in the first few months after he arrived in California, and later paid for him to go to community college and San Francisco State University. She has been ordered to pay him $2,000 a month in spousal support as well as some attorneys' fees.
Poor Terry. True, her letter to Plummer is out of line, but I feel for her anyway. I've been the last stop on the block for a few now-gay men, and while I do find it less demoralizing than being left for another woman (I mean, really, there are certain things I just can't bring to the table in a relationship), no one likes to have their groove taken away. And poor 40-something women everywhere. They didn't realize they were actually starring in an Almodovar flick.

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