When I began Faces I was bugged about marriage. I’ve always been against the institution of marriage. Not my marriage. Gena and I have always disagreed out in the open, we never hold back. But I was bugged about the millions of middle-class marriages in the United States that just sort of glide along. Couples married ten, fifteen years, husbands and wives who seem to have everything - big house, two cars, maid, teenage kids - but all these creature comforts have made them passive. Underneath, there’s this feeling of desperateness because they can’t connect. I would see married couples who had nothing to do with one another in their lives. If their tastes coincided they felt that they were quite remarkable in their marriage. And people would say, ‘Oh they’re so wonderful together’. But they come home, they just look at each other and say, ‘How are you?’ How was the day? What happened?’ and they have no love. The picture was a plea for returning to some kind of real communication. Most couples aren’t even aware that they can’t communicate. The whole point of Faces is to show how few people really talk to each other. These days, everybody is supposed to be so intelligent: ‘Isn’t it terrible about Nixon getting elected?’ Did you hear about the earthquake in Peru?’ And you’re supposed to have all the answers. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, like, ‘What is bugging you, mister? Why can’t you make it with your wife? Why do you lie awake all night staring at the ceiling? Why, why, why do you refuse to to recognize your problems and deal with them?’ The answer is the people have forgotten how to relate or respond. In this day of mass communications and instant communications, there is no communication between people. Instead it’s long-winded stories or hostile bits, or laughter. But nobody’s really laughing. It’s more a hysterical, joyless kind of sound. Translation: ‘I am here and I don’t know why.’
We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.