The Full Monty: how their show helped everyone.
In The Full Monty, the group of men whose story we follow have lost their jobs because of severe economic downturn. When the Chippendale dancers come to town, and the women pay fistfuls of cash to see them, the men decide they could do a dance like that, and make money like that … and maybe be able to pay a few bills and get back on their feet.
It doesn’t take long before we see that it’s not really a story about imitating Chippendale dancers; it’s about having mates, and about being husbands and fathers, and about what it means to be a man when you’ve lost the only livelihood you ever knew. It’s about feeling good about yourself when you don’t look like a Chippendale dancer; it’s about feeling good about yourself when you’re not sure you have anything of value to offer the people you love.
And in the end, when all the protagonists are walking out on the stage to perform the Full Monty, they see a huge crowd – not just women, but men too – all cheering and drinking and happy. And when these regular guys start their striptease, the whole crowd cheers even louder, and seems even happier.
For one moment, nobody’s thinking about the economic downturn. Nobody’s worried about getting a job or about what it means to be a man, or a success; nobody’s worried about unemployed spouses or what will happen tomorrow. Nobody’s comparing himself unfavourably to a Chippendale dancer, or feeling ugly or worthless. For one moment, everyone feels good enough and happy enough and rich enough and loved enough. For one moment, everything is completely fine.
It’s not just about triumphing over darkness. It’s about how we’re not in this alone, not one of us. The things we do, the ways we feel, the joy we bring – they affect the whole world. We can heal ourselves and others. We can connect to everyone around us, and make the world brighter for them. That one moment when everything’s completely fine? – we create that moment. We just have to be willing to try, to put ourselves out there, to challenge our own notions and our own limitations, to work for our own happiness even if we don’t know what that’s going to look like later. We don’t have to be rich or special or perfect or a supermodel. We don’t need to prove anything or be anything in particular.
We just need to have some faith. We just need to have some fun. And for every moment that we do that, everything’ll be completely fine.