Maligning Romance

First of all, I missed my blog’s birthday because we all know that I’d be a terrible mother. My first post was June 11, 2015; so sorry, Blog, that I’ve neglected you. People are giving me money to write and stuff, so that’s gotten in the way.

Have cake, Blog, and feel better.

Happy Birthday! Love, Aunty Mommy

So! I had said a long time ago that the romance genre is much maligned for various reasons and that I would write about it. What has finally gotten me around to doing the post is actually making an attempt to write a bit of romance.

Even a small piece, about 800 words as a thought exercise, is proving difficult. The gears that make romance writing tick are not easily manipulated. Granted, writing anything out of one’s sphere isn’t easy and takes practice, but making a decent, entertaining, little scene requires a deft hand. Otherwise everyone’s rude, creepy, and inappropriately horny in a strangely ambiguous historical setting (where my characters currently are right now.)

Continue reading Maligning Romance

Reasons, Technically, to Bear Offspring

My mother told me that she didn’t care if I ever give her grandchildren in much the same way she told me that I didn’t have to become a doctor: sincerely with an undercurrent of disappointment. I remember the home movies she took of my tantrums, all snot and rage and throwing shoes out of the shoe rank. Watching the old VHS tapes with images of my fits popping up between piano recitals and birthday parties, I knew that if I ever had a child I’d be cursed with one like myself.

And yet, I keep finding reasons to have children. Continue reading Reasons, Technically, to Bear Offspring

Thoughts on Harry Potter Now that I Am Grown

When I first started reading Harry Potter I was about 13, and I grew up with the books in a way. The petty rivalries and teenage miseries spoke to me. Of course, the delightful world of magic did, too.

I am rereading the Harry Potter series as an adult and while I still enjoy them, perhaps even more than I did as a kid, there are somethings my heartless adolescent self did not pick up on. Continue reading Thoughts on Harry Potter Now that I Am Grown

Why Are We More Comfortable When Robots Have Boobs?

Whenever I come across an android in movies, novels, or anime, there seems to be a disquieting amount of comfort surrounding the existence of female androids. Male androids get the heartrending or thought provoking stories of being almost human, of trying to discover themselves and what it means to be human and yet not. Think of Roy Batty in Bladerunner, David in A.I.,  David in Prometheus – these are characters that are unsettlingly human in a way that is disruptive to the society that made them. These characters are also all white and perceived as male.

Female androids seems to slip pretty comfortably into societal expectations – female as housekeeper or maid, female as pleasantly helpful organizer of information (a sort of housekeeper for business), female as prostitute. If these fem-androids aren’t satisfied with their role as servants to humans, they often act out in ways that are typical narrative templates for women behaving badly. Continue reading Why Are We More Comfortable When Robots Have Boobs?

The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 2

Part 1 of these essays provides some context as to why I’m writing them and covers the negative consequences for men in regards to women being trophies for successful masculinity. The next subject I will cover is how patriarchal standards require men to perform masculinity in a way that emphasizes action, strength, and dominance and the negative consequences men face.

Now, to a certain extent these attributes are also valued in women. But in a patriarchal society, I consider them in much the same way that physical attractiveness and social adeptness are valued in men as compared to women. Is it advantageous for a man to be good looking and socially smooth? Absolutely. Are these things required for him to be perceived as masculine? No, but prettiness and social consideration are required for women if they are to be perceived as feminine. Being attractive in a way that’s pretty or being extremely socially conscious can even make a man seem effeminate. After all, the term metrosexual wasn’t devised because being deeply concerned about how you look and what others think is part of traditional masculinity.

Continue reading The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 2

The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 1

It has become relatively common to hear that patriarchy hurts everyone. While I generally believe that this is true, I’m usually hesitant to talk about it because the concept seems to invite a rather unhelpful dialogue. Often “Patriarchy hurts everyone” translates to, “That’s enough women talk; let’s get serious and talk about men! You know, the real people.” I’ve seen people make the argument that men were and are historically treated worse than women, that the patriarchy hurts men because without it they would get laid more, that feminism also hurts men, etc. It usually doesn’t behoove me to spend the energy trying to wade through it all.

So why would I talk about patriarchy hurting men? I’m obviously not too keen on it. Well, I stumbled across this poor guy’s Internet cry for help:
Continue reading The Pressures of Masculinity – Part 1

Thank You for Calling

Thank you for calling Insuracablutility Conglomerate. Your call is important to us, and we are committed to using confusion and obfuscation to ensure that you will call us again.

Our current wait time is between 3 hours and the next new moon. If you would like the false hope provided by leaving your contact information and a detailed voice message, please press #. Otherwise, please continue to hold.

You have chosen to continue to hold. Our current wait time is between 5 hours and the crowning of the next British monarch. As a service to you, Insuracablutility Conglomerate provides a variety of hold music. Please select the hold music that will best mold your emotional state for when, or if, you speak to a customer service representative.

For a sense of unfounded optimism that will inevitably be betrayed, please press 1 for “Un Bel Di.”

Continue reading Thank You for Calling

Drew & Tom Go Shopping

“Okay, so I figure I’ll bring a six pack of Blue Moon,” Drew says, dodging a gaggle of pre-teens.

Tom nods. “Good, though depending on the party you might want to bring two.”

“Right, right. Mina says it’ll be a laid back thing, but the effort shows, you know?”

“Yeah, so what kind of present were you thinking? Maybe a Sears portrait with Josie? You could wear matching sweaters,” Tom laughs before taking another bite of sugary pretzel.

“Stop being an asshole and help, bro. I don’t want to screw up, again.”

Tom rolls his eyes, “Okay! God! You’re such a diva! So, what does she like more than you besides beer and her cat?”

Continue reading Drew & Tom Go Shopping

The Cost of “Maintenance”

My look, such as it is, is pretty low-maintenance. It was low-maintenance even when I dressed professionally, but I’ve cut back further. Based on this description, it sounds like I must look like a wild animal.

Funny-Goat-With-Glasses
I woke up like this…

However, I realized just how much I spent for my so-called low-maintenance look. (All of my estimates include tip when applicable because beauticians, cosmetologists, hair stylists, etc. can’t pay for groceries and rent with gratitude alone.)

Continue reading The Cost of “Maintenance”

Fail Big

I’m really bad at losing and failure. Really, truly awful. When I was a kid I would cry angry tears when I lost stupid games. Nowadays, I lie on the floor angrily when my sportsball team loses. When I lose at something, it’s never like, “Wow, nice effort. Good game! I’ll get you next time!” It’s more like, “This friendship is over. You’re dead to me. Get out of my house.”

This behavior is occasionally funny to people, but mostly it’s a pain in the ass. It’s also tiring to care that much about succeeding and winning in nearly every arena. This mindset is paralyzing. Why would I take a big risk at something new when I could fail spectacularly? What if people find out that I’m human and am not very good at some things? What if the truth is that I’m actually bad at everything?! WHAT IF I AM A PERSONIFIED FACE-PLANT?!?!

Continue reading Fail Big