Get Clucky!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Insert Bad Pun About Being Discontented

Okay, so this is totally outing myself as someone who doesn't always read the Sunday Times, but I just now read the May 8 "review" of one of my favorite scholarly books. Read Lee Siegel's essay "Freud and His Discontents" right here.

Now, like Siegel, I am always glad to have new discussion about old books. And who am I to knock Lee Siegel? He's kind of a big deal, and to disagree with him makes me feel a little crazy. And Siegel does make some interesting points. I was particularly taken by his comments on film.

But...well, I guess I'm frustrated that Siegel seems to be responding more to a cultural idea of Freud, or maybe Freud as manifested by cranky psychoanalysts in the fifties, than to Freud himself. To say that, "If Freud had had only his own writings to refer to, he would never have become Freud. Having accomplished his intellectual aims, he unwittingly destroyed the assumptions behind the culture that had nourished his work" seems just so wrong to me, and not only because Freud was a fantastic--lucid and funny and self-revealing--prose stylist. Freud himself did not seek to reduce the world to pat formulas; rather, his formulas only enable us to describe the mechanisms through which experience becomes ineffable. It seems silly to accuse someone who developed the "talking cure" of trying to shut down conversation.

Also, Siegel says weird things about how parts of _Civilization and its Discontents_ don't fit with Freud's earlier theories. Well, duh: that's because Freud didn't necessarily believe those theories any more. Freud's career spanned decades, and he was constantly revising his ideas; in fact, his openness to revision is one of the things I respect about him the most.

I also don't really agree with Siegel's comments about the history of literature, but I won't pick at them because they are sort of interesting.

None of this is to say that Freud or _CAID_ is beyond critique. But it's weird for me to read something that seems so short sighted in the Times, of all places. No wonder my students say such weird things about Freud when this is what they're getting from important cultural critics.

We had a very good time

So this long festive weekend, B. and I trucked off to St. Louis to attend my uncle's wedding. Despite my disapproval of the whole event, we really had a very good time.


Just to recap:

Things to Hate:
1. The whole inter-generational power weirdness between my older, richer, uncle and his younger, self-sacrificing bride
2. The whole emotional stress of being around this happy new couple (esp. my uncle) and my uncle's two barely teen-aged sons. Stick together the man-in-midlife-crisis demographic and the newly-adolescent-male demographic and what you have is a real cluster-fuck of feelings, my friends.
3. The repeated public thanking of new-wifey by my uncle for "arranging 95% of this beautiful wedding," because, you know, his work kept him really too busy to help (whereas her award-winning work in environmental journalism is trivial by comparison and easily spared)
4. Having to attend a series of wedding events with the bride's EIGHT REPUBLICAN SIBLINGS.
5. Having to drive a looong way down weird Missouri roads to attend a post-wedding BBQ hosted at the home of the bride's republican parents, and passing not one but TWO confederate flags along the way, and having B ask, "does this mean that you're now related to, like, slavers?"
6. The food, which was consistently very very bad. And there is just no reason for that, people.

Things which were quite fun, really, despite my bellyaching:

1: A responsibility-free weekend with my extended family, at their best
2. Playing the Violent Femmes for my young cousins
3. Excuse to wear a fun new dress
4. A very fun dance party on a riverboat, and it's not really like I love dancing to a mix-cd of least-controversial-dance-tunes-for-wedding,-up-to-and-including-YMCA, but anytime you get both my mother and my 14 year old cousin on the dance floor, I have to give you props for throwing a good party
5. The very curvy maid-of-honor's CLEAVAGE, which was displayed to spectacular effect by her low-cut dress (B. described it as "monumental"; I might have said "operatic"), and which seemed only more interesting after we learned that she was a MASSEUSe
6. The best-man's toast, which included the wish that the happy couple "grow old on the same pillow"


So, not a bad weekend all in all. If anyone has advice on how I can work through my hatred of the inter-generational wedding, do let me know...it would be helpful, especially as more men I know start dating their students and making me hate them.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Remember That Stuff About Getting Pregnant?

I have not discussed it recently, since there is not much new to report. Just sort of hanging out, waiting to ovulate. Things have been more relaxed around here since I got a hold of "Toni Weschler's book", and now feel that I can say, with confidence: Nope. Not ovulating yet. Which is good, because I don't have to be worry about caffeine or vino or getting pregnant without knowing it. That book, it is very comforting.

But now it's about time to probably take some next steps, and I am sort of dickering about what they should be. My ob/gyn had told me initially that if I still hadn't got my period four months after going off the pill, I should feel entitled to come and start nagging her again. This was a great moment, btw, of me being all "okay, I'll see you in four months then" and her TOTALLY DOUBTING ME. But see! I was right!. For yes, the months now have been four, and I'm still just waiting around.

I'm sort of tempted to just go get in on the clomid action, already, but I sort of hate to do that, partly because it's clomid (and if being on birth control hormones for so long was so werid for my body, why would I want to take more hormones?) but also because I do get the sense that things are happening, hormonally, in my body (again, thank you Toni Weschler). So maybe I should just wait. But--I hate that answer.

I recently found "this website" on natural treatments for female infertility, which seemed more or less helpful. But what I really wanted it to say was, "low on estrogen? eat this herb!" and it didn't really do that for me. So disappointing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

More on Little Pants

Well, I'm sad to say that tracker-panty technology hasn't yet actually been manufactured...or rather,if it has, it has not yet been marketed in the way I mentioned on yesterday's post. So I suppose that's good news--though really, I was just starting to get interested in all the narrative possibilities tracker-panties provide.

Actually, someone B works with has done a lot of research on RFID tags (the technoglogy which would enable tracker panties if they existed, which, again, they don't). In his office even now one can find tracker pants, shirts, sweaters and shoes (though they're not being tracked in the same way). So I suppose tracker panties could be developed if the need arose.

ANYWAY, less perversely, let me mention again the idea of regular-pant sisterhoods. I know the coolest twelve year old girl: she's at the perfect stage of being really interesting and adult but not quite adolescent yet (she says things like, "Why are all these magazines about...like...hair? Why would I want to read about hair?"). She is the daughter of the woman who was my boss during last year's campaign cycle (which means that she, the daughter, has met EVERYONE, like Ted Kennedy everyone) and I was just emailing with my ex-boss, who tells me that cool-daughter got to go to a special preview of the traveling pants movie, and how she went with her cool best friends, and how they all came home and blissfully tried on pants that they could share, and promised to be totally best friends forever, etc. And all this to say: it's good to know that there are girls out there, feeling cool about themselves and their friends and not EVEN being traumatized by the idea of trying on pants in public.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Little Fascist Panties

I just read about these "crazy tracking panties." on "feministing."

There's not much to say about this, except that the idea of "panties" was already creepy, without the crazy tracking element.

But then again, I know a couple who has a good time with crazy remote control buttefly vibrator panties, in a "its sexy to be in your partner's sexual control" kind of way. So while the creepy panty thing is, clearly creepy, it also has a lot of possibilities for showing up sometime soon in a Susie Bright anthology, I suspect.

Or maybe there will be some sort of "Sisterhood of the Traveling Tracker Panties?" That would have made keeping track of my danger-prone freshman year college roommate much easier. Good Lord.

Monday, May 23, 2005

More Blogthings, defining my life

I love quizzes. But, lo: they are unhelpful.

So, like all my friends, one of the main questions of my life is: where shall I live? This is one question that encompasses many others: will I really be okay with myself if I don't move to New York? Am I already too old to move to New York? What about a small town? Would I like being in a small town, being arty, like Jackson Pollock or someone? Would my friends move there too? what about my parents? What about my parents moving to New York? If I married a computer programmer, do I -have- to move to California? Do I secretly -want- to move to California? Do my parents and friends secretly want to move to California? & etc.

These are the major questions of the rootless well-educated: when we get together we ask them. We talk about moving where the other ones live. Do you like it there? Would I?

So, indeed, with so many identity questions bound up in location issues, I was muchly pleased to find a "blogthing," as per yesterday's post, grappling with just these very questions. But I am afraid it did not help me much.




>


American Cities That Best Fit You:



55% Chicago

55% Philadelphia

50% Boston

50% Los Angeles

50% New York City




I am trying to look at this and think of myself as "versatile" but really what it says to me is "vexed."

Two points:

1.) These are the results I got the first time I took the quiz, without answering the last two questions (one of which seemed pointless, and the other of which seemed to be begging the issue: to find out where I wanted to live it asked me...where I wanted to live). It was when I answered the question about fitness that San Francisco popped up on the list. What?

2.) I think probably the single most important question is the one about cars. Which is saying something. They don't even -ask- you about being able to walk, which is what I would say was most important to me.

B say's I'm not normal

But according to this I pretty much am.



Your Linguistic Profile:



70% General American English

15% Upper Midwestern

5% Dixie

5% Midwestern

5% Yankee




What they asked me that I found interesting:

Is that place diagonally across from you "kitty corner" or "catty corner"?
(I had not known that places were ever catty corner. But now I do. Evidently, some people do not know that some places are kitty corner, either, but they are.)

What they should have asked me but didn't:

What do you call the beverage that comes from cows?
(had they, asked, I would have confessed that I call it "melk" rather than "milk," and then perhaps they would have conceded that, as B. says, I am not so normal after all.)

Slate gets Sentimental--but doesn't actually get it

*Note: If you'll skip to point 3, below, you realize this isn't so much a post about sentimentalism, but rather a general complaint about the current "literary" milieu. But it's also sort of about sentimentalism, so lets start there.*

So, in my dissertation I think about some representational complications emerging around questions of gender and citizenship in the antebellum United States. This means that I read a lot of so-called “sentimental” or domestic novels—that is, novels mostly written by women which place the personal development and personal influence of women at their center. This type of book is the source of a long-standing controversy in the study of American literature because no one can decide if they are “good,” if they are “good for” anything, and in general, if we (as scholars of American literature, and maybe just as Americans) should be proud or embarrassed of the fact that they were So So popular.

I was very interested, then, when Slate magazine decided to weigh in on this debate, exploring particularly the “puzzle” of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The subtitle of Stephen Metcalf’s article is, "“Why has Uncle Tom's Cabin survived—and thrived?”"

I don’t really want to get into the nuances of Metcalf’s article, because it is well-written and fairly thoughtful and my main point in calling attention to it is just that I’m always sort of generally pleased when the world pays attention to the ideas I spend so much time thinking about. But let me mention a couple of things, just to get them off my mind:

1. Metcalf’s answer to his question might be paraphrased as, “because feminist scholars, in a well-meaning but mostly shoddy fashion, found sentimentalism politically useful.” And while he is right to note the political questions which animate much literary criticism of Stowe’s novel, it’s interesting to me that he seems to think it sort of intellectually suspicious to attend to a book “just because” it marked a pivotal shift in the political and literary landscape of American culture. Perhaps it would be better to…ignore it? Read about it rather than read it? Yes, surely, that would be better. What?

2. Metcalf’s secondary reading stops, for the most part, 25 years ago. So…in as much as he is providing a critical history, his is up-to-date-1988 with a vengeance. Just FYI. Plus I think it's awesome and hilarious to equate Douglas and Tompkins, because they agree on virtually nothing (when Metcalf paraphrases them, he says Douglas is great but gives only Tomkin's ideas) except that, in as much as _UTC_ was hugely popular and influential, they think it is worth investigating (see point 1, above).

3: My main point: My answer to Metcalf’s question—why do we read Uncle Tom’s Cabin—would be that we read it because it’s a really good book. It is fun to read. Every time I read it I get excited about it all over again. And this is markedly different than Metcalf’s answer, because he concludes his article by claiming that UTC is really bad—and he sites some sentences to give support to his claim.

Well. That right there is the problem with a lot of the contemporary literary world, to my mind. Because it’s silly, I think, to believe there is only one way for a book to be good. Authors are interested in different sorts of literary units—the sentence, the image, the story, etc. And I am really happy to admit that at the level of the sentence, Stowe is not so good. But what she accomplished at the level of narrative in UTC is really amazing—the novel is loooong, folks, and it is not boring for a page. Her sense of pacing, her sense of trajectory, is pitch perfect.

And I just get SO IRRITATED when the ability to tell a fucking story is left out of our evaluation of the novel form. If that’s what reviewers look for, well, no wonder so much contemporary “real” literature gets so convoluted…and just dull.

Metcalf wants us to separate “propaganda from literature,” and I think that is a mostly reasonable request, though sometimes a little difficult practically (I have lots to say about how ill-informed Metcalf’s plea is, but I’ll spare you/him because I do agree that more formal investigation would help out English department’s these days). But I wish he would think a leeetle more carefully about what counts as literature, and how he’s judging it, before he makes his claims. Otherwise, he's going to be stuck reading Annie Proulx or some such shit all day long, and then where will be be? Bored, that's where.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Secret Societies I'd Like to Join

"More significant, the two [Harriet Beecher Stowe and Caroline Lee Hentz] had known each other during the Hentzes ill-fated residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the early 1830's, when both were members of the SEMI-COLON CLUB, an exclusive local literary society."

imagine?

"The 'I' is the First Lie"

That's what a professor I taught for a couple of years ago said in lecture to help clear up a misunderstanding between himself (who thought your average freshman would be all about reading Fanon and Lacan) and the students (who thought the average professor would understand that, in a 20c Literature course, they would be reading Hemingway and Fitzgerald). As you can imagine, the idea that "The 'I' is the first lie" did little to clarify the situation. It was, to say the least, a challenging TAship.

I mention this because both my friend Palish (see sidebar) and Feministe (see internet, or post from two days ago) are talking about names today. Palish and I share the problem--she actually helped me identify the problem--of discovering that the names you love, that reflect your intimate taste and affections, seem shockingly to be...the same for everyone. This is the problem of realizing that, as she says, "you are your demographic" and all your attempts at freethought are just a little illusion to make you feel better while the marketers line up to sell you mass-produced name plates saying "Isabella" for you to hang above your baby's crib. Or whatever.

Which would sort of back up the idea that your "I" is a lie--that it's not discrete and separate from your collective media consciousness. Which would, I guess, also go along with what Feministe says about how she has a hard time getting worked up about changing your name or not when you get married, because it just seems sort of irrelevant these days.

I commented on her post about why not changing my name was important to me as a small political gesture--so you can go read that if you want to.

But I also was thinking about this. When I was 23, my boyfriend at the time had an asthma attack that led to total respiratory failure. He was on life support for a few days, and then when they took him off the respirator he slipped into a "light coma," which basically means that he was Fucked Up. His eyes were open, and he was thrashing around crazily (my mom said it was like he was trying to ride a bike while laying in his hospital bed), but he was in no way at all mentally present. Just a blank, terrified stare for days. (Christmas Day, actually, just to give you the full dramatic effect of the story).

He got better. But one thing that was very surprising to me, then and in retrospect, was that even in the worst of his "coma" he would always respond, even if just briefly, to his name. He was the biggest anti-humanist in the world, and he definitely thought the I was a lie--but if you called to him, even in his coma, he came.

And that convinced me that names matter--they're not connected to a "real" you, but then maybe there is no "real" you that could, for instance, make truly personal aesthetic decisions about things like names. Names aren't separate from socialization--but then, neither are we.

Which makes the aesthetic and political choices we make around names a useful way to figure and recognize ourselves--not as a "lie" but as a part of a much larger social fabric.

you can come with us

to see the midnight premier of _Star Wars_ tonight, but you can't bring your light saber. Costumes are fine, but no light sabers--if you bring one, you have to check it with the nice lady at the movie theater ticket counter.

You may be asking: why is our nice girly girl telling us this? does she think we have light sabers? and why is she going to a midnight premier of -Star Wars_ anyway? Is this some tragic grab at a last straw of pre-parental stupidity? Doesn't she get enough _Star Wars_ from the model millenium Falcom and x-wing, beloved by her husband, and hanging in her sunroom? what?

But I am asking: how did they figure out to ban light sabers? I mean, was there some particularly awkward light saber encounter at one of the previous movies? Do they just block the view? Do the film distributors send out a little warning with the reels that says "you may want to ban light sabers during the viewing of this movie"?

This all becomes particularly interesting b/c our little neighborhood theater is pretty ghetto, and you'd think, actually, that they might have some real weapon issues that they'd be worried about. You'd think that "light sabers" would be the least of their problems. But I must say, I am having a good time imagining the horrors that could ensue if some ghetto movie attendee suddently, mid movie, whisked out a light saber, swung it around ominously, and pulled up his shirt so we could see "Jedi Life" tattooed across his belly. Could get risky, folks.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Some thoughts on maternally "feministe" me

Today, while dodging some fairly menial work I needed to do, I posed some comments on Feministe's" site--she'd made some comments on education policy, a topic near and dear to my heart, and I took it upon myself to weigh in.

Said Feministe was engaged enough to respond to one of my comments--and because she does not know me, she just referred to me by my online "tag" thing, and called me "Mama."

Which was sort of sweet and disconcerting all at the same time.

I started this blog because I'm trying to get pregnant, and thinking of getting pregnant makes me think about both authorship and audience in new ways. And that's good, and I'm glad to have an outlet for that--but today I was feeling a little limited by it, especially since pregnancy might be a long time coming. And don't I have things to say, and authority to spend, outside of the idea of myself as a mother?

But I guess that's the question, eh? How separate are my ideas and my experiences from myself as a mother/potential mother. I was actually just reading something about this, as relates to ideas of citizenship--and maybe tomorrow I'll try and trot out some sort of polemic.

In the meantime, I just signed up for a creative commons license, which I find a bit amusing as some sort of displacement strategy. I'm not sure what I'm talking about here, folks--but I'm very protective of whatever it is I've said.


Some other bits of news:

--I just found out about the Intonation Music Fest". Very exciting! Here's to all of us getting tickets.

--Remeber how the other day I found, though my sweet dog's inquisitiveness, a dead baby bird? Well, today, through the same means, I found a DEAD BABY RAT. Except this small dead creature wasn't dead through poetic and natural forces; it had been squashed with a brick and left (with the brick) in the middle of the sidewalk. And also, it wasn't a very small baby rat. I can't tell you how disturbing this was.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Variously Visual

Two things about me these days: first, my hormone-zits are still pretty bad; second, I need new glasses. One lens of my current pair fell out several weeks ago and mysteriously disappeared—it fell out in the middle of the English department office and no one could find it. So yesterday, very belatedly, I went to look for a new pair.

Now, getting a new pair of glasses sucks for me under the best of circumstances. I have a narrow little face, so all of the glasses I like are always too wide for my face. Never have I managed to find the perfect pair to seal the deal of my hipster identity, because every time I try on the fun funky ones the little cat-eye studded corners are hanging five feet off the side of my head. It’s just irritating. And then also, my glasses-shopping partner in crime/husband has a sort of elephantine critical faculty, and he can find something wrong with ANYTHING, and really, folks, nothing is more demoralizing than having your very loving husband look at your face and say, “ummmm…..no” and sort of frown several hundred times in a row.

Anyway, lets just say that this whole endeavor was not made any more fun by the fact that I currently have an angry crop of
zits on my forehead. I feel so unlike myself. It was just sooo unpleasant to spend all day looking at myself being dwarfed by unflattering glasses (bad enough) and then having the only part of my face not covered by the glasses infested with weird little red bumps. I have been feeling anxious and unnerved ever since; only now, 24 hours and several pats on the head later, have I started to recuperate. I will be so happy when my hormones level out and these stupid zits go away (and, I guess, when my hormones level out and I start to ovulate already).


Tonight we went to watch “The L Word” at T’s, which is quite the scene. The show on the television is what it is, but the show going on around us in the thick of the Chicago “L” community is very entertaining indeed. Everyone was very irritated by today’s episode because a) virtually nothing happened for the second half of the show except for long slow pans of angst-ridden Lesbian faces, and b) Jennifer got all overwrought and went after herself with a razor, which is a real problem in the world, but it was handled very crassly and frustratingly, and plus, she’s just not that interesting a character and it seemed such a shallow way to try and make the viewers believe she’s deep. The crowd was not sympathetic, and this is a crowd that wants to love the show. Anyway, I myself was irritated because there was all this build up about Tina’s labor, and how she was going to have a water birth at home, and I was very excited because I had just been discussing with B. the fact that I had never seen a television/movie depiction of a contemporary birth in which the mom was anywhere besides on her back in stirrups---but, guess what, the home birth didn’t work out and Tina ended up on her back in stirrups. Sigh.

They had Gloria Steinem on the show to give an inspiring speech about starting a revolution…but I guess the revolution does not yet extend to narrative and visual depictions of childbirth. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Breastfeeding God's Way

"God's understanding of the breast is that it is enough!"

In a way, I actually think is pretty solid theology (I mean, in as much as theology can be solid). I also like the part about how "God Loves Feasts!"

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Officially Telling Ten of You

My mama forwarded the following email to me (what you can't tell in this post is the giddy original pinkness of the font, which was not my mother's fault). Anyway, despite the irritating chain-letterness of this I thought I'd distribute. If anyone hears that this is not in fact a reputable site, let me know.

****

Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle).

This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.


Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

www.thebreastcancersite.com

Very literary

One of the ongoing petty arguments B. and I have is about whether there is a useful difference between the novel and the epic. I say there is, and I am right, more or less. I was discussing this last night with a professor, who didn't like _Lord of the Rings_ and I suggested the Hobbit as a more novel-ish antidote to the swashbuckling _LotR_ (not to belittle the swashbuckling: I love swashbuckling).

So here's the followup: this morning I rewarded myself for a very long day yesterday but letting myself stay in bed to finish reading _Eragon_, this trendy young-adult fantasy novel which is fine, but which I wouldn't reccommend. (It tries to be swashbuckling, but falls way short). It is about Very Epic things, like finding your destiny and fighting an evil king while you mind-meld, Spockishly, with a dragon. Anyway, I finished it, it was fine, and then I went to sit on the porch to reread some parts of _Jacob's Room_ which I needed to review for a paper I'm revising. I needed to trot off to the library, but couldn't resist: what better than reading Woolf on the porch, with newly-planted pansies, and a cup of tea?

I sat and read, abstractedly. The dog trotted out, sniffing the world and the porch and curled up contentedly with a stick. She gnarbled on the stick, and I read:

"Outside the rain poured down more directly and powerfully as the wind fell in the early hours of the morning. The aster was beaten to the earth. The child's bucket was half-full of rainwater; the opal-shelled crab slowly circled round the bottom, trying with its weakly legs to climb the steep side; tryng again and falling back, and trying again and again."

I looked up and saw that, in her gnawing enthusaism, the dog had pushed her stick half off the porch's edge, and it was precipitously near falling down three stories to the porch of our cranky neighbor who works at home and holds a grudge. So I went to fetch the stick, and found that what had so intrigued the dog as she sniff sniffed the world was the small carcass of a baby bird, pushed from its nest in the rafters above, and now dead and half-covered by the haunch of my soft-coated, enthusiastic, dog.

Woolf writes:

"It us thus that we live, they say, driven by an unseizable force. They say that the novelists never catch it; that it goes hurling through their nets and leaves them torn to ribbons. This, they say, is what we live by--this unseizable force."

but also this:

"...as we lift the cup, shake the hand, express the hope, something whispers, Is this all? Can I never know, share, be certain? Am I doomed all my days to write letters, send voices, which fall upon the tea-table, fade upon the passage, making appointments, while life dwindles, to come and dine? Yet letters are venerable; and the telephone valiant, for the journey is a lonely one, and if bound together by notes and telephones we went in company, perhaps--who knows?--we might talk by the way."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Last (i could have danced all) night at our house

Last night at our house, not much interesting happened. But! Two stories -below- our house, something happened that was (to me) very interesting indeed. Our downstairs neighbor dances for the Joffrey, which is the world's best thing for a neighbor to do, I thought, until last night, when she did something even better--she invited the WHOLE COMPANY over for an end of season party.

I'm not even kidding. The whole Joffrey fucking ballet, yuckin' it up two stories beneath me.

If I haven't mentioned this, I grew up doing the dance thing--not the "dance thing" in the way that people near real dance schools do it, and I never had illusions of growing up to actually -be- a dancer, but I did do enough dance to have opinions on which toe-pads were easiest on the blisters, and I did it until I went to college and even now sometimes take classes here or there, for fun and stretching. I really really love it, in the deepest parts of my very me-ness. And I still have some serious deep seated regrets about not pursuing it all a -little- bit further; making a -little- bit more space for it in my nerdy life.

So imagine my feelings at having the cast of the best (ballet) company in chicago, living the life of my dreams, fifty feet away.

Downstairs Neighbor had nicely "invited" us to stop by, in the way that you do when you know your guests are going to be irritating your neighbors and want to preempt their complaints. The neighbor invitation, as I well know, really isn't a real invitation, and I'm too socially paranoid to actually go to a party of glamorous strangers under such false pretenses, especially since I knew I would just be all drop-jawed and lurpy. Look! a dancer! I mean, awkward, right?

So here's what I did: I took the dog for a walk, out the back stairs, and past the party's smoking porch. I attracted, with said charming pooch, some appreciative hellos.

And then, on the way back into the house, back the smoking porch, I accidentally --oops!-- dropped the dog's leash, and she, as though I had trained her to do so, went charging, tail wagging, through the porch-smoking dancers, into the apartment, and then into the thick of the party where I just -had- to follow her ("oh? a beer? sure I'll have a beer, I'm just getting my dog..."). And so it was thus that I found myself officially if just for a moment -at- the Joffrey's party, with something besides my non-dancerness to talk about even ("yes, she's a wheaten terrier, I know, so cute, right?").

We didn't stay long at the party, but we did stay long enough to feel a little bit cool, and also to realize that the party was an 80's costume party. With Karaoke. So I, yes me, got to spend five lovely minutes watching two lovely joffrey-prima ballerina ladies, hair pulled into ratted side-pony tails, sweatshirts torn across the shoulder, singing their hearts out to "What a Feeling." *

To add to that lovely thought, let me leave you with this: imagine what lovely gay dancer boys would wear to an 80's theme party. Are you imagining the little terry-cloth short shorts? The headpants? the tanktops? The clearly outlined pecks and package? Yes?

What you are imagining is exactly correct. I was there, folks. Could have stayed all night.


---

* Okay, so this part is a little bit of a stretch, just to suit the truth of fiction, as it were. They weren't really singing "What a feeling." They were really singing "Holiday," by Madonna. Which is also pretty good, right? And they really had the _Flashdance_ sweatshirts going on and everything. Am I to blame if my fantasy version is better than the real thing? Come on.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

My Very Womanly Day: Some Lists

Very Womanly Activities of the Day

1. Planted some pansies
2. Walked the dog
3. Went to the grocery store
4. Went to the fabric store, to buy easy-sew dress patterns
5. Bought a table cloth
6. Bought a hallmark card to send to my husband's grandmother
7. Sat in the sun reading a 19-c sentimental novel, while drinking tea
8. Went to the butcher's three times in an attempt to buy a preferred cut of meat (pork shoulder)

Less Womanly (but still for the good of the family) Activities of the Day

1. Dropped of car the mechanic's (Tony's), and wrestled with his two doberman pinscher puppies (Toby and Tiger)

Additional Very Womanly (but less celebratory and more "women are the mules of the world") Activities of the Day

1. After dropping off car, WALKED the mile home--with the dog--carrying a bag of fabric, a hallmark mother's day card for my husband's grandmother (don't bend it!), and a ten-pound bag of meat, all the while being leered at by toothless men.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Clever things for the world, and some questions

I just discovered the site Scarleteen and I am just really happy to know that it exists. My favorite part read thus far is where it admonishes the reader to "remember to wash your hands before -and- after masturbating!" I mean, that is Good Advice for an adolescent!

A friend of mine, over dinner on Sunday night, was saying that she thought all girls should be given a vibrator at age 12 by some cool female figure at school or home. While I totally agree that getting a vibrator in that context would have been a better rite of passage than getting one at age 20 by a boyfriend (as she and I both did), her comment begs the question: how involved should your parents be in your emerging sex life? I think this is a really weird question. Said dinner-friend has regular and intimate converations about sex with her father, but I think she's a little unhealthy (as you too would think if you heard her talk about her "Daddeee" which is how she spells it) so I don't choose to take her as a representative. Although I'm in favor of being really honest about sex, I think that a little bit of inter-generational space is a real good thing.

I mean, it sucks to have your sucky college boyfriend presume to open the door to your masturbatory life, but i'm not sure it's much better to have your folks involved.