Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Study finds romantic comedies may be bad for us.

Romantic comedies 'spoil your love life' sez Heriot Watt University.

I started blogging a few weeks ago. Now whenever I start thinking about or working on a new post, something new from the interwebs shows up to tie everything together.

The other week I was thinking about a particular Spinster stereotype. I was home & sick that weekend, but I did not sulk while watching romantic comedies and dramas. Instead, I watched 10 hours of Babylon 5 (my friend got me hooked a few months ago, still haven't seen it all) without the sulking.

During Thanksgiving weekend I happened to see the movie 27 Dresses, and the long, slow, painful trudge through co-dependence almost made me cry. And not in the happy-wedding way.

Like the friend that pointed out this article to me, I was never into most romantic comedies. And after a year of figuring out my head-workings, I'm even less into them, and sometimes have averse physical reactions to them. I like some romantic plots, depending on the story, writing, etc., and usually as part of a larger entity. Especially in the SF genre (so much Bab 5 'shipping, OMG). Shakespeare is the exception, but I can't resist his text.

So I'm going to introduce another tag-cloud of posts about movies and other media that do not reinforce the agenda of the Romatrix. Be prepared for some really odd flicks.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I've been trying to formulate this post for a while, with my limited writing/whinging skills.

Luckily, musical artist Marian Call already did it for me! Check out her tune Nerd Anthem, or I'll Still Be a Geek After Nobody Thinks it's Chic and that's about where I was trying to go.

I still don't know why "Geek Chic" happened. Did the normies get jealous when they realized that we rule the world? Followed by an attempt to emulate us? Is this another level of making fun of the weirdoes who sit together at lunch? Is it supposed to be (shudders) ironic?

All I know for sure is there are bars in NYC that cater to fanatics of comic books and classic arcade games. Unfortunately they are overrun with trendy people in horn rimmed glasses, plaid, and argyle.

I'm not against people embracing new lifestyles and dissolving old stereotypes. There is just something disheartening about finding a nice nerdy (looking) guy at a bar, only to have him inch back slowly in fear when I start chattering about Doctor Who. I don't think this bait-and-switch technique is fair to either one of us, sir.

OK, so you've seen Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings movies. You like the new Battlestar Galactica (new?). Maybe you've been to the Rocky Horror Picture Show ... once. Renaissance Faires are a fun place to go to watch girls in corsets "talk all like Shakespeare." You use a computer at your day job. *golf claps*

But where were you when I was an outcast teenager, being shoved into lockers by girls who matched their shoes with their backpacks? When I was being called rude names by people that wanted me to write their essays for them? When I was studying like mad to get a 5 on the AP Bio exam so I could have more fun in college?

Geek isn't just liking the right tv shows and ugly socks, it's a shared heritage of being odd and feeling out of place, but not on purpose. Not for it's own sake, and not for irony. The funny clothes, fandoms, and treasure troves of useless trivia are a side effect, not the source.

So stop teasing my people with your cute horn rimmed glasses, OK? Don't get me wrong, I like normie guys, but this is just confusing. Why not put your dinner jacket or Giants t-shirt back on and try the mainstream watering holes? I'll go back to my Pangalactic Gargleblaster and no one need know you were ever here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Settling for Celibacy

15 Years Without Knocking Boots

First, I'm sure this essay is supposed to be comical.

Second, it is interesting to examine and pick apart lots of little details about it, with no offense meant to the author, because it's a humorous piece that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Even so... oy. Take what I want to write about and do a complete 180. With an extra dose of impatience and whining.

I regard men with ambivalence, with alternate longing and fear.
This I can understand. She likes their company, and then is consistently disappointed by them. Rejection is never fun, and it sounds like some of the men she's been with have had severely bad cases of the dumb.
I've grown accustomed to being alone.
OK, WTF is that all about? She goes on and on about her gal pals, and how some of them have even hit on her. And what about her career? There's an article on with her name in the byline- does this mean nothing in the face of being single?
But we all crave human contact. "So," I resigned myself, scheduling a back massage, "welcome to the wonderful world of the middle-aged, celibate single woman. You now have to pay people to touch you." It's funny how comforted I can feel simply by hands rubbing my body. I know some men are willing to offer extra for a "happy ending" -- for them, sensuality isn't achieved unless it ends in orgasm -- but for me, I'm perfectly content just letting someone rub my shoulders, my back.
Isn't there anybody in her life willing to give her a free back rub? I'm single, and I've had two in the past week, neither with the ulterior motive of sexxing me up.

Oh, wait,
And I suppose it would help to leave the house. I am quite reclusive, as most writers are, and unless some drywall guy who reads Russian literature shows up on my doorstep, it is highly unlikely that I will meet an available straight single man any time soon.
Because we all know that the best way to meet other single people, "for friendship or more," is to stay home on the weekends. Where do all her gal pals come into it while she's shut up at home?

I don't disagree with her philosophy, "You have to be in love to make love," especially since she's tried the alternatives and did not like them. I've said before, different strokes for different folks.

But instead of reflecting on her life for what it is, she focuses on what it is not. It is not shared with a romantic partner, woe! Forget all the accomplishments and adoring friends, she can't find Mr. Right! Towards the end she brings up non-romantic love and friendship, but almost as an afterthought. It sounds like she settles for what she has instead of cherishing it.

This makes for a very whiny sounding article that makes my teeth grind, regardless of the ironic, comical tones. And I think it helps reinforce the stereotype that I'm trying to break.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Still working on the book Against Love: A Polemic by Laura Kipnis. It is interesting, but a little dry. A very good read if you remember reading Nietzsche and Freud in college, and probably even better if you studied some political science. The author says up front that the point is not to convince the readers, or herself, of one point or another. In her own words:

A polemic is designed to be the prose equivalent of a small explosive device placed under your E-Z-Boy lounger. It won't injure you (well, not severely); it's just supposed to shake things up and rattle a few convictions.

Her book focuses on romantic love (not family or friendship so far) and how obsessed our society is about pursuing and maintaining romance. Love at any cost. It's almost like this drive is programmed into our psyches, and the structures we build around us, as deeply as all the instincts that rail against commitment and domesticity.

So as soon as I thought of "programming" I realized...

Romance is like the Matrix. It's not something that we really need to survive, and history shows we didn't consider needing it until relatively recently (19th Century, similar to when romance novels gained popularity). Before that time it was an amusing or entertaining concept in contemporary fiction, but marriage and domesticity had their own mutually exclusive place in the real world. Romance happened outside of marriage, for the most part.

Western culture is now hopelessly dependent on the Matrix- no wait, I mean Romance. The desire for Romance evolved over the years, resulting in a strange social slavery where pleasure becomes very hard work to maintain (domesticity). This slavery is even endorsed and registered with the state (marriage). We have internalized the system so much that people who are not currently eligible for this sort of slavery are fighting to get it (gay marriage).

But no matter how hard the work is, we don't think for a moment of living without it. Potential separation from the Romance system causes great fear and anxiety, and people put in a ton of work to either stay in the system (unhappy, codependent relationships) or try and get hooked up (the billion dollar match-making industry). We are so convinced that we cannot live without Romance that we never question if : 1 + 1 = 1? Anyone who does not fit into the system, willingly or otherwise, is persecuted or coerced into finding Romance.

It's a fun metaphor to play with, but NOT 100% accurate. There are unhappy, passive aggressive people in all kinds of situations that like bringing other people down, and Romance is just one system.

On the other hand, I know lots of happy people "hooked up" to the system. They don't patronize me for being single. They respect and support my decisions as much as I do theirs, and are very secure about themselves and their lifestyles. They see their friends as whole individual people, and not halves of a Romance-unit.

Some people fall in love because they just do, not due to psychological programming. And many people are secure enough to accept when a romance is over- without sending an agent in a black suit to terrorize their mate.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back to the beginning

Like a good librarian, I started this project with research. I looked for other blogs and articles about Spinster-hood, and it was discouraging at first. Most bloggers use the term to bemoan their single status. I wanted to put something together that was more upbeat, more academically detached, and a lot less whiny.

I did find a small handful that embrace their status (rather than settle for it), and a few articles and books that followed suit.

Spinster in the City: In her own words, "Living Single in SLC. Not a bad existence, but I'm tired of feeling like a second class citizen!"

Spinster, An Evolving Stereotype Revealed Through Film: An academic paper published and posted in 2000, very interesting. Inspired me to take a more detached, academic look at my sitch.

The Search for Wisdom- The Modern Spinster: redefining "spinster" for the 21st Century.

Spinsters and Lunatics, online home of the "Spinsters and Lunatics" newsletter: Good FAQ, but hasn't published since June 2008. Fie.

Reclaiming "Spinster": an article that includes lots of nice quotes, some from blogs that I tried to hunt down but are now MIA.

Not Married, Not Bothered: An ABC for Spinsters: a paperback from the UK. Unfortunately, not very quickly available in the U.S. without paying crazy shipping charges. Still on my "to read" list for someday. "Not bothered," is pretty much where I am with my status right now.

Am still on the lookout for more books, articles, and bloggers. Networking is luv ;-)

Chemical Weapons and You.

My fellow humans,

There are many chemical substances on today's market that are supposed to help us smell nice for other humans. There are many levels of quality and price, and an enormous variety of scents available.

However, with great freedom of choice comes great responsibility.

Perfumes, colognes, body sprays, and the like are meant to be an olfactory treat and tease for the people that get close to you during your day. Like, really close. Arm brushing, lap sitting, ear licking close. Therefore, I must say as loudly and obnoxiously as the internet allows:


The same applies for men and women. Boys, colognes have a lower percentage of scented liquid by volume compared to perfumes, but that is still no excuse for using half of the bottle at once.

And by the modern standards of hygiene, a bottle of cologne, aftershave, or perfume is NEVER an adequate substitution for a shower.

Overdosing on perfumes doesn't just hurt others, it can hurt you when it drives everyone else in your subway car to chuck you out between stations. Other humans can get a little cranky if they are unable to breathe.

Please stop assaulting your fellow humans, at work, at home, on the street, and on subways with perfume. Less is more.

FYI, here are some tips and instructions on how to properly apply perfume and cologne:
By Fortuna Bella & The Scented Paper.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving thanks for a single life.

So it's Thanksgiving. Turkey. Family. Watching Macy's on TV, and then barreling into your local Macy's the next day.

Different families behave in different ways, and "good" and "bad" are mostly based on our points of view.

However, the least helpful question that a Spinster can get during the holidays is probably:

"So, when can we expect to see you married?"

Whether you are barely making ends meet in your half of a shared studio with a cafe job, or making billions of dollars at a 24/7 career that takes you to Japan every third Monday, there may be something amiss. You haven't invited your extended family to a big wedding with an open bar, or added to the pile of children screeching and wrestling on the living room floor.

One year, my aunt was (justifiably) bragging about her adorable grandchildren, and Mom began to simper and imply that she'd like some too. I suddenly sat up, eyes wide with pleasant suprise, and exclaimed:

"Wait, so you want me to do the kids thing, but not the husband thing? OK, cool, I'll keep that in mind!"

Never spoken of since. Win!

This week, I am thankful that I get a quiet three day weekend of food and low key family time (if I am lucky), and playtime with the family cat. When I get home, I will have a mountain of leftovers in my fridge, a nice apartment, a job to resume on Monday, and all the pumpkin pie to myself. Unless I invite some friends over to eat it with me, like I did last year. And that's a pretty good life :-)

How do you deflect/disarm such questions? Do Bachelors get the same hassling that Spinsters do?

Friday, November 21, 2008

These Dreams

Last night I had a dream about a guy I met in passing a couple of years back, and fancied just a bit. In the dream, We were out on a rather surreal date, made out on a couch, woke up the next morning still in the club, and he vaguely muttered something as he walked out to catch a cab. I ran into some friends, and explained that I'd call him in a couple days, although he probably wasn't that interested, but that was no prob.

That's a far cry from how I've behaved in real life, not with this guy, but with other guys. A random make-out scene followed by me worrying and wondering whether it will go any further after that. It usually doesn't, and then I end up listening to a lot of whiny music for weeks on end.

I like make-out dreams. Make-out dreams that reflect what I want to be emotionally are extra fun :-)

Have a fun weekend!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gimme Shelter

I am currently in the midst of purchasing a co-op in Queens, NY. Is much more complicated than I was initially led to believe, but it's still moving forward. Will describe the process at length, later.

A few months ago, a friend asked for some advice on looking for a new rental apartment, and I sent her a long list of "Do's" and "Do Not's" which was ... comprehensive, but not very well organized. Am working on editing that so it makes more sense.

Overall, shelter is one of the necessities of human life, IMO. Far more than candle lit dinners, diamond engagement rings, and bouquets of flowers. There was a point in my life where I finally decided to work on what I had (an OK apartment) and not mull over what I did not (an s.o.).

Since that moment, I have become a frequent celebrator of DISCARDIA, started to read the blog Unclutterer on a daily basis, and borrowed several of my Mother's books on organization and decorating.

Now I'm working on purchasing a co-op that is smaller than my current apartment. After purging mountains of unused clothing, furniture, and junk from my house, and mulling over what necessities my current apartment lacks, I've come to terms with that. Bigger does not mean better, and this lesson is being hammered home to many Americans in many different ways this year.

I ran into an old friend a few weeks ago, and told her I was co-op hunting. "Oh really! With who?" she asked, innocently.

I was more amused than annoyed, but I'm pretty sure that's the default thought. Most people don't purchase a home by themselves, most don't even rent alone in NYC, which I've already done for 3.5 years. A few others suggested, helpfully, that I may not want to purchase a place until my life was settled with someone, because singleness can change at any moment. But in that case, so can relationship-ness.

Right now I'm in a rather stable place, as far as my job and finances are concerned (knock on wood) in this buyer's market, and there really isn't any beau on the horizon. Even if there was, I am slow to act and it would be quite a long time until the cohabitation stage. Most persons suggest that you should only plan to buy a home if you can imagine/plan on living there for 5 years minimum. I'm pretty sure that works for my sitch. And if something changes, I can sublet this apartment after two years.

Also, the place I'm looking at has concrete floors and ceilings, which means I can make a LOT more noise on the rare occasion that I bring a boy home with me. Yay! Right now my landlord lives directly above me in a rickety pre-war split house. I usually turn on the music really loud...

Have you ever bought a home on your own, or with someone that wasn't your lover/partner/ball-n-chain?

Soul Mates and Zodiac Attacks

So, here's one of many confessions- I am addicted to astrology.

I don't want to be, but I fell into the habit when I was ten years old, and have not yet been able to shake it.

On one hand it is interesting, insightful, sometimes romantic. On the other, I chafe against the notion that my destiny is molded or controlled by points of light in the sky. If a zodiac profile (as simple as a horoscope or as detailed as a natal chart) sentences a person to being nasty and miserable for the rest of their lives, what is the point of living that life? People have the right and freedom to "change their stars" in my mind.

But that's beside the point nestled in my grey matter today.

Looking over most horoscopes, they automatically assume you are looking for a romantic partner, a "soul mate" of sorts. Why? Is it because the people that tend to read horoscopes are persons who constantly seek justification and approval outside of themselves? Whether it's an s.o., or a random astrology writer they've never even met?

Why does a soul mate need to be a romantic partner? Can't it just be a person, or a group of people, that you feel really *click* with you? That you share a deeper emotional and spiritual understanding with? Could it be an antagonist? Soul mates as a pair of people that frequently clash and despise each other, yet cause each other to grow and develop during the fight?

Have you ever had a soul mate? Or more than one?

PS, The main horoscope that I still read, because I am an addict, is Free Will Astrology. The author is a delightful online trickster, and his weekly guides are not the usual nonsense of "boyfriends" and "Mercury in retrograde."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Kink in Our Think

On the other side of the spectrum, skinny and underweight friends of mine have had it with being accused of eating disorders.

Body- and self-image are very confusing subjects in this country. Our bodies are supposed to look like those we see on movie screens and magazine covers. We cannot perfect our "self" unless we have a second special someone in our lives. We are encouraged to think that without the perfect body we cannot attract the perfect mate, and we will be lonely and miserable and imperfect for the rest of our lives.

Um... NO?

I'm around 1XL depending on what store I visit. I've been loved and adored by friends and "special someones" while ten pounds heavier and ten pounds lighter. I love getting fine chocolates on Singles Awareness Day (Feb. 14). Fashion designers and clothing stores don't love me quite so much, and I'm still trying to figure out why...

How about you?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Down the Pub

Bars, pubs, lounges. American culture seems to indicate that these are the modern & secular watering holes where singles are supposed to gather and mingle.

This is something I've never really understood.

NYC bars are characteristically loud and obnoxious. Even when I did drink (I'm off the sauce now, that's a story for another post), I was usually frustrated when trying to talk to people in bars. The music is on too loud, so people must shout to be heard, which means *everyone* is shouting.

And it's one thing to be there with a friend or a posse, but are people really meant to hook up with strangers in bars? Strangers that you can't hear? I'm definitely nerdy for being hung up on the chat bit, but it all seems odd to me.

What is the attraction of hanging out in a loud bar on a weekend nite? Are bars different outside of NYC? What other places are there for a single person to go and meet other single people (for friendship or more)?

<3 Your Confused Spinster

Goal post

My friend on Debt Free Saver tagged me to post some goals, so I'm going to whack two birds with one stone and make some blog goals.

Publish one "matter" post per week. This includes reflections and stockpiles of information on ... whatever topic seems relevant that week.

Publish one communal post per week. There's no limit on commenting on this blog, but it's fun when the blogger asks a question and sees what readers have to say or suggest.

Goal posts (*giggles*) don't count under either heading, so expect two more posts this week ;-)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Guess what, ladies?

I've been looking over the traditions and habits of the Western world-view, and have come to a startling conclusion.

Women don't need to get married.

There are always exceptions based on personal needs, desires, philosophies, and spiritual beliefs. However, the rules and standards for women have changed drastically in the last century.

The basic necessities of life in the U.S. are food, shelter, medicine, and love. But we no longer need husbands and/or children to get them ourselves. Women can now own property, hold their own jobs, develop their own careers, and there is way more kinds of love in this world than romance and marriage.

If you want to step to the left wing, women don't need to get married to get into bed with someone. They don't even need to be married to have children. And while the jury is still out on marriage rights in many states, there are those who practice marrying whomever they choose, however many times they want.

With a step to the right wing, celibacy no longer needs to be confined to a nunnery, and can be as healthy a lifestyle choice as any other, despite what the media tells us about how sex sells. And I don't think it's a sin in any religion to save yourself for the right person, and then hope to settle down and have a family with them.

So what is this blog about?

It's about making personal choices that suit *our* needs and desires, not those that tradition or the media press onto us.

Obviously, I'm going to focus more on the side of being a single liberal female living in the U.S. (specifically NYC), because that's my point of reference. How does a person in my situation live on a single income? Go out carousing? Develop their education and career? Purchase property?

Lets find out together, shall we?

PS, I have a few mini essays that I'm working on at the moment, but feel free to ask more questions and make requests in the comments. If it's within my power (and i I have the stomach for it) I will write it ;-)