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.