Saturday, January 30, 2010

One More Bites the Dust!

I finally finished Northanger Abbey!!!! It would have happened soooooo much sooner, as I actually have enjoyed this book more than any of the other Austen tomes, but reading time--ANY reading time--has been in short supply.

What can I say--this is definitely my favorite Jane Austen. This should be a surprise to exactly no one, as it's JA at her sly, witty, ironic, nearly-snarky best. Yet she does it so gently that even the most obnoxious characters are still somewhat redeemed, or at the least, rendered inconsequential.

This book doesn't really qualify as a romance, in my humble opinion, so I'm not sure exactly where it falls in my quest to understand romance through the lens of JA. As an entertaining bedtime read, though, it earns two thumbs up.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dissecting the Romance/Men Issue

I'm breaking this up so that my fingers don't get tired of typing, and your eyes don't get tired of reading. Our whiteboard discussion of romance actually took place in two stages, the first involving long lists and the second utilizing a small chart. Today's post is The List. For clarity's sake the feminine perspective (me) is presented in a rather feminine italicized script, and the masculine perspective (President Precious) is presented in a masculine, blocky, bold font.

*Becky, you'll be glad to know that the very first thing we did was define romance so we could stay at least somewhat on the same page.

THE DEFINITION
Romance: an emotion, a feeling of closeness to someone, affection, excitement

Yeah, it's pretty basic, but it works.

THE LIST

Romance for Women Is:
  • flowers, especially for no reason
  • love notes or little gifts
  • affection/cuddling
  • BIG gifts
  • favors (acts of kindness)
  • time--making you a priority
  • footrubs--EWWW!--okay, neckrubs, shoulder rubs, etc.
  • cooking for her
  • crying on his shoulder
  • listening!! letting you cry on his shoulder
  • invitations
  • being touched
  • public affection, not necessarily physical, just being public with your feelings
  • saying hello instead of hi
  • being pursued
  • being goofy
  • quoting Ghandi (which means that women just like arbitrary & random things, so you find out those things and do them) I agree with this because it goes back to the whole "it's-so-romantic-if-he-takes-the-time-to-really-know-me" thing.
  • reading to them
  • everything a guy does (in your dreams, maybe)
  • influencing him/winning an argument
  • chivalry

Romance for Men Is:

  • Who knows? I don't
  • making out. + Sex. + other things that we don't talk about
  • having fun, playing around
  • being physical
  • no public affection--it's really, REALLY annoying, awkward, and embarrassing, especially when your 80-year old neighbor sees you
  • playful affection
  • paying attention, caring (or sharing) interests, listening--sometimes, but this could be annoying
  • to feel really, genuinely needed (as long as it's not cheesy)
  • playful disagreements
  • giving backrubs & stuff (you mean men really like to GIVE backrubs??? Yes. Wow.)

I know this probably seems like a pretty straightforward & simple list, but it took us about two hours, multiple arguments, several tangential stories, and an occasional erase-job to hash this out. As a duty to mankind, though, we felt it was worth it.

You're welcome.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Romance, Part Two (Or Three...Or Whatever)

So, after my post about what romance is and is not, I started wondering if romance is a female-only domain. I mean, you don't really ever hear men chatting about something and one says to another, "I mean, gosh, Fred, it was just soooooo romantic." Is this because only women actually experience romance and men don't? And if so, is it because for men, romance = sex, and it's just that simplistic, or is that a sexist oversimplification? I couldn't figure it out, so I sought outside opinions from Brain Drain & President Precious.

When I grilled--I mean, interviewed--Brain Pain, I hadn't quite put it into these terms yet, so the conversation went something like this:

Me: What is attractive to you in your relationship w/the Divine Miss B? I mean, aside from the obvious physical attraction--what else do guys look for in a relationship?

BP: Well, now, don't discount the importance of physical attraction--

Me: Noted. But aside from that--

BP: Well, I'd have to say it's really nice being with someone intelligent, who's well-read and stays up on current events, and has something to say...Someone who actually gets my jokes, especially when they are urbane & witty, as they so often are--

Me: Oh yes. You're known across the state for your brilliant wit.

BP: Thank you. It's nice to have fans in my hometown.

Me: Sarcasm, Stevie. It's beautiful thing.

BP: I don't get it.

Me: Moving on... So, what speaks love to you? How do you feel loved or have those ooh-la-la moments--and I don't mean sex, because that's just a given and I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOU & DIVINE MISS B!

BP: Hmm...well, don't discount the importance of sex--

Me: LALALALA, I'm not hearing this!!!

BP: Okay, besides that, it's nice when she does little things for me, just things to make my life easier or just because she knows I like it.

Me: Good. This is good. Taking notes now...

BP: But don't underestimate the importance of sex to men--

Me: Okay, we're done now. The end. Bye-bye.

The useful part of this conversation was the reassurance that there were some romantic type things that seemed to work for the male gender as well as the female gender. Good to know.

The discussion with President Precious ended up becoming extremely involved and required charting out on a massive whiteboard, so I'll post that a bit from now, after I download pictures of the whiteboard so you can be duly impressed by how thoroughly we interrogated this question of what constitutes romance to men.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Everything I Need to Know About Relationships I Learned From Netflix

I spent a wee bit of time over the holidays catching up on movies--which for me means I watched two actual movies, and supervised the kids watching five-hundred or so kiddie movies. That, combined with discovering "Cougartown" on abc.com, have persuaded me that apparently I still have much to learn in the romance realm.

What Hollywood has taught me about love:

  • Having immediate sex is the path to true love. Before sharing anything about oneself, developing any kind of trust, or exchanging names, you should first jump straight in the sack.
  • Mind-blowingly great sex = eternal relationship bliss.
  • Sex--even mediocre sex--will solve all relationship problems.
  • If you happen to become preggers as a result of all this sex, the man--whether you are still a couple or not--will rush to your side & fully support you and the child for the rest of eternity. Pregnancy will make him realize how much he loves you and needs you.
  • If you happen to contract a disease as the result of all this sex--oh wait, that never happens. Ever.
  • The only way to know who you want to make a lifetime committment to is to sleep with as many people as possible so you can be sure.
  • Once you've decided on one person you should probably remain at least somewhat faithful to that person, unless A.) you meet someone hotter, B.) you meet someone better in bed, or C.) your partner isn't perpetually horny 24/7.
  • Making sexually suggestive comments to other people is not being unfaithful. Neither is watching other people get naked and/or have sex. Phone or internet sex is not infidelity. Depending on the situation, other forms of sexual activity with someone other than your partner may or may not be considered cheating.
  • Bottom line, l-o-v-e = s-e-x.

The end.