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May 11, 2011

111 Male Characters Of British Literature, In Order Of Bangability

Filed under: books — posted by Chris @ 9:19 am

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darcyBritish literature has spawned many of our romantic ideals, from Romeo to Mr. Darcy. Posted without commentary, Carrie Frye at the Awl has compiled a list of 111 Male Characters Of British Literature, In Order Of Bangability. But of course British literature is not all Shakespeare and Jane Austin, so the author must tackle questions such as, Who would you rather do: Frankenstein or Uriah Heep? (Numbers 111 and 110 respectively!) Here’s how some other favorites fared:

96. Dr. Watson (”A Study In Scarlet”)
95. Willy Wonka (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

78. Leopold Bloom (Ulysses)

63. Romeo (Romeo and Juliet)

49. Dorian Gray (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
48. King Arthur (The Once and Future King)

44. Robin Hood (Piers Plowman)

34. Tarzan/Lord Greystoke (Tarzan of the Apes)
33. Severus Snape (Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone)
32. Aslan (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe)

23. James Bond (Casino Royale)

12. Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)

3. Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
2. Strider/ Aragorn (The Lord of the Rings)
1. Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre)

Check out the full list at The Awl!

March 1, 2011

Are “ladies free” nights sexist?

Filed under: Treats, books — posted by Breakup Girl @ 10:53 am

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If you ask Roy Den “Worst Dating Strategy Ever” Hollander, the answer is “YES [because I hate and fear wimmins].” But instead of missing the point, Jamie “Econ major” Keiles of Teenagerie does the math. Behold:

A+.

H/T Feministing.

November 30, 2010

Exclusivo: advice from “European Men” lady!

Filed under: books, pop culture — posted by Breakup Girl @ 3:24 pm

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BG’s alter ego caught up with BG’s favorite new dating expert the other day at Salon.com. But Katherine Chloe Cahoon was also kind enough to stop by BreakupGirl.net to offer some exclusive advice to our readers, especially those who’ll be traveling across the pond on winter break!

BG: I am not blonde. Will European men still think I’m cute?

KCC: You don’t have to have blond hair to attract European men. Opposites do attract! So if you are in Spain and have blond hair, they’re going to like you. Plus, it’s relative. I’m not that blond, and they considered me to be one of the blondest girls they’d ever seen. Also, they would love you in Sweden.

BG: If I can’t get to Europe, what are my next best options for meeting European Men?

KCC: The world is becoming so international that I have actually met European men in the States. I would say the best place to meet them is at the dance clubs because dancing is so prevalent in Europe. It’s not like the States. You wil go to a club and they will know how to salsa and cha cha and samba — everything, you name it. I was in New Orleans five months ago and there were 20 European Men at the dance club! It was ridiculous! I am in Seattle now. We are pretty ethnic in that we have lots of different people from different countries. It’s very global and I have met Europeans everywhere from the grocery store to the park.

BG: What were they shopping for at the grocery store? Espresso, I guess?

KCC: Most of them were getting fruit. They were buying melon. They were just learning English, and they asked for help. That’s how I heard that they were European.

BG: There are a lot of countries in Europe. When I am able to go, where should I start looking?

KCC: When I went there to study I had an international media and management major. So I chose where to go based on what would be best for me business-wise and what piqued my interest. This is the number one key for women. They shouldn’t wake up this morning and say I have to find a boyfriend or go on a manhunt. They should say, I want to have fun and learn the culture and be carefree. So I would pick the country based on personal interest. Like if you know a language or speak a little that is an excellent place to start.

BG: What’s your advice if I meet a man from one of those really small countries and  he doesn’t speak any English?

KCC: I think that girls should be in Europe to have fun. I advise you to pick up as much of the language as you can, but then don’t worry about it. I met guys whose language I didn’t speak, and they didn’t speak mine, and we had a fabulous time. It’s amazing how much you can communicate without speaking. You rely on pantomime. You can’t date someone seriously that way, of course. Though I have a friend who made it through five dates by relying on pantomime. And also as you’re in a country for more time you’ll pick up the language and will start to be able to converse with the natives.

BG: Why European men in particular?

KCC: I love American men as well as European men and men of many different nationalities. But I found that when we go to another place like Europe to lern the culture it’s much more fascinating if you do it with the natives, and European men very much want to show girls an excellent time. If you do go there showing interest in their homeland, your experience is going to be enhanced.

November 17, 2010

Unstoppable: Q&A with author Lauren Ruotolo

Filed under: books, issues — posted by Paula @ 11:06 am

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laurenruotolo2Lauren Ruotolo is a gorgeous redhead with a great job–Director of Entertainment Promotions for the Hearst Corporation–a glam wardrobe, a cool boyfriend, and a hot new book about getting a leg up in life, no matter what size your legs happen to be.

The 4’ 2” Long Island native was born with a rare disorder called McCune Albright Syndrome that has caused not just her short stature and the use of crutches but a host of other physical challenges, all of which she details in her new memoir, Unstoppable in Stilettos: A Girl’s Guide to Living Tall in a Small World.

In addition to being a funny (anecdotes about LL Cool J!) and moving autobiography about coping with and triumphing over her condition, Ruotolo’s book is an old-fashioned, Dale Carnegie-esque motivational work organized around themes like “Rejection can be your greatest ally,” “Being different is a gift,” and “Avoid the word ‘no’.” She encourages readers of all abilities to get over self-doubt, self-consciousness–just get over themselves, period–and create happiness on their own terms.

laurenruotoloWe spoke to the vivacious author at her office in the Hearst Tower.

So, the advice—both life- and dating-related—in your book is geared towards a mainstream audience.

Right.

I’m wondering if you have any specific dating advice for people who have physical challenges or physical differences.

I think that the first piece of advice–and it’s not just for people with physical disabilities or mental disabilities–is that you have to love yourself in order for someone to love you. That was something that I had to learn–that I had to love myself the way that I wanted to be loved by somebody, and I had to learn to be comfortable with knowing that I am different from other people, that my body looks different, that when it comes to sex or being intimate with somebody that it’s going to be a little bit different, so I think that I had to understand all those aspects and love every aspect of who I was before I could allow somebody in. I was always so insecure about it.

And I think that you become insecure when you’re dating, anyway–everybody is insecure! But it really becomes difficult when there’s something different about you. I hope that I teach in the book–for people to really love themselves–and, like I said, love themselves like you want to be loved.

Your experiences with online dating were not very positive.

No! (Laughs.) Not at all! Oh my god, it was such a nightmare! I hope to never have to do that again in my life. When it comes to online dating, yes, you want to put yourself out there, and put as much information about yourself up front. But as I wrote in the book, how I have always seen myself is not really as a “handicapped” person. I knew that if I presented myself as a girl walking with crutches, that’s all anyone would see, and I would be labeled as a “Girl With Crutches”…

You mention in the book that you entered therapy, and the key lesson there for you was acceptance. How would you define “acceptance”?

Acceptance, for me, was when I stopped hiding. I said, “I love myself, I have a family who loves me, I have friends that love me, and the next man I meet is gonna love me for me and I’m not gonna hide behind a barstool, and I’m not going to hide behind a photo online. I’m just gonna put myself out there and see what happens.”

And I did–I met [current live-in boyfriend] Nelson on a staircase. So it was that acceptance and getting rid of that insecurity in my head that got me there. I was always so strong in so many other ways—but when it came to relationships–well, like I said, I think everyone has these fears. Because society is like, all right, you get to a certain age, girls, and you gotta find that husband, and you gotta have babies, and that’s your life! When you’re a child, you dream about your wedding–you know, there’s this idea promoted by magazines, especially here at Hearst, and at Seventeen magazine, that they’re like two of the greatest moments in a girls’ life: her prom, that she’ll always remember, and her wedding.

“Who are you gonna take to your prom? Who are you gonna marry?” (Laughs) So it’s just always a constant conversation that makes us all nervous, but we all have to accept who we are, and that was really what I learned in therapy.

The wedding thing–is that something that has been in your mind pressuring you, or have you let that go?

I think as Nelson and I get closer, and as I get older, it’s something that I’ve thought about a lot more often than I ever did in my life–

–but, because you have the relationship–

Right, because I have the relationship–

–not because you’re thinking about the dress.

Exactly! (Laughs) Well, now that I’m in the relationship, I do think about the dress!

Ha! Tell me about Glamour Gals Foundation.

Oh, Glamour Gals is such a great organization. It’s an intergenerational organization that brings teen girls and elderly women together. The teen girls provide complimentary makeovers and facials and, more than anything, companionship to the elderly women.

My great-grandmother was in a home, so I know–when I would come visit, she would want to get dressed and she would want to put lipstick on and make herself presentable. With women, from the time we’re three years old, we want to wear lipstick ‘til the time we’re 93. We want to wear makeup! It just makes you feel good. And I think that it’s such a great opportunity for community service for girls. You know, when else are you really going to teach them that there are these wonderful older women out there, unless they have somebody in their family. And I think it really makes teens feel good about what they’re doing, and obviously the ladies feel great about themselves. So I’m really happy to be part of the organization.

The way that I found out about it was when my article in Marie Claire came out in March of 2009. The president and founder Rachel Doyle read it and contacted somebody here at Hearst called Susan Schultz who was on the advisory board and was like “Do you know this girl? I would like to nominate her for our Glammy, for most glamorous gal of the year.” And they did, and I accepted, and it was such a wonderful honor!

And now I’m on the advisory board, and I’m heading up their first gala in February.

Do you have any plans for a follow-up book?

I really want to do a children’s book. Children—at least from my understanding and the research that I’ve done on the street where children stare at me—don’t see racial differences these days because it’s everywhere. So, they have black friends, they have white friends, they have Puerto Rican friends, they have Chinese friends, and they don’t see the difference anymore, which is wonderful. But they still see the obvious physical differences of people with different abilities. And I think parents get nervous because kids are just outspoken. Not because they’re mean, because they just want to know!

They see somebody who’s different, and say, “Mommy, why is that lady so short?” or “What are those shiny things that she walks with?” And parents get embarrassed. And I see a lot of times where the parents are like “Shh!” or they just pull them away, and they don’t wanna notice it.

And that’s not the way. I really want to help children understand those differences.

(To read more about people living with short stature, click here.)


September 7, 2010

Material guru: Q&A with author Wendy Shanker

Filed under: Comedy, books, media, pop culture — posted by Paula @ 5:23 am

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A smart, funny, brave, and devoted pop culture acolyte, writer/comedienne/member of US Weekly Fashion Police (!!!) Wendy Shanker first won us over with her wise and witty 2004 book The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, which explores the complex reality of being a healthy, plus-sized woman in a world that doesn’t always encourage self-acceptance.

Out today: Shanker’s new memoir Are You My Guru?: How Medicine, Meditation & Madonna Saved My Life, chronicles an intense eight-year period during which the author was diagnosed with a rare and debilitating autoimmune disease, Wegener’s granulomatosis. While holding down a demanding job, Shanker seeks relief and guidance from medical experts and healers representing a variety of traditions, from the hardcore pharmacological to the ancient Ayurvedic.

As Shanker begins to trust her own instincts about which therapies will work for her, she learns how to cope with the stresses of the disease and a hectic New York lifestyle — and discovers a thing or two about what it really means to heal. The narrative is laced with references to her ultimate guru, Madonna, as Shanker covers the topic of serious illness with the same forthrightness, attention to detail, and laugh-out-loud humor that made her first book such a refreshing read.

The delightful Shanker spoke with BreakupGirl.net about her memoir:

Who do you hope to reach with this book?

Um, Madonna. (laughs) I assume she’ll never even know it exists, but if it does cross her path, I hope she’ll get a kick out of it.

(more…)

August 31, 2010

Dating, with autism

Filed under: Psychology, books — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:51 am

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Laura Shumaker is a writer whose 23-year-old son has autism. He wants to connect with the world, but isn’t sure how — at least not according to unwritten social law and convention. In a clear, spare guest post at Motherlode about a puzzling (to him) non-incident involving a hotel, a hot tub and the girls’ lacrosse team, she expresses her fears, and hopes, about his future as lover and loved. It’s a sweet and smart post, ultimately concluding (spoiler!) that in order to support Matthew through this, she’s gonna have to connect honestly with herself first. Read it, and then this, to (if you’re neurotypical) remind yourself not to take communication and social-spider-sense for granted, and to upend a few stereotypes about people on the spectrum and the possibility of love.



August 3, 2010

“Negotiated infidelity” #fail

Filed under: books — posted by Breakup Girl @ 12:16 pm

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Keep your man by letting him stray? So, according to CNN, advises Australian memoirist Holly Hill, who writes, “One of the main things that I have learned is that a woman that negotiates infidelity with her partner is far more powerful than a woman who is sitting home wondering why he’s late from the office Christmas party,” she says. Most powerful of all, BG would submit, is the woman who chooses a guy who doesn’t cheat.

Of course, in Hill’s insultingly dim view of the opposite sex, fellas like that are few and far between. (”Men are hard-wired to betray women on the long-term.”) Look, I know cheating is depressingly common. And if a couple makes “an arrangement” that works for them, then geh gezunt a heit. But — yes — monogamy is a choice. So when a couple makes that choice, I’d call that negotiated fidelity. That’s a much better place to start.

June 17, 2010

Every single thing that’s wrong with you: Q&A with Karin Anderson

Filed under: Psychology, books, issues, media — posted by Paula @ 1:21 am

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anderson0751_v2The trusty formula found in many self-help books aimed at single women is:

A) You’re single–because there’s something very wrong with you.
B) But don’t worry, here’s how to fix it!

What sets apart Karin Anderson’s new book, It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet: bogus, ridiculous, absurd explanations as to why you’re still single and how to deal with them plus a few silly things we do to ourselves, is a glorious lack of blame, accompanied by a daring refusal to fix anyone’s problems.

Anderson, a Chicago-area psychotherapist and professor, strenuously resists the idea that single women are by definition doing “something wrong,” and in fact advocates a healthy acceptance of whatever relationship status a woman happens to find herself in.

To those readers who are unhappily single, she repeats the title of her book, mantra-like, and assures them it’s not because they’re “too picky,” or not trying hard enough, or trying too hard, or any number of questionable pieces of finger-wagging advice leveled at them from friends, magazine articles, TV shows, and, most egregiously, other self-help books. We caught up with her to hear more:

Did you have any specific self-help books in mind when you wrote this?

I wouldn’t say there was a particular book, but definitely the tone of the genre in general was what I was responding to, and [I was] responding with what I believe to be a counter-message that I think is equally plausible and empowering.

I just didn’t like the suggestion [promoted in other self-help books] that there’s always something amiss, or something that needs to be fixed in order for single women to find happiness. There’s one book that talks about, you know, “what your friends would tell you if they’d be honest with you.” It occurred to me that I know plenty of women who are married who are very happy but very flawed. They didn’t need to fix anything about themselves to get married.

But we have this bias in our society that marriage is good and singleness is bad, and so we feel compelled to come up with some explanation for why single women aren’t married. This need for an explanation is all about control.

You mention the concept of control several times in your book, and how it’s easier to blame someone, or dole out advice, than it is to just sit with the discomfort of not knowing–not knowing how to help, or not knowing the solution to a problem. I’m wondering how you’d counsel a person to be more supportive of a friend who may be unhappily single and looking, without falling into “control” patterns.

In this society, women are very much valued for their relationship status—not by my judgment or your judgment, but that is what we’re dealing with in our culture as a whole, this idea that a single woman is “less-than” because she doesn’t have a husband. Since that’s the case, I would put a lid on any unsolicited comments about relationship status unless the single woman brings it up herself.

So, number one, don’t bring up the subject unless it’s brought up.

Number two, I would really lay off the advice-giving. Just listen, and empathize.

A third thing is: just be a buddy, a wing man. If your friend wants to go somewhere and doesn’t want to go alone—go with her and keep her company. That kind of purely physical support can be really helpful.

What I like about your book is that, while it is very positive and encouraging, it is not blindly optimistic, either. In one of the final chapters, you answer a question from a woman who says, “Well, I’m 45, I never had a kid or got married, and I feel like I’ve missed the opportunity for these things” and your response to her is that, hey, sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we wanted. There’s an attitude of acceptance in your answer, rather than regret or shame, which I find quite rare in a relationship book.

I didn’t want to have a downer message, but I want to be realistic. It’s not easy for women in our generation, who were told we could have it all, when we find that sometimes we can’t. We all expect this linear trajectory, with checkpoints and accomplishments—perfect career, check; perfect mate, check; two children, check—that arrive at certain times.

It’s time for us to realize that, for some women, life can be a linear trajectory, but for some of us it’s a path that twists and turns and goes off on tangents that you didn’t anticipate…but if you take a step back and relax the energy of “It’s supposed to be this way,” and look at your life—it is beautiful in ways you never could have planned for.

That is not easy to do and requires a bit of detachment from our own desires, but at times it’s important to relieve ourselves of that pressure of our desires and timelines and just see the beauty of what is.

To say, “Okay, this isn’t the way I wanted it to be, but when I look back at the last five years at the things I thought I wanted, compared to the things that actually did happen, and if I’m on the path of remaining positive and excited and living life to the fullest, I bet some really cool things will happen.”

What kind of effect do you hope your book will have on people?

I have high hopes that, number one, I can encourage single women who are walking a path they didn’t anticipate and plan for, and who, in my belief system, through no fault of their own, are feeling stalled and thinking, “What happened?!”

Also, if it gets in the hands of some sympathetic friends or family members, I would love to think that it could inspire a moment of enlightenment, for someone to say, “Wow, I wonder if I’ve tried to offer advice, or some ‘cogent’ explanation for why my friend or daughter or cousin hasn’t arrived at where she wants to be in the area of marriage. Maybe I could learn something from this.”


May 19, 2010

Why love is like a terrible monster

Filed under: Treats, books — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:51 am

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Via FOBG Ben Winters, author of (among many other things) Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters:


March 25, 2010

Spinster stigma alive and well

Filed under: Psychology, books, issues, pop culture — posted by Mia @ 3:49 pm

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Single women are still feeling the “stigma” of spinsterhood, a new study of middle class, never married, women over the age of 30 has found. In fact, single women between the ages of 25 and 35 reported feeling both highly visible in certain social situations — like, God help us all, bouquet tosses at weddings — and highly invisible when it came to social status, in almost every situation from consideration by political representatives to expectations in office environments.

Despite the fact that 40% of all adults in The United States were single in 2009, it is women who often feel pressure to explain or justify their single status.

Pandagon goes into more detail about the humiliating catch-22 of the bouquet toss,and also explores the potentially harmful situations the pressure to be married can foster. That is: “men can make higher demands on women in exchange for their validation of women. Sometimes a woman’s devalued position in a relationship merely means she does most of the housework and emotional work, and her sexual satisfaction is a secondary concern. But in the worst case scenarios, culturally created female desperation can be used as leverage by domestic abusers to keep their victims in place.”

A new book by social scientist Bella DePaulo, PhD, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After
addresses all these issues and more. (The  fabulous bullet list she includes in her post about the book had me yelling, “sing it, sister!” at my computer screen.)

And here’s another antidote for all the single ladies, all the single ladies — and anybody who loves a great self-published comic: the amazingly funny and philosophic story, “My Every Single Thought” by Corinne Mucha. This comic chronicles the author’s attempt to get over an old relationship, and come to terms with a — yes — saucy new label: Single.

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