For sheer pith, of course, nothing can match Breakup Girl Haiku. But Morning Glory of Jezebel has given us a veritable Valentine of (swollen) purple prose, by pointing us — through this post — to the Tumblr Romance Club. There, as MoGlo puts it, “sometimes embarrassed but always funny consumers of erotic literature…write book reviews summarizing their paper conquests.” The sheer hilarity of these descriptions is BG-post-worthy enough (”Larkspur is a fair maiden on the Chrystal Isle in the Avalon Sea whose father is a dolphin shifter [he can take both forms]. This is pretty irrelevant to the plot, but they mention it, so I thought I would too.”); go now and read through the whole site. I’ll wait.
OK. See, what I adore about those Tumblr posts — and frankly, what makes for the best humor in general — is the (heaving, pounding) heart behind them. These writers are fans, fans who get what’s funny about these books and who get sincere unironic pleasure from them. They don’t kid because they snark. They kid because they love.
But anyway, so the original Jez post took to task a recent USA Today article that advised gentlemen (PAY ATTENTION!): “If you want to show the woman you love how much you care, take a page from a romance novel: look into her eyes, focus on what she says and really talk to her.” This gave MoGlo pause. “Wait a second. What? Act more like dudes in romance novels? Aren’t dudes in romance novels kind of… rapey?”
She’s referring, in part, to this Romance Club review:
BUT! When it comes time for the sexxing, Kit decides that he’s had enough of the wooing, and straight-up says that he will have her, even if it means raping her.
Now, to be fair, Rue gets into the whole thing, but STILL. YOU CAN’T JUST DO THAT. It’s gross, and not only that, it’s totally unnecessary. Kresley Cole has a sh*tload of paranormal alpha heroes, and not ONCE is there even a hint of coercion. Our girl Zoe Archer has paranormal historical alpha heroes, and they do not rape. Because unlike Kit, they manage to be both hot AND not a total f*cking *sshole.
I was enjoying the book up until this point, since there’s a lot of really awesome historical dress and house pr0n, lots of fun Independent Woman action from the heroine, and lots of dragons. But at this point, I don’t care how much Rue likes this dude. He dropped an r-bomb. That is not sexy. Ever. No.”
First of all, I am totally borrowing “*RECORDSCRATCH*.” Second, amen. Third, an update. I’m pleased to note that Romance Club responded to the Jez post with this caveat: “…[T]he rapey review I posted this morning was a complete coincidence, and really, the genre has for the most part moved FAR beyond those kinds of plot devices. Free sh*tty books, while always hilarious, are not the best examples of the genre. I’ve reviewed several books I’ve absolutely loved, and none of them have any kind of forced sex whatsoever.” Good to know. No. really!
And just to circle back to the top, it turns out — if this study is any indication — that women are more attracted to pirates who really listen men whose feelings are unclear. NOT BECAUSE WE “LIKE” TO BE JERKED AROUND. But simply because when you’re not 100% sure if someone’s into you, you spend more time thinking about them, which in turn only heightens your interest. (Clearly this gargoyle did not get that memo.)
Behold: Sweet Talking Ken. This new fella from Mattel will repeat back anything someone says into his wee little recorder, which is puzzling to me considering that if you can get a guy to say exactly what you want into Ken’s wee little recorder, WHY DO YOU NEED KEN? Oh! Maybe that is why you can play the voice back at three different pitches, ranging from Darth Vader to normal to that adorable pre-pubescent kid who sang Dock of the Bay. So like, in hetero-normative toyland, ifa gal records her voice saying, “You’re the only girl for me,” or “Nancy Pelosi: Best speaker ever!” and then sets playback to low-pitched, it might kinda sorta sound like a guy? Okay. I’m still puzzled, but I guess ULTIMATE BOYFRIENDS (see his shirt) are just a little mysterious like that.
Two new movies starring four very attractive people pose the questions: (1) Can “friends with benefits” arrangements work? and (2) Natalie Portman?! On (1) I’m leaning no, if only on the grounds that I would definitely fall for Justin Timberlake.
But Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com gives the matter deeper consideration. But her bottom line is basically this: “When you talk to people who have been there and done that — and even those who are continuing to do that — the response is overwhelmingly negative. As my own former ‘friend with benefits’ put it, ‘I’ve been in so many of these situations and, basically, they work until they don’t.’”
Read the rest (Tracy does a bunch of reporting and covers a lot of thoughtful ground) and let us know what you think: Does FWB ever benefit anyone? Under what particular circumstances? Share away, ’cause don’t worry; we won’t expect anything more from you than a good time.
Via BoingBoing and Wired.com (click here for full backstory): a deeply creepy, Triplets-of-Belleville-in-hell 1970s U.S. Navy sex-educational video, slash, “great holiday gift for your sexually reckless and technologically backward friends.”
Currently making the rounds: a thoroughly modern tale of revenge via Netflix. As Helena Popkin reports at MSNBC:
It takes a cuckold of true imagination, and at least a passing knowledge of the Netflix movie-suggesting algorithm to strike out in a subtle and personal way, it wins the (somewhat horrified) admiration of Web community Reddit, the primordial ooze of current Internet creativity.
“My girlfriend cheated on me, so I rated movies in her netflix account until I reached the desired result,” wrote Reddit user Contra3, who posted the…screen grab [at right] as evidence of his handiwork.
As you’ll see, a theme has emerged among the movies Netflix now thinks Girlfriend Non Grata will <3, such as The Scarlet Letter, Unfaithful, and, well, Whore. While BG generally objects to revenge (and, for that matter, to using “whore” and “slut” as insults), I gotta say this one made me crack a smile. So now the bar’s set pretty high. Next time you contemplate revenge, ask yourself: is my scheme as clever/elegant/no-one-(else)-gets-hurt as Contra3’s? (And does it involve Bambi?)
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.
Teen Mom’s Amber Portwood has dealt quite a few blows, physical and emotional, to her oafish fiance-ish, Gary Shipley. This we know — cameras were rolling! — and this we cannot excuse. But this example has, like many before it, provoked the question: is female-on-male violence on the rise?
Today at Salon.com, BG’s alter ego tackles the answer. And suggests, in the process, that it’s not the most helpful question to be asking in the first place. In short: females have always been violent, towards men and otherwise. Specific DOJ data points show that when it comes to certain types of intimate partner violence, rates of certain types of aggression can be equal or mutual between men and women. (And neither is to be justified.) But: men are far more likely to put their female partners in the hospital, and men are far more likely to commit the ongoing, deeply damaging form of abuse known as battery, or even domestic terrorism.
That is not to say MEN SUCK; WOMEN WIN THE VICTIM PRIZE. Not at all. It’s to say that false equivalence between male and female violence is unhelpful and un-illuminating, possibly even damaging to all victims. As Lynn writes: “But when it comes to pop culture and public discourse, [female violence] needs to be discussed on its own face and in its own context, with its own set of causes and implications, not as a game of one-upmanship.”
Read the rest here. And if you — female or male — feel at all unsafe in your relationship, please click here.