So, four things that are good in life; I need this list.
1.) I have a new phone! Due to the pretty much universality of phones at his school--and because he's thirteen and has shown responsibility--and because I cannot imagine anything more fun than me and my kid having matching Android phones so we can competitively text each other--I added a line for him, gave him Arthur the G1, and got myTouch G3 Slide in black. It's basically a streamlined G1, but neater, with five screens for icons, a slightly larger screen, a swype onscreen keyboard as well as the physical keyboard, and blah blah blah.
It does not yet have a name. I'm thinking!
2.) Child came in to point out there are no gay couples with children in cartoons or kid's shows. I want to say this came with like, some sort of catalyst, but no; apparently a week out of school with my niece and forced to watch a lot of shows about preteen girls and cartoons suitable for an eight year old have had an effect. One, he wants more books, like, now; two, there is not equal representation in television for the non-white.
To point out, this makes more sense if you know his class (and school) is minority white with a higher than average skew of kids of Turkish and Arabic descent who are also practicing Muslims. He's not exactly the most observant person on earth (thirteen year old boy; he barely remembers to wear pants sometimes), but it's hard not to notice when television life is so radically different from real life. Equally likely is that one of his friends mentioned it and he's been thinking about it for a while. Or both.
He's currently trying to create a facebook group to protest the Arizona immigration act; apparently--I am only going from what he told me--this is a very hot topic in his class among his friends.
I am not saying this is not possible; I am saying, I am trying desperately to visualize a bunch of twelve and thirteen year old kids debating this in the halls between class and failing. Did it come up in class discussion? I've been leery on those since The Day I Had to Explain Zionism and the Palestine Situation (ask me if I'm kidding; I'm not. I emailed amireal incoherently) after his school had a speaker and my extempore speeches work a lot better if they aren't about like, a hideously complex situation with a few thousand years of history and segue that into the creation of the state of Israel after World War II and that's just the goddamn background. And if I know what the hell I'm talking about.
That was fun, by the way.
3.) I made delicious hamburger steak tonight with mashed potatoes and butter. Delicious.
4.) Loretta Chase is the first romance author I have ever read who has not only non-virgin heroines, but ones that if they were married, may have even had a good first husband, and if they weren't married, it's not a source of angst to the hero not to be the one to get her special hymen magic. One even had an illegitimate child she gave away as a child herself.
The following is very true of the books about the Carsington men; Lord of Scoundrels and related have some differences in theme, though the personality of the heroines is pretty universal throughout so far.
Actually--and not to say these are great feminist literature (and with skeevy issues, though pretty historically accurate, regarding the study of "antiquities" and British and European presence in Egypt), though they manage to beat half of the New York Times Bestseller list by a mile even so, which should say something--the lack of interest in the Magical Hymen is almost jolting (in a good way!).
The heroines are different from the usual in that none of them qualify as the classic stereotype of the innocent virgin below twenty, the totally spunky, rebellious gentry girl, the crazy adventuress who totes can handle a gun (they tell you so, several times), the girl who totally break all the rules and omg is so awesome and filled with gumption and non-society-sanctioned beliefs!!!!!!!; most are over twenty five and several are over thirty, intelligent (sometimes genius), strongly principled, responsible, mature, and people in their own right with a history that love isn't supposed to fix but simply accept as a part of them. And they are also crazy, adventurous, breaking all the rules, and living their lives long before the hero came; the neat part is, at least to me, the hero fits himself into their lives as best he can, not trying to recreate it in his image, not dragging them off into his (mostly, with exceptions; I will say Loretta doesn't have a set rule on that either, but even then, I found it more interesting in the way it happens than annoying).
I think the feeling I get is that these women are, and the men see them as, someone they have to earn the right to pursue a relationship with, not someone who owes them love and forever because they are awesome and goddamn it, they deserve it. They don't get the girl because they are hot and/or rich and/or a reformed rake and she is the first to touch his heart; mostly, they get to know the woman and her life, make themselves immensely useful to what is important in her life, learn how they are the same and how they differ, and be, you know, a partner. They aren't there to take her away from it, or take anything from it; they just want to be a part of it.
Part of it, to me, was the separation between sex and the person; the women are attractive, the guys want to have sex with them, and also the other way around, established early on and then discarded as a major motivator to open up all the reasons that these two people should be together or why, barring sex, they should want to.
Or maybe I'm totally biased; I had to stop and smile when Daphne was talking about her studies regarding Egypt in depth and then breaks off, since she thinks she's boring him, and he says he doesn't understand it, but he likes when she explains things, because the way she explains it, he feels like he could, which is more than he ever got out of formal schooling. But also, I think in that book (cannot remember the name now, dammit), it's Rupert's utter lack of expectations of her as created by stereotypes that work for me. She's sometimes shocked by her sudden interest in adventuring, a little ashamed of her own genius in scholarship; Rupert never is. That's the person he met and the person she is; ergo, why should he be surprised? He's worried about her accidentally killing herself, but that's not a reason to stop her from doing anything; it's just why, he reasons, she might find a partner useful.
(I loved Rupert; he thinks she's hot and everything and wants to have sex with her like whoa, but man, he was crushing on her mind like there was no tomorrow. He wants to marry her so he can go adventuring with her and hear more awesome things about Egypt. This is a guy who will doubtless spend hours and hours and hours doing nothing but helping her unroll papyrus, getting her more ink, fetching paper, and listening to her explain her complicated theories on translation quite happily.)
(I also love Darius; he finds out the love of his life has an illegitimate child she had at sixteen and has responsibilities to her home and family, and she wants to acknowledge and raise her child that she just was reunited with. His reaction: I could be very useful helping with the raising thing and with the caring for the estate thing if you married me. Her: virginity? Him: *confused* Her: society? Him: eh. But hey, if you're worried, let me make my entire family come to the super public wedding. You know, if you want. Can we get married now? Her: ... Him: Can you tell me more about the ins and outs of making a property profitable and caring for my tenants now? While I cuddle your awesome kid?)
(Okay, and Benedict, heir to Hargate; Her: I am not acceptable to society. Him: I like the Continent; that's where we're going, right? Her: You'd be made fun of and be thrown out of your family and society forever. Him: *confused* Her: This isn't penetrating, is it? Him: Did you notice how useful I can be? Let me show you again. And make you a list. Her: Oh God. Him: Your sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency is ungodly hot.)
(..and fine, Alestair; Her: I have a duty to my father and the estate. Him: I like estates and duty. Her: My last fiancee left me because I didn't want to run away and abandon my responsibilities. Him: This estate? It's an awesome estate. I like estates, in case I didn't mention it. Her: It's like you aren't hearing the words I am saying. Him: Tell me more about your management skills regarding the estate. Oh, and more about plants! [Later] Him: You aren't worried you weren't a virgin when we met, right? Her: ...I was a virgin. Him: Really? Weird.)
You know, weirdly, I now want to see what the author would do with one of those below-twenty, just-came-out virgin girls at Almacks. Part of the strength of her characters is they are adults and therefore fun without being stupid about it, but I'm curious how she'd work with that stereotype now. Her focus on non-standard heroines, especially ones that are or would be socially unacceptable is ridiculously fun.
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