Thursday, July 21, 2011

7/21 - A Contest for August, plus the Strindberg Solution

First, the contest. It has come to mind that there is little point to being the dominant societal group without a good many people not belonging to the group actually trying to pass as memebers. And, as asked elsewhere, what would come to mind if one were to envision Martina Navratilova at net ready to volley? One would hope to hit a good passing shot. Accordingly, let it be announced that Homocentric August will contain a Passing Shots competition.

The gentle reader is invited to make his or her best submission during the month of August. Give any of the inquiries during that month, be it on a Monday or a Thursday, one's best homocentric spin. Those who succeed in passing will be so honoured. And the provider of the best entry will receive the honourary distinction of being named a PFCE Professor of Poofery. Any gentle reader who would be rendered ineligible because it would not be passing is welcome to join the Judging Panel.

Further details pending.

On to this week's Quick Thoughts:

L1: So only people without difficult characters are entitled to have companion animals and be told the truth when such an animal is killed in an accident? Oh, dear.

As much as, given her advice, appropriate karma would be for the Prudecutor's husband to disappear one day without telling her anything and for everyone she knows to suspect her of murder in consequence, one cannot be overly fierce to anyone who grasps the vital concept of Never Plead Guilty. Hire one of those services whose proprietors perform ordinary chores for clients. If necessary, call on the business premeses in disguise and pay in cash. The agent can inform the old crank that his cat died accidentally, and be authorized to fund the purchase or adoption of another cat if the old grump would like such a thing. Very likely it's more than the old grump deserves, but the cat deserves proper respect. And the LW and husband should also make a large donation to an animal-related charity to atone for their wanton callousness.

L3: Shacking up? Oh, Prudecutor. Who died and made you Dr Schlessinger? Besides, as we all know from the film Barcelona, one only uses the term "shacking up" when one dislikes or disapproves of one of the parties involved. Therefore, according to the annoying Ted, Monserrat and her previous beau were shacking up, but, if she were to move in with Ted, they would just be living together.

Also, unless D3 and F3 have a suicide pact in place, this is highly likely to sort itself out without any need for histrionics from LW3. D3 will probably die before F3, at which point, when she meets a new beau, she will probably be quite content to relinquish D3 to FW3. Perhaps instead of asking the Prudecutor, LW3 should have consulted the new Open Champion, Darren Clarke.

L4: One must cross-examine LW4 as to whether the getting drunk during her training occurred on the company dime or not. The letter could read either way. If so, LW4 should have done something at the time, and it may or may not be too late. If all the shenanigans occur on the participants' own time and there is no compromised image or efficiency during office hours, then LW4 should just change departments.

The main letter, L2:

Well, let us get things straight. HBF2 invites himself over to LW2's and H2's home. What policy did they establish about uninvited guests? (I'll guess they never bothered.) How sure is LW2 that H2 hasn't given BF2 a standing invitation, or isn't inviting him over a good deal more often than she knows? 2-3 times a week. How often does LW2 see her best friend? What does H2 think about that, if anything? After all, we would not want to connive at a double standard. Eating in the basement - again, does H2 occasionally or often eat in the basement? and why does she not accompany them rather than stew in the kitchen? Why not eat in the dining room on a regular basis, which would make it seem less acceptable to take dinner to the basement? Invitations out - how are finances handled in the family? Is LW2 appreciative that at least H2 consults her? Do they have an equal say, and do both of them have reasonalbe funds set aside for independent frivolous expenditure (naturally less given impending parenthood)? Can H2 afford an occasional outing, and is LW2 willing to allow him to indulge with appropriate moderation, or is she clamping down on "unnecessary" expenditure with all her might? Has LW2 made it clear to her husband that taking F2's side against her but claiming that she has all the power to stop it is disrespectful and divisive? How happy were they really before F2 reemerged? Was H2 just letting LW2 call all the shots because he had little motivation to oppose her policies? In what way has the relationship changed from matrimonial to maternal? And is this a genuine change, or have the cracks just started showing?

For the Prudecutor: How does what H2 been doing match the style of life taken up by an overgrown frat boy? A real OFB would be capable of a good deal worse, surely? By putting a stop to things, is this supposed to be something done by C2 acting together, or is LW2 supposed to drag her husband kicking and screaming into maturity whether he likes it or not? Is it her home or their home? Is LW2 willing to restrict time with her best friend to the same amount of time she can convince H2 to restrict himself to spending with F2?

Personally, I am inclined to think that LW2 owes F2 a huge thank you. He has shown her that she and H2 are nowhere near as compatible as she thought they were. There is still time for her to abort and divorce, and start again with someone whose views fit better with hers. Or is she really going to insist that H2 has to change into the person she wants him to be? What is she prepared to do if he won't? It does sound potentially as if she's just having a bit of a temper tantrum because her undisputed reign over the free time of the man she'd isolated has been challenged. At the very least, it would be easy to present such spin to the Jury. In reality, it seems as if there are just a lot of basics on which the couple never managed to agree early on - and they may have found out just in time. But LW2 had better be careful to be willing to accept any restrictions she intends to impose.

My parallel goes back to Strindberg, who did pen a book of short stories called Getting Married. What was interesting about the collection at the time was that some of the stories presented marriage in an egalitarian light. It may well be that the story called "A Doll's House" is the one I mean in which Strindberg attempted to refute the Ibsen play of the same name. A wife befriended a feminist, and wanted to become emancipated. Her husband's early attempts to restrict contact with the disturbing element failed. What was he to do?

LW2 has a number of tactics to try besides straightforward discussion/counseling. She can play up any little difficulties she is having with her pregnancy in an attempt to bring out his Inner He-Man, but that might leave her with bigger problems once that particular djinn escapes the lamp. She might simply give the two men so much rope that H2 eventually tires of F2. She might make a point of matching everything H2 does herself with her own best friend. She might try making a point of joining them as often as possible until F2 decides that visiting is no fun. Or she might do as Strindberg's hero and befriend F2 herself. At first, H2 will be pleased, but then, as LW2 begins inviting F2 over much more often than her husband would like, and when H2 won't be there, and maybe gives him just the tiniest little hints that there's a little spark of attraction between them, then it's possible that H2's interest in spending time with his friend will dwindle as quickly as the wife in Strindberg's story began disassociating herself from her feminist friend once her husband began to be the friend's greatest partisan.

Moral (taken from A Meeting in Rome, which imagines the details of a meeting between Ibsen and Strindberg that never actually happened, although interest was expressed on both sides): "Imagine how I feel," spoken by Strindberg's actress wife Siri when he expresses his nervousness once on the doorstep.

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