Thursday, December 8, 2011

12/8 - Is It January Yet?

And here I thought the Prudecutor was a bit off on Monday. Why does she assume:

* the Quitting Father loved his non-son all his life

* that Australian transfer and his BF haven't already boinked?

* that Nosy-14-year-old's Daddy is necessarily not part of the problem (and why does she let the poster late in the chat get away with suggesting that it might just possibly be the case that he isn't)

* the betrayed former friend necessarily wants to consider the LW dead (not that there's an easy fix)?

Then we have today. One is tempted to assume excessive consumption of eggnog.

L1: I rather wish this letter had been sent during Homocentric August, which would have given shape and substance to it. But the nearly-total lack of detail provided is potentially refreshing. It reminds me of The Herb of Death, in which Dolly Bantry, when her turn comes to tell the story of a mystery during her dinner party, claims that she can't tell a story properly. She simply relates that, when she and Arthur were part of a house party, some foxglove leaves were gathered as sage and served at dinner, with the result that a girl died. When pressed that there must be more to the story, Dolly simply answers that of course there was more, but, if she told them, they'd know what it was. It remained for the story to be pieced together through a few rounds of Twenty Quesntions.

Even though there is surprisingly limited scope to what one could conceivably tell LW1 to do, I am quite irritated by the Prudecutor here. It is not just entirely because of LW1 professing to love the two people in question the best in the world, and what this might mean, which the Prudecutor chooses to ignore. It is more her blithe assumption that LW1 must, of course, want to salvage her relationship with D1, however easily she might be able to write off H1 as a bad egg. Making groundless excuses for one of two adult and presumably equal partners in a horrific action? That is not appropriate for the Prudecution, however entertaining it might be at times when such conduct is required of defending counsel. But this letter does bear out the rule about not asking one's client questions with potentially embarrassing answers. One could present this case however one liked.

L2: It might be wise to separate the in-law from the grandparent portion of the complaint.  H2 is already on shaky ground here for not stepping in if his parents have really been treating LW2 like dirt all these years (instinct suggests a genuine difference of opinion on the issue, left unresolved). As to whether GF2 is a Molestor with a capital M or not, that probably only matters in terms of degree. Unwanted contact is unwanted contact, and it might be particularly important (despite discomfort with gendering here, but society will have a considerably say in the opposite direction) to make it quite clear to a young daughter at as early an age as possible that she has every right to refuse unwanted contact. As society will teach this to her brother perhaps rather in the opposite direction, I can live with a slight extra emphasis to girls about being able to refuse unwanted contact and a slight extra emphasis to boys about being able to accept welcome contact.

I'm going to put this situation about halfway between Cracker and Heathers. In One Day a Lemming Will Fly, a young teen boy is seen at the beginning being chased through the woods. A little later, a woman is being chased through the same woods, but that turns out to be part of a romantic escapade. It happens that the trysting pair happens upon the spot where the boy has been hanged. They quickly leave the scene. The woman eventually phones the police, and stalls for some time about her lover's identity, as they are both Married to Others. DCI Bilborough, whose wife is at nine months and overdue, goes off on the man, screaming at him that, when a child is in trouble, you go to him, not run away. Later, Penhaligon is a bit miffed by his ticking her off about her relationship with Fitz when he's on the phone to his wife or their neighbour every five minutes, only to be informed by Jimmy Beck that Katrina had been pregnant before and lost the baby. As applicable to LW2, be not thou scared off by Imperious In-laws.

LW2 falls somewhere between there and the sad example presented at Heather Chandler's funeral. While this event may be best remembered for Heather Duke's triumph, it concludes with the beginning of the end for Kurt and Ram when one of the two dweebs accidentally steps on Ram's foot. When called out, he responds with a rude gesture, inciting a spot of homophobic retaliation. What LW2 does not want to do (nor does her husband) is to emulate the other dweeb, who can just bring himself to stammer out, "L-l-let him go, Ram," to no particular effect.

L3: The Purdecutor is probably more off base here than anywhere else. She treats SF3's painting as a casual hobby when it is in this case much closer to if not actually a profession, even if SF3 does not paint for money. At least the Prudecutor is not a judge. One might well recall the surprise and indignation shown by Mr Injustice Gravestone when, during the examination of the nurse in the case of Regina versus Lady Perdita Derwent, it was revealed that the defendant was sitting topless among the family, and the incompetence of Soapy Sam Ballard in failing to point out that such had been quite customary for a woman in the act of posing for her husband Sir Daniel, highly esteemed in the Royal Academy.

While it might be possible to make a case of some interest concerning whether the no-longer-young-and-lithe might make acceptable models as well, the Prudecutorial suggestion of GFM3's tearfully pursuing her housewifely duties each day feeling despised and rejected as SF3 paints one after another of a series of nubile nudies is quite laughable. Why would a Woman of a Certain Age want to pose for long periods of time, stiffening up her muscles and finding many of her various parts turning blue from cold? It's hardly the most glamourous of pursuits for the middle-aged.

Besdies, for all we know, it might have been GFM3 who suggested the idea in the first place. If GF3 were in the position of being able to use a bit of spare cash, GFM3 might have brought up the potentially awkward idea in the first place. Why not? It might be interesting to know if this is just an expensive hobby for SF3, if he had ever been a professional artist and sold his work, indeed if any pictures of GF3 might have been sold already and thus not been available to be shown to LW3, who really is almost in the position of being better off if he were to dump himself. I shall leave it to my good friend the Submariner to declare whether there is any justification in finding a frontal view more disturbing than a rear view.

It does seem a bit odd that this is a long-term relationship, given how LW3 is reacting. Presumably GF3 has been sitting to SF3 for the duration, and LW3 ought to have known before The Great Revelation that such had been the case. All things considered, I am forced to conclude that this, like the breastfed-5-year-old at the dinner table, is another of those issues that revolves entirely around patriarchal attitudes about the female breast. Accordingly, I punt on the answer and leave any formal declarations to the Submariner, a discerning gentleman of extensive experience and expertise.

L4: Another letter that would have been so well suited to August!

The initial reaction is that the blanket in question must just look severely offputting. Not that this ought to make a difference, perhaps, but I can see why it might. I wish LW4 had been a bit more precise about the nature and particulars of skeeved. It might also be interesting to know why, after LW4 was able to cope without the blanket for so long, he felt it necessary to bring it out again. It might be that it just enhances his life, but it could potentially signal that the relation has rather less of a halcyon quality to it than LW4 might maintain.

It might also be interesting to determine exactly what constitutes sitting with it. The mental image that springs to mind is very Linusian without the thumb-sucking. Now, holding and caressing one's blanket in a Linusian manner is perfectly harmless. One might suggest to any number of people who conduct relationships of various sorts with LW4 that the occasional comfort-taking does not impair LW4's capacity to function in the relationship. But one must make one exception. Most of the relationship LW4 has in life are not predicated upon the other party spontaneously developing and maintaining something that points rigidly at LW4 of its own accord.

It is at this point that I am finally going to gender my response. I propose to the Jury that BF4's objection to the blanket is that it makes him feel like a pederast. I shall disagree here with Mr Keenan, author of Putting on the Ritz. In one of his most Wodehousian scenes, Philip Cavanaugh, songwriter for Elsa Champion, infiltrates the office on her husband's yacht in search of incriminating documents (he finds mainly dominatrix-related porn, which will be highly entertaining but of little value to Peter Champion's enemy). On hearing someone approach, he hides under the expansive desk after discovering that his best friend (and, in this case, rival for the affections of Tommy Parker) Gilbert Selwyn (who'd wormed his way on as a crew member) is already there on a similar mission. The new arrivals are Peter and Elsa's younger sister Kitty. Peter and Kitty then proceed to enact Aphrodite Encountered by a Saucy Shepherd (which Philip has the great presence of mind to record) in a manner that suggests Shakespeare as played by Sir Laurence Olivier opposite Vivian Vance. It then become Kitty's turn to hide under the desk; Elsa arrives. Having sung better than ever during a preview of her upcoming Rainbow Room appearance, Elsa is in high spirits. When she notices Peter's inflamed state, she is encouraged to make romantic advances in baby talk. Peter's choosing to decline her advances in firm adult negatives spells firm trouble in the near future.

But here I will go out on a limb and suggest that a pederastic feeling is potentially more damaging to a same-sex relationship than an opposite-sex one. same-sexers, even those who frequent the company only of their contemporaries, have frequently to cope with unfair comparisons and being called Nasty Names in a way that is not required of those of the straight persuasion, even those who marry teenagers young enough to be their daughters or granddaughters. Now, again, in many concerns, one might just say, So What? But a friend or co-worker is not expected spontaneously to develop and maintain an object that will point rigidly at LW4 without manual assistance. The Prudecutor's response here is even worse than her response to L3, where the advice is just completely wrong. Here she is more reasonable in the end product, but the suggested tone is exactly designed to produce the wrong effect by infantilizing LW4 further.

There ought to be some sort of compromise. I'd hope that BF4 would be capable of seeing LW4, for instance, handle a small portion of the rebarbative blanket detached and carried as a talisman. I'd hope that that might be sufficient for LW4 - always assuming, of course, that the reasons behind the return of the blanket to active duty don't signal serious trouble in the relationship to begin with. Or perhaps the blanket could live in a certain location during particular hours and LW4 be allowed free usage the rest of the time? Or possibly BF4 might conceal his groans in consideration of some reciprocal indulgence?

Moral:  "There is an unwritten law of relationships, a law that all couples, gay or straight, ignore only at their peril:  When one partner requests sexual attention and elects to do so in baby talk, the other partner, if disinclined, must make sure when refusing to employ the same dialect. To decline, as Peter did now, in a straightforward and adult fashion is to add insult to injury and cause the loved one to retaliate by calling for an immediate and exhaustive dissection of the entire relationship with special emphasis on the issues of insensitivity and sexual unresponsiveness."


  1. Bravo, hrumpole! Your take on L3 is, of course, outstanding, and, in answer to your query, I don't find anything offensive, even remotely so, about a painting depicting the front or the rear of either gender. Especially ones the LW himself describes as "tasteful." The only disturbance I could muster regarding a frontal view would be if the drapery was not closed, but that most assuredly would *not* be tasteful, so, that wouldn't have been the case.

    As for L4, I applaud your interpretation. I'd not thought of the pederast angle, and, further, believe it to make perfectly good sense. It is certainly as plausible as other interpretations, and would perhaps explain a bit more of the disdain from the BF. Regardless, your suggested solution in blog's comment page was outstanding (no pun intended), and one I hope our LW attempts to employ.

    Much good cheer, hrumpole! :-)

  2. Many thanks. I really thought it almost high genius on the part of the Prudecutor to hit on the absolute worst tack possible.

    You should give a retroactive opinion about the breastfed-at-table five-year-old. It was on a Monday, but it's inspired some extremely long threads elsewhere.

  3. Greetings, hrumpole! Oh, I did read the five-year-old breastfeeding piece. I didn't catch any of the discussions, but, I do know how I feel about it: breastfeeding, in and of itself, is not in any way gross or disgusting. However, even with the smallest of infants, a mother can easily learn (and 99% of them do) to use a feeding blanket or other cover to keep herself covered. Not that breasts are inherently offensive, but, just because our cultural norms and manners request it. And, even though I'm a male, having been around plenty of breastfeeding children, I can confidently state that it's not a difficult habit to develop. At all. And most of the time, you can't even tell the mother is feeding her child!

    That said, a child who is old enough to speak can learn enough about cultural norms not to ask for breastfeeding at the table. Too, a mother can express milk into a container ahead of time. Breastfeeding a five year old at the dinner table of people you've never met? That's an act of aggression, and the mother, in my opinion, was just begging for confrontation.

    Oh well. At least it makes for a good "crazy relative" story 'round Thanksgiving time. :-)

    Much good cheer!