Posts Tagged ‘independent women’

We write a lot about history here, but no necessarily our personal history. I am a firm believer that if we pay attention to the lessons of history, we can learn from them. In that spirit, here is a portion of my history, and I hope it helps someone.
I once dated a real jerk, let’s call him Jerkface Root. Don’t get me wrong, he had good qualities, too. He was brave, good-looking, intelligent, and funny. Unfortunately, he was also a liar, inconsiderate, selfish, and had a temper. For a while our relationship was good. Yes, I saw the bad qualities he possessed, but I thought it had to do with his time in war. I thought those unpleasant tendencies would ease up after he spent more time stateside. After all, I’m not one to shirk from a challenge, and I have a pretty nasty temper myself. We fought occasionally. (Not physically, mind you. True, Root had some PTSD issues. However, I only ever felt he would actually hit me once, and to his credit he restrained himself.) We had a lot of good times, too. Most people really liked him. Most people thought we worked very well together.
We talked about our future, about getting married. As we talked a funny thing began to happen, I noticed that the more we talked about our future the more it seemed like his future. He had very specific ideas about his life and very little concern about what that meant for mine. We fought.
However, at this point, about two years in, I was convinced that we were meant to be together. I actually started thinking about different ways to change my plans to match his. He never budged.
Everything shifted when I spent a summer in a foreign land in which I did not know a soul. I was happy. I realized I didn’t actually need Root for my life to be fulfilling. I could be happy all by my onsie. Still, I wanted to make it work with Root. I did love him after all. When I returned to the US, I began to stop budging myself. I decided that if he wanted a life with me, he would have to work with me instead of me just giving in constantly. I really dug in my heels. We began to fight a lot more.
Right before a holiday celebration we had a doozy of a fight about his unwavering position, and how that would absolutely not be possible with what I wanted to do, and couldn’t he just move an inch to help me out. He didn’t. I gave him an ultimatum: he had to either change and compromise with me, or he would lose me. I gave him three weeks.
He did not change. We broke up.
For a while after breaking up we maintained a friendship. He saw other people. I saw other people. We remained on good terms and even went camping together. (Separate tents and all, no worries.)
Twice after we broke up, he asked me back. He said he had changed. He said he wanted a life with me. Twice I believed him. Twice he shattered my heart.
I was wrong. He was still the same inflexible, inconsiderate person he had always been, and probably always will be.
Do me a favor, if you find yourself in my position, get out when you first notice these inhospitable traits. Get out before you waste four years or more of your life on a man who does not deserve you. Because whoever he might be, he is not worth re-directing your life when he would not do the same.

This is just my side of the story. I shouldn’t have to point out that I’m no saint. I have not-so-good qualities in my own personality. However, in my defence, I have managed to remain on friendly speaking terms with all of my other ex-boyfriends, which I figure is a pretty good character reference.

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We normally do not write about movies here, but I had to share this documentary because it is brilliant! Prohibition: A film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Prohibition Doc by Burns and NovickIn all fairness, I do have a soft spot for the 1910s-1920s. (I think I would have made an excellent spunky suffragette.) However, if you’re interested in American history, or just a well-made documentary, you should probably check this one out. I learned a lot about the era, and I really enjoyed all of the actual footage used.

Interesting tidbits among many that can be learned from the documentary:

After 1830, the average American over 15 years old drank almost seven gallons of pure alcohol a year! That comes to about three times as much as we drink today. Frankly, I don’t know how they functioned properly. If I drank three times the amount I drink now, I’d be completely useless.

The figures in terms of the economic consequences of Prohibition are staggering! In the state of New York, prior to Prohibition, nearly 75% of the state’s tax revenue came from taxes on liquor. Nationally, Prohibition cost the U.S. $11 billion in lost tax revenue. On top of which, it cost America another $300 million to enforce a practically unenforceable law.

I knew women played a large role in the Dry movement. With rampant alcohol abuse and the fact that spousal rape and abuse were not illegal, who can blame them? The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was quite a force. It’s still around, too. It is the oldest non-sectarian woman’s organization if the world. It also played a large role in women’s suffrage. What I did not know was there was another large, powerful woman’s group which was behind Repeal. The Woman’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform was founded by heiress and the first woman to serve on the Republican National Committee, Pauline Sabin.

Also, my new favorite historical figure is Lois Long the indelible flapper and writer for the New Yorker.


Watch Women in PROHIBITION Lois Long on PBS. See more from Ken Burns.

All of the facts (except maybe the bit about the WCTU which is on their website) can be found on the documentary or on the doc’s website: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition/  You can basically watch all of it online, if that suits better.
A big thanks to PBS for funding such stellar productions.
Another big thanks to my pal, Brandon, for giving me the documentary as a Christmas present. I love it!

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I’ll admit, I’m not the greatest at keeping up with the goings-on of the world. Considering I have a B.A. in journalism, it’s probably a good thing I never went on to pursue a career in journalism. There are, however, a few things that I keep watch on–namely gay and reproductive rights.

Today, I came across this petition and letter. Personally, I’m shocked that the Susan G. Koman corporation revoked funding for Planned Parenthood, based on new company rules that exclude supporting foundations under investigation from the government. I don’t care what your views are on abortions or birth control, I think it’s amazing that the Susan G. Koman, a BREAST cancer research and funding organization, stopped funding another organization that provides medical services to underserved and/or insurance-less women in America. These medical services include Breast exams.

I really, really, wish the people wielding the power in these situations would stop and think about what they are doing and saying. Imagine you lost your job and no longer had insurance. Where do you (or your wife/daughter) go for their yearly pelvic exam? Not the doctor’s office, because that would cost far more than you can afford at this point in time. In these situations most women turn to Planned Parenthood. Yes, there are other organizations, and they are just as important. However, Planned Parenthood has a history and a following. You might think you’ll never need them, but, come times of trouble, you’ll know at least one place to turn.

I know this from experience. I won’t go into detail, but I had a scare while in school. I was still under my parents health insurance, but I couldn’t find a doctor’s office near me that accepted that particular insurance. I could go to the clinic at school, but since I didn’t have the school’s health insurance the visit would cost $80-$100. Being a poor, lowly student, I couldn’t afford that. The first place I turned was Planned Parenthood. Without that option I shudder to think of what would happen (nothing health wise, well maybe mental health. It turns out I was fine, but I was getting really stressed  and scared).

In my opinion taking away organizations like Planned Parenthood (once PP goes away, you know smaller groups will slowly die) will bring us back to the days of yore. Yes, we at 3 Bluestockings love history and historical fiction. But do we really want to live in those periods? Sure they have some advantages, but there are several disadvantages. Like lack of suffrage. Terrible treatment of women in lower positions–if you watched Downton Abbey the past few weeks you’ll know what I’m talking about (although it can be argued that this problem still exists today, see this video about slut shaming). Taking away women’s rights would bring us back in time, and not just to the turn of the century and earlier. Have you ever watched Mad Men? Granted it’s a fantastic show, but I cannot watch it without feeling for my grandmother, my mother and her sisters. It’s unfathomable to me that my mother was a teenager at time when sexual innuendoes and what-we-call-harrasment today were an everyday occurrence.

My mom worked at a factory before going to college, and once I asked her about Mad Men and whether or not the office interactions are accurate, she told me this story: Apparently there was this foreman type guy at the factory who would ask the female workers to sit in his lap and “see what comes up.” As a child of the late 80s, I am totally appalled at this type of behavior. What scares me most, is that this interaction happened around 1969. That’s only 43 years ago. Technically, 1969 does not fit our (mine, Sapphire and Cornflower’s) definition of bygone times.

I have a really hard time accepting the view that it’s okay to deny basic human rights to someone just because they can’t afford health insurance, and yet this, along with rampant sexual harassment was the norm only 40 years ago. We’ve come so far, yet we could fall back so easily. The first step is denying women basic health rights. Which include breast exams, which if you ask me requires an experienced medical hand. Breasts are naturally sort of lumpy…  Also, cancer and STDs terrify me, and if we got everyone in the United States to get tested regularly I truly believe the world would be a better place.

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For my second selection in the YA Historical Fiction Challenge, I opted for Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I think younger teens and tweens would like the book even more than I did.

Daughter of XanaduThe heroine of story is a fictional granddaughter of the Great Khan and a great-granddaughter of Genghis Kahn, Princess Emmajin. The feminist in me cheered at Emmajin’s spunk and desire to be a great warrior. She’s athletic, brave, not the smartest person in the room, but not dumb either, and not a great public speaker; she seems like your average female jock a few centuries early. Basically, a cool tomboy that many not-so-avid readers could relate to, and I do hope they find this book. I also liked the opportunity to read about a time and place that I don’t read about very often.

My only real problem with the book is that the writing isn’t stellar. It’s not bad per say, but it’s a bit lacking in details and unique descriptions. However, the writing style suits its audience very well, and just because it doesn’t quite live up to my adult standards doesn’t make it a bad YA book.

Generally, I liked it; after all, I didn’t put it down. However, I doubt I’ll ever read it again. In fact, I was going to donate it to my public library, but by chance I have a signed copy. Therefore, it’ll stay in my collection. Sorry, library!

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Warning, I’m about to have a little pity party here. And a push for Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Like Sapphire so eloquently put it a while back, technology brings along its own special brand of problems, along with incredible advantages. Take Facebook for example. It’s made keeping in touch with my high school, study abroad and college friends so easy. If I were to rely solely on the phone could I plan weekend trips to Vegas with people who all live in different states? Could I easily figure out who on my college swim team is also interested in sharing a room when I go to another swimmer’s wedding in September? Probably not, because frankly, I’m not the greatest at keeping in touch with the traditional methods. I hate talking on the phone and I will send out letters or emails but not on a regular basis. Facebook and Twitter is an (almost) instantaneous way to keep in touch, even if I don’t actually speak or write to a person–their status updates or other wall posts update me just as much as a quick text message or phone call.

The other reason to see this movie, and the reason why I'm going to read The Help.

So what’s the problem? You know too much. At least I have this problem. For example, several friends from high school who I didn’t really keep in touch with through college got engaged this past year, one yesterday. Suddenly, seeing everything on the Internet and seeing their excitement makes me so incredibly jealous.I know that’s mean-spirited of me and I know their happiness wouldn’t bother me as much if I didn’t have access to pictures etc. I guess at this point in my life I figured I’d at least have a boyfriend. The two most meaningful relationships I’ve had were either one-sided (mine) or a glorified friends with benefits.

Seeing what seems like the majority of my high school classmates finding happiness of some kind is just depressing and highlights my lack. At least while I was still technically in grad school I could pretend I had the career part of my life figured out, but now that I’m officially an MS and unemployed there’s no covering up my lack of career. Sure my contemporaries probably don’t have their careers figured out either (except one and she’s also engaged, so part of me kind of hates her, but not really), but at least they have love figured out. They have someone besides their mothers to rely on and cry to when job interviews turn up nothing.

Oh, Ryan

The other thing that totally bums me out, is that every single one of these girls I mentioned met their fiances in college. Do you know how incredibly hard it is to meet guys outside of college? Sapphire and I just got back from watching Crazy, Stupid, Love and Ryan Gosling plays a womanizer. During the montages of him seducing the ladies I have to wonder, what self-respecting woman goes home with the random, albeit HOT, smooth talker? Not that all men in bars do that, but at least in the bars I’ve been, getting the girl to go home with you seems like their ultimate priority.  And if you don’t meet in bars where do you meet? Given that I’ll probably move to some strange new state I won’t have friends I can mingle with and meet new people.

Actually, scratch meeting guys, where on earth do you make girlfriends? I can’t say I’ve ever made friends outside of a school setting. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself. I just pray I won’t become a crazy dog lady (I’d say cats but they make me sneeze). Actually, I probably won’t even be able to become a crazy insert-animal-here lady because I won’t be able to afford the upkeep–hello student loans!

So, I’m sorry for my pity party, but I feel like I have nothing going for me now. I’ll be moving in with my brother for goodness sakes. And go see Crazy, Stupid, Love. Not only is Ryan Gosling über attractive, but the clothes made my friend E melt into a puddle of fashion inspired mush.

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A Review of My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira

I must first report that this is only the second American Civil War-era book I’ve read from the perspective of a Union sympathizer. (The first being Little Women.) I found the perspective interesting. Especially since the book only covers up until the Battle of Antietam in detail, the half of the war wherein the South actually stood a chance of seceding. So the concern about our Union was made very real.

The book follows the adventures of a young midwife who wants to become a surgeon, Mary Sutter. The book is well-written, and the pace is fast enough to keep me engaged. There is an element of a love story, but the focus is the Civil War and a woman breaking into a man’s profession. A warning: the book details mid-19th century birth and amputations. This book is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.

My Name is Mary SutterMary’s physical description is basically, attractive “though there was nothing attractive about her. Her features were far too coarse, her hair far too wild and already beginning to silver” (1.) However, at least two men fall for Mary throughout the book. If nothing else, that was refreshing. All too often heroines are either beautiful, or described as “plain” but when further details emerge they seem to paint a picture of loveliness. I personally believe that attraction is less about looks and more about confidence, and Mary is full of that.

I loved how Oliveira describes the battles, and even more, how she describes President Lincoln. He makes several cameos throughout the novel. Lincoln is portrayed as an intelligent, humorous man forced to make some of the most difficult decisions our country has faced. Judging from every other account I’ve read, it is an accurate picture of the 16th president.

It’s probably the Feminist coming out in me, but my favorite part of the book was Mary’s struggle to become a surgeon and prove to men that she was just as capable. The first amputation she aides is a complete accident. The doctor did not even want her in the room, but the man who was supposed to assist ran out of the building scared. *High five women everywhere!*

Basically, this is an excellent book. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in Civil War fiction, accounts of women’s experiences, an older teen considering medicine, or just someone interested in a well-researched historical fiction book.

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As I’m sure  many of you know, The Princess Bride is one of the greatest movies ever made. There’s love, sword fighting, giants, a little Fred Savage and Miracle Max. But there’s one thing that’s always bothered me about the movie. When Westley is posing as the Dread Pirate Roberts and Buttercup says, “I have loved more deeply than a killer like yourself could ever dream” Westley raises his fist as though to strike Buttercup. He says, “that was a warning, Highness. Next time my hand flies on its own. Where I come from, there are penalties when a woman lies,” yet two seconds later he’s all “aaas yooou wiiissh” as he tumbles down the hillside (after Buttercup pushes him) and she’s all, “Oh my sweet Westley what have I done?” Now, if my boyfriend (ex-boyfriend, love of my life etc) tried to hit me there’s no way I’d jump down a steep hill after him. He’d be lucky if he ever heard from me again.

Yet, abuse is an ever-present (horrible) occurrence. According to a recent study, “on the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.” The phenomenon is even more common amongst young, white couples.

Until recently, I thought domestic abuse was largely a thing of the past, or (please don’t hate me) something that occurred in poorer, less educated families. Yet many of the women interviewed in the article are intelligent and hold advanced degrees. At the risk of sounding like I’m blaming the victim, I agree with those experts who believe part of the problem stems from women’s general increase in power in our society. Is women’s power a bad thing? Absolutely not. It only causes harm when we, as women, become too confident in our power and are unable to ask for help. Which seems like a general trend. I know that I hate asking for help or showing signs of “weakness,” but we have to realize that some situations shouldn’t be dealt with individually. As the saying goes, “it takes a village.”

I don’t want to say abuse was ever acceptable, but it definitely isn’t now. Yet, Westley’s almost abuse isn’t the only thing that relates to today’s (scary) romantic world. Humperdink marries, or at least plans on marrying Buttercup, in order to kill her. His hope is that her death will cause a war between two countries. I’m assuming he hoped for increased land or riches or something although the outcome is never specified. Yet, I highly doubt that Gabe Watson or Shrien Dewani were planning on starting a war when they killed their wives shortly after the wedding.

This terrifies me. Especially since I like to think I’m strong and smart etc, but I’ve never been in that situation. How do I really know how I would respond? Add to that, I tend to like the “bad boys,” at least in literature. As if the fear of rejection, STDs and other intensely scary dating and relationship worries weren’t enough, we now have to think about abuse, or worse, death.

While the Westley character never really appealed to me (when Buttercup is about to kill herself, why does he think a comment on the perfectness of her boobs is appropriate?), I want to find mine. I want to have the kiss that ranks in the top four in the history of the world. But, now I’m afraid that I’ll be too afraid to find him, or that when I do, I’ll be too afraid to make that leap of faith.

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I recently finished Susan Vreeland’s Clara and Mr. Tiffany. A turn of the century account of Tiffany’s premier designer, Clara Driscoll, it is a story of passion, intensity, and yearning for validation.

Clara and Mr. Tiffany, Susan Vreeland
First, at the risk of judging a book by its cover, I have to say how much I love this one. I know the art department of the publisher probably had more to do with it than the author, but whoever designed it really hit the nail on the head. The silhouetted figure of a woman in front of the Magnolias and Irises leaded glass window (which can be seen in full at the Met) is evocative of the anonymity of the woman’s department at Tiffany’s and of both Clara’s struggle for recognition and her immersion in her work, to the point of it bleeding into her non-professional life.

Now to the book itself. In a few words, Clara and Mr. Tiffany is the story of Clara Driscoll, the manager of the woman’s department at Tiffany Studios (colored glass windows and lamps, not jewelry), taking the reader both through her life after being widowed and returning to work and showing her relationship with Louis Comfort Tiffany through her prolific career in the decorative arts at the turn of the 19th century.

The story is well researched and lush with detail. Vreeland is able to immerse the reader in a time when women were only beginning to take their place as equals in the workplace. Conflicts of the period are alluded to and in some cases take a central role in the plot; labor unions, strikes, social reform, immigration, and gender discrimination are all pivotal parts of Clara’s life and affect characters’ decisions throughout the book.

Yet, my favorite part of Vreeland’s writing and the heart of the book are not historical details but, rather, her descriptions of the lamps, windows, and objects d’art designed and produced by the woman’s department at Tiffany Studios and her use of Clara’s artist’s eye to examine and understand the world around her. Details of the effusion of light through glass shards, of the beauty of a finished chapel leaded glass window, or even the simplicity of nature’s creations in gardens around New York City are all accomplished with the attention of an artist. As someone deeply moved and interested in art (Yes, I am finally using that bachelors in Art History for something!) this is what I like best about Clara and Mr. Tiffany. I am fascinated by Clara’s perception of whimsy in a dragonfly and symmetry in a cobweb. Furthermore, I am captivated by the minutiae of glassmaking and leaded glass windows and lampshades. From a literary standpoint, I think this is where Vreeland excels, putting readers into Clara’s almost obsessive mindset. By letting the reader see Clara’s point of view, the radiance of colored glass, and the labor intensive process of leaded glass making, one can understand her devotion to the craft, the energy that the women in Clara’s department give of themselves, and can fully appreciate what Clara’s career means to her. While I think this style of writing was perfectly suited to the story, I can see why, because of this method of writing, some other readers I’ve talked to thought the book was slow-moving. In order to appreciate the book, I think you have to have an appreciation for art and craftsmanship, or else the lengthy descriptions of window panels, color selection, and glassblowing might leave you cold.

As for the characters, I felt for Clara in her struggle to be recognized for her invention of the leaded glass lampshades that made Tiffany Studios a household name even today and her attempts to quell the resentment against and disdain for women working in a male-dominated field (let alone in the 1890’s in general when women were expected to cook and clean with a child on their hip at home). There is an aspect to the book that echoes struggles today for women to balance their careers with family, lovers, and friends. Because Tiffany forbids his female employees to marry, Clara becomes torn between her identity as an invaluable employee and artist at Tiffany Studios and her identity as a woman with love and need for acceptance in her heart. The main theme of the book was this tension between Clara’s work and her significant others. It was a time when women could not even entertain “having it all,” and Clara is truly married to her job.

The relationship between Clara and Louis Comfort Tiffany was another central entity in the book that was interesting to observe. Both figures are creative personalities who believe in beauty above all, art for art’s sake, and in limitlessness in designing their art. Clara and Tiffany play off of each other, inspiring one another in their professional relationship, but their mutual passion oftentimes blurs their artistic affection for each other into something else that I was hard-pressed to define. Whether it was a paternal approval that Clara was looking for, a lover’s admiration and attention, or a friend’s support and camaraderie, I am not sure. I think it was a little bit of each, which is what made the dynamics of their scenes together so fascinating and made me wish that there were more of those scenes. Clara and Tiffany are truly artistic lovers, and some of Clara’s need for recognition and praise manifests itself in a romantic-type desire that is born of the sentiment and ardor she imbues in her creations. At the same time, Clara is frustrated with Tiffany for refusing to single out her ingenuity and authorship that win the Studio fame and is enamored with his kindred spirit. She says:

I wanted to scream or tear something to show that I felt ripped in two. Despite the truth of our character assassination, I adored him. He and I had a bridge that no one else travelled that made us artistic lovers, passionate without a touch of the flesh. He made me thrive, and valuing that, I could do nothing that would endanger it.

Later, in a moment of yearning for recognition of her talent and labors, Clara asks:

Don’t you see my adoration for you? Don’t you recognize the longing heart within the glass I’ve touched? I ached to ask him these things, but I didn’t dare. I didn’t want him to think I wanted romance. What I wanted would have to be a finer union than any romance I’d ever known.”

Clara sees that her relationship with Tiffany is something beyond the banality of carnal pleasures, something of the psyche, something intangible and precious that enables her to interpret and refine nature in manmade glass, bringing stylized, aesthetic ideas of God’s creations into fruition.

The book straddles being about Clara’s relationship with Tiffany and his company and being about her conflict of building a life outside of her job. I think maybe here is where Vreeland may have lost a bit of her luster. She tries to portray both facets of Clara’s life, without doing full justice to either. If maybe the book were longer, containing more details of either of both of the relationships, maybe the comprehensive look at Clara’s life would have worked, but at times I think Vreeland sacrificed depth in Clara’s personal relationship for the relationship of Clara and her career.

Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed the book, although I wouldn’t read it again. Any art lover will enjoy the vivid descriptions of objects that can be seen in museums like the MFA, Boston or The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. For people with a low tolerance for atmospheric descriptions of detail over action, this might not be the book for you.

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Traditionalism. What exactly makes a traditionalist?  Usually the word brings to mind Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, and I can’t say that paints a positive picture.  Generally I don’t think of myself as a traditionalist—should sex be saved for marriage?  Do men have to be the breadwinners?  Do you have to get married?  Does a woman have to change her name? My answer to all these questions is a resounding no.

Yet, after an experience at my favorite bar two weekends ago, I’ve started reevaluating my supposed non-traditionalist status.

A friend and I went to one of my favorite bars and I ended up chatting with the bartender.  I can’t say we talked about anything really important, or meaningful, but it was really fun.  He gave me free samples and he was really cute.  But, when it came time to leave I didn’t give him my number, even though there were several awkward silent moments while saying goodbye, as if each of us was waiting for the other to make a move.  I kicked myself all the way home and made sure I’d come back the next weekend.

So, last night Sapphire and I went back to the bar hoping that my cute bartender would be there again.  And he was. Kind of.  The bar is also a restaurant and he was working as a server that night instead of a bartender, so we made eye contact, said hello, and that was it.  Sapphire and I had a good time, drank some beer out of a really cool glass, and then met up with some of her friends for a birthday.  I wasn’t too upset, because, like I said, it’s one of my favorite bars.  I’ll be back.

At the birthday bar, I again found myself lacking the lady balls to put myself out there and ask for a phone number.  Or give out mine.  While escaping from some super creepy guys that followed us around, I met a microbiologist.  He was tall, smart and didn’t try any funny business on the dance floor (I’m not opposed to the bump and grind, but I wasn’t feeling it that night).  Instead we had fun, he twirled me around a few times, chatted, and eventually I felt like I needed to at least reconnect with my party.  I didn’t want them to think I left or something.  But on my way to finding the girls, I lost him.  And then Sapphire and I left.

Again, I wasn’t too disappointed.  Okay, maybe a little.  Do you know how hard it is to find a tall, smart, good-looking guy in Boston?  It seems like you can have one, but not all of the three.  Again I kicked myself (metaphorically) all the way home.

While I don’t necessarily believe in traditional relationships, I found that I am a traditionalist when it comes to gender roles.  At least in the beginning.  I want the guy to take the lead.  He should ask for my number. He should plan the date.  He should pick me up.  After that, I’m fine with being the controller—the one making decisions and organizing.  I like knowing what is going on and where things are going and what exactly I am doing.

But he should be prepared to keep up with me.

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Just to show that women are truly different and each individual wants completely different things, I wanted to write about my favorite Disney princess. (My reasons for using Disney are twofold: 1-In order to continue the theme begun by my eloquent co-writer, Sapphire. And 2- Because most people, especially women, have seen the Disney movies and they are highly relatable.)

Disney's Little MermaidMy favorite Disney princess is, and probably always will be Ariel from the Little Mermaid. Aside from all of the amazing songs (which I still sing on a regular basis in my shower) I love the general message sent about relationships.

Let me tell it from my possibly-feminist-biased point of view: (Feel free to skip to the next paragraph to get to the point)
Ariel sees Eric and falls in love entirely. (Like, Sapphire, I am a bit uncomfortable with this aspect, but for arguments’ sake I’ll overlook it.) Basically, she sees what she wants. Then she rescues the guy. I love this! She makes that hurricane her %#&@$! Then, Eric also instantly falls in love with her and her voice. (At least they are equally unbelievable.) Ariel stands up to the Man (her father) and convention to defend her love. After which she goes to extremes to get what she wants. When we see Eric again, we discover through causal conversation that he has also been searching for his lost love. (Granted, at this point I am a bit miffed he doesn’t make the connection between his savior and the girl in rags; however, in his defense, Ariel’s voice is a very memorable feature.) Is Ariel deterred by his thickheaded-ness? No, sir! She keeps at it. She gets awfully close, too. Until Eric is hypnotized by the Sea Witch; and Ariel must rescue him again! (You go girl!) Finally, Eric sees what has been right in front of him. She gets taken away from him, and he in turn rescues her. Love!

Disney's Ariel and Eric kissingSo, in short, it’s a fairly equal relationship. Yes, for those keeping score, Ariel does a bit more than Eric. However, Eric comes back in the end (as Sapphire points out) which sort of makes up for it. I really like that model. If something is just too much for one to bear (either a gigantic Sea Witch or a hurricane) the other comes to lend a helping fin or ship or whatever.

Perhaps we all have been influenced a bit too much by our experiences in childhood, because, like Sapphire, this has largely been what I’ve looked for in a relationship. Equality. I want a man who will rescue me, but I want to feel secure knowing that I will rescue him right back when he needs it.

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