Standing bang in front of an empty seat, in such a way that anyone who might want to sit down it will have to ask.
With additional null points if you are resting your bag on it.
Y o Y, we ask.
This is possibly even more annoying than people who sit down and then have their bag sitting next to them.
Maybe because I've done that myself. In a not very full carriage or seat on platform, is avoidance mechanism for people who, even though there are plenty of seats, come and sit next to an occupied one. Would, of course, remove bag/s if train became more crowded, etc.
Have also been annoyed today by that other persisting source of irksomeness, hand-dryer machines that make a huge roaring noise of whooshiness but don't, actually, dry hands.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1998658.htm
As neither of the lifts was anywhere near the top, I took the stairs at the Tube station.
To find them clogged with a mega-gaggle of schoolgirls - all in uniform so presumably from some private poncey N London establishment - with no idea of leaving space for people to pass them by. Or indeed concept that other people might be using the stairs, possibly we older persons are invisible?
This perhaps made me less receptive than I might be to a poncey art project in Euston Square involving clusters of white globes with long thin glass tubes sticking out of them, some lit up with coloured lights. I have been unable so far to discover anything further about this phenomenon.
However, I was irrationally cheered to come across this article title via academia.edu: 'The Trade, Forgery and Medicinal Use of Porcupine Bezoars in the Early Modern Period'. Though, looking this up I discover these are still A Thing in Chinese Traditional Medicine and can be purchased on the internet.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1982928.htm
Reading Lucy Mangan on the latest spa treatment where other treatments do not go, I R Hysterian of Medzin, and on reading that 'pampering your pudenda is basically a matter of squatting over a mugful of herbal infusion', I am all, 'No! No! that is what you do to get that pesky wandering womb back where it should be!' Don't these people no enything?
Someone else who no nuffin was holding forth in The Guardian on Laws Against W*nking Worldwide, and quite apart from the being taken in by a spoof report on Texas thing, we have seldom come across quite such a creative misreading of what the Labouchere Amendment was actually about. I may just possibly have been tempted, rather late in the day, to take my little nitcomb in my hand and venture into the Comments section.
Further in Dept of Getting Things Wrong End On: request in community I am on for info on libraries which provide research assistance. As such grants are usually tied to working on some unique strength of the library in question, surely the way to approach this is by finding out whether libraries with relevant holdings do this, rather than going 'three month fellowship? sign me up!'?
I expect entitled behaviour from cyclists in The Netherlands, pretty much, but some London cyclists are pretty bad, like the one this morning who didn't even slow down on approaching a zebra crossing on which at least 2 pedestrians had set foot and just went bombing across. Not to mention the one I saw recently pedalling along, no helmet, doing a turn while looking at their phone.
We observe that once again, Mariella and PSC have been dealing with the same query. Do they pass them between one another, or is the enquirer crowd-sourcing answers and has he sent this to a whole slew of agony aunts and uncles?
And on advice columns: this was the question that I was solicited in respect of last week. Hardly one's sphere of expertise, what?
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1968626.htm
Came across nice passing remark in column about something else re people 'editing', or it might have been 'curating' their online presences. Which evoked a 'how true' moment.
Because while people don't necessarily engage in the feats of deceit once associated with the internet ('no-one knows you're a dog'), neither do they let everything all hang out as some jeremiahs claim.
Okay, I will concede that there is oversharing and people being inappropriate in particular venues, but how is this different from how people behave offline?
? Invoke here Goffman's on/offstage theories?
People mostly behave differently in public and observe a certain civility.
We will further concede that people's ideas of civil behaviour differ (as I have been given to think by Dutch escalator habits); that some people have difficulty in grasping the 'different modes for different situations'; some people were off with the flu on the day concepts of civility were handed out; and, of course, there are always those who believe that behaving with civility is lying down under the Iron Heel Of The Man.
People don't need to be engaged in a tangled web of deceit to craft a particular persona - and I've noted the phenomenon of making one's life sound more vibrant and exciting than it feels like in the living of it in certain situations or conversations. It is a natural human behaviour.
Cannot help suspecting that this - claim that 'half of employers find graduates they are employing are not "work ready" - is a plaint for which there are substantial precursors, including the moans about inflated expectations about what they're worth, and lack of appropriate formality.
Debrett are offering a course to give social skills back to a generation of young people who have had their heads buried for so long in smartphones that they struggle to make eye contact, let alone proffer a firm handshake.
And I will concede that this may reflect some degree of change, but I'm not sure it's the changes that are being posited here.
'[L]ack the ability to spell or write a letter' - this surely used to be less of an issue, when One had Secretaries to Do That Sort of Thing.
Also, wonder if there is expectation that young entrants should already be up to speed with the procedures and protocols of the places where they are working rather than undergoing induction into the mysteries.
As for 'unable to get through a day without regular online checks on what their friends are up to', I cop to that one myself and I've been In The Workplace for decades.
I also cop to, in my younger days, 'hitting the free drink too hard at work social events'.
Also to the not wanting to pick up the phone unless there are no alternatives.
I also think that in the current state of the economy it's probably utopian to expect that young people would be able to get 'some sort of summer job' to teach them about The Real World of Work.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1963512.htm
This week's poem in the Tube station appeared to be Charlotte Mew's Sea Love (which is really a bit of a downer on a Monday morning when the weather has suddenly gone autumnal, and not the good mists and mellow fruitfulness kind of autumnal, the cold, drear, and wet kind of autumnal).
But today the whiteboard must have got turned around back to last week's offering, which I never looked at very closely, and is not actually a poem at all, even if poemhunter.com sets it out as one: it is, in fact, a famous passage from the sermons of John Donne:
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
And at first I was, if there is any time I wish to be an island, it is travelling by Tube;
But then I was,
Well, actually, a whole lot of Bad Tube Behaviour is due to people thinking they are islands, not so much in the stream, as on the wrong bloody side of the escalator, or not moving across the lift, or occupying more space than is needful...
so that Donne is saying with rather more resonance what all those rather twee ads about being considerate of others on the Tube are all about.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1960698.htm
This column is taking the issue in other directions, but in the interim of a rather crowded conference day (sessions 9.00-5.30, evening reception of body I am involved with: my schedule has left no room for Batmoot Goes North, alas) I have been quietly fuming and muttering to myself about people who think public/private are absolute, either/or, on/off states.
The guy in question does not seem entirely clear, either, in his response, about the distinction between the legal requirements concerning patient confidentiality if he works in a hospital, and more general issues of privacy. I also think he may well be making a not entirely justified segue from concerns about the surveillance state to issues of interpersonal and social etiquette.
It's a spectrum, there are gradations. If I invite somebody into my home, it will probably be into the front room, and while they are welcome to inspect the bookshelves, I would consider it poor ton if they were to open and rummage in drawers and cupboards. They are certainly not being extended an open invitation to forage in the box-room, or even to help themselves from the fridge.
People negotiate these gradations all the time, asking people, for example, if they have to share a table in pub or cafe if they may, although that is a public space.
There are spaces and events which are not private in the sense of 'not by exclusive invite only', but still not to any passing person but to those who have acquired tickets. Or e.g. registered for a conference.
I was also thinking of those persons in the past who considered themselves to be 'in private' when at home with their intimates, and a massive number of servants toing and froing among them.
And yes, my dearios, I'm pretty sure I've ranted about this before. Mr Frost and his neighbour are talking over the wall as they rebuild it, but this doesn't necessarily mean that they are on terms of sociability and popping in and out of each other's front doors, or even going to set foot across the boundary without an invitation. Complicated, it's all more.
Because in mine you'd get a nervous smile and a scuttling away, and I really don't think that is just introvert me at my age. Possibly a word of thanks (placating the possibly aggressive weirdo) before seeing a totally imaginary bus I needed to catch in the distance.
In dating, when I find a woman attractive, I almost always walk right up to her and tell her that a) I wanted to meet her, and b) she’s beautiful. In America, women usually get incredibly nervous and confused when I do this. They’ll make jokes to defuse the situation or sometimes ask me if I’m part of a TV show or something playing a prank. Even when they’re interested and go on dates with me, they get a bit disoriented when I’m so blunt with my interest. Whereas, in almost every other culture approaching women this way is met with a confident smile and a “Thank you.”
(I'm not exactly recommending the entire article, either.)
I will concede that no doubt things have changed since I was in New York c. 1970: I was younger, the world was younger, and I know all about not generalising from NYC to anywhere else in the States.
In that long hot summer, approaching women on the streets in that really upfront way was totally a thing:one I had never come across in UK. A few years later I encountered the being followed round and lurked at, with occasional rather creepy approach, in the lands around the Mediterranean. But nothing quite like NY that summer.
And that's all before thinking of the many cultures in which this sort of thing would be very much not appropriate and downright dangerous.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1931076.htm
What I also get is quite a number of 'Like/love the hair!' passing comments from people, largely complete strangers, in the street, the supermarket checkout, in the lift, etc.
What they have in common is pretty much that they are of a significantly younger generation to myself.
Riffing off from recent post about the rise of cheek-kissing and hugging in casual greeting, and, serendipitiously, this piece in Guardian G2 today by Stuart Jeffries on the alleged decline of 'thank you' (Mr Jeffries has a certain amount of form in spinning out articles to which one's response is usually, 'actually, no'), in which he mentions in passing people who sign off professional emails with an X for kisses (something I personally have rather infrequently come across, if at all), perhaps doing this this is part of the same sorts of social changes, informality, erosion of public/private barriers, etc.
On the other paw, however, this is actually rather nice. Though may be down, as I note I heretofore remarked, to the fact that, At My Age, I do not parse it as a threatening advance or attempt to engage me in further conversation, but simply an approving comment on my style choice.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1928405.htm
Sort of generated by/riffing off a conversation between a couple of colleagues this morning, the general and recurrent WOEZing about the deleterious impact of the internet on our lives, and having people with whom my connection is solely in the professional sphere doing the cheek-kissy thing.
I am hesitant to suggest that there is any actual connection between people living their lives online and what seems to me (yes, moi, wot lived through the 60s) an increasing level of touchy-feely (cheek-kissy-kissy, hugs) in the real life social world.
I am not against hugs, but I feel that there are people who are in my hug-zone and people who are not, or not yet. While a person may be a nice person, if our main connection is online and we have been in the same room twice, both on academically-related occasions, I am not sure I am ready for the embrace-as-greeting.
Call me a stuffy old dodo, but I don't think cheek-kissing is appropriate in the context of archive negotiations, from intending donor to intended archivist*.
Is this because people feel they have to overcome the anomie of living their lives online, and overcompensating by bringing the flesh into rl encounters?
Is it to do with the way email conversations segue from the initial business-formal of Dear [title] [surname] to first names, to one-line or even one word responses confirming meetings?
Is it all about the erosion of the public/private spheres?
Or is it Just One Of Those Things that happens, and nothing has anything to do with anything else?
*Or am I becoming Katy Carr and her Society for the Suppression of Unladylike Conduct?
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1926488.htm
- Current Music:The Crystals, And Then He Kissed Me
Sitting in bijou London City Airport (we so overestimated the timing), reading the paper and noting a piece about the new secularised Guide vows and critically addressing the idea of being true to oneself.(Have still not worked out how to get links in when posting via tablet.)
And thinking about all those people who would undoubtedly aver that their conduct (or as some might define it, trollery), is being true to themselves and suggestions that their behaviour is not in accordance with the highest standards of civil converse is 'censorship'.
At the colloquium I attended some months ago, I was intrigued to observe the revival of interest in Norbert Elias's theories of the Civilising Process. One of the papers drew on manuals for conduct, and showed that over time a particular behaviour became sufficiently internalised that warnings against it simply fell out of the prescriptions for good social conduct because nobody would do that anymore.
Thinking about changes in socially approved/appropriate behaviour over time, I was given to think of periods when, perhaps, there is particularly rapid evolution of mores probably in response to other social changes, and the potential cultural uneasiness between people who had always spat on the floor, people who had grown up in an environment of spitting on the floor but who had been instructed that this was poor ton, but still occasionally at least had to remind themselves, oops, not to be spitting on the floor, and people who had internalised the idea that we do not spit on floors. (We will ignore the case of those rules-wranglers who 'stood up and spat on the ceiling'.) This would not, I think, just be about MANNERS but incorporate other motifs such as hygiene, different concepts of: or, from 'better out than in' to 'infection theory'.
There's also an element, I think, to do with the distinction between 'company manners' and 'being among friends'. A problem may arise when individuals think they are 'among friends' or, if we invoke Ervin Goffman's theories theories about The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, assume that they are 'offstage' when they are, in fact, 'on stage', or, at least, have massively misjudged who the audience in fact consists of.
A major theme that Goffman treats throughout the work is the fundamental importance of having an agreed upon definition of the situation in a given interaction, in order to give the interaction coherency. In interactions, or performances, the involved parties may be audience members and performers simultaneously; the actors usually foster impressions that reflect well upon themselves, and encourage the others, by various means, to accept their preferred definition. Goffman acknowledges that when the accepted definition of the situation has been discredited, some or all of the actors may pretend that nothing has changed, if they find this strategy profitable to themselves or wish to keep the peace.
So what happens when, for reasons suggested in the above invocation of Elias, the agreed upon definitions change, and when there is a refusal to ignore solecisms, but instead to point them out, thus not preserving face and avoiding embarrassment?
Or, I am trying to find some explanatory model for why some people starting fuming about 'censorship' when other people disagree with them. Doubtless changes in ideas about appropriate social conduct had some people feeling that their 'natural' impulses were being interfered with by effete modern ideas of etiquette.
I feel that I want to throw into the mix here J H Newman's definition of the gentleman as 'one who never inflicts pain', though my personal corollary to that would be 'and apologises when he steps on your foot rather than trying to claim either that he didn't or that you are not really hurt'.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1905173.htm
About 'political correctness' and Norbert Elias's theory of the civilising process and the way new canons of behaviour get internalised over time and generations, and when spitting in public became a no-no, and the changes in attitude towards smoking over my life-span, and Erwin Goffmann's ideas about 'onstage' and 'offstage' behaviours, and why some people react so violently to being pulled up over matters that are really about civility in its broader senses...
But at the moment, dr rdrz, yr hedjog is Go Floppp.
So, instead, have this, which I have been meaning to post ever since I mentioned it to oliviacirce at Wiscon when she had her 'Safety' badge on:
Bessie Smith, 'Safety Mama'.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1904867.htm
I am now worried that should I encounter gentlemen of a generation only slightly senior to my own, wandering around with their flies undone -
Should I draw this to their attention? I am not proposing giving them in charge for indecent exposure, please note, just pointing out that this is possibly not appropriate in a public space.
Or would they react as if nanny had told them that if she caught them doing that once more, she'd cut it off?
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1903731.htm
Okay, perhaps one could slot people who violate norms into the category of microaggressors?
It is possible that Lucy M has already captured some of this ambivalence:
And, like political correctness, it is both a) a brilliant and fundamentally sound idea that would, if properly practised, result in greater happiness for a greater number of people; and b) capable of quickly leading practitioners down spiralling corridors of guilt, anxiety and negativity that hide the original departure point from view.
And while I rather like her concept of 'microniceties', I regret to say that I am probably not going to notice people who are holding their parting conversation in such a way that they are not blocking the top of the stairway to the egress (something I came across in the course of this week) as much as people who, neglectful of the fact that people might want to get past, do thus hinder the free flow of traffic.
Niceties, perhaps, are about reducing the friction and not negatively snagging one's attention.
I suspect that niceties have to rise above the level of micro to be noticed.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1893253.htm
If you want to interview me for a publication which turns out to be a project for your journalism course, shouldn't you indicate this fact upfront, not several emails down the line?
And, in the Department of All Knowledge Is To Be Found On My Reading List:
Have been having niggling problems with my smartphone - it will not open Evernote, even though I actually resorted to reinstalling it, it keeps losing my clock and weather widget, and it did something massively weird with my email (ghost messages) which led to my deleting the accounts and recreating them. There was a similar not-opening issue with Facebook - it would appear to start thinking about opening and then go back to the main screen.
I also keep getting the Storage Getting Low indicator.
I suspect what this actually means is that I should upgrade to a newer model with more phone memory, since everything that can be transferred to the SD card has been.
There is also an issue which has been going on much longer where it will suddenly switch itself off and not switch back on until I have jiggled the battery.
(It's an HTC Wildfire, which I think is a now defunct model.)
I think I have mentioned this before, but it probably bears repeating given the erosions of time.
I should really be very, very grateful if people would not explicitly associate my erinacine identity with my passport name.
I thought the fact that I don't, anywhere, explicitly associate my passport name with this journal was sufficient hint.
I see this space as being like a pub table or corner of a coffee-shop or salon which is poised in a liminal position between the public and the private.
I don't want to do the locked posts/friends-only thing, but I do want this to be an informal space where I can whinge, vent, rant, snark, be silly and whimsical, talk in lolspeak, and generally feel myself relaxed in slippers and tracksuit.
Feeling that (certain) people I know in formal work and academic settings might find this space and feel free to drop by makes my flesh creep.
(Fortunately my passport name, as I have heretofore remarked, is fairly common and there are at least 2 other academics in related fields who bear it, but even so, it is rather less usual than Jane Smith.)
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1850597.htm
I'm not talking about actual table manners here, but about that subtextual claim I was referencing yesterday that proper civilised eating takes place with all the household (except for the servants?) round the table, and engaging in suitable conversation - presumably the mess rules apply of no politics, religion, or sex, talk. Possibly with grace as a prelude? (And, absent servants, involves Mother or whoever is taking on the role jumping up and down and generally having a rather unsettled time of it.)
Okay, I think the fictional convention (is it in TVTropes? I daren't look) that if people get sat down around a table the next thing is Massive Ruxxions, e.g. people throwing down their serviettes and storming out, attacking one another with the cutlery, or possibly expiring from poison, is no real model for what happens either.
But I can think of perfectly civilised ways of consuming nutriment that don't involve strict formality, sitting at a table, or making conversation.
I may have mentioned heretofore a lovely evening my mother and I spent when we were, for some reason, alone in the house when I was 14/15 or so. We had a meal of something nobody else in the household liked and would probably have gone yuck over even if not required to eat it, and read our books while dining in mutual companionability, before going out to the movies.
I am, perhaps, old enough and retro enough to come across somewhat Disgusted Of North London when I hear of people going to dinner-parties and tweeting comments about and even photos of the food while these are in progress (indeed, I think 'phones set to silent, in pockets or bags' is a reasonable rule if you are at a dinner party, as in theatres and concerts).
But at home? There are all sorts of preconceptions bound in with that 'family meal round the table' model, one of which is often that there is a male breadwinner, who must be fed at a particular time.
But that is not the only pattern, especially these days.
Will concede, I concede, that much of the time (um, present company excepted!) I personally would rather be combining reading with eating and have moaned muchly about people in e.g. staff canteens who think person alone with book = person wanting companionship and chatter. And the horror of conferences when they involve refectory breakfasts at group tables.
However, eating alone and with a book (or even with another or other persons, also reading books), doesn't mean that what I'm eating is necessarily microwaved mush full of sugar and E-numbers and dubious ingredients. It may well be a sandwich made from lovely homemade bread...
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1828622.htm
Dept of, If Raised By Wolves Would Have Better Manners. O Peter Bradshaw. The gaggle of small(ish) boys infesting the Tube I was on today had better manners:
I nabbed my favourite aisle seat. The screening was overcrowded, and Ms Lipman had to sit on a stair. Halfway through the film, I dashed out to take what seemed to be an emergency call from my son's school. It turned out to be nothing at all and I returned after just 30 seconds – to find Maureen Lipman sitting in my seat. We looked at each other for what seemed like an age. I was paralysed with embarrassment. She was baffled.... Eventually, and with an expression of forbearance I will never forget, Ms Lipman rose and conceded the seat to me.
Peter Bradshaw must be, I would guess, at least 20 years younger than Ms Lipman, who is some years older than me. (On the Tube this morning, several of the young boys offered me a seat, possibly, I will concede, following non-verbal teacher prompting.)
And in the Dept of Terribly Poor Stuff, yet another person who has apparently never read an advice column in her life before writing to Private Lives:
Two years ago my lecturer and I fell in love. He is 15 years my senior and lives with his partner and two children in another city, but stays with me three days a week when he is working. I feel an affinity with him that I haven't felt with anyone before. However I can't stand that he goes home to someone else. I know that it isn't right and that I'm sacrificing marriage and my chance to have a family by staying with him, but I know he is the one. I'm at a complete loss as to what I should do.
Me, I'm wondering whether he is actually claiming subsistence allowance/expenses while free-loading on this unfortunate young woman.
Dept of the Weird: search strings that found my website: 'Did the queen of England use a vibrator?' (and I think this is Queen V, don't you? Not just Victorian Vibrators, but Victoria's Vibrators, as supplied By Appointment...). 'Relationship between the clitoris and violence': I don't even.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1813204.htm
And on transportation, may I beseech my dr rdrs not to emulate the terribly poor ton I encountered on Saturday.
Yes, I have pointed out that the premium seat on a doubledecker bus is top front left hand.
However, should someone already be sitting in it, and if there are other empty seats to the behindwards, you do NOT plonk yourself and your paraphernalia down next to them.
The only excuse is - possibly - if you are part of a group and the others are sitting on the top front righthand seat.
But this did not appear to be the case with the person who committed this gross breach of London Transport etiquette last Saturday.
O tempora! O mores!
Brought to you by the typically London experience of being outraged at people doing Awful Things on public transport in contravention of the understood unspoken RULEZ. It's A Thing, like queue shock horror.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1786803.htm
- Current Music:Flanders & Swann Transport of Delight
First it was the School of Life (o Bloomsbury, how art thou fallen), teaching you how to converse and what to read, now it's the London School of Etiquette - based in Chelsea, natch (such stereotyping - and it does also have a venue at Silicon Roundabout - Old Street area).
While it doesn't seem to be dealing with such crucial issues as order of precedence or how to address letters to peers of realm, ambassadors, bishops, etc, it does seem a tad mired in conventional notions of the classy, what with the how to eat correctly and wine-knowledge, the elocution and the how to hold a dinner party (surely the posh thing these days is 'kitchen supper', anyway?), and in general imparting 'culture and class'.
However, we sure hope that 'deportment' and 'the do's and don't of everyday life' include such up to the minute issues as 'when not to check your texts', 'when to turn your phone off', 'friending on FaceBook - do's and don'ts', 'manifesting good ton when trolled', 'when to use emoticons in your emails, and when not', 'tasteful ring-tones - what your ring tone says about you*', etc, etc.
And I am boggling on the spot at the concept of etiquette-themed hen and stag parties...
Happy Diwali, everybody! I guess that (rather than delayed Guy Fawkes) was why the fireworks last Saturday.
*There is nothing wrong with the opening bars of Sweet's 'Little Willy' a ring-tone, sez I.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1767165.htm
- Current Music:The Bogglemen, Classy classy boggle
Yesterday's Guardian 'Family' supplement was all about Teh Sexxxx:
Is monogamy dead? in which we learn that the noxious Catherine Hakim advocates steppin' out on the sly, and Esther Perel, whom has met Mr Codfish heretofore, thinks only trangressive sex is hottt, but we do get some good sense from Meg Barker.
Though, you know, is monogamy quite such the strenuous endeavour that some people (o well, A de Botton, say no more) make it out to be? Is it quite the miracle he posits? Where do people find the time and other resources to have affairs? Plus, am not entirely happy about the home cooking/eating in a restaurant analogy - there's something troubling about equating a human relationship to a meal you've paid for. Also, people are not in relationships with restaurants, usually... So are we talking one off flings, ships that pass in the night, rather than ongoing affairs? Or what?
Can quite see the attractions of polyamory and it certainly tends to surface in any fiction I write, but really, monogamy is not quite the trek to the South Pole in adverse weather some people seem to posit. You know, it's possible to be attracted to other people and not do anything about it (even if the other people would be interested, which of course is another question entirely).
Those people who set out to have sex every day for a significant period revisited. Some interesting points.
The Guardian turns into Forum readers' letters page: We asked readers for tips on how to keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship. Maybe I am very, very unenterprising: or else just lucky.
John Crace clearly did not read far enough into Marie Stopes's Married Love, which gives some fairly explicit instructions on how to conduct ye conjugalz for mutual pleasure.
And how scary is this problem, which clearly even Annalisa Barbieri found daunting:
I think the first thing you need to do is throw away that notebook in which you write every sexual encounter you have. I had performance anxiety after reading it.
Also, I was yay for this in the unexpected context of a piece in The Guide on etiquette for clubbing, something I am unlikely personally to require:
In clubs, do you impose yourself on groups of girls on the dancefloor, joining in other people's mock "sexy dancing", getting a bit too close to the more enthusiastic female dancers? Then you're not a clubber. You're a sex pest.
Plus, the usual excellence from Dr Petra Boynton on Magic Drug Fixes for Female Sexual Problems. She is also now being The Telegraph agony aunt, a process about which her blog and FB posts are interestingly self-reflexive and feedback-seeking.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1765887.htm
Dept of, if these people had been raised by wolves their manners would be a whole lot better: or, I think there is a whole point there about fearfully poor ton that John Naughton, in his usual rush to go WOEZ WOEZ SOSHUL NETWORKZ B EVUL, just goes sailing right on by:
Nick Bilton, a NYT columnist, recounts a recent dinner party that he hosted, in the middle of which his phone beeped with a text message. "Hey, I see you're having people over," it read. "OK if I stop by?"
We feel that this is a form of social ineptitude/unconscionable pushiness that well predated the internet, rather than some Awful Manifestation of Life These Days. (Though I'm not entirely sure that it is the height of good ton to be all over your social networks about the event you're at rather than in the moment there, either.)
Dept of, quel bouleversement, I: Polly Vernon, whom we remember without any great affection from the not so dear dead days of Observer Woman (except, you know, always good to give the codfish a little exercise to fight the flab):
Astonishing as it might seem, this particular, loud, proud size 6 to 8-er does not want the rest of the world to be the same shape as her. Quite the opposite: I welcome the possibility of a varied body aesthetic, not least because repetitive, ubiquitous skinniness is as dull as repetitive, ubiquitous anything else.
But on the whole we are not as one with her happy belief that there is a new turn afoot towards a less spindly aesthetic. (We will be prepared to be convinced when Liz Jones tells us about her new high-carb diet...)
Dept of, quel bouleversement, II: Robert McCrum hymns the ebook:
[F]or the first time in my literary career, I have just published not one, but three ebooks (priced £2.99 each) Each is about 30,000 words long, or 100 pages of conventional text, and each is compiled from my Observer journalism. There's an ebook called On Reading: Notes on the Literary Landscape, 1995-2012. A companion volume, On Writing, and finally On Authors, a collection of interviews with some contemporary greats (including Seamus Heaney, Norman Mailer and VS Naipaul) completes the set. All three are published by Guardian Books, and should be available via all good online bookstores.
Dept of, appreciation of much-loved personal favourite: The late Laurie Colwin's republished collection of essays is a masterclass in home-crafted cuisine.
Dept of, umm, ur preconceptions b showin: The women who are reinventing science as a subject that's not just for the boys:
We're in a lab and these ladies are two of the ScienceGrrls – a new collective of hip scientists promoting women working in Stem fields.
Drop a load of pitchblende over the man?
Dept of, clearly I blinked and missed some survey of some online community that said feminism was dead: a good all-more complicated debate among women who say, far from it.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1753932.htm
You don't grasp the full extent to which your family communicates in middle-class code until you bring home a partner who does not. My new girlfriend, being not remotely middle class, didn't just lack fluency in this mysterious canon; she didn't even know it existed.
(Source: annoying, superficial, anecdotal article in Guardian Weekend on 'cross-class marriages'. Of cross-class cohabitation, or civil partnerships, or free love communes, not a dicky-bird.)
The above anecdote is surely about communication styles within different families (I'm really not convinced that class is the key distinction.)
In her world, the only way to see off such doubt is to deliver a defensively bombastic broadside about how easy she finds everything. For her, that's how to demonstrate strength and resolve. In my family's world, you demonstrate that by volunteering ambivalence.
As my dr rdrs surely no bi nao, I can self-deprecate for Europe. That kind of pushy confidence is, by me, pretty much associated with people with posh accents and an air of confidence that has nil to do with talent or attainment. (It's Mole vs Toad, basically.)
Given that I thought there was something possibly creepy about G Galloway and his getting teh laydeez on board for Respect becos he was just that awesome when he won that election, this is an agreeably schadenfreudey thing to start the day:
Respect party leader, Salma Yaqoob, describes MP for Bradford West's remarks as 'deeply disappointing and wrong'.
Right on, sistah!
And Galloway has made a statement in which he 'clarifies' his remarks about 'not rape only bad sexual etiquette', in which I don't it can reasonably be claimed he does anything but dig himself deeper. It includes this little gem:
Julian Assange – let's be clear – has always denied the allegations.
In the immortal words of Ms Rice Davies
Because the entire male sex has such a glowing track record on fessing up and conceding oh yes, they did rape/have sex with that woman....
Rather than either denying it utterly or rules-wrangling to explain that it wasn't real or legitimate rape.
Was given to think, on issues of manners and etiquette, that during recent furores there has been a certain amount of whingeing which was pretty much claiming that being expected to observe a reasonable standard of civility in social interaction is somehow being crushed under the Iron Heel of The Man.
This entry was originally posted at http://oursin.dreamwidth.org/1721438.htm