22 November 2008


I think people who hang out with members of only one gender are weird.  I don't care if they're gay or straight, and if the gender is their own or the other - there's just something odd to me about people who are only friends with members of one gender.  Or rather, it says to me that there's something odd about the person.

That probably says something odd about me.

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17 November 2008

Flotsam and Jetsam

I'm just about to nip down to Marks and Spencer to exchange some knickers (I know:  story of my life), but for some reason I am moved to write.  It's been cloudy and overcast here, and also quite chilly, and perhaps this weather has made me inclined to post more than usual:  it's the sort of weather in which you want to cuddle up with someone and chat aimlessly, so I'm doing that with and to my computer screen.

For some reason over the past couple of days I've been remembering something utterly random and passing someone told me about a year ago.  We were talking about some movie we'd both seen long ago, and they told me they'd seen it on TV, when drunk, after coming home from a night out.  Because they hadn't been of driving age all those years ago, I was curious as to how they'd got in to the city and then home (not of an age to drive:  picked up by an older friend? Took the bus?  Took the train? It was a pointless question, but not all questions we ask are important, right?).  They took the train. Now, where this person lived at the time you had to take the train over a suspension bridge over the sea to get in to or out from a night out.  And even though the information about coming home on the train was the least interesting part of the story, that image has stuck with me for almost a year, now: a single person, late at night, travelling on the train as it passes over the bridge over the sea.  I suppose it's the romance of the vision that appeals to me - the train cutting through the glittering dark silence, with the people wrapped inside its own lit interior - but I don't think just romance would make such a strong impression.  Perhaps it was also that I was provided with a glimpse of the way the person was before I knew them, which I always feel is somehow giving me access to a secret. Ah, well, who knows?

Funnily, though, today remembering that image made me also remember a shirt owned by the same person.  It was a very nice shirt.  I only saw them wear it once, but I guess sometimes it only takes one showing for you to like something.  It was a black shirt with stripes on it,
thinnish stripes in blue and green.  And, although I didn't notice until later, black and blue and green were also the colours that made up this person's eye colour.  I don't know whether subconsciously that's why I liked it, or whether I liked it without noticing that, and then when I noticed the eye colour later I had a "Hey!" moment, but in any case now when I remember that shirt I remember that it was all the colours of the person's eyes, as if those colours had been tidied away from each other and laid out in smooth stripes on a flat surface (the background turning into a stripe when the other strands were placed on top of it):  as if the person's eyes were pouring themselves down their torso.  I liked that shirt, anyway, but to like it more because it seems to extract something of the person's physicality into itself...there ought to be a figure of speech for that.


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16 November 2008

In Which I Talk about Sex (and a Bit More)

In one of the James Bond novels the narrator offers a brief rumination about pain.  He says, to paraphrase, that the human body forgets the physical sensations of pain very quickly:  you can remember that you were in pain, and that it was very painful, but you cannot remember (which means, I suppose, recreate) the sensations of pain, or the sensation of their actual painfulness, for very long.  I think the same is true of sex.  I'd say you get about two days, but let's call it a week just be certain.  That's how long you can recreate the actual sensations of sex, the physical experience of its pleasure.  After that, you can remember that you had sex, and that you liked it very much indeed, but you've got no sensation to tide you over.  And that, I think, is why when people long for sex, or fear they'll never have it again, they do so with such yearning and despair: because you've got no sensation memory to buoy you up.

And now we move naturally from sex to...David Tennant (of course we do). And, since I love
pictures of David Tennant, let's have a picture to go with the topic, shall we? I wanted to pick one in which he just looks nice, because tonight's Topic with Relation to David Tennant is, in fact, niceness.

So, not very long ago (as you will know if you read some of these blog entries) I was involved with a man.  And then I wasn't.  Well, that's a story that's old in the world, and as tedious to those involved as to those watching or reading it, so let's skip the whys and wherefores and get to the point. Which is, after it was all over and people were trying to be helpful, one thing they did to be helpful - and, indeed, one thing I did myself - was to see if there was something about this person that was, perhaps, applicable to other people, so that when I was done mourning and ready to go on, I would be able to get some larger meaning or use by looking for that attribute in other people.  So a number of people asked me why I'd liked the person, or what had attracted me to him.  And my answer was always, "...He was nice."  Which is true.  Of course what first drew my eye was how he looked, and what first made me make contact with him was that he said something really smart to me, but the reason why I stuck to him was because...he was nice.

Nice doesn't mean kind, or thoughtful, or remembering your birthday or holding doors open (although all those things are good, and devoutly to be wished in a boyfriend).  And nice doesn't mean anything weak or derogatory, although it is usually a weak word, and often used in a derogatory sense.  I think the best definition of it that I could offer is that nice means accepting people as they are, and genuinely engaging with them as they are.  The thing that was so great about this person was that he never flinched.  I told him some stuff that I'd never told other people - not terrible stuff, in fact quite mild stuff by most people's measurement, I suppose, but stuff that I was shy of revealing, or that I felt put my self on the line in some way - and not only did he never snicker, or hold it against me, but he never acted as if it were anything out of the ordinary way of information.  He didn't denigrate any of my worries or weirdnesses; he just treated them as if they were normal:  treated them as not very important, in a good way.  And he did nice things without making a song and dance about it.  He brought me presents for no reason, but he didn't seem to expect anything for them; it was as if he just did it for the pleasure of it.  The sense I got was that he wasn't trying to be that person; he just was that person:  nice.

Now, I don't know, but whenever I see David Tennant interacting with the public as himself, he seems that way, too.  It's as if it's no big deal to him to do what makes other people happy, and as if quite a lot of things that other people might find odd or worth being at least a little bit obnoxious about are things that he's willing to throw himself into - no skin off his nose, as my dad would say (see this clip from the Graham Norton show, where the situation actually starts at 8:05 of this clip).  It could all be faked, or it could be true but he's still a terrible person in private, but his public persona suggests simply that....he is nice.

I think nice is under-rated.  Or maybe it's just under-rated with reference to me.  Everybody thinks people want to be thought incredible, or put on a pedestal, or...or...what? Lauded.  And I think people do want that, in a way.  I mean, everyone wants to think that the person they're with thinks they're special.  But I know that I, at least, want most of all just to be accepted.  Or maybe it would be better to say, "liked," because that allows for the presents as well as the matter-of-fact reaction to odd stuff.  Bringing someone a present in a matter-of-course way, or letting them ruffle your hair, as David Tennant does here (at 2:50 - incidentally, I find it interesting that he seems to like wearing all three pieces of three-piece suits), suggests that you have in some way absorbed them into the part of your life where you don't think, aren't fussed about them, where you relate to them rather than are at one remove from them.  It's hard to explain, or maybe you already see what I mean.  I think it's that I think, really, that that quieter connection is much more real, and much more an expression of how the person values you and other people, than any kind of frenzy of love.  David Tennant's saying, "Sure, go on, ruffle my hair" suggests that he doesn't view his fans as weird - that he thinks of them as people.  ARGH. I said it was hard to explain.  But I think most people really don't do this:  they don't know how to let other people in, or they're afraid to do so.  So "nice" equals "connective" for me.

So I guess the lesson here is that I value quiet acceptance over big adoration.  God, I really am British.

You know, I sometimes think that I'm going to do everything I can to get famous in a sensible way, JUST so I can hang out with David Tennant once.

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15 November 2008


In my life many weird things have happened to me.  I have been insulted by The Bitterest Man in the World, and I believe insulted as an attempt to indicate sexual interest - so one weird thing, plus one thing that's weird when you're over 12.  I have had a pass made at me by a man at least 30 years my senior.  I have been insulted by the reader of my book, but recommended to the press nonetheless.  I have sat next to an executive of my favourite make-up brand on a train by complete coincidence.  I have had sex with someone 13 years younger than I, who has then pathologically avoided me - again, two for the price of one, there.  I think we can agree that these are weird things:  not things that would never happen, but things you might expect never to have happen to you, or things that are out of the ordinary.

Today, however, one of the most disconcerting weird things I've ever had happen, happened.  In fact, I'd rank it in my top four, along with being insulted by TBMITW, the being avoided, and the experience in which a one-night stand 6,000 miles away from me turned into a six-month connection.  And here it is.  At lunch I sat across from a man I scarcely know; I just know he's a Romanticist, which is why I sat across from him.  I was telling him about Hunger, and I told him, in essence, the paragraph below about my confusion over the film's purpose.  I said, "Was it trying to say Bobby Sands should be admired?  Well, I already knew that.  Was it trying to saying Margaret Thatcher was repellent?  Well, I already knew that, too."  And he said, in a sort of musing tone, "Your politics sound very much like mine."  The weird thing about this was that that's normally a statement you would make in your head, I think.  I got evaluated to my face!  Does this guy have no inner monologue?  

In addition, I think I may have inadvertently been asked out on a date by him.  I thought he said a bunch of people were going to see Terence Davies's Of Time and the City, and did I want to go? Well, I do want to go, and I would like going with a group (a friend-making exercise, doncha know).  But this afternoon when the arrangement e-mail came it sounded as if it was going to be just the two of us ("we can go see...").  Of course, even that isn't an indication that it's a date, but it does increase the odds.  If this is a date, it will make the second inadvertent-date-asking I've experienced in the past month, and - although I'm grateful - in a general way I'd like to say, I think it should be clear if you are asking someone on a date.  Last time I got, "Are you going to that one-day conference on Victorianism?" (only considerably later did I deduce that this was a date-y salvo.)  I know asking is hard, but I think askers should go with the following rubric:  

Boldest:  "Would you like to [go to] xxxx with me?"  or 
Mid-level Bold:  "Maybe after everyone goes to xxxx, you and I could go [for coffee, or whatever]?"
Timid:  "Are you going to xxxx? Maybe we could go together?"   
I think this would clear up a lot of mystery for askees, and could lead to a lot less sorrow for askers ("Wait - that was a date?  I thought we were just walking to a conference together!").

It's a bit of a shame, because inadvertent-date-asker #1 was, although totally inappropriate in a variety of ways, quite an attractive fellow, but since made unavailable.  Whereas possibly-inadvertent-date-asker #2 is, frankly, not an attractive fellow to me (although much more appropriate).  

Well, not to fear, love-life fans!  I'll keep you posted.

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14 November 2008


Let me start by getting something out of the way:  I just saw Joe Spivak, the Christian (usually known as "cute Joe") sitting on the stairs quite drunk.  Joe Spivak seemed so much like the sort of person who never got drunk:  he is the definition of "clean-cut." So I was slightly taken aback.


I just came back from seeing Hunger, Steve McQueen's film about Bobby Sands.  I really didn't know what to make of it.  The film begins not with Sands but with a prison guard at the Maze going to work:  he has to check under his car for bombs, and the film also at least suggests (without quite making it certain, at least to me) that he finds his job gruelling and torturous. So it seems to be seeking to show that the prisoners were not the only ones who suffered (indeed, since this guard later gets shot in the head whilst visiting his mother in a nursing home, and since at its end the film informs viewers that 16 guards were killed during the dirty protests, that seeking is pretty clear).

At the same time, most of the film is taken up with the actions of the prisoners -- first the prisoners generally, then Bobby Sands specifically.  The last 45 minutes or so are simply a visual record of watching Sands starve to death (it's not pleasant.  It's a lot less pleasant than you imagine it to be, however unpleasant you imagine it to be).  So the implication, at least in terms of time meted out to each side, is that McQueen -- or let's say, the film, in order to avoid the author/text fallacy -- is on the prisoners' side.

Yet there's little sense of direction in the film, little sense of focus or purpose.  I found myself thinking that if it were in French, or Swedish, it would simply be called an art film and put in a very small niche.  The portion in which Sands dies is the closest thing to cinema verite I've ever seen.  Since I presume that McQueen's goal is not simply to lay before us a number of scenes of torture and brutality, followed by a detailed rendering of a man dying by starvation, I did find myself wondering what I was supposed to take from the film.  That the British were terrible to the IRA prisoners in the Maze?  Surely that's a given.  That the IRA were murderers and brutalists who destroyed lives?  Surely that's also a given?  That Margaret Thatcher was a vile egotist?  Also a given.  Perhaps that in these times when America detains people it calls terrorists and mistreats them, here there is a fable for our times?  I hope that's not the message, because the parallels between the two situations are minimal indeed, and
because such a subtext was in no way made apparent.  If the message was meant to be that Bobby Sands decided to sacrifice himself out of a saintly impulse (since he gives a speech to that effect), that message seems somewhat teleological (that is, Bobby Sands became a secular saint after he died; therefore he meant to be a secular saint when he undertook to die, which - in this reading, I suppose - makes him even more of a saint), and also somewhat poorly given with all the reflections on the losses to the other side that come at the beginning.

So I was puzzled, and somewhat troubled (no pun intended).  And I realised about three-quarters of the way through the film that I was puzzled by the larger situation, too.  I don't believe the IRA should have killed, or bombed, or tortured.  But I also don't believe the British belonged (or, I sometimes think, belong) in Ireland.  I don't think the correct response to that is violence, but it's pretty clear the ballot box wasn't going to work.  Furthermore, I do believe that by refusing to negotiate or to grant concessions the British government effectively prolonged the IRA's terror campaign, so it is possible to argue that in a certain way the government contributed to the torture and murder of its own citizens.  So I don't know where I come down, or what I believe.  Or even what I think.  

Maybe that was the point of the film.  I discover from a brief cruise round the web that Steve McQueen is primarily an artist, so perhaps his goal was simply to provoke complex thought, rather than to support any side.  But then I'm left feeling that I don't want that from a film.  But then I'm left thinking that as a person committed to considerate thought, I ought to.  And so, yet again, I don't know what to think.

I went on my own.  I semi-tried to get someone to come with me, but now I'm glad no one came.  Although I did want someone to talk about it with afterward, it's a film you could only go to with someone you knew well, or someone you were intimate with and so hoped to know well, and hoped would know you well.  And I don't have anyone here like that - not even a friend of that level of intimacy (yet?).  It's funny:  the only person I could imagine might have wanted to come to it with me was my ex-boyfriend J., because he was Irish and we saw tons of Irish films together, but even he I'm not sure about.  I think he would have viewed it as an art film, and I think our experiences of it would have been radically incommensurate.  In any case, it's best that I went alone, at least in this situation.

Odd film.

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11 November 2008


This morning I heard that my book on Byron has been accepted by the press I sent it to!  This is very good news:  it means, in essence, that I'll be keeping the job I have, or that, if I want another job, I have a pretty good chance of getting one.  So it's an enormous relief. And I'm very pleased. 

Here is a giant picture of Lord Byron to mark the event.  My friend J. loves this picture.

I promised to have a finished version to them by next May - which is, incidentally, one and a half years before they demand it - and that means that it'll be out by early 2010.  Now, I know this seems like forever, but I remember when I had an article accepted in 2005 for publication in 2007; that seemed like forever to wait, but then I forgot about it, and all of a sudden it was 2007. So the time lag doesn't bother me.

It was nice, and fun, to e-mail everyone in the States to tell them the news, and it was nice to tell people here, too.  And I don't want to complain (which means I'm about to).  But of course I couldn't help feeling, as I felt when I got the fellowship to come here, and when I had my birthday, that it would be so much better if I'd had a boyfriend/partner to share it with.  People are pleased, and my parents and closest friends are proud, but no one was going to give me a proper kiss, or take me out for a proper dinner, or have commemorative sex with me -- or even really understand how important this is, and love me and celebrate accordingly.  And I know it's silly, because of course lots of people were lovely (and S. said, "You'll see:  now on your way to the gym you'll run into David Tennant, and it will be a perfect day," and my friend T. said,  "I'm so proud of you -- we'll have to have champagne when I see you!"), but you only get one first book, and I would have liked to have that be a milestone that became part of a relationship's shared memory ("Remember when you heard about the book, and we went to Brown's for a bellini that weekend?"  "Remember how pleased you were when you got the first book accepted?").  And now I'll only be someone who has a first book - that milestone will become part of my story, and it will make me impressive to some, but it will never be a thing shared.  What I'd like most of all, of course, is to e-mail the person I was involved with but am no more and tell him - share it with him and know that he was sharing it - but I would also have to tell him not to e-mail me back, because I don't want him in my life if he's not my person (what Tom Stoppard enchantingly calls, "my chap"), and then it would just look, and perhaps be, pathetic. But then I suppose this whole paragraph, this determination to be sad when something wonderful has just happened to me, is pathetic.

Anyway, who can say?  Maybe I'll have someone by the time it comes out.  Which, to be fair, is the milestone that will really matter to me.

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06 November 2008

People Who Write in Library Books Should Have Their Hands Cut Off

As you will see from my Book of the Day thingy, I have recently read The Old Devils, by Kingsley Amis.  Here is one conclusion I have drawn from reading this book, then thinking about it in connection with Amis's Lucky Jim:  Kingsley Amis hated women.  As far as I can determine, for him the best kind of woman was a dumb woman, both in the sense of stupid and in the sense of silent.

Well, that's hardly hot news on the literature circuit.  Kingsley Amis was also a serial philanderer, and he was an Englishman in the 1950s - or perhaps I should say a man in the 1950s - when women were essentially there to serve stuff (including themselves) to men.  

But since I've been in England I've had cause to read a lot of the comments that people are allowed to attach to online newspaper articles, and since quite a number of those articles are about 
relationships or gender issues, I have read quite a lot of men's opinions on these issues (by means of their comments).  And these men hate women, too.  They repeat all the tired cliches about how getting married saps your strength, about how women don't want sex, or dole it out sparingly, and about how they make your life a misery once you're involved with them.  I always thought American men were bad about women, and frankly thought English men were at least fractionally better, so I'm not quite sure what to make of this.  Lying in bed the other night I was trying to sort out who hated women more (and thus, of course, to some extent trying to figure out in which country I'd be better off).  Do the English hate women?  Do the Americans hate women?  And finally the conclusion I was forced to come to, after examining as broad a range of evidence as you can manage when you're lying in bed at night with only your mind to help you out, was that everyone hates women.  Including quite a lot of women themselves.

Last year for my birthday I got a ballet DVD that included a performance of Roland Petit's Le Jeune Homme et la Mort.  This ballet, which is in fact extremely good (you can see it here in shortened form, with Baryshnikov) and has terrific music, was created in 1946, and is the ultimate existentialist ballet:  young artist in garret dances dance of gloom and torture whilst waiting for his hotsy-totsy girlfriend; girlfriend appears and they have sex, ballet style (although she clearly gives him a blow job), and after she teases and generally abuses him she sets up a noose and leaves.  He, tortured, kills himself, and Death appears to lead him solemnly over the rooftops.  Only when Death takes off its mask and places it on the young man, Death is revealed to be - you guessed it - his girlfriend.

So, you know, I'm not crazy about works of art that show me that women equal death, but it's not really surprising that someone would be antediluvian in 1946. Later that summer, however, I was teaching a lesson in my writing class about interpreting literature, and I used a Cure song as my example, having the students first read it, then listen to it, then watch the video.  The song is "Lullaby," and in its final verse, when the singer is at his peak of fear, he says, "I feel like I'm being eaten by a thousand million shivering furry holes."  The director decided to recreate this line on film as Robert Smith being eaten by one giant furry hole:  he's swallowed up progressively by what is clearly a giant vagina.

That video was made in 1989.  1989.  That's 53 years of me having to listen while men tell me I'm not just deadly; I'm Death -- and there's another 1000 years before that.  And now there's been nearly another 20 after.  And I just think, Is this how you want to be, men?  Is this who you are?  What is the problem?  Women love you.  We fix you hot meals; we listen when you tell us your problems; we procreate your species; we take care of you when you're sick; we give you blow jobs even in ballets, for heaven's sake.  We think you're smart and clever, and most of us are not in the business of treating you with contempt, to the best of my knowledge.  Jesus, you can't wait to get us on our backs (or our knees), so what is the problem?  And I know what the deal is:  sexual desire is scary; love looks weak; revealing your problems or your sickness or your desire for a blow job is a confession of weakness; and, frankly, menstruation is kind of yucky, and I could see how it would freak you out.  But, you know what?  Get over it.  I LOVE men.  I LOVE you.  I respect you and have faith in you and find you deeply interesting. And my half of the species and I are quite interesting, too.  So I just wish that somehow what appears to be a deeply ingrained hatred, which I suspect comes down to fear, could be worked through.  If I have that much respect for you, maybe you could try to rustle some up for me, too?

(Because to me, at least, it raises the possibility that men are cowards, and I would hate that to be true.  I so much want to keep thinking well of you.)

Oh, the title?  It has nothing to do with today's post.  It's just a fact.

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04 November 2008

Alienating Americans

There are a number of things I haven't got any better at as I've got older, but near the top of the list must surely be Liking Americans When in Britain.  To be fair, I don't like most Americans when I'm in America, and I certainly don't like America itself.  But I have always felt a particular antipathy towards people from the US when I encounter them in Britain.  I don't go to (or come to) England so I can be an American in England:  I go to (or come to) England so I can erase my American-ness and become part of this nation and culture.  Americans in England, it seems to me, largely want to talk to you about the mysteries of England, or about the ways the British/English are alien to them (I recognise this as a vast generalisation), and since my goal is to penetrate those mysteries and eradicate them to the extent I'm able, I don't really have any interest in having that conversation.

This reflection was brought on, unsurprisingly, by an encounter I just had with an American boy who came up to the room where I was watching TV to set up for an election party.  He asked me if I was going to be watching the election results, and when I said, "No," he very pleasantly asked me why, and I said, "Because, to be honest, I don't care."  I don't think I said it harshly, but that is what I said.  The air in the room made it very plain that he didn't like that.  I did explain why, and I think my explanation was fair and valid:  I don't live in America at the moment, so the politics there is of limited interest to me; the election hoo-ha has been going on in one form or another for 18 months in America, and for a year I lived there with it, so I'm electioned out; and, finally, I just think the conclusion is foregone - I believed Obama would win from the moment he became a candidate. 

This boy said, "I've never heard anyone say that about this election.  About the last election, yes."  But the funny thing is, I was all into the last election, and I really did care.  I yearned for John Kerry to be President (and I suppose what might also come into play here is that, although I sure as hell don't want John McCain to be president, I have misgivings about Obama, too).  And it seemed to me that if he was elected it would be a real demonstration of difference: people would have the option to re-elect George Bush, and they wouldn't, and that would certainly send a clear message about what they wanted and did not want. But this election can't be a statement about Bush - it can be a statement about Republicanism, which will be good in its way, but it can't be the round condemnation of Bush that he deserves.  If you want to see a guy get slapped, there's little excitement in watching his cousin get slapped while he walks off stage.  That seems to me a reasonably good metaphor for what will happen in this election, so, although I hope Obama wins and believe he will, I have no visceral attachment to this process.

Also, and finally, getting the results of an election is a long process, and barring an event like Florida in 2000 quite drawn out and without anything that could be considered a central event or climax.  When I wake up tomorrow the election will be won, and who won will be the climax - I don't need to stay up all night to reach that moment. (of course, as I write this, I suddenly feel that I would like to stay up to see that moment.  But only that moment. So maybe I could get up at 6 to check.)

I suppose I sounded snotty and aloof to this boy, and I'm sorry about that.  But mostly I'm sorry because he had someone with him whom I actually do like - a pleasant English young man who does American literature and who has been quite nice to me (although I suspect that's in part because he loves all things American [which he pretty clearly does], and I am a thing American).  And I'd hate to have him think ill of me because his friend tells him I seem snotty.

Still, when you get down to it, I just don't care for Americans in Britain that much.  Even if I am one myself.  If I am.  But how would I know if I was, if I didn't believe it already?

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02 November 2008

Hello we'en

So now I've been away after what feels like forever, and it's quite hard to start up again. Hmm...

First I guess I should say that I finished a first draft of my novel tonight.  This sounds more exciting than it is.  The person who might become my agent if I can produce a novel draft that satisfies him told me that the old version (239 pages) was too short for him to sell, as it was really just novella length.  As I typed this version I added 30 pages, which is pretty good going, in my opinion, especially as the old version was in Arial and this one is in Times New Roman. Still, it's not long enough to be a novel.  I figure I need 300 pages of typescript at least to manage that. That means that over the next two weeks I somehow have to add 40 pages.  I would judge this to be medium hard, but nonetheless it means that a finished first draft (essentially an old draft plus about 40 pages, if you include ongoing revisions) is not much to get excited about.

In other news, I went to the Hallowe'en party here.  I went as a nurse. Which is to say I bought
a vinyl nurse's outfit from Ann Summers (the sex shop that appears on main streets all over the UK), stuffed some socks down the sides of my bra to make things look better, and went out to the disco and danced like a fiend (if you can imagine this dress with a woman inside who's wearing it without such obvious, um, intent, and without the stockings and little hat, that would be how I looked.  Only not brunette). What can I say?  I love dancing.  Also, I've always wanted to wear a vinyl dress.  Well, a rubber dress, really.  When I was doing my junior year abroad, there was a girl at the college I went to named Lucy Colbridge.  Lucy Colbridge was very beautiful, and not unaware of it:  she had long blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a great body (incidentally, she also had a very handsome brother name Chris, who was perhaps the nicest man alive.  He was also very handsome. Obviously, they were a blessed family.  He is now  a successful lawyer and,

amazingly, you can see a picture of him here). When that college had its Hallowe'en party, Lucy Colbridge came in a red rubber dress and just stood at the bar (hers was shinier than the one on the left, and I remember it as strapless).  In about four seconds, she had a crowd of men around her.  I don't think it was just the men that made me want a rubber dress, though:  it was also that the dress said, "I have enough confidence to be wearing this dress.  And I know I look spectacular in it!"  So I wanted, I think, not just to wear the dress, but to feel that I was spectacular enough to wear it.  And this year, because I've lost so much weight and kept it off, and because I'm far from home, I at last felt worthy of a rubber dress.  Then it turned out that rubber dresses cost about $200!!!  So I decided on a vinyl nurse's outfit.  And here's a thing:  for the very first time, I noticed men looking at my breasts.  It was quite interesting, and also enjoyable.  But I could see how if it happened your whole life it would be neither.  Still, it's interesting to know that forty pounds' worth of vinyl and a judiciously placed pair of socks can get you quite a bit of attention.  And I also noticed, as I was once told, years ago, by my then- best friend, that I actually look nice with larger breasts.  Still, the ongoing lack of sag outweighs the ephemeral advantages of large knockers.

(Incidentally, in case you were wondering, you have to dust yourself with cornstarch or talcum powder before you can even get a rubber dress on.  Otherwise it will just scrape against your skin and never slide on.  Lucy Colbridge told me that.)

Oh, and it turns out the cute guy is Catholic -- deeply Catholic.  It's a pity, 'cause he is cute, and also nice.  On the other hand, he seems a bit mathematiciany:  slightly oblivious to the world. Except the Catholic world, of course.  Ha ha.

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