I have been watching "Slings and Arrows," one of my favourite TV shows, so I'm pretty cheery. Plus, it's snowed! And it's snowing!! It snowed a bit last night (here's a photo of me in the snow with my friend H. Isn't he handsome? Well, I guess you can't really tell from the photo: he's handsome)...
...but when I woke up this morning it had snowed even more. England is, of course, in crisis (I already know how this goes from where I live in the US. It snows very rarely there, too, so I have plenty of experience now with people who have no idea what real snow is, panicking when they encounter a relatively small amount of snow), but I am in ecstasy. I got out of bed, put my clothes on, and walked to Granchester, just to see the fields in the snow and to move my body a bit. Being me, I got confused and lost on the way, but since that involved quite a bit of trudging through snow I was very happy (I've realised over the last couple of months that I r
eally like making my way through difficult landscapes. A walk in the lovely warm fields is nowhere near as appealing to me as a walk through muddy terrain, and I have always loved walking in snow. I like the squeaking sound it makes, but I also just like the way you know you're using your body). And I took some pictures:
That second-to-last one is almost Thomas Kinkade-esque, if you ignore the plastic netting in the foreground. The last one: those are my new walking shoes. I think they make my feet look like little paws.
Meanwhile, in other news, my friend M. has been telling me all about her adventures in dating. The life she leads: it's all go in her neck of the woods! Among other things, she went out with a man who, very wired, spent the whole of their date saying to her, "You can just relax and be yourself! Just be yourself!" which M. and I agreed was a surefire way to make the other person tense up. He also said, "Whatever you want to get out of this relationship, you can get! I'm willing to give whatever you want!" At the time that she told me this I thought two things:
1. He was very nervous, and
2. He just wants to go to bed with her,
but thinking about it afterward I was also struck by the way those comments, too, seemed to me to bode ill for any relationship - or at least they would with me. And then I remembered when my friend Jennifer and I once amused ourselves by going through some personals ads together; I remarked to Jennifer that I always thought (and indeed still think) it was creepy when men said they're looking for "a special lady," or just "a lady," because I think the word "lady" in that context reveals a whole mindset about what women should be like, and reveals a good deal about what the advertiser is like (i.e., vaguely prissy) - I would think the person would be a much safer bet if they said, "woman." Jennifer, for her part, hated the men who said they were looking for "a female," because she thought that revealed that they didn't think of women as human - in Jennifer's words, "They think of them as dogs, or something."
Who knows if any of this is correct, but for what it's worth I have been mulling over a couple of broad policies regarding potential dates. The first would be, If someone refers to women as "ladies," that person has problems with women (not if they say, "After you, ladies," but if they say, "I'm looking for a special lady." Bleurgh). The second would be, If someone keeps telling you you can get whatever you want out of your relationship with them, especially if they do that right at the beginning, that does not bode well. Don't ask me in what way it doesn't bode well - I think perhaps it puts me off because it suggests they're desperate, or too clingy, or don't have any emotional boundaries - but I think it doesn't bode well. But the third would be, Making juvenile or what I would call dimwitted sexual innuendo is flesh-crawlingly pitiful (like the guy who said to me, "I don't really like to run or to cycle - mind you, there are other forms of exercise that get your heartrate up"). The thing there is not that it's offensive, but that it's feeble and thus loser-y. Plus, I think you should save your sexual innuendo until you know the person is interested in you (inneunyou, as it were); I like a good double entendre, but only with people I know have more to offer than just that. And finally, I'd have to say that if you say in a personals ad or on a first date that you "don't think having things in common is important," you are heading for sorrow. Having things in common is incredibly important (since it's how you build a relationship), and even though it just means having stuff in common like, "I like to talk," and, "I like art," and "We're both polite," it's still way more important than "having that spark," which a lot of men, in particular, seem to go for (although perhaps that's code for, "I REALLY want to get laid").
How the hell did I get onto this? Because I'm now reminded of those two scenes in Tootsie, the first where Jessica Lange says to Dustin Hoffman, when he's dressed as a woman, "You know what I would love? I would love it if a man came up to me and said, 'Look, I could lay a big line on you, and we could do a lot of role-playing, but the truth is, I find you very attractive, and I'd really like to make love to you," and then the second, where he comes up to her at a party, as himself, says precisely that to her, and she throws her drink in his face.
You know what I think there should be a whole bunch more of in the dating world, though? Asking questions. I think I'd respond very well to a first dater who asked me a lot of questions. Not non-stop, or intrusive, but just things like, "Do you like the soup?" or, "Why do you think that?" or, "Where did you get that necklace?" Because questions, particularly those kinds of questions, suggest that the person is actually interested in you, and in paying attention to you. So I think there should be a lot more questions on early dates (if I ever get another date, I must remember to ask some, too). And you know what else I think there should be a lot more of? Hand-holding. I really love holding hands, and not just when you're standing up and walking. What a pity that you can't hold hands with your friends! - Or, I suppose, what a pity it's something I associate with romance, not friendship! One of my nicest memories is of my friend T.M., when I'd just broken up with my last boyfriend. I was telling him about it, and I said, "The one thing that really makes me sad is that I might never hold hands with anyone again." And later that night when we went to the movies, he grabbed my hand and held it, just for a minute, when the lights went down. So I say, more hand-holding, and more questions. In fact, you could combine the two: if I went on a first date and liked the person, and he said, "Can I hold your hand?" I'd be so charmed I'd probably just melt (as evidence, the last time someone kissed me, he did in fact say, "Can I kiss you?", and let me answer, before he did so. And I thought it was adorable).
Of course, I suppose in reality I might just throw a drink in his face.
My goodness, this has been a load of silly rambling. So to end I'll just say, I got granted approval to use a specific image of Byron for my book! It's owned by the Byron Trust, in Nottingham, and I was afraid I'd have to pay bucketloads, but as mine is a scholarly project they gave it to me for free! Huzzah! And here it is: