1. Stop faking your fucking orgasms. Society already tells young men that they run the fucking universe - if they can’t turn your cunt into a shooting star then for god’s sake, let them know about it.
2. Once you’ve stopped faking your fucking orgasms, use this newfound honesty throughout the rest of your life - stop ordering coffee you don’t actually like; stop sitting at a desk and allowing people to treat you like shit in the hopes that a meek attitude will earn you a promotion (it won’t); stop telling people they can finish your food when you’re not actually done yet. These may seem petty, but they add up, just like every orgasm you didn’t actually get to have.
3. If you wanna dance all night, dance all fucking night. Dance all night even if you have work in the morning. The worst that will happen is you’ll drink RedBull all day and look like a zombie - pass it off as a head cold to the real zombies you work with and flick through the embarrassing photos you’re being tagged in as you pretend to take a shit for some peace and quiet. I promise, you’ll remember dancing all night in ten years, not the suspicious way your boss looked at you that morning.
4. If your ass looks big in that, that’s a good thing.
5. You will never be as young as you are this second. Embrace it.
6. Embrace the fact that you’re going to get older. Ask your boyfriend if he will still love you when you’re seventy and your tits are down to your knees. Look forward to this time - seventy year old women are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want, and no-one can stop them. You can carry candy in your bag and not share it with a single soul. You can stay home all day and cross-stitch expletives onto handkerchiefs for your grandchildren and slip them under the table out of sight of the people you raised. You can drink whisky at 10am. Every phase of your life is going to be amazing for different reasons. Embrace that.
7. A lot of people will pretend to love Bukowski. Don’t pretend to love Bukowski if you don’t love Bukowski. It’s overplayed and no-one will mind if you actually like Virginia Andrews instead - the people who do mind are boring.
This is awesome.
“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” Oscar Wilde
This gif’s widespread use as shorthand for the concept of ~weaponized femininity~ has always bothered me, and I’ve never understood why it’s become so popular. I mean, sure, at first brush, it seems obvious: here is a studiedly beautiful woman who, with the simple gesture of placing a cigarette between her lips, has dozens of men wrapped around her finger, vying for her favor. But just take a minute here and look at her face. She’s not reveling in this, you get the feeling that she didn’t even expect it, this woman is upset and overwhelmed by the amount of male attention she’s getting.
Because this is a pivotal moment in a movie about a woman who is forced into prostitution.
Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena came out in 2000, and starred Monica Bellucci as the titular Malena, a young wife whose husband is off fighting for the Axis Powers in WWII. Beautiful and shy, Malena tries to keep to herself, but finds it increasingly difficult as word of her husband’s absence attracts not only the attention of all the men in town, but the bitter jealousy of their wives and lovers. She does nothing to encourage any of her suitors, and instead spends her days caring for her aging father. But this uneasy peace in her life is shattered when she receives word of her husband’s death, and she’s left to fend for herself in a town where half the people only care for her body, and the other half hate her for it.
In the rest of the film we see the following: Malena’s relationship with her father destroyed as a result of sexual slander, Malena taken to court by a jealous neighbor who swears the young woman was sleeping with her husband, Malena’s rape by her lawyer as “payment” for her legal fees, Malena’s entry into the world of prostitution, and Melena’s public beating, stripping, and humiliation at the hands of the town’s women when the Americans arrive at the end of the war. Her husband appears in the third act, somehow alive, and he reclaims his wife, restoring her to respectability, and the townspeople begin to accept her once more, now that she is on the arm of her husband, and has, as some of the women whisper, ‘put on a little weight”.
But in spite of all of that, the film isn’t Malena’s story. Instead, we see her life through the eyes of our narrator, a young boy who by turns worships her and is disgusted by her “fall”. This is his coming of age, his discovery of himself through Malena’s trauma and the specter of female sexual jealousy.
In short, this is not a woman’s movie. Malena’s beauty is a cage, something that draws awful, selfish responses from the men around her, responses that she is forced to endure as a result of her situation. And what’s worse, her looks isolate her from women, none of whom can see past her smoky eyes and hourglass figure to the heartbroken widow who needs a friend.
So you know. Use gifs if you like, weaponize that femininity in the most numbskulled, reductively simple way possible, because lipstick is ~how you control men~ and Sex Is About Power, like Oscar Wilde said. Just remember that in this film, and so tragically often in real life, that power doesn’t rest in women’s hands.
“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”
She awoke to an empty room. The side of the bed that had been occupied was cold to her touch, and all of his belongings were gone. She shook her head as she rose, attempting to clear the haze from the night before; attempting to gather her memories into one solid image. Reaching for her robe, she noticed a slip of paper sticking out from beneath her bed. As she picked up the small piece of paper, an image from the evening before filled her mind. The library, lit with small, soft lamps. His face, shadowed by the dim lighting, brow furrowed in deep concentration as he skimmed furiously through an enormous textbook. She had loved him then, in the quiet of the late hour, his hair a mess and his face contorted with lines of deep thought. Suddenly, he glanced up, catching her watching him. His smile seemed to cause the lights to brighten, and her heart leapt in her chest. She steadied herself in order to return to the present, leaning heavily on the oaken dresser at the foot of her bed. When the dizziness passed, she made her way to the door uncertainly, as though her own bedroom was foreign to her. With the folded paper crumpled between her fingers, she opened the door and stepped into the sunlight. She closed her eyes tightly against the searing light of day, and began making her way down the stairs, her unkempt hair falling around her shoulders with each step. Her lace underwear seemed so out of place in daylight, and she pulled a tattered, over-sized tee-shirt over her head as she made her way into the kitchen.
She scowled at the empty bottles littering her counter as she reached for the coffee pot. Finding it empty, she swore under her breath, and turned to the refrigerator for an alternative. As she reached for a Red Bull, the doorbell shrilled above her head.
She glanced at the clock and cursed again, with more volume. ‘Who on earth could be here at this ungodly hour’, she thought to herself, as she yanked sweatpants on out of the laundry basket at her feet. ‘I’ve gotta clean this shit hole,’ she thought to herself as she tripped over odds and ends, tugging her sweats over her bare legs on her way to the front door. She smoothed her hair quickly and opened the door with a casual air.
“What the fuck are you doing here?!” She all but screeched at who could be described as no less than an intruder. Before her he stood, well over six feet, dark eyes flashing with amusement and contempt. He gazed past her and smirked.
“Still haven’t learned how to keep the apartment clean, I see. Tell me, babe…how DO you get around this dump?” He pushed past her as she glowered in the entry way.
She could still recall the first time they met. She was an undergrad at UCLA, studying journalism and paying the bills as a bartender off-campus. Gabe came in one night, as dark and brooding as the day was long, and she could have sworn she lost her heart at first sight. He was a literature major; deep, introspective, and seemingly sweet. She had accepted when he asked her out, thinking that perhaps she had finally found the illusive “one”. The first few years were tumultuous, but they were both so busy finishing their individual degrees that the fighting and financial issues they encountered seemed to take a backseat. What followed graduation were three years of emotional abuse, cheating, lies, and one especially dark night two years past when he stooped low enough to hit her. She had stayed for a time following that incident, and only left him when Miles packed her up and moved her in with him.
Miles. If they hadn’t grown up two doors away from one another, and attended the same high school, they probably never would have met. He was an engineering student at Cal Tech; he could just look at anything mechanical and tell you what was the matter with it. They became friends in eighth grade, when she was on the verge of failing Algebra. Her mother had insisted on tutoring, if she planned on getting a drivers permit during her freshmen year. She reluctantly agreed, and her mother hired Miles. He was awkward; taller than all the other boys in their class, and so skinny that he seemed to disappear when he turned to the side. He wore glasses with thick black frames, which stood out wildly against his pale white skin. He had enormous green eyes and a shock of carrot-colored curls that sat jaggedly across his forehead. When he spoke to girls, which happened only when someone put him on the spot, he would stare intently at his ragged Chuck Taylor’s and mumble, looking something akin to a terrified rabbit caught in a garden full of vegetables. But that was all in the past. While at Cal Tech, he had transformed. His skinny arms had become strong and powerful, and his legs which had seemed so long and awkward were lined with sinews of hard muscle. His lean face had become angular, and his neat russet beard complimented his deep auburn hair, which was no longer a mop of unruly curls, but neatly cropped and flattering. She had laughed aloud when he had told her in his sophomore year that he was thinking of joining the Cal Tech track and field team, and she was beyond surprised when he did so. His dedicated mind-set had carried him to highest honors academically as well as on the field; she had never missed a race. As the years went by, he grew to be someone she not only admired, but her closest friend and most trusted confidant. His easy-going nature and no-holds-barred way of speaking to her made her appreciate him that much more. Her relationship with Gabe had become, very quickly, a tenuous topic for them. Miles had this knack for seeing people as they were very quickly; a trait she found maddening. Gabe’s ‘brooding rogue’ persona troubled the ever-balanced Miles. She had noticed the cautious way Miles seemed to side-step interactions with him, so as not to have to say something he would not be able to take back. Suddenly, Gabe’s husky voice brought her from her musings.
“Jesus, Kate. Why the fuck is there mail here with MY name on it?” He grabbed a stack she had set aside only a few days before.
She quickly stepped backward, hoping to avoid serious damage if he hit her. He appeared suddenly crestfallen and shame burned hot on his throat. She had him with that; the sudden reminder of the horrible events that had ended their relationship what seemed like a lifetime ago. He moved past her silently, careful to sweep wide.
“I’ll come get my shit when you’re out,” he mumbled, pushing the door open and blowing onto the street. She shut and locked the door, leaning on it and sliding to the ground. If he had arrived only an hour earlier, what would he have seen, she wondered aloud.
To be continued…
How have I stayed the course for so long?
Every turn I’ve taken has lead me here, and I still have no idea where “here” is.