Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Menstruation ( hooray! )

I notice a prominent advert for tampax on my Myspace page. 'Discover the Latest Tampax Pearl with the New Pearl Protect System.' I have no idea what this is. But I hope it makes the world a happier place.

It reminds me of something I was thinking about recently, whilst slumped on my couch. I do my finest thinking there. No, that's not true at all. I just lie semi-comatose, watching TV. Often I watch American sit-coms, which I generally like. Or dislike them less than British sitcoms, maybe.

I notice that anytime menstruation is mentioned in an American sitcom, all the men panic. They cover their ears, or even run out the room. It's weird. I've seen this repeated in various programmes. Some woman mentions her period, and the men start panicking, completely unable to cope.

Do men ever really do this? Do any of them really get that upset? Not in my experience. It's difficult to see why anyone would get so upset.

I wonder why this scene is so often repeated? I've never seen it in a British sitcom (On the other hand, I haven't seen anything funny in one either, for about the past twenty years)

I suppose it's just done for comic effect. It seems like a fairly lazy way of raising a laugh, really. And not really liable to make women feel good about themselves if it's implied that something they experience every month is deeply repulsive to the other half of the population. So I was on the brink of becoming self-righteous about this, when I realised that... hmm... that actually, I wrote a scene like that once too. In a Thraxas book.

In Thraxas and the Elvish Isles, at the vital moment in an all-male card game, Makri, female barbarian and waitress, starts talking about her period. The men all become uncomfortable, and indeed, some of them panic completely. Which did lead to a funny scene. My thinking at the time, I suppose, was that in the mediaeval, and quite religious society, in which Thraxas lives, menstruation was a taboo subject, and when the female barbarian blithely starts talking about it, the men can't cope.

It seemed funny at the time. But maybe I shouldn't have written it. I didn't realise I'd be joining in with some global campaign to make menstruation seem like a bad subject. If I had realised, I'd probably have written something different. (It's time for the National Menstruation Festival! Bring party hats!)

Hum. Oh well, in Queen Vex, sequel to Lonely Werewolf Girl, Daniel buys the contents of a shopping list, including tampons, for his female friend Moonglow, and he manages not to panic, or even comment adversely.

I'm currently editing this book. And also trying to think of a new title. It's still on course to come out next year.

Spell-check fact - On spell-checking this blog, I found I spelled 'menstruation' wrongly every time. Ha. Well, it's quite a tricky word.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Athens / SpongeBob

I've been reading this, The Athenian Institution of the Khoregia, by Peter Wilson, both for interest and research. It has a vast amount of information about ancient Athenian theatre, presented in such detail I'd have difficulty finding it anywhere else. I'm now stuffed full of facts about Sophocles and Aristophanes. It's an excellent historical work. But it is a little dry. I can only manage so much at a time.

When my head starts to hurt from Athenian theatre research, I slump on the couch and watch SpongeBob. I just saw an episode called Wigstruck. (I can't believe I actually know the title of an episode) It made me laugh, quite a lot. SpongeBob is on Nickelodeon, but I think it may be wasted on the young. Possibly you have to be advancing in years, defeated by life, wearied by toil, to fully appreciate Spongebob.

About 2 a.m., still suffering from complicated ancient Greek theatre research, I'm reading some online newspapers. I look at some reports from fashion shows. I generally like pictures of fashion, despite being the scruffy sort of person who gets followed round supermarkets by suspicious security guards. Unfortunately I'm useless at writing about clothes. I find writing a description of any item of clothing completely impossible. I regret this. I'd like to be able to give a neat little description of a dress, but it's not one of my strong points.

In amongst a lot of interesting and elegant apparel I notice this, from Milan, by Dsquared2. Nice transparent coat. Though it's possible - there is a slight chance - that I'm more impressed by the model than the coat. Well, it is 2 a.m. Actually, with her yellow bikini and brown hair, she's not a bad match for SpongeBob. She'd cheer me up at two in the morning, no doubt, were she knock on my door, maybe looking for directions, having taken the wrong turn on her way to a fashion show.

"Welcome to my shabby part of South London. Would you like some tea? Nice coat. Nice shoes too."

But this is not really likely to happen. I return to my Athenian research. Hmm. I must get out more.