Once Bitten

bitemebooks
Mood: Snarky
Drinking: Tea

It was really only a matter of time before curiosity won out over better judgment and I picked up the Twilight books.

I’m a sucker (heh) for all things vampire. Dracula, Lestat, Angel, even the incredibly boring Bill from those Sookie Stackhouse novels. I’ve loved them all, to varying degrees.

I remember seeing Twilight on the shelves in a bookstore a few years ago, with its fairytale-suggestive cover. I picked it up, read the back jacket copy, and dismissed it as too teenage for my tastes.

But then it became more than a book, it crossed over into phenomenon territory, Harry Potter territory, and my curiosity was piqued.

Speaking of Potter, I put him off for 4 whole books, but was finally coerced into reading by a 10-year-old. With Harry, I was pleasantly surprised. J.K. Rowling created a beautiful, fully-realized world, with actual plots and character development.

Stephenie Meyer, however, created a big pile of crap.

I had trouble settling into reading the first book because Meyer’s writing is so terrible. Really, laughably awful. In fact, I’ve read better fan fiction! And yet, the concept of vampires going to high school was intriguing enough at the beginning that I slogged on through it, pausing here and there to roll my eyes in disbelief at the prose.

A friend recently suggested that of course I finished all 4 books in the series because I, like “everyone else”, fell in love with Edward, the vampire hero, in the first book. Except that I didn’t. How could I? Meyer gives you nothing to fall in love with. He’s a caricature of a 13-year-old’s bedtime fantasy.

And then she goes and mucks about with vampire lore, ridding herself of all garlic, crosses, and coffins to create a whole new vampire legend. And I would be fine with that, if her new vampires weren’t so silly. For example: The reason Meyer’s vampires live in Forks, Washington, under the cloudiest skies in the country is not because, like your usual Whedon or Rice vampire, they will burst into flames in the sunlight. No. Meyer’s vampires, when touched by sun, sparkle.

I will pause so you can guffaw.

Yes, her vampires are so beautiful and glittery, they must hide from the sunlight because their skin is so iridescent, it would dazzle all humans and thereby reveal the vampire secret identity.

I guess I prefer my vampires a little less sparkly. And a little less stalkerish.

I remember being a teenager and dreaming of having a boyfriend who thought I was utterly fascinating, who was entranced by everything about me, who loved to just sit for hours and watch me breathe, who wanted to be with me every moment of every day, no matter what kind of mood I might be in.

It was a pretty little fantasy that quickly hit the wall of reality when I actually got a boyfriend and had to face the fact that I really wasn’t all that fascinating all the time, and that having someone around underfoot every single second of the day would only wipe the bloom off the rose that much faster.

I grew up, I grew out of it, and I came to understand that love was more complicated than I had imagined, but it was better, too.

Meyer apparently never outgrew her fantasy, and she bequeaths her vampire Edward with all the attributes of a perfect teenage dream. He is pretty. He has great hair. He’s mysterious. He’s slightly dangerous. He plays the piano. He’s a vegetarian (he only sucks the blood of animals, not humans). He never sleeps, so he has plenty of time to devote to staring at the object of his inexplicable, immortal ardor: a human girl with brown eyes, brown hair, and average everygirl tendencies, Bella.

Bella is quite possibly the most boring heroine I’ve ever come across. She narrates all four books, and constantly harps on Edward’s perfection and her own comparative inadequacies. It’s the old “why does he love me?” quandary, times ten.

The thing is, Meyer never really answers that question to the reader’s satisfaction. She never gives a good enough reason for why Edward does love Bella, and why then readers should love her, too.

Bella remains a hapless, accident-prone damsel in distress, self-absorbed, co-dependent, utterly obsessive in her fixation on Edward, and yet somehow profoundly boring.

I kept returning to that underlying issue as I read each book. I wasn’t in love with Edward, and I didn’t give a shit about Bella. I’m still not sure how I made it through all 4 books.

There’s also the love triangle with a werewolf (of course).
Pages and pages and pages wasted on that angst-ridden drama, only to resolve it neatly and all-too conveniently in the final book.

Wasted pages an apt description for this entire series of books. Meyer’s writing does improve somewhat — it would have to, as she churned out these 4 books in just 3 years.

But she is not a good writer, by any stretch. You’d hope that she’d make up for it by at least being a good storyteller, but she doesn’t pull that off, either.

For me, one of the most ridiculous storylines in the entire series is this: Bella, who is a virgin (of course), wants to make love to Edward. But he won’t have sex with her because he’s afraid he will hurt her with his vampire super-strength (super penis!). Ok. I can possibly accept that.

But then Meyer, who is a Mormon, takes it to a whole new level of crazy: Edward, who is really about 80 years old, and therefore was a human in a much more genteel time, really doesn’t want to have sex with Bella UNTIL THEY ARE MARRIED.

For real. A vampire with a puritan (or Mormon) moral code. Pardon me while I die laughing.

Overall, Meyer’s overarching plot points, if you can call them that, are much ado about nothing. She’ll blather on and on and on about pointless details, with excruciatingly long conversations between Bella and her two men, Edward and Jacob, and then *bam* throw some sort of dramatic conflict with other, non-vegetarian vampires in toward the very end in order to resolve some half-assed plot points.

In the last book, there’s this big buildup for chapters and chapters to a final battle, and then when you actually get there, the battle just disappears. The vampires talk it out instead.

Gah! Most. Boring. Vampires. Ever.

I just kept thinking, as I plowed my way through this mess, “How in the HELL did she ever get published?” Followed quickly by, “And who the HELL are her editors? They should be fired!” Followed immediately by, “And why the HELL am I reading this garbage?”

Bottom line: Meyer’s books are the most self-indulgent, poorly-written, ridiculously-contrived, juvenile fantasies I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading. Edward groupies can bite me, because no amount of fanatical raving is going to make these books any good.

They say curiousity killed the cat, and all that, but in this case, curiosity killed off more than a few of my brain cells.

Oh, I can’t wait for the movie!

-Lo, twice shy.

Not Carried Away

satc
Mood: Industrious
Drinking: Tea Time

What I am about to say will make me one of the, oh, 5 people in the world who can’t stand Sex and the City, who is not rushing out to a theater this weekend or raising a Cosmopolitan to my lips whilst teetering about on 4-inch stilettos.

(And in my little group of 5, I’m not counting the uptight religious folk who don’t like it on principle simple because it has “sex” in the title.)

Yes, I have actually watched the show. I figure it’s best to know what you’re talking about before you choose to call it reprehensible. So a few years ago, when the final season had just aired and everyone was in a tizzy because, oh god, what would they do without their SATC, I decided to see what the fuss was about.

I admit that I went into my Netflix marathon with low expectations. I had seen bits and pieces of the show before (it has been unavoidable), and I took an immediate and deep-seated dislike to Carrie. Admittedly, I can’t stand any of the girls. But Carrie is the worst for me. She makes me want to stab out eyes with sporks.

As if you didn’t know, Sarah Jessica Parker’s frizzy-haired fashionista is supposedly a writer on the show. It pains me that people who love the show, oh you many millions, think that Carrie’s brand of “writing” is suppposed to be good. The horror!

Any time she would flip open her laptop and flick on a cigarette, I felt rage begin to well up from the tips of my toes. And then the “writing” voiceover would begin:
“I couldn’t help but wonder, when it comes to being carefree single girls, have we missed the boat?”
or
“Later in the day I began to wonder, are we simply romantically challenged, or are we sluts?”
or
“I wonder, in a world where leaving each other seems to be getting more and more frequent, what are the breakup rules?”

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

If SATC were created today, Carrie wouldn’t have a column in a newspaper (side note: how does she afford her ridiculous wardrobe on a salary from a newspaper, especially when she doesn’t even seem to work full-time???) — she would have a blog, and she would happily clatter away on her little keyboard, spewing all her random musings and boy-obsessed wonderings to the great unknown blogosphere. Kind of like I am doing right now.

Anyway, for those many and rabid SATC devotees and defenders, nothing I say will sway their love for Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte. But nothing they can say will change my utter contempt for this show.

I know it’s supposedly a great tale about the friendship of women and how it triumphs over all of life’s ills. And that’s nice and all, but it’s hard for me to see through all of the horrible writing and ridiculous scenarios and find such a diamond at the center of all the crap.

Perhaps it’s because I prefer boots to Blahniks, or maybe it’s because I was never a serial dater, or possibly it’s because I don’t give a shit about fashion, but whatever it is, the silly, self-obsessed, insecure, waspy girls of SATC will just never do it for me.

And if that makes me one of only 5 people on earth who feel that way, well, I’m just fine with it.

But if you are one of the many SATC lovers in my life (Michael, I’m looking at you), I’m not gonna love you any less because of your taste in television. Just please don’t expect me to go to the theater with you when you go to “get Carried away” for the third time in a row.

-Lo, with a kiss-kiss here and a hug-squeal there.

Stupid Girls

cancan_bathroomMood: Soapboxy
Drinking: Water

I swear, the dumbest things make the rounds on the internet. This is news to no one, I know.

But today I saw this awful list posted on facebook, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen it.

Apparently a gaggle of single women (girls?) out there think it’s undeniably profound, the ultimate guide to how a guy should treat his girlfriend. And so they keep it alive, posting it on the profiles of the boys they’re crushing on, thereby ensuring said boy is scared off forever.

But you can’t share my angst if you don’t know what I’m talking about, so I’m going to post the offending list here. I apologize in advance.

Here we go…

When she walks away from you mad [Follow her]
When she stares at your mouth
[Kiss her]
When she pushes you or hits you
[Grab her and don’t let go]
When she starts cussing at you [Kiss her and tell her you love her]
When she’s quiet [Ask her what’s wrong]
When she ignores you [Give her your attention]
When she pulls away [Pull her back]
When you see her at her worst [Tell her she’s beautiful]
When you see her start crying [Just hold her and don’t say a word]
When you see her walking [Sneak up and hug her waist from behind]
When she’s scared [Protect her]
When she lays her head on your shoulder [Tilt her head up and kiss her]
When she steals your favorite hat [Let her keep it and sleep with it for a night]
When she teases you [Tease her back and make her laugh]
When she doesn’t answer for a long time [Reassure her that everything is okay]
When she looks at you with doubt [Back yourself up]
When she says that she likes you [She really does, more than you could understand]
When she grabs at your hands [Hold hers and play with her fingers]
When she bumps into you [Bump into her back and make her laugh]
When she tells you a secret [Keep it safe and untold]
When she looks at you in your eyes [Don’t look away until she does]
When she misses you [She’s hurting inside]
When you break her heart [The pain never really goes away]
When she says it’s over [She still wants you to be hers]
When she reposts this bulletin [She wants you to read it]
– Stay on the phone with her even if she’s not saying anything.
– When she’s mad hug her tight and don’t let go.
– When she says she’s ok don’t believe it, talk with her.
– Because 10 yrs later she’ll remember you.
– Call her at 12:00am on her birthday to tell her you love her.
– Call her before you sleep and after you wake up.
– Treat her like she’s all that matters to you.
– Tease her and let her tease you back.
– Stay up all night with her when she’s sick.
– Watch her favorite movie with her or her favorite show even if you think it’s stupid.
– Give her the world.
– Let her wear your clothes.
– When she’s bored and sad, hang out with her.
– Let her know she’s important.
– Kiss her in the pouring rain.
– When she runs up to you crying, the first thing you say is, “Whose ass am I kicking, babe?”

*Sigh*

Ok. Now do you feel my pain?

It’s just the most juvenile perspective of love, as if the author watched every Nora Ephron rom com, read every bodice ripper, and bought into every fairytale version of love she’s ever heard.

Girls who believe this are just setting themselves up for some deep-seated disappointment. I don’t care how stellar your partner is, he (or she) will NEVER be able to live up to this list. Nor should they.

Because if you take this list to heart, then a girl can treat her partner like absolute shit and still get treated like some kind of Disney princess. Kick your lover in the teeth, call him a motherfucker, cry and whine and bitch and wail and stop brushing your teeth altogether, and he will happily turn the other cheek while telling you how beautiful and wonderful and magical you are.

Really?

Nowhere in this ridonk-ulous piece of fantasy does it mention what the girl should do for her partner. Nowhere does it talk about mutual respect, or having consideration for the other party’s feelings.

Perhaps in the earliest throes of infatuation, before you’ve let Wonderboy into your pants, you can spit in his eye and he’ll still find you sexy. But let me assure you that 10 years down the road if you’re still spitting, he’ll be spitting right back. Assuming he’s still around.

So here’s what I really want to say to the girls who are circulating this bit of idiocy: Grow up! And pick up a bit of self-respect while you’re at it. No lover is ever going to give you everything that you need, want, and think you deserve. It’s impossible.

So quit waiting for Prince Charming to read your mind and pick up your glass slipper. Pick up your own damn shoe.

Stop loading up your lover with unrealistic expectations and feeling sorry for yourself when they can’t perform, when they don’t make you feel the way you want them to.

And ask yourself this: If your current crush gave you this list, do you imagine for one second that you could live up to it? Because it goes both ways.

If you want respect, give it. If you want to be heard, listen. If you want to be treated like you are the only girl in the world, then treat your partner like a treasure, too.

The world could use a lot fewer stupid girls and spoiled princesses and a lot more women who understand that true love requires sacrifice, selflessness, and commitment.

Rant over.

-Lo, packing up her own princess tendencies.