Sunday, April 20, 2008

I really suck at titles.

I'm very uncomfortable when I begin a blog entry. It feels...chunky and off the beat somehow. My writing, that is. It feels like it takes me a few paragraphs or so before the whole thing begins to flow, and it's unpleasant. I'm so used to jumping in with the right words, or at least having some idea how the whole thing will go, and blogging is even more clunky than the beginning of a piece of writing usually feels. I suppose the discomfort will help me grow as a writer, but I always worry that the discomfort and searching-for-the-words feeling signals that my ability as a writer has degraded, and now I have to find another outlet. Quite disconcerting. Probably bad for my health. Has it stopped me? Eh. Not yet, no.

I am contemplating taking up piano again. It's a long story, and unless you were there for most of the conversation, it won't make sense, but this past winter I really gave up on it. I had so many other things to do (mostly mentally and emotionally, not actually physical things to do, like cleaning house or building a tree house or anything), that practicing even five minutes a day felt like an imposition. And if there's one thing I don't want my music to become, it's an imposition. Music should be a pleasure, an escape, even when one is just learning and making music badly, and I couldn't look at it that way this past winter. But now it's mostly spring, and in spring a young girl's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of goal setting. Yeah, I know that's not how that goes, but I'm really not ready to think about that particular subject yet. Anyway, so I'm supposed to be deciding how I want my lessons to be structured (alternate between piano, voice and coaching, two of them, only one, etc.) That's not my problem, really--the lessons are the easy part. What I have trouble with is the practice. Even in college when I studied for an hour a week (rain or shine), I was crap at carving out half an hour a day to practice my music. I'm really a very quick study when it comes to music, although I'm not very good when I work it that way (which is why I never wanted to solo--I didn't work hard enough at it to be good enough). I need to decide that, if the ability to play piano is what I really want, I have to sit down every day and play. I noted above that I suck at titles, and I also really suck at committing to anything. I always worry that I'll commit to something and find it's what I don't want, and I always catch merry hell from my family for being "flighty" (they say that like it's a bad thing), and I'm tired of being dismissed because I like to try things out and then get bored of them. So I've stopped trying anything (at least publicly), and my life has gotten so dull. So perhaps I need to come to peace with my flighty nature and then I'll be able to commit again? I don't know. If I ever figure that out, I'll let you know.

Anyway, I was thinking this past week (while trying to work, which doesn't work, because my laptop is faster than our system at work has been, and my laptop is 10 years old, at least) about my penchant for the bad guy. The bad guy in movies and tv, that is. I realized that even in that, I'm a bit odd. I mean, a lot of women get the hots for the bad guys in movies. But the reason they get the hots for them is because they daydream about being with the bad guy and then reforming them. I don't. I want the bad guy, and I want him to still be the bad guy, because if he wasn't the bad guy, then he'd be the good guy, and Christ, but the good guys are dull. The bad guy does what he pleases and rarely feels guilt over it, tends to wear black and leather with silver trims, gets all the good, witty lines and just oozes wild, untamed sex appeal. They also tend to be smarter than the good guys, who are more lucky than clever. The good guy is.... Well. He's tame. And if I wanted a tame man, I'd be married by now. They're distressingly easy to find, hard to respect, and sort of sad to watch. These are the men whose wives get their way just by pouting. Sheesh. I have a dog to dominate, men are for partnering with. I feel embarassed for them when I see their wives thrashing them down in the store like naughty children. If your guy wants beer and pizza for dinner, would it kill you to let him do it on occasion? Do you have to give him that retarded lecture in public about vegetables and lean meats like he's some sort of idiot? Please. Only the weak need to dominate. Learn it, live it, love it.

What's really odd, at least to me, is that bad guys tend to treat their women better (by my definition of better, that is.) Beating the woman is verbotten, but you don't tend to see bad guys beating on their women--mostly because bad guys tend to have female henchpersons who are intelligent, sexy and kickass, and when beaten they tend to retaliate. These female henchpersons are trusted to take part in the Evil Plans for World Domination, and if they fail, they get their butts handed to them on a silver platter. Good guy female henchpersons feel more like tokens, or perhaps team mascots or pets, tend to twist ankles/get captured at inopportune times and are rarely called on their screw ups to the same level as the evil henchperson. Even if they do get called out, Good Guy comes to see her later in private like a parent practicing sensitive parenting, talks to her about what she did wrong, how disappointed he is, kisses the boo boo to make it all better, and jollies her up again. As if she were a child. At least the bad guy treats his women as his equal in the evil, and almost never just pats her on the head. How interesting. Good Guys treat women as children, Bad Guys as employees. And people think I'm weird for having the hots for the bad guy!

Besides. Let's look at the typical bad/good guys:

This is Richard Armitage as Guy de Gisborne from the BBC series "Robin Hood." Black leather, check. All smoldery hot and juicy, check. He's a bit of a ponce around Marian, but I think that's the way the legend goes, so I can't really blame him (and he's cute when he's got puppy eyes, plus I know what happens at the end of Season Two, and my respect for him went up about sixteen million notches). There are female henchpersons in the series (which I haven't watched in a while, so I can't recall if he ran them through when they failed at teh ebil, but I can see it being done.) Compared to:

Jonas Armstrong as Robin. He's cute, but I let my Tiger Beat subscription expire about twenty years ago. What is he, ten? Don't get me wrong, he's a lot better than the generic good guy about letting the females take their knocks, but he's got a double token female--female and foreign. It's almost painful to watch.

Richard Roxborough as Dracula from Van Helsing. The pony tail did put some women off, I admit, but I found it quite fetching. He was enjoying it, you could tell, and I certainly have nothing against men with long hair, so I was down with it. He chewed that scenery up, but hell and damn, in a frock coat and Hessians, nonetheless, which you have to admit is an accomplishment. And he really got crabby with his little demon 'hos, which I found reassuring.


The man himself, Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing. The pose I found just makes the point much more obvious--he's a bit girly. I blame the wig, because in just about every other Hugh Jackman film, they get his shirt off him (much to the joy of every female with the orientation for it in the theater). But he keeps pushing Anna the Obnoxious into the way on the backburner role, which is fine, but a) she's been killing the undead (oxymoron?) for her entire life, so she's got a track record, and b) yeah, she's got to survive the whole episode for her family to get into heaven, but she's been surviving just fine all this time and if you want to get picky, she's not killed by Dracula, but by the nosey guy who jumped in to help! I think she went a bit soft because Van Helsing wouldn't let her practice her werewolf skillz, which is how she ended up dead of smush. The movie is remarkable, however, in being one of the few major motion pictures in which the comic relief got a girl but the leading man went home alone.

Then you have the movie bad guy that started it all for me. Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber. Pretty, no? And he made Bonnie Bedelia pack the money into bags just the same as he did with his henchmen. I blame the '80s for the lack of female henchpersons; apparently they didn't put affirmative action into place for them for another few years at least. But still. Come on. Compare the suave, suited Hans to the sweaty, grimy John McClain, and you have to come up short in some fashion.

And then you have my favorite of all--he's a bad guy and a good guy all in one!

Granted, the Doctor is mostly a good guy. But he's done very bad things. Very, very bad things. There are whole species that fear him! Honestly, how can a girl resist that--the combination of moral certainty with the willingness to be randomly harsh and cruel when it's necessary to follow said code? And he's never (past the first doctor, in the main) treated his companions, male or female, as idiots or children, unless they were. He trusts them, respects them. Leaves them behind if need be. Any wonder I get all moon-faced when the show comes on? His very cavelier treatment of Captain Jack--and the explanation he gives him when confronted--highlight the whole issue of his ambiguity. He abandoned Captain Jack because he was "wrong", but he also knew Jack would be able to find his way to safety. It wasn't as if he was abandoning him to die, or suffer eternally. He just...left. Jack was hurt by it, but it's not as if he was physically endangered by the Doctor's choice.

It's just a bonus that David Tennent (and Christopher Eccleston, since he was my entry level Doctor) is cute. Well. I wouldn't call Eccleston "cute", as he's rather short of the cuddly puppy dog level, but he is certainly hot. Particularly when he'd go all evil-eyes on the bad guys and you just knew there'd be a smoking crater in their future. See? Good guy going all bad. And he wore the black leather jacket. Woof.


Marigold said...

LOL! this post just made my day :) mostly because you picked examples that i really really like (except for Hans Gruber. He's too...fastidious?) but definitely the black leather and silver. yum!

although, i would argue that i real life, the guys being whipped by their wives in the grocery store are not "good" guys. They simply are average dudes who assume they are nice, they don't actually have the moral strenght(sic) to attempt goodness, and don't have the balls to be evil.

did that make sense? if not, please ignore ;)

Silver Phoenix said...

Hansie? I love the suit. I thought it was funny how he flinched every time he shot someone. :-) I must confess, though, that I only watched "Die Hard" because I was totally in pervy love with A.R.'s Sherrif of Nottingham from the Kevin Costner "Robin Hood". Of course, as he's my first bad boy love, I totally <3 Snape.

I'll conceed that the guys getting whipped in public are probably just average joes trying to be nice, but so many women's magazines tell you to "give the nice guys a chance." Which is what I'm (actually) complaining about, in sideways fashion. Why should I give the nice guys a chance when they won't man up and treat me with respect (including assuming I'm not going to crumple into tears if they disagree with me) and call me on it when I don't respect them? I'm honest enough with myself to know I'd mow one down like a lawn mower with a 1" blade setting, but I'm generous and morally strong enough to know that would be wrong. Besides, men who don't have the moral strength to be good or the balls to be evil are just weenus enough to be passive aggressive, and I don't want to be stuck hiding my Haagen Dazs so he doesn't eat it to get back at me for something. :-p

Maybe we should start educating men that nice guys don't have to be doormats. Then they can, you know, be men while still being polite and respectful. I blame the Victorians--all that crap about women being the moral arbiters of the home led to much faulty thinking even into the 21st century, such as men are not in control of their sexual impulses so if a woman's raped it's her fault, and since men are such filthy, dirty immoral animals, they should be shunned by all righteous women unless said women need to reproduce. All that blamestorming going on, and no one stopping to think anything through....