Sunday, November 30, 2008

harassment thread

I know, I spend my time reading old blog posts and threads but I need to educate myself :)
although this isn't really an education.
It's life, and it makes me so fucking angry.
I want to cry.
Talking to JJ on msn and he wondered why I'd gone so quiet, so I directed him to the thread. Now I'm waiting to see what he'll say, although I have faith-he's no idiot :)

I'm safe enough. I live in a safe town. Mine is a place where I can walk back home at two in the morning and nothing has ever happened to me **touches wood**.
I hate feeling like public property because I'm a girl.
Although I'm not sure it's quite the same in France as in the Uk or the US. I was fifteen when I went to the US, so I didn't really notice, and in the UK I've always been out in groups, so I don't know.

But I'm still worried about going home alone. I walk around with pepper sray ever since I ran into trouble at university last year. Before an ex got it for me because he was worried about the nasty turn things between the people blocking uni and those against it (ie, me for example) were taking, I carried one of my brother's knives around.
I always wear headphones so I can ignore the guys calling me out. If I do hear them I tend to have insults spout out before I can stop them. Last time in Marseille I told them to fuck off and die. When i was sixteen some arab dude in the street stopped in front of me, leered and said "hey, let's go to a hotel", as if it was something normal. Told him to go fuck himself.
I fucking hate having to be careful.
I give out very strong leave me alone vibes, which tend to scare people off. In first year, I never got chatted up in the bus, when my roommates did. Around the end of the year though, some random guy in my neighbourhood stopped me in the street and insisted on talking. He was nice enough, but he was creeping me out, he was too old, saying how he'd been seeing me around for a couple months, blabla, could I give him my number. Said no. Tried to make me take his. Said there was no point, that I wasn't going to call him, and shot off.
I hate feeling I owe these cray dudes something, when I don't. I hate being afraid of offending them, that they might take it out on me, and I won't police my behaviour for them. When I really can't do it, I give a fake number so that they leave me the hell alone.

**update**JJ is shocked.

I just get so tired sometimes, and I'm in a safe place. Why should I have to hide beind my sunglasses and headphones?
Why do men feel entitled to shouting their opinion at me, and what, think it's flattering?

I know men can't comprehend it at a female level because they're not going to experience it, but Christ, is it that hard to grasp?
I just want to scream.
I'll feel better in the morning.


Privilege is a concept that occurred to me only recently. I mean, I knew I was lucky, but I'd never actually defined it this way.
But as time goes on, I see how privileged i actually am, and I find it crazy.

I'm white.
I'm young.
I'm slim.
I'm conventionally attractive.
I'm straight
I'm smart enough.
I'm middle-class.
I'm from what they call a traditional nuclear family.
I live in a country that pays for my education and health care.
I'm confident enough.

I'm comfortable enough in my own skin not to feel threatened by what is different from me. And I think that's the mother of all privileges, although many probably won't agree with me.
I was brought up to be tolerant and not dismiss what I don't understand.
I lived in a safe environment, where I wasn't belittled overmuch for being a girl, although it has happened, of course; where the gay people I knew weren't attacked, and where the probability of my being mugged was fairly small. Case is, I've been harassed but never attacked, and here's hoping it stays that way.

Racism though was rampant because in the south of France there are large muslim/arab communities-well this actually goes for the whole of France but we're near the sea and Morocco and Algeria are very near. It's hard to be Arab or Black in France.

It's funny how where I lived it was rarer to meet homophobic people than racist people, especially in my generation. After all, we don't listen to only-white music or watch only-white movies.
I could try and explain it. I could try and justify it, but it's just wrong.
I could tell you that whenever I've been harassed by unknown men in the street in my short life, they've all been Arab, strangely enough. I could tell you about how this experience is common to most of my friends. Not three months ago, two friends got beaten up by five arab dudes.
I could tell you how we've all come to associate violence with Arab youths-and older men, for that matter.

And it's just terrible.

These kids have been discriminated against for years, of course they're angry, and all this leads to violence and the 2005 riots.

But that's not what you think of when you've just walked past a group of them who whistled at you and called you a fucking French whore because you didn't respond.

I can try and understand the anger. They're screwed over. You're soooo less likely to get through school, to find a job, to be able to rent a flat if you're Arab or Black, it's insane.
If you're young, it's no point even thinking about it.
That's why people like Rachida dati are set up as an example. She was the daughter of illiterate immigrants, she managed, being a girl, she got out of an arranged marriage, she managed.

But these kids, they mainly have footballers, rappers and singers to look up to, and that isn't much.
So I'm angry at how screwed up they got, so that they got so angry, so that I have to take care to avoid looking at them so as not to get "who you looking at, you French ho, what you want?".
I'm angry at the system that taught them it was no point fighting back.
I'm angry that I don't know what I could do.

Roommate dearest has some voluntary work to do to get her degree. She's going to tutor a kid from one of the less favoured sides of town, which is great. Seriously the Law uni is so much better than ours, it's crazy^^

Sexuality musings

This post made me think a lot, especially the part about male sexuality.
Male homophobia stemming from their insecurity. Which is, actually, obvious, but needs to be spelled out more often.

I'm actually surprised at how unfamiliar this can be. Maybe I just didn't mix with the very macho guys, although I frequented a lot of rugby players during my high school years-talk about homoeroticism :D.

But I have so many friends and guys I've dated who have kissed other dudes, sometimes while drunk, sometimes not, who questioned their sexuality to come to the conclusion that they were straight, without worrying more than that.
JJ for one wrote a song about his best mate's body that's inherently sexual. Which doesn't stop him from dating me :). My ex sometimes kisses his best mates when drunk. It doesn't mean anything to them, maybe just an over the top expression of their friendship :)

When I was in my senior year of high school, we had this class called civic education. It was a load of bollocks and our economics teacher cut it every three weeks so she could make us sit out a four hour exam.(french school can be very demanding^^).
But basically she made us all do small presentations of about half an hour, with another half hour of discussion. It usually made for lively arguments, including my accusing my class of being French chauvinist idiots when we discussed Europe ^^.
But I digress. The Best Friend had homosexual adoption as a subject.

See, in France it's a bit strange. You can adopt as a single parent, which is what most gay couples do, because you can't adopt as a couple in a civil union, if I remember right (PACS), although the European Human Rights Court has stated that refusing adoption on the basis of sexuality is illegal, it's all a bit complicated. Anyway, this was in 2005/2006, back to the story.

Best Friend hauled me in to go around and question the school pupils on what they thought of adoption by homosexuals.
A resounding number didn't give a damn. A few worried about the effect on the kids. And then of course there were the radically opposed, but i don't remember many, I only remember a group of five or six guys saying "well look at my buddy here. He can/could be gay, I don't care. I still don't think it's right if he adopts, I mean the poor kid would be singled out like, forever, it's not normal."
I don't remember actively arguing with anyone, just pointing out that homosexual couples already had children anyway, and that not being able to adopt just made things a lot more difficult for them, because surrogate mothers are banned in France, it's considered selling your body, which is banned, like for organs, blood, and sex of course!

But all those who were against it were guys. Funny, isn't it.

There were quite a few loud and proud gays in my school, boys or girls. The loudest of them, Flo did get quite a bit of flack from the rugby players, which led to a hell of a lot of arguments, mainly my screaming in the middle of class for them to STFU! He was-and is-my friend. He was everyone's friend really, he was a popular guy.
The other one who really struck me was Erica, but that's because she scared the shit out of me^^ She was very strong, did a lot of boxing, and was certifiably insane. And she got angry very fast.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday scrolling

I wish I wrote down ideas for posts when I get them, because then life gets in the way, and I forget.

This has not been a good week. Those bombings in Mumbai...still not clear, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Two Frenchies were killed, apparently the founder of Princesse Tam Tam, an underwear brand and her husband (I haven't checked this, read it in the paper).

The Socialist's warfare seems to have abated for a while, they elected Martine Aubry, and now I'm waiting for the next self-implosion. The state of the left in this country is pathetic. They just fight for power all the time, and none of them seem to realise the consequences. I mean, I'm nineteen and I could tell them that they're just making themselves ridiculous and completely discrediting whatever they could do.

One thing I've been thinking about is power in France. We're often told there aren't enough female politicians in powerful places, but A) I'm not sure that's true, I don't have the statistics, and we do have a lot of female names cropping up every day in the news, the most common at the moment being Segolène Royal and Martine Aubry, and B) I don't think that's the point. No-one in France could do an Obama, ever : what, eight years of politics, and becoming president?
No fucking way.
Sarkozy presented himself as a reformer when he turned up : what a lot of foreigners don't realise is that he's been in politics for thirty years.
A job in politics here is all about the game. We're so very stuck in Machiavel. Many politicians, most politicians tend to use their power for themselves a lot.
Which I think is why they don't want more rivals. Things could change a lot if more female politicians, powerful ones, spoke out for the cause of women in general, had female protégées, thought about sharing even a bit-but it doesn't work like that here.

Sarkozy has female protégées, more than male ones come to think of it, such as Rachida Dati and Rama Yade. Has he furthered their careers? Hell yeah. No-one had actually heard of them before he gave them their jobs.
Not that it protected them.
I have little respect for Rachida Dati. She has no idea of what compromise is, and seems to prefer showing off in tabloids than actually working. But as she whines a lot, she's the daughter of two illiterate Algerian immigrants who became a lawyer by herself. That commands my respect, whatever happens.
Rama Yade is the daughter of an African diplomat. She seems intelligent, but her job doesn't allow her to show it at all. She's a political prop more than anything else, unfortunately. I'd like to see what she's capable of, and I'd love to see her prove the naysayers wrong.

But she's put herself in the power of a very dominant man, and sarkozy is not going to let anyone steal his thunder, not that a state secretary could, but he will do anything to keep the useful people and get rid of the deadweights. Rama is still useful; she does what he says, she doesn't create scandals or controversies, and she looks good as a young black woman in his government.

She isn't a Segolene Royal, who for all her craziness these days has been a very strong woman through her life; she got away from the dominating influence of her military father in her late teens, and became the first female candidate to the presidency to get to the second round.
Here's the thing. I don't like Segolene Royal, she acts strangely and goes with the flow, uttering a few crazy things along the way for shock value.
But she earned what she got, and she fought all the way, all the way to the primaries for the Socialist candidate for the presidency in 2007, when some of the left candidates asked "but who will take care of the children?" disparagingly.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Keyboards for girls

Why does this strike me as sexist, and am I overreacting?
A lovely pink keyboard, with musical notes instead of numbers, "XXL letters" for caps, and a whole lot of other "easy" functions, like special keys for "OMG".

I find this extremely annoying. And the first comment on the page is already moaning about how SOMEONE is going to complain about this.

I mean, duh, it's so hard to use a normal keyboard when you're just a silleeee girleeeee. After all, all a girl uses a computer for is to chat, isn't it?Msn and the like. Ooooh,and to look up things about popstars.
Musical notes instead of numbers? I mean, seriously?

This is the kind of thing that really annoys me. GIRLS ARE DUMB,YOOHOO!We need pink and things made easy!
Just fuck off already.

Just great

Holy shit T.I. and Rihanna have sampled Ozone.

I think I just did mysef an injury laughing.

(Ozone are some eastern Europe band who had a hit years ago with a song that ges "Numa Numa yeah. Unintentionally hilarious.)

Refusal to comply

I don't have to fit in anyone's mold of what a woman should be.

So yeah, I swear a lot, make a lot of bad jokes, have a one-track mind, am a year younger than all my classmates, describe myself as feminist, enjoy the company of men and women alike, am fairly shameless, can't help laughing when people use pop-psychology on me, am cynical, don't believe in a hypothetical Prince Charming, don't WANT a Prince Charming because he'd be the most boring person on earth, lose my temper a lot, dislike getting overly emotional, think too much, try to get to the bottom of things, am called indifferent, cold, intimidating, refuse to let myself be used as a doormat, tend to take things with a shrug, move on fast-does all this make me anything less of a woman?

I don't think so. I don't feel so. But I'm told a girl shouldn't act like that.
I should be heartbroken at the end of my relationship.
Well I'm not.
I should only have sex with someone I love.
Well I won't.
I should keep my mouth shut and listen to people airing their inane opinions in silence.
I will not.
I should wear dresses all the time and look pretty at all times.
I'll dress for me. I wear my make-up for myself, and too bad if you deem it outrageous, or over the top for daytime, or too subdued for a party. I choose.
I shouldn't go out at night, shouldn't drink, shouldn't party, shouldn't have fun because who knows what may happen to me!
I'll take the risk.

I am original sin and life-giver at the same time, I tempt and wrong and create evil.
Once more : NO.

Seriously, no. All this is just plain wrong.

We're all stereotyped. I was given dolls, my brother was given cars. We were jointly given electric trains and a car track. We played farms together, played with my barbies and his Action Men, played Lego and built treehouses, played Pokemon when it first came out, I used to play ball or tag at recess, I refused to wear a skirt after the age of 5, refused point blank to wear anything I hadn't chosen for that matter, which drove my poor mother crazy, and spent my life the nose in a book from the moment I learned how to read at four, stealing the books my mother banned me from reading because I was too young for them (she might've been right about that-reading a biography of Henri 4 of France at 9 isn't quite normal, apparently).

But where's the fun in staying in the place you're given?I wanted those dolls. My family wouldn't have cared if I wanted cars, I always wanted books more than anything anyway. I still do. I love books.
So I was hard to define. Still am, I suppose. I don't dress in any particular way than what i find pretty. So what? Bookworm?yes. Feminine?yes. Strong-willed?yes. Nerdy?yes. A royal pain in the ass?Most definitely.
I just hate being put in a box. I'm this, so I should do that, or think that-no.

God, I'm totally out on medication so I'd better shut up now :D

Links ahoy

Well I'm sick today, so pottering around on the internet, as usual.

Linking to some wonderful posts that make me insanely angry and leave me wondering what the hell I could do.
I had F discover this post yesterday and I might have turned her into a Shakesville devotee :) as I became recently.
Because I've found people who can actually express my feelings, call me out on my privilege without even knowing I exist, and generally just give me some kind of hope. Teaspoon by teaspoon ;).
(Posts all about rape. Yeah, that's life.)

I've never been raped. Lucky?yes. Should I have to feel lucky? HELL NO.
It's always a risk for a woman, and everyone considers that NORMAL.
It makes me so fucking angry, this culture of entitlement that exists. I've lost count of the number of times a guy has tried to kiss me if not worse when I was in a not-so-sober state. It hasn't happened in a while though. After all, I'm intimidating :D
Although I also got this kind of rep when at a friend's eighteenth, when I was sixteen, a "friend" tried to grope me and I punched him in the eye. he never spoke to me again :).

I can't stop men considering my body to be public property, although I do my best to discourage it.
What i don't get is how a woman can still be considered as "other", as not quite human. Simone de Beauvoir had a lot to say on this sixty years ago; has nothing changed since?Nothing?

I feel like I live in a culture that encourages girls to consider themselves as meat. And there's something I'll never do. I have more brains than a lot of men I know, and there's no way I'm hiding that to pander to their pathetic little egos.

I'm sort of seeing JJ at the moment, and there's definitely no limit to his brains. Counterintuitively sexy, as read on Jezebel some time back. What's inside is sexier than what's outside. Now he's not the most confident of men, but he definitely doesn't make me feel like I should change to help his ego, quite the opposite.
When we first met, over a year ago, he didn't take to me much because he found me overconfident and pretentious (I say, I was being drunkface when I turned up that day, so it's not my fault :D)and because I'd been invited along by a friend of mine, Viet, who is famously aggressive, abrasive, and can be perfectly revolting speechwise, which I find hilarious but a lot of people do not- which didn't do much for my reputation in his eyes.
But he found out I actually had a brain, and that's what he finds interesting, strangely enough.
It's so nice to have intelligent conversation, instead of getting bored listening to my ex's friends air their one-dimensional opinions on the world.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Songs of Freedom

I had a new wonderful friend from uni, F, over today, after class, and we smoked and pretended to work and chattered away and shared our music tastes and talked and talked and talked.
F is of Tunisian origin, and we share a lot of discussions about origins and family and feminism, and people have the same complaints about us : confidence, indifference, not needing a man to choose our way :)

So we found out that we had the same musical obsessions with old music and C-Pop (chinese music) and weird J-pop and all the stuff the people such as my ex's circle of friends look down upon because it's too "easy" too "mainstream", and the like.
Now music is a very personal subject, and as numerous teenagers the world over I sort of hid in it. Music is what lifts you up. And I've always had very eclectic tastes :)
So where's all this going? Well I think music has an influence on you.
I grew up listening to rockers and not feeling excluded. Listening to women saying that being a girl was fun and you could be strong and there was nothing to be ashamed of.
That there was something inherently inferior in being a girl.
They were girls who'd kick your ass if you suggested such a thing.

So did that help? Hell yeah. Well, I think so. When I was around eight, at the yearly school fetes, they always played Shania Twain's "Man, I feel like a woman". I was used to hearing her sing about how FUN it could be.
"I wanna be free, yeah, to feel the way I feel"
Possibly not the most feminist track on earth, for sure. I haven't actually analysed it, and I'm not going to, just in case I ruin my memories!
But I was told in the song that I could do whatever the hell I liked, girl or no girl.

I haven't listened to that in a while. But I've always had a fondness for girls singing about things I could actually muster an interest for.
Not so much the stereotyped pop/rnb girls usually singing about how their boyfriend left them or how much they love him.
I like the girls saying that it might hurt but it's not the end of the world. Because that's how I see things too.
I liked them telling me that it didn't matter. That I could do whatever I wanted. That however hard, I could get over things.
It's always a relief to find a kindred spirit.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beaujolais nouveau :)

So i took off, to come back home for a break after spectacularly failing my chinese exams.

Today I spent the day with JJ providing moral support for his trying to persuade local concert halls to let them play, and we ended up in Avignon with a bunch of his mates getting drunk on wine cause the Beaujolais nouveau juste came out ; you bought a glass for three euros and walked round the fifty-odd stands choosing wine. i think I tried about seven and that was it for me :)so we went to the restaurant.
All in all, a very enjoyable day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holy shit

Prince Charming's girlfriend is a nutter.
I just found out he had to get her dad's approval before dating her.

I can't even get started on how WRONG this is.

Standard reply : MY dad wouldn't even dream of this because he respects my intelligence enough to know i can choose for MYSELF.
Next : even if he WANTED to I respect MYSELF enough to know i DON'T NEED his approval.

Prince Charming found it weird at the time. What love can do to you. No wonder his girlfriend is a nut.

Bitch 101 courtesy of Hoyden about Town

I love this post!

and I think I must be a bitch then :D **gives oneself a cookie**

Nature and Nurture

Fuckpolitness's lovely comment there (yay!) set me one wondering : how does one become who we are?
How did I apparently turn out different from a lot of the girls I know?
How come I don't want to run to anyone for help?

I'd think it's all in the luck of the draw (that would be the nature issue) but it's probably much more likely to be the environment you've had to live in.

I've had an extremely privileged life.

I come from a multicultural family, to start off with. I do believe that helps with openness, because there are always a lot of issues to resolve within yourself, so you can't just take things for granted.
My French classmates know where they're from, who they are, where they'll go (well, usually). I never have. I'm not French, not British, not American, definitely not Swedish, so I've always wondered where I stood.

My family isn't particularly conventional or unconventional.
My father is American by choice, swedish american by inheritance, born and raised in France.
He left for America for university at eighteen, at which point my swedish grandmother and alcoholic artist american grandfather divorced. That would be in the early seventies, when it definitely wasn't fashionable in France.
My grandmother moved down South and never remarried. One of her exes is a good family friend. She set up her business, made her own life. A good example. Now she's a tough old lady whom I suspect of waiting for my marriage eagerly because my parents pulled a fast one and got married in the Caribbean, with me as an attendee, when I was one.
My grandfather moved down here to live with us last year. I never got on with him much, now he's losing it,probably because of the alcohol abuse, so I do my best to be nice. But he's a stubborn old dude,(like the rest of the family) and when he still had it I suspected him of looking down on me because I was a girl. Most people preferred my younger brother when i was a kid, because he was outgoing and charming, when I was shy and always had my nose stuck in a book-but I suspected ulterior motives^^
In the meantime, my dad lived all over the place-Kentucky, LA for a few years when he had to give up uni because they cut his job as a French teaching assistant(he tells us great stories about that time), he was a truckdriver in France and Europe, then one day finally got an office job in England, met my mother, and bam! A couple of years later I turned up :)
My mother once said she was surprised my father had turned out so normal.
My mother was very English. A horsey girl, one of the eighties working girls. When we all moved here she took a part-time job as an accountant, and on the side she organises european exchanges, is boss of an association that half-runs the local music school, finds time to play music in the meantime and work the horse. My mother is a nut. She never quite grew up, which is why all my friends love her.
So no-one ever told me women couldn't do it.
I had a very conflictual relationship with my dad for a long time. We're very similar. But he had hepatitis for most of my life-he's been cured for a few years now-and the treatment was very heavy, and changed him a lot. He was constantly on a short fuse. But I was teenaged and merciless, and far too preoccupied with myself to care about such futile things^^.
To be fair, he likes to have his own way, like the rest of us, and has as quick a temper as mine. The shouting matches in our house were epic^^I feel sorry for my mother now, because she had to bear the brunt of both our tempers. She doesn't get angry-much. In a household where tempers are famously quick, I'd say she's at a disadvantage. Except that when she's really mad, we all run for cover.
There's another point; my father and I are just as bad, so why couldn't we be just as good?
I'd love to have his ease of speech, his immediate friendliness. I still remember when we celebrated his fiftieth, the year before I started high school. There were sooo many people.
My mother knows absolutely everyone. I'd often meet people of all ages, and they'd know my mother. I still do. I ran into a friend at a concert a couple weeks ago, he invited me to the concert his band is particpating in in a few weeks, turns out my mother's organising it.

One of her best friends makes me laugh a lot. She's a fifty-odd lesbian with a fantastic sense of humour. I know this doesn't seem to have much to do with my family, but I know I grew up hearing my mother talking about the friends back in England, the gay friends who had just bought a house together, my dad's best friend was married to a black woman and their daughter is his goddaughter-I see a lot about white people talking about their black friend, or their gay friend, on the internet, and it's seen as posing. But I grew up like this, and none of it seemed strange. When I think of it, yeah I have black friends and gay friends and asian friends and whatnot. But I have to stop and think about it because their "difference" isn't what is going to come to my mind first. Take one of my black mates-the first thing I'd tell anyone about him is that's he really cute, he's fun, he's in his third year of history. Oh yeah, he's black. So what?

Damn, I'm late, and supposed to be meeting someone for coffee. More later.

Some silly Quizz

1. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up?

Hmmm, a difficult choice.
Probably the scary evangelical dude I saw on Tv the other day who argued that his was the only right religion because it was tolerant of all other religions and so was the basis of religious freedoms in america. DUH.

2. You can flip a switch that will wipe any band or musical artist out of existence. Who will it be?

Johnny Halliday

3. Who would you really like to just punch in the face?

The guy who's stalking and harassing the Best Friend.

4. What is your favorite cheese?

Goat's cheese. I looooveee goat's cheese, which is why we don't buy it often cause I eat it all.
And I live in the country of cheese. is bliss. I feel so sorry for those dieting people-they don't know what they're missing!

5. You can only have one kind of sandwich. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is at your immediate disposal. What kind of sandwich will you eat?

something very British, with cheese and pickle and cress and stuff. Loooove that.

6. You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie celebrity of your choice. We are talking no-strings-attached sex and it can only happen once. Who is the lucky celebrity of your choice?

errrrmmmmmmm...Do I get to pick Heath Ledger? Otherwise...Marc André Grondin, a french canadian actor.

7. You have the opportunity to sleep with the music celebrity of your choice, who will it be?

Kanye West, so I can check why he has such a big ego :) or the Hocus Pocus singer (French)

8. Now that you've slept with two people in a row, you seem to be having an excellent day because you just came across a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk. What do you buy?

oooohh...something totally futile. Maybe more books, or clothes or something. Nothing useful.

9. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go?

Spain. I have people to see there :) and then Australia, cause i have people to see there too.

10. An angel appears out of heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the beverage of your choice. It is?

Tea (teh Brit is back!)

11. Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anywhere in the PAST. Where do you go?

Oh man, the past isn't that attractive^^ maybe the late sixties, just to know what all the fuss was about.

12. You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place?

I make all the rules. None of that silly democracy here!

13. You have been given the opportunity to create the half-hour TV show of your own design. What is it?

Something interesting^^ I'll get back to you later.

14. What is your favorite curse word?

In English? definitely fuck
In french it could be putain, merde, putain de bordel de merde, sombre pute and so many others and no I won't translate

15. One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren't really doing anything, what do you do?

run screaming

16. Your house is on fire! What do you do?

do my best to sort us out

17. The Angel of Death has descended upon you. Fortunately, the Angel of Death is pretty cool and in a good mood, and it offers you a half-hour to do whatever you want before you bite it. Whatcha gonna do in that half-hour?

Call to joke around before I leave? Or have mind blowing sex. Either is good.

18. You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and whats even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What super-power is it?

The ability to stop time and then restart it whenever I wanted.

19. You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again?

I really don't know.

20. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

Anytime that involves feeling ill and helpless

21. You got kicked out of the country for being a time-traveling heathen who sleeps with celebrities and has super-powers. But check this out you can move anywhere. Where are you going?

Italy? Spain?Canada?nah, too cold. Australia? New Zealand?

22. This question still counts, even for those of you who are under age, if you were banned from every bar in the world except one, which one would it be?

Shite, this one sucks. I frequent too many bars for this to be possible.

23. Hopefully you didn't mention this in the super-powers question... If you did, then we'll just expound on that. Check it out… Suddenly, you have gained the ability to fly! Whose house are you going to fly to first, and be like "Check it out I can FLY!?"

Best Friend's.

24. The constant absorption of magical moon beams mixed with the radioactive vegetables you consumed earlier has given you the ability to resurrect the dead famous person of your choice. So which celebrity will you bring back to life?

Heath Ledger? Paul Newman? Kurt Cobain? Stop asking difficult questions.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Other people say it better

This is what I'd like to write.

I can't.
I relate to what's said, and totally agree.
Somehow it doesn't seem to affect me on an emotional level. Intellectually, I see the logic, I agree with it, I am revolted by it.
I'm the kind of girl who screams blue murder if something pisses her off. I try and catch people out on their sexism, at very least. But I've never felt that being who I am stops me from going anywhere. Privilege, I guess.
I've had the feeling that reacting differently in some ways could change some things-like, being less aggressive at times would make more people like me-but then I stop and think, hey, if I was a man, would they be bothered?
It's good for a man to be aggressive, confident, secure. Women shouldn't be. Of course we need a man to save us, to run back to in times of need.
Men are afraid of a woman with brains, and will try to browbeat us into submission.
Because we should be meek.
I've been meek. That didn't work out so well for me. I was shy, and miserable, and scared.
I grew out of it.
I'm still scared. Of taking risks, of relationships, of a lot of stuff, but I try.
I'm not conventionally scary.At all.
But get to know me, and you know I don't let myself be taken advantage of. I want independence.I don't want to have to rely on someone else to support me.
I won't beg.
I won't beg.
In my experience, men love it. They love the stereotype of the poor hapless and helpless female. Which is why my looks are popular. I look like that. I look like I need protecting. I look dollish, cute, delicate.
Well I'm not.

I broke up with my boyfriend recently. I feel a lot freer.
The boyfriend was-and is- a good man. But he's insecure, and accuses me of neglect instead of facing the fact that this is who I am. I never pretended otherwise.
That i don't NEED a man to be complete. I haven't been polluted by all the Bridget Joneses. Marriage is not my aim. My education is my goal.Creating opportunities and experiences, none of which have to include a relationship, although they probably will, since I enjoy the company of men.
And you'll always come after.

I'm angry at all the friends who have been lecturing me on how I should change to accomodate his neediness. On how it's a shame we broke up, why let ten happy months together go to waste, you were so sweet together, bla fucking bla.
Why a shame? a relationship is not a vital need.
Ten months is nothing although it was my longest relationship. And it wasn't always happy.
And I don't want to be "sweet" with someone. That sounds so childish. I'd rather date an equal. Someone not afraid to stand up to me, without crushing me either.
What are the odds of my finding that at Nineteen?
I'm nineteen. I have the rest of my life for this kind of shit.
I have time.
So much time, however fast it flies.

Perhaps it's true. It was my fault. But I don't care, which no-one seems to grasp. I won't take responsibility for his going crazy now.
I don't care whether I was right or wrong.
I just refuse to compromise when everyone is trying to make me.

It might be plain stubbornness, but it is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS WHAT I DO WITH MY LIFE.
Friends or not.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Night owls

It's 2:28 am.

I love nighttime conversations.
They bring out the flirt in me (not that it's very hidden,but, well).
I love the conversations, in appearance totally innocent, but often with an undertone you can just detect.
The double-entendres-my speciality, apparently i have a warped mind, but it's just so easy.
the undertone of sex that comes along (with certain people, of course).
Knowing that certain words will plant ideas in the other's head. The repartee.
Doing it in French-i'm sorry, but Anglos are just too shy, most of this time, for this to work.
It never fails to bring a smile, especially when it's with someone especially talented with his words.
And just-leaving enough ambiguity for possible denial.
After all, these things shouldn't be dealt with over the internet, or even by phone.
That's just so...flat. And platonic.
Not that conversations can't be extremely erotic, no way.
But you just can't seal the deal (what a horrible expression) like that.
It just takes all the fun out of it if anything's certain.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thoughts on a Friday

The rest of the blogging world's writing abilities terrifies me.
I just do not feel up to it.
Proof of my inability to communicate clearly and interestingly could be found in my lack of readers. Which I complain about a lot.
On the other hand, why does one write? It's definitely not to get my point of view out there; it's just not interesting enough.
Then it only leaves what we call "branlette intellectuelle" in a very disparaging way. Translation? Brain masturbation, alhough masturbation is too correct.Brain wanking?Whatever; I do love French slang.
Maybe I'm being a bit harsh and it's only to go on, and on, and on, because i find it very therapeutic.

Shut up, Froufrou, and try to remember what it was you were actually going to talk about.

Oh yes.
I'm always interested in anything about it because it's something i've spent my life wondering about.
Like, why is my voice higher in English than in French?
Or why on earth did I have today a total rejection of French? I just didn't want it. So I kept conversation to a minimum-which is complicated- and sauntered over to Prince Charming, my only English mate here, and we chatted away happily to the confusion of the guys next to him.
If the whole year doesn't know we're the only two Brits around by now, I'll be damned.
But I hide it pretty well :)
Seriously, I only appreciate being totally bilingual when i'm studying another language.
I love being able to tell all the nuances of both languages, unlike in Chinese, or in italian, although it's a LOT easier. I know i have an easier access to foreign languages than most people i know; being French or Anglosaxon seems to be a distinct disadvantage! But already knowing two makes it easier to add others on.
Except for Chinese, although it's slightly better since Ms F actually forces us all to talk in her own sweet way,and we're not stuck with the terrifying LLCE geniuses.
Although there are a lot of people who speak chinese extremely well in my class. Which is why I feel like a loser most days, but there all very nice, which is a bonus.

I often hear about English speakers using French words in English after spending some time here.
That's something I should, logically, be doing, but I only tend to translate expressions without noticing, and I try to keep a firm grip on that, because it becomes absolute nonsense pretty fast.
But obviously French words in English? That's just weird. Prince Charming does it from time to time, and I have to point it out (I'm slightly fussy about grammar and spelling and all that).
But I don't. Although I've been here for fifteen years now. Jesus.

So next

The boyfriend and I broke up on tuesday (armistice du 11 novembre, yeah happy day!), him ranting about being neglected and metelling him I just didn't have the time. My non-working lazy ass stance has goneout the window. I have to work now, can't just rely on a good memory and certain logic in answers. Feels strange. Now he wants to come back, overcoming his "issues", but I'm not sos ure. If we're to have the same argument ina few weeks, I seriously can't be bothered.
And because of all this, i've had to deal with the flack from MY friends, who have all sided with him and toldme it was my fault, because I MUST have neglected him, because I'm an intimidating distant bitch.
Now I didn't take that too kindly, because for Chrissakes, i'll never understand how anyone can find me intimidating. I mean, seriously. I'm 1.65 cm( 5 foot 4, the internet concerter tells me), my features are dollish (small and pouty-I look "nice", for some reason), i giggle and laugh and paint my nails and flirt. How intimidating does that sound?
True, i'm not half as easy-going as I look, i argue my way out of corners, am contrary as hell, and like holding on to my opinions if I can back them up, read far too many feminist blogs and I like getting my own way.
Is it because I'm a girl? I doubt it. I get on well with guys in general, and no-one's ever dared tell me women were inferior.
Except one in high school, but he always was an idiot who got his hair braided with blue and white beads when he was in the west Indies, so no-one took him very seriously, to his grief and resentment.
I don't believe in changing yourself to accomodate people around you.
I'm a privileged person. A very privileged person. So I'm not going to talk about being oppressed or whatnot, because what would i know about it? the only issue I could really come close to is sexism, and I don't encounter that that often, strangely enough.

I know France is a patriarchal country. It's not a hidden fact. But I don't believe in promoting people because they're female.
Dear Leader did just that; half of his ministers are female, and three of those are from ethnic minorities.
Problem is, they're pretty bad.

Our economy minister, Christine Lagarde is alright for the moment. She's been rather shadowed by Sarkozy, like most ministers, so I don't know. As far as i'm aware, her mind is pretty brilliant.

Christine Boutin is our minister for housing. She's an idiot. Far right anti abortion conservative, and a fool. Don't know why he picked her, of all people. Luckily abortion is just not an issue here. Guess that's what happens when you can get free contraception/abortions if needed. because those young people sure aren't promoting abstinence.^^

Rama Yade is there for decoration. She's supposed to be some sort of Foreign Affairs undersecretary (no translation in my head for her job title, sorry), but she's not actually allowed to do anything. So pointless.

Nadine Morano(secrétaire d'Etat à la famille) and Roselyne Bachelot are both famous for putting their feet in their mouth. And yet bachelot is minister of Youth, Health, and Sports. Another one of sarkozy's dumb ideas, restricting the number of ministers, which lets this woman have one major and two minor. Scary.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet is state secretary for environment. Not much to say although she had to apologize after she called her boss (Borloo) and the parliament boss (Copé) and others an "army of cowards". I think she was complaining about the patriarchy at some point but I can't quite remember, this was a while ago.

As for Rachida Dati, the woman is authoritarian, foolish and full of herself, which is no good fora minister of Justice. For the first time in years, she has managed to rile up EVERY single justice professionnal, the judges, the lawyers,the clerks of court, etcetera.(She's the one who's unmarried and pregnant, not that most people actually care, as far as I know. Aren't we tolerant!lol)

I guess we're not so badly off.

back at last

Well it's been a busy two weeks to say the least.
I'd better cut it in pieces because otherwise I shall never manage.
I'll start rfom the beginning, that is the first week of november.

This week included getting ridiculously excited about the US election, which included checking dad's voting ballot before he sent it(this was ages ago but I've only just remembered), which meant voting yes on Obama! and no on that ridiculous Prop8 thing meant to stop gay couples from getting married. my dad being a liberal person who spent way too much time in LA in the what, seventies if I remember right, he'd already scribbled in the right (to us) box.
Tuesday was nuts. To start off, I fell ill, had to go to the doc's, and subsequently had to cancel my tripto Spain. Rather pissed off and spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself and watching election coverage on TV. Kept myself updated until about two am, at which point Obama had won Indiana, and McCain Kentucky (no surprise, no shock my granddad never went back there) and I fell asleep. The boyfriend called me at five am to yell "Obama won!"

You have to admire the man. He kept half of Europe awake all night, even those notorious anti-americans, the French.

let's say I woke up the next day feeling pretty hopeful, although still ill.
We all know it's crazy to expect too much, but it's a symbol for us too, whatever we might say.
No cowboy? No Bush? no dude going on about how the French let America down in 2003? fuck the lot of you, that's all I can say. We're hoping for a new day,too.

Not that Europe isn't going to try to oust America from it's top-dog position. Don't ever count on us being happy to be considered the underdog by America and apparently a lot of its inhabitants.
Dear Leader (Sarkozy, if anyone ever reads me) said only yesterday that the dollar shouldn't be the only main currency (or something like it,I am not providing an accurate translation of the nuances of French). Our Economics teacher harangued us about it only today, and said a lot of weird things I shall talk about later; The man is insane but interesting.

Next part of the week : the boyfriend and I argue and ignore each other until this tuesday.

And went dancing this weekend with Roommate dearest, Roommate dearest's boyfriend, and Eve, which was tremendous fun.