Monday, August 11, 2008

Organizing the SMUTS, or In Defense of Vampires

Ladies, a few of the Nintendo-playing couch potatoes we know have wised up to the unnatural pull that a certain pallid vampire exerts. They are organizing. This isn't necessarily a worrisome thing, since men organizing themselves tend to be about as effective as you would expect a bunch of Nintendo-playing couch potatoes to be.

I tried to let it go, but ah, the pain! From lame acronyms (GAVEL, seriously???) to gender generalizations to misinterpretations of the text...Mr. Brain-Pain's argument contains a few logical fallacies that are making MY brain hurt, and in defense of my gender I've got to let it fly.

Let's deal with acronyms first. I propose a more descriptive name for GAVEL. SNOUTS--Sleepy Nintendo Obsessed Underwear Tugging Slobs. Or maybe CRANKAS--Crabby Regressive Anal-Retentives Not Known As StephanieM Super-fans. Since women are far better at closing ranks, we could come up with an acronym of our own. SMUTS, Serious Matrons Under Twilight's Spell. Or EDWARDLUV, Edgy Daring Women Advancing Righteous Desire Lusting Unbridled for Vampires.

I planned a careful literary analysis that countered Mr. Lame-Brain's description of Edward as a 'bad boy,' pointing out that you could make a solid argument for Edward as the moral center of entire series. It was brilliant--pulling in Kierkgaard, C.S. Lewis, and Virginia Woolf to support my thesis. However, I realized a careful literary analysis would be a mistake for two reasons:

1.) It would reveal far, FAR more of my inner geek than I care to show, and

2.) It would be a waste of good typing time, since Mr. Brain-Strain apparently HASN'T READ THE BOOKS! I quote here from the eminently quotable Orson Scott Card, who said, "Freaking idiots who don't even read books are not allowed to offer any kind of criticism of said books." Okay, he didn't say exactly that--he was referring to an opportunity to review a particular book, an opportunity that he declined because "the book was clearly not written for me--I was not part of its natural audience." According to Brain-Drain's wife, "In order to appreciate Stephanie Meyers' books you have to channel your inner teenage girl. S doesn't have an inner teenage girl, not a teeniest little bit." And to quote his teenage daughter, who is in the throes of page 600 of book four, "Dad won't read the books because it would be an affront to his masculinity." Uh-huh. I'll save the complex character analysis. For you women out there, I'd be preaching to the choir. For anyone else--READ THE BOOKS! Then we'll talk.

Now to sweeping gender generalizations: myth one, women like bad boys. This seems to be stated as fact only by those same Nintendo playing couch potatoes, and ladies, it's an excuse. It lets them off the hook. It's not their fault that women don't fall for them--in fact, it's honorable, because it demonstrates that said men must be the opposite of 'bad boys', otherwise women would be falling all over them just like they do for Johnny Depp. I know, I know, my first response was also "And have you SEEN Johnny Depp? With or without eyeliner, he's nice brain candy anytime." If it makes you feel better to assume that women are only attracted to Johnny Depp in pirate costume, that's okay. We women usually keep our fantasies a little more private than men do. I think it's more accurate to state that women like hot guys, bad or good being a separate consideration. We can discuss later to what extent relative goodness or badness plays into hotness; the point is, you can tell yourself women blew you off in order to hunt down some leather-clad bikers running from capital murder charges, but it won't change the fact that really hot accountants and computer geeks and Silicon Valley millionaires have no trouble getting women.

Myth two, women eventually give up lusting after cage fighters and settle for regular schmoes in favor of a regular paycheck and in spite of the incessant video gaming. I'm not sure who looks more pathetic in this scenario--the men who sit on their butts until a woman gets desperate enough to take them, or the woman who lets a bitsy little paycheck win her over to someone who falls asleep on the sofa drooling in front of the TV. Oops, sorry--I didn't mean to make this personal. Here's the real deal: for some unexplicable reason that I can't begin to understand, let alone verbalize, we women actually sometimes find pathetic-ness CUTE. Cute is closely related to Hot (see above), so it happens from time to time that a regular, nerdy, even pathetic schmoe will luck out and end up with a real live woman. This is not because the woman is settling; it's because miracles happen ['fairy tales do come true, it can happen to you' as the song goes] and she somehow sees beyond the drool and the glazed-over eyes and imagines to herself that there is an Edward lurking beneath the boring exterior. Men, when this happens to you, thank your lucky stars and worship the ground that woman walks on for the rest of your natural life.

Myth three (closely related to myth one): In order to capture women's hearts and/or imaginations, it's not enough just to be 'bad.' The danger and bad-boy factor has to consistently rise, otherwise women will be bored. Hence, if a pirate is exciting, a vampire is even more exciting. Let's see--my first response to this generalization is READ THE BLEEPING BOOKS! Bella doesn't fall for Edward because he's a vampire; she falls for him because he's hot--okay, technically he's very cold, but hot in a sexually attractive sense--and the fact that he's a vampire is rather a complication to her attraction. I feel myself falling back into literary criticism mode, that conflict is the first rule of fiction, and placing seemingly insurmountable challenges in the path of true love is cliche, true, but consistently effective nonetheless. Guys, it is fiction. Female fantasy in vampire form. Really smart men would be reading the books themselves and taking notes, looking to unleash an inner Edward.

And for a post bashing female fantasy, dare I comment on the irony of supplicating Buffy in conclusion? If ever there were a poster girl for male fantasy, in all her blond perkiness, Buffy reigns supreme. Not only is she buff and kicks butt in her sports bra tops and tight pants, but she kicks VAMPIRE butt. Men get to watch their fantasy woman engage in a smackdown with the object of their wives' lust, and Buffy always wins. Male fantasy squared.

Ugh. I'd write more but I've still got 140 pages to go in Breaking Dawn and I've got to finish in time for the first meeting of SMUTS. In true female fashion we've already organized ourselves into twenty committees and sub-committees, and I'm in charge of refreshments ("all chocolate, all the time" is our motto). Eat your hearts out, couch-potato boys.

1 comment:

canoelover said...


I think this is just a way for Mormon women to read a romance novel without feeling guilty because there's no restriction to lusting after the undead.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.