Please send your etiquette-based questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject line: “Ms. Proprietypants.” The archives can be found here.
I am a big-time, semi-professional knitter (once I sold a thing I made), and have built up a reputation among my friends for making really cool handknit things for my friends who have kids. I enjoy doing it, usually. Recently a friend of mine told me that she is pregnant. We were very close friends in college, but I have distanced myself from her a lot in the last few years. There are a bunch of reasons, but the main one is from almost ten years ago and related to someone who was really mean to me in college. When it happened, I didn’t feel like I had to explain to my friend why I was hurt by her, and it would be silly for me to tell her now. But for the better part of a decade, resentment has been building up inside me, and I don’t want to give her something I made for her poop factory. If I don’t give her something, though, it will be perceived as a slight by her and our mutual friends. Do I suck it up and make her something anyway?
Now is the moment of truth! Are you friends with this person or not?! That’s really the only question here.
Carrie Frye, knowing my fondness for the lurid and the gory, pointed me towards this old New Yorker story (which you seem to be able to access!) by Joanna Greenfield about being mauled by a hyena, and it is everything you thought it could be and more:
First, let’s get some mandated paid maternity leave in this country, because trying to establish a decent supply of breastmilk that can then be maintained by pumping on the breaks your employer is technically supposed to give you but GOOD LUCK WITH THAT if you have a crap job and are hesitant to agitate for the rights you may only be hazily aware you possess is REALLY HARD, then we can see how it goes. Also, if you deliver a full-term baby and live in a country with clean water, there is nothing wrong with formula and your baby will be just fine and I am willing to come to your house and make you cups of tea and reassure you about that in person. Breastfeeding rates in the United States are a structural failure, not a personal one, and family values are a goddamn JOKE. Or, honestly, you might have all the education and resources and will in the world, and it might just not happen for you, and thank God you live in a time where strict nutritional standards are applied to any formula sold in stores. Okay! Anyway. No strong feelings here.
Ruth Scobie’s previous work for The Toast can be found here.
If you were a lonely man in late eighteenth century London, “adapted to make a lady happy,” but too shy, busy, or damned chivalrous to actually speak to one, you could send an anonymous advertisement to a national newspaper appealing to the women you wanted to bang and/or marry. Posting an ad was quick – you dropped it off at the printer’s office, it was printed in a couple of days – and pretty cheap – around three shillings, or sometimes free. More importantly, it would give you the chance to explain to everyone your generous and honourable intentions, especially in contrast to the “intrigue, treachery and interest” of most men.
Less often, newspapers offered opportunity to pressure your beloved with poetry, chase missed connections with strange ladies at the theatre who had totally given you the eye over their fans, or publicly harass women who refused to see you. Almost all adverts only appeared once, suggesting that they were either very, or not at all, effective.
(You must have known, though, that a woman responding to one of these adverts was running huge risks, not only of physical assault, but of a public shaming which would be at best embarrassing and at worst life-ruining. Adverts promised secrecy, but she would have to take your word for it that they weren’t hoaxes or blackmail scams, or that you wouldn’t respond to rejection by making her name public. If she did say yes, a wife was legally subject to her husband and all her property automatically became yours – hence all the romantic interest in prospective fortunes. If she did agree to “dispense with the Marriage Ceremony” or live with you without marrying first, the loss of her reputation could make her social and economic situation even more precarious, since you could ditch her, and any children she might have had with you, whenever you wanted.) Also, your poetry was terrible.
This is the type of post that will either appeal to you completely, to the deepest depths of your person, or not at all. In either case, I make no apologies for it. Let us begin with Timothy Zahn.
Everything begins with Timothy Zahn.
Leaving aside the fact that we’re going to see a lot of Han/Leia/Luke poses that are clearly lifted from memorable scenes in Return of the Jedi, it is RIDICULOUS that Joruus C’Baoth — a Tier-III Villain and a half-assed Khan cipher if ever I saw one — gets big, shirtless top billing, while Admiral Thrawn (ADMIRAL THRAWN) is barely drawn larger than a Stormtrooper.
“Hey, what are you reading there?”
“Oh, it’s the Joruus C’Baoth trilogy.”
“The Thrawn trilogy.”
“Why on earth didn’t you say that to begin with?”
NO ONE REMEMBERS JORUUS C’BAOTH, IS WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY.