Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nannies, Maids, Paralegals, Upstairs and Down; Will the Real Jane Eyre Please Stand Up?

Image result for the nanny fran drescher public domain
The Nanny Cast, Public Domain

I admit one of my guiltiest pleasures is watching Fran Drescher in The Nanny, 90s sitcom that took the usual theme of Jane Eyre marrying Mr. Rochester to a new, hip dimension.  It takes her 5 years, but Fran Fine marries Mr. Sheffield, her prince charming, and in an interesting twist, Ms. C.C. Babcock, theater exec and accomplished in everyway but having a personality, marries the butler, Niles.

These are unsuitable attachments that work across class, annoying, nasally voices, and snotty upbringing. Pym would be in her heyday, and Ms. Fine is certainly not like Jane Eyre.  Nor would Mr. Rochester be grabbing at Jane, screaming "Miss Eyre!" as the often petulant Mr. Sheffield shouts "Ms. Fine!" when the going gets tough.  Yet, the writing is witty, the chemistry among all the actors fantastic, and the irony keeps it all fast paced.  The rest of the cast does its part, too, with additional guest stars, some incredibly famous, adding their own voice to the Peanuts Gallery.

Other shows that have attempted this male boss and female subordinate-servant romance include Gun Smoke, what is going on with Miss Kitty and Marshall Matt Then, there's I Married Dora, Perry Mason and Della Street [look up an article called "The Emotional Labor of Paralegals"], Castle and The Mentalist [maybe the woman didn't work for the man, but as coworkers, they ended up as love interests], Hunter, to a certain extent, The Courtship of Eddy's Father, and Ugly Betty.

There was even some upstairs-downstairs action going on in Dark Shadows  between Beth and Quentin.  Of course, literature is full of tragic, compromised women who yearned for and received an unsuitable attachment above their class.  Think Tess, if not all of Thomas Hardy [who, by the way, was happily married as far as we know], Madame Bovary,  Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, The Age of Innocence, All of Jane Austen, and of course, Pym's classic, An Unsuitable Attachment.

Image result for barbara pym an unsuitable attachment public domain
Public Domain

In one episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary Richards and Mr. Grant attempt to date, and in another, they appeared as a married couple in a shot of the casts' future.  There is an ION Christmas film based on a Cinderella theme; it seems never to have gone out of fashion.

After a lot of struggle and misunderstanding, these excellent women rule the roost behind the scenes in the case of Hazel and Alice of The Brady Bunch, or they somehow marry the lord of the manor and live happily ever after.

Do unsuitable attachments workNot always, not if you're Princess Diana.  Even suitable ones don't work in some cases, no, in a lot of cases.
Whatever happened to "grow old with me; the best is yet to be."  It isn't bad to have things in common, to marry the familiar.  No, I don't believe in impediments to true love, but I'm not sure I believe in fairy tales, either.

A Male Expert for the Advancement of Women—Really!!!

A Male Expert for the Advancement of Women—Really!!!


I was listening to the news when an ad came on for an upcoming event.  It was a women’s event, held every year by a local group.   One man and two women will be speaking. I have to ponder this title.  Not since Hypatia put out an issue called “The Male Lesbian “have I been so confused.


Apparently, there is a gentleman promoting himself, which many articles I found on Google claim men do, by saying the holds the key to teaching other men on how to advance women.


Yes, I did Google “male expert for advancement of women.” About half way down, I found this man’s name.  I won’t print it here; you can look it up for yourself.  I’ve pissed of enough men in my lifetime.  I don’t care to listen to any more insecure whining.


So, how does a man do this?—Listen, Learn, Lead.  This last task assumes that the “man” is the leader or manager.  What are women who are managers supposed to? Find a male supervisor to “lead them?” Anyone wanting more tips on how to be lead, go to marc.org, which stands for Men Advocating Real Change.


I don’t think so


The tone of this article was patronizing and condescending.  I learned to listen, learn, and yes, lead, in grade school.  We weren’t considered progressive, either.  We just treated each other equally for the most part, barring one nasty old harridan who taught third grade nad used shout on the play ground “Boys play with boys, and girls play with girls!!”


The whole idea reminds me of a “forced entertainment” seminar at my old employer, done many years ago.  The presenters were women who worked for the company.  They told use we should wear hair, and dress in a feminine manner, not be loud or crude, and always make the men you work with feel that they know a little more than you do. 


That knocked the Revolution back a few decades.  The seminar was held in 2005 or so, but might have been 1955.  Never did The Female Eunuch, or The Feminine Mystique run truer.


These are my opinions, but why do I need a man to mentor or sponsor me? Isn’t that what a pimp does?   It’s as though this article is an admission that the work place is still the old boys network housed under a glass ceiling, even if some think the ceiling is higher.


I’ve been complimented with comments like, “she’s’ a girl, and she’s smart.”  Why can’ I just e smart?


Does being male make someone inherently better at mentoring or leading or sponsoring? I think not.  Nearly all the other articles I found with these key words talked about gender equality, and many talked about the pitfalls many women still face in every job and industry. I have to wonder when this nonsense is going to end.


Image result for the female eunuch public domainPublic Domain Image

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Leprechauns and Dolls in Green - Ruby Lane Blog

Leprechauns and Dolls in Green - Ruby Lane Blog: 1909 German St. Patrick’s Day Embossed Postcard Irish Lady in Green Dress St Patrick’s Irish Boudoir Bed Doll Red Hair Shamrock Dress It’s almost that time for all things green. Leprechauns all over are gearing up to wear the green and toast the emerald isle!  Dolls in green look wonderful displayed around shamrocks and other... Read more »

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Four Humors and Sex and the City; some Thoughts

PD Image

According to lonerwolf.com, "Specifically, the Four Humors were: black bile, while was associated with the Melancholic person; yellow bile, which was associated with the Choleric person; blood, which was associated with the Sanguine person; and phlegm, which was associated with the phlegmatic person." (2018). 

The idea of the four humors dates to Ancient Greek mediceine and possibly earlier, but really was popular during the Middle Ages and even later during the Renaissance.

I submit that the four heroines of SATC, Samantha, Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda, each personify one aspect of the four humors, which when balanced and blended correctly in the human body, create one healthy person.

Top L to R, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristen Davis, and Sarah Jessica Parker
Arguably, Miranda the lawyer who thinks everything to death, often to her own detriment, is the Melancholic person.

Charlotte might be more Phlegmatic with her upper class, staid and proper notions; she often has to be jarred into reality.

Samantha of the voracious passions and appetite is more Choleric.

Carrie, the glue holding them all together with her optimism and imagination, is the Sanguine person.

A great book on a related topic is Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, a 17th century text still in print.

Public Domain Image

International Women's Day

We salute all the excellent woman of the world, past and present, who have contributed to history.  Today, especially, I thank women in politics from all nations, who have added their voices towards addressing global issues affecting all of us.

In the US, we salute Abigail Adams, and our other  First Ladies, and those who have run for office and been elected, including, but certainly not limited to,   Libby Dole, Geraldine Ferraro, Shirley Chisolm, Barbara Jordan, Sarah Palin,  Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein, and around the world, Golda Meir, Angela Merkel, Indirha Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Glenda Jackson, and more.

News stories yesterday included one of former Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon considering a run for governor of New York, and we wish her well.

Women have been active in political and social issues since before this country was founded in The New World.  Arguably, the first activist re American matters may have been the controversial but iconic Isabella of Spain, mother of Katharine of Aragon, who advocated for Columbus to sail on his voyages which lead him to North America.  From there, women as diverse as Adams, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Betsy Ross, Dolley Madison, Martha Washington, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Edith Wilson, Helen Hunt Jackson, and many others have shaped American history, politics and culture, culminating in The Suffragettes who helped us get the vote finally.

Long may their memories live, and long may we prosper in any role we as women chose to take on.

In the spirit of Pym, they are all excellent women.

RIP These Excellent Writers; Sue Grafton, Sam Shephard, Steven Pirsig, and Ed McBain

We salute these noted writers who have recently passed away.  Each contributed something necessary to the worlds of books and literature, and the unique voice of each will not be stilled, but will live on in his-her work.

To paraphrase, FDR, every time a writer dies,part of the vision of mankind passes with him or her.


From the Bristol Hotel

Here, from the Bristol breakfast room, is a lovely portrait of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. It was great fun staying there amid the renaissance  antique and Victorian reproductions  There was an atmosphere that made me think of Pym herself walking in.