The Skeleton Key

I just got back from The Skeleton Key. That’s the one nice thing I learned in NYC, how to just go to the movies whether or not you feel like going with anyone.

Still, it’s the kind of movie that’s a little better than it has a right to be and so as much as I was glad to go by myself, I’m a little frustrated that I don’t have anyone to talk it over with.

So, the movie. It’s fine. It has a twist that, if you don’t see it coming a mile away, I’m guessing this is your first movie. Really, if Hollywood wants us to be surprised by a surprise ending, they need to stop saying “The biggest twist since The Sixth Sense.”

I still liked it though. Like I said, it’s a little better than it has a right to be and the religious statues that are both themselves and perhaps voudou gods, the blues and jazz listened to by white folks, the folk magic born out of African, European, and Native American traditions, and the “shocking” revelation at the end of the movie makes me think that the movie is actually a lot about cultural appropriation.

Yes, a cheesy summer thriller that seems to casually dwell on the kind of creepy energy that comes from us all stealing our precious things from each other.

We’re so weird

Rachel has a good post today on labioplasty. Yes, that’s right. At the same time we criticize other cultures for mutilating the genitals of their daughters, we’re willingly mutilating our own.

I don’t even know where to start with this. Is what we’re doing somehow more “okay” than what they’re doing because we’re choosing for ourselves to hack up our genitals?

Is it okay because it’s to make us look more like sluts (Rachel reports that many women bring in pictures of porn stars they want to look like.) instead of keeping us from looking like sluts?

And more importantly, if these cosmetic surgeons are willing to perform this surgery, does that mean that there are other cosmetic surgeons who are willing to perform the other kinds of genital mutilation? If not, why not?

It’s truly a strange to me that it’s come to this, and believe me, I’m as shocked as the next person to find myself arguing against situational ethics, but really, if we can’t agree that there’s something wrong with hacking up a woman’s labia so that she can fit some perceived societal norm–whether it happens in the U.S. or in Africa–we’re really fucked in the head.

A Fairy Tale for Me

They say you can tell a lot about folks by the stories they tell. I don’t have much use for the old “girl pines for distant boy and her love makes him stop being an asshole” stories or the “boy pines for unconscious girl and his kiss awakens her” stories. But there is one fairytale I really wish upon a star would come true for me.

Here’s that story:

Once upon a time there was a brilliant and cute girl who lived in a place between the interstate and the train tracks. She lived there because it was close to work and she could surround herself with animals and brothers, many of which seemed to spend most of the day farting noxious farts. It’s unclear why she put up with that.

Even though our hero was cute and brilliant, with fun curly hair, she had a deep dark secret. Here’s what it was. When it came to personal finance, her strategy was to open the bills, pay what they ordered her to pay, and, when her bank account was empty, ask her brother for enough money to cover the rest.

There are many ways that this arrangement was not smart, but for the most part, it made her happy so whenever someone asked her why her brother was not paying more than just what she could not afford to pay, she got very angry and stomped on their left foot. Most people stopped asking.

But one day (and here’s where it become untrue) a brilliantly funny, hairy, liberal accountant/lawyer with a high tolerance for flatulent pets arrived at her door.

“Why,” he asked her, “are you making more money than your parents made the whole time you were growing up and still are living basically hand to mouth?”

She glared at him and stomped on his foot. He didn’t even flinch.

“Why don’t you do something about it?”

She glared at him and stomped on his other foot. He smiled at her, somewhat amused.

“Fine,” she said, tears streaming down her face, “the truth is that I’m not brilliant when it comes to money and I feel like I’m making all of my decisions based solely out of terror and not out of wise money management strategies. You see, sir, as smart as I am, I am not smart enough to know what right courses of action are available to me. I have no math skills.”

“Lucky for you,” he smiled, or at least he appeared to smile through his lush moustache, “I am an accountant and an attorney with a vast personal fortune. I will buy you a house, consolidate your credit card debt into one easy and manageable payment, and help you budget your money so that you have enough for property taxes, a cleaning service, and a little money so that you can go out with your friends.”

“Money to go out with my friends?!” She cried. “It’s been years since I regularly had money to go out with my friends. Sir, you are too kind.”

“Thank you, ma’am,” He winked at her and came in, sat down at her computer, opened up Excel and, within an afternoon, had made sense of her financial mess, while she sat on the couch, listened to rap music, and admired his steel-toed boots.

When he was done, he got up and headed towards the door.

“I’ll be back next week to take you house hunting. I’m sure we can find you a nice house with some character in a funky neighborhood no problem.”

“And after that?” she asked, “Will I ever see you again?”

“Well,” he said, “I spend a great deal of time on the road with my biker gang, but I’d be more than happy to stop by for smooches and to take you out to dinner ever couple of weeks.”

“That sounds terrific,” she said.

And it was.

The Hollywood Hustler

Because I couldn’t find Taketoshi in a timely manner, I ended up going to the Hollywood Hustler twice today. Well, I guess if I had found Taketoshi in a timely manner, I would have still ended up at the Hollywood Hustler twice today, but each time would have been with a different person and that would have been fun, to walk in the second time and wink at the salesperson when she recognized me.

Anyway, it’s very cute as far as sex shops go. Everything is clean and well-laid out and well-lit. There were as many women in there as there were men, though, I noticed that the women tended to congregate around the toys and books while the men congregated around the videos.

As for the toys, I have to say that there was both quite a variety and also not very much variety. You could get the same vibrator in five different colors with five different women on each one. But as for having a lot of different things that seemed like they might be fun while at the same time not quite possible…

Not so much.

So, that was disappointing.

And the staff is so young that you don’t really feel like you can ask them questions. I mean, shit, if I don’t know what something is, how the hell are they going to? They really need to get a knowledgeable, funny, older woman in there to put folks at ease and show them how to use stuff.

But you can get coffee there, so that counts for a lot.