5 December 2001

Terrific Lord Of The Rings article in this week’s New Yorker by Anthony Lane — I was expecting the usual haughty dismissal and was much pleased to be disappointed. Really smart until the last paragraph, where Mr. Lane goes off the cliff in a hail of babble about how girls don’t favor LOTR because they…

“…are less fazed and flummoxed at the prospect of growing up; women leave their girlhood behind with a glance, whereas men keep looking over their shoulders at the vanishing Shire and asking themselves if it might be possible, or proper, to head back to their hole in the ground.”

Obviously he’s high. Or he doesn’t know any women. Or he’s never noticed the cult of the Kitty. Yeah, puberty for women is a day in the park — one minute you’re having a good time, hoping maybe your parents will raise your allowance come your birthday, and the next minute you bleed without being cut. You will do this regularly for the next 35 years. It will hurt, and it will hurt every woman you know, but doctors who have never done it will tell you you’re imagining the pain. Hair is growing and it itches.

Worse, large achy lumps of flesh are appearing on your torso. Not only will these lumps cause backache and balance issues, you will now have to factor them in every time you move your arms, every time you jump or run, every time you put on a piece of clothing, every time you roll over in your sleep. Worse still, these lumps are how much of the rest of the world will judge your attractiveness, intelligence, and worth as a potential friend or companion. When the lumps shift due to gravity, people will blame you for not taking care of them. Men will talk to them instead of to you, and many of your male relatives will be uncomfortable around you because of them. They will make you a target for crime.

Boys, meanwhile, experience untoward behavior from one lump of flesh that’s only near eye level if you’re hanging out with hobbits. They are, on the whole, the only ones particularly impressed or concerned with the particulars of their special lump, as the few people who see it have been trained by years of dealing with their two lumps to be very, very polite about others’ lumpage. (Gay men, YMMV.)

And Mr. Lane was doing so well.

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5 December 2001

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