Thursday, March 24, 2005

Random Thoughts on Relationships

Just because you asked.

The contessa recently was telling me about a book called B*tches and Wh*res about how women have two choices in relationships-- to give up their power and to be dominated by the man or to hold on to their power and be a b-.

Caveat: I haven't read this book and I am not sure the Contessa has either, so I don't have much to work with here.

The concept doesn't seem to have any room for other ways of being the female in a relationship, which I find rather depressing, but why be bound by the ideas of some third-hand authoress? On the other hand, it may not be a bad thing to be a she-dog. As long as I am going in that direction, it may not be so bad to be single for the rest of my life, either. I associate being a b- with being alone... see the next paragraph.

Anecdote Time!

The Last Time I was called a B-.
1995 or 96, The City
Walking down my dorm room hall having just dumped my boyfriend of three years. He had a loud voice that ricocheted down the hallway. He was screaming it senselessly, like a mantra. His voice dogged me all the way to the elevator, the hallway was very long, and he lived at the very end. It was almost a physical sensation, like offal being flung on my back. I was secretly pleased. 1) because it was obvious he "cared" and 2) he was behaving like the spoiled brat that he was. I never looked back.

Etymology Time!

Finally a word that isn't a hand-me-down form the Romans. It comes from the Old English-- bicce. I don't know how it is pronounced. Those Saxons can swear. Don't excuse my French, excuse my English.

Word History: Derivatives of Indo-European roots have often acquired starkly contrasting meanings. A prime example is the case of the root *k-, “to like, desire.” From it was derived a stem *kro-, from which came the prehistoric Common Germanic word *hraz with the underlying meaning “one who desires” and the effective meaning “adulterer.” The feminine of this, *hrn-, became hre in Old English, the ancestor of Modern English whore. In another branch of the Indo-European family, the same stem *kro- produced the Latin word crus, “dear.” This word has several derivatives borrowed into English, including caress, cherish, and charity, in Christian doctrine the highest form of love and the greatest of the theological virtues. ·Another derivative of the root *k- in Indo-European was *kmo-, a descendant of which is the Sanskrit word for “love,” kma, appearing in the name of the most famous treatise on love and lovemaking, the Kamasutra.

I don't recall ever being called a whore... but it is another word that seems to fling something unpleasant at the recipient. How do words get to become like cudgels? Maybe we ought to reclaim the word "whore."

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