Saturday, December 02, 2006

Arthur: Just a bit... um...

I was bouncing randomly around the internet the other day and I saw a weird brouhaha over a comic book publisher naming their new line for teenage girls "Minx". Apparently, there's a little-used definition of the word that means "easy lay" or something like that, and thus folks were complaining that it's a poor choice for a line of books aimed at young girls. Personally, I've never seen that word used that way - I've always seen it as innocent, mischievous at worst - but apparently enough have to raise a minor stink.

I suppose that's why certain words are such trouble. Not just because they're derogatory while male equivalents aren't considered so bad - but because the definition can occasionally be in doubt. Take "bimbo" and "slut", for instance; I've known people who use them interchangeably, but I've never thought of them that way. A bimbo's just promiscuous; she likes getting laid and doesn't require much emotional attachment to make it happen. A slut, though, the way I think of it, does have an emotional component to it, and not a healthy one - there's low self-esteem there, the need to build her worth up somehow. It's sad, really, but the line between sad and contemptible can be tough to locate sometimes.

Then there's all the other ones - "tramp" is like "bimbo" but implies betrayal, "skank" is sort of like slut plus disease... I'm sure we've all got our own personal definitions. I'm thinking of this because I'm trying to figure out just what category I'd put Liz in, and where I'd put myself.

Liz probably doesn't fit into any of those categories. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt, say she genuinely cares for both Raymond and Stewart. She may have first wound up with Stewart because things weren't going well with Raymond, but things changed. She just wound up in a bad position, and I wasn't inclined to judge her until she asked me to perpetuate it, and even then, well, what are you going to do in this situation? Extraordinary situations breed extraordinary requests.

But what's my doing so make me? I've done it with Stewart a couple times now, and it's nice but not anything I want to initiate. I haven't screwed Raymond yet, but I think it will happen someday. You can only sleep in the same bed for so long, and there's a part of me that wants to keep this relationship going, because why should Liz be let off the hook by having someone else break up with her boyfriend for her? So here I am, acting as a relationship placeholder out of some perverse sense of obligation. But what else am I going to do? Even if I was inclined to stay in this life and make it my own, I couldn't stay with these guys - they started something with Liz, and it would be kind of despicable for me to usurp that. To be frank, it weirds me out whenever I do something with Ray or Stewart, but then I can at least think of myself as just a sub keeping things as they are until Liz comes back. When I see Jake out with Ashlyn's ex Josh - well, he's my best friend, I guess, but it seems really wrong to me. Those false pretenses seem bigger - Josh is trying to make something happen with Ashlyn, but Ashlyn has made her decision and Jake really shouldn't be leading him on. Even if he winds up somehow attracted to the guy (nasty), it just seems wrong - we may look like the girls these guys fell for, but we're not them. It goes beyond the whole boy-girl thing; even if I'd woken up a different, non-Arthur Milligan man, it would still be wrong.

Arrgh, this is so complicated. I'm really glad that the movie business is in full swing this past week; it kept me busy, even if I did have to spend a weird Thanksgiving day with Liz's and Ray's families. Think of it - Liz and Ray have been together so long that showing up at each others' Thanksgiving dinners was a given, and everyone had questions for about when we'd be taking some next step. We made lame excuses, though nothing as crazy as "sorry, my job's just to maintain the status quo until the real Liz Lee gets back and breaks up with your son."

That's the only time I felt like I've been cheating, sitting surrounded by Ray's parents and siblings. He's not my boyfriend, so why should I feel guilty about screwing someone else? Even if that's how you really feel, though, it's tough to really feel it strongly when you're accepting the privileges of being his girlfriend - even if those privileges are in the form of his mother's pumpkin pie.

-Art

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