2.24.2015

"When Did You First Know You Were a Woman?"

I'm reading Bossypants by Tina Fey and really missing 30 Rock (though Parks and Recreation is good, too), and this question comes up when she talks about writing Mean Girls. And it seems like a lot of the answers to the question have to do with catcalls and men shouting at women, but I don't have any vivid memory of that ever happening. Maybe no one has ever catcalled at me? Or, just as likely, I wasn't paying attention and/or assumed they were shouting at someone else.

So when I thought about this question, I really had to cast my mind back, and the summer of 1989 sprang up almost immediately. I was 13 and in love with Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever and Don Henley's The End of the Innocence. Seems very apropos in retrospect.

Two years before, we'd moved from Georgetown to Lewisville [Texas]. But two of my best friends were still in Georgetown, and I got permission to spend a month down there—two weeks at Emily's, two weeks at Tara's. We went and saw Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade over and over again, making ourselves sick on hot dogs and Nerds and oversized dill pickles.

Now, Emily is the same age as me, but she was always the more mature one, interested in boys long before I was. But Tara, who is like a sister to me, is four years younger. She and I lived right next door to one another and spent every possible minute together. I was as comfortable in her house as I was my own, and her little brother, when asked who I was, would often answer, "That's just Mandy. She's like my other sister."

This is important because of what happened. I was staying with Tara and her family, and though I was 13 and physically mature, Tara (who was 9) and I were still playing silly kid games. We would play Indiana Jones, and I would be Indy and have to rescue her and so on. We had a game in which the entire goal was to avoid being kissed by the evil Fish Lips. Kid stuff. I was brilliant but a late bloomer in the socio-emotional sense. (Not uncommon for Asperger's, I believe.)

Tara's dad had a friend who would come over. His name was Mike. I didn't think much of it, but after a while I became aware Mike looked at me a lot, in a way that made me uncomfortable, though I wasn't sure why. Then Mike quit coming to visit. And I found out later Tara's dad had given him a thrashing because of some things Mike had said about me. Inappropriate things.

Not long after, my dad's friend Jim came to visit us up in Lewisville. I'd known Jim since I was itty bitty and thought nothing of sitting on his lap, same as I always had. But one day my mom took me aside and told me I couldn't sit on Jim's lap any more. She didn't elaborate, and it took some mulling on my part to understand why.

Putting two and two together, I began to realize I had become interesting to men. That the bodily changes I took for granted were drawing attention. And for reasons I'd rather not go into, I thought this was the worst thing in the world.

I attacked the problem in a variety of ways. 1. I started wearing my dad's t-shirts. They were huge on me and covered everything up. I also started wearing men's hiking boots for some reason; I'm not sure what that was about. 2. I grew a curtain of hair to hide behind. 3. I quit eating. And no one could tell because I became skilled at pushing things around on my plate to make it look like I had eaten, and I had huge clothes on anyway.

Basically, I was trying to disappear in every way possible.

I didn't know that at the time, of course, but looking back it's pretty clear.

So, yeah, that's when I knew I was a woman. And I fought it for as long as I could. Which is probably why I didn't date much in high school. (I had two boyfriends, both very safe church boys.) At some point, I gave in. Cute dresses could no longer be foresworn or something.

Oh, but Tina Fey does also mention buying a white denim suit, and it reminded me of something similar in my life. I was at the mall with a couple friends, and I found a white v-neck sweater at . . . I dunno, Lerner New York & Co, I think it was. It was displayed with all these brightly colored turtlenecks, and my friend Christopher said, "Amanda, you have to buy it. That would look great on you." And flattered that Christopher could be bothered to even think about what might look great on me . . . And also mollified by the fact the sweater was massive and would cover all the things . . . I bought it and a cobalt blue turtle neck. And I wore them as often as Texas weather allowed.

Television: Scorpion, "Going South"

So this show is starting to become a tad rote in that I no longer have to give it my full attention when it's on.

In this episode, Sylvester continues to worry about telling Walter that he (Sylvester) is seeing Walter's sister Megan. Meanwhile, Walter manages to piss everyone off after giving a solo news interview in which he comes out looking stellar but everyone else's names and qualifications get muddled. Walter insists he was only trying to drum up new business for them, but Toby calls him narcissistic.

Then Cabe brings in a wealthy man whose daughter is being held by a Mexican drug cartel. The man has already paid two million dollars in ransom, but the baddies are asking for more. It takes Sylvester all of thirty seconds to figure out where the girl is being held (the town, anyway), and the client is ready to send his own team in to retrieve her, but Walter gets the great idea they should do it.

Pride goeth . . .

The rest of the episode was, as I mentioned, rote and my interest faded. They fought a bit, they did something clever, blah blah blah. They got the girl, of course. End of story.

Oh, and Sylvester did finally tell Walter about Megan. And Walter warned Sylvester that Megan was in decline (for those coming late to the party, she has MS and lives in a care facility), which was something he didn't think Sylvester could handle. But Sylvester assured Walter he could and would.

And that was kind of it. From what I saw.

There is a kind of MacGyver feel to the show—MacGyver always saved the day, too, didn't he? And in clever ways? And I loved MacGyver, but maybe it's that I've grown up, or maybe it's just that the supporting cast (Jack, Pete, and certainly Murdoc) paved the way for far more interesting stories. Yeah. This show needs a Murdoc. Maybe they're setting up Mark Collins to come back and act as that? Of course, assuming Mark is brilliant enough to get out of custody . . .

Television: Broadchurch 2.8

So we get the rather abrupt answer to the Sandbrook mystery, but not before Claire tries to blackmail Alec by suggesting he held her prisoner and abusively raped her. Will that come back to cause trouble?

I'm not sure there's a short answer, but I'll try: Ricky caught Lee with Lisa and killed Lisa but told Lee he'd put it all on him if he didn't help cover it up. Then Claire came home and found out and coerced Lee into suffocating Pippa so she wouldn't say anything . . . But then she convinced Ricky it was his rohypnol-laced alcohol that killed Pippa.

We got all this out of a pendant and two identical receipts for flooring that, truthfully, should have been looked at more closely the first time around.

Do we know why Ricky came home from the wedding, btw? Did I miss that? Was he coming to get the flask so he could drug a bridesmaid? Seems like he would have had it with him . . . Was he coming to hit up Lisa himself?

Whatever. It felt weirdly anticlimactic. (Also, how was it Alec and Ellie could command an interview room? Aren't they both, like, off the force in Broadchurch?)

Meanwhile, Joe is found not guilty. Sort of saw that coming, too, didn't we? Doesn't make for much drama if he gets put away. Better to have him drummed out of town . . . And then will we be investigating his murder in Series 3? Lots of people want him dead. Sounds rather like a game of Cluedo. Hrm.

In other developments, Jocelyn tells Sharon she wants to work with her. Of course Sharon isn't keen. But then Jocelyn offers some insights into possible ways to appeal Jonah's sentence, so . . . Maybe that will work out?

And for whatever reason Beth unbends enough to be friends with Ellie again. So we end with Ellie and her boys, and the Latimers meeting up on the beach to lay flowers where Danny's body had been found. (Apparently Beth and Mark are okay now, too, despite the fact he was the primary reason the defence was able to come up with enough doubt in the minds of the jury.)

Anyway. It's enough of an ending to be somewhat satisfying, though one questions where Alec will go now. Then again, apparently he'll be back in Broadchurch before long since they have said David Tennant will return for Series 3.