Category: Real Life

There and Back Again: A Yuri Tale

Anyone who listens to me on the podcast or reads this blog knows I’m a huge fan of BL. But in the interest of fairness and expanding horizons, I’ve been trying to get into yuri. This project has been met with limited success; I tried reading Citrus and found both characters too unlikable to continue. I tried watching Sweet Blue Flowers and dropped it from boredom. So when I saw someone tweet excitedly about NTR Netsuzou Trap by Kodama Naoko, I thought I’d give it a try.

The manga begins with one girl (Hotaru) sliding her fingers up her friend’s (Yuma) skirt between her legs while their respective boyfriends are in front of them singing karaoke. I thought, “Well, these girls don’t waste any time!” but since I’d just read a BL with a guy’s ass in the air on the first page, I thought I shouldn’t rush to judgment.

But it didn’t really get any better from there. About halfway through I actually looked at the cover and went, “Wait, that’s their BOOBS?” But I reminded myself I’m often told that the glorious muscles on my anime boys are totally unrealistic so I figured I should accept totally unrealistic, really round and shiny and painfully-looking-pushed-together boobs also. And it’s not like I’m a noob; I don’t expect realism from drawn boobs. I don’t hate boobs of fantasy. I think I just couldn’t get past the awkward nature of the pose…but, I reminded myself, I’ve never smooshed my boobs against another girl’s and seen what they do (although just looking at that picture kind of makes them hurt) so, again, cut the manga a bit of slack.

I kept trying to look at the manga through a BL lens; yes, the plot was pretty basic and not very believable–but so are so many BL stories I love! Yes, the one character is the most oblivious, naive person in the world to the point of wanting to choke her–but so are so many BL characters! Yes, one character is frustratingly convoluted and sadistic and has yet to demonstrate any redeeming quality–but so are so many BL characters! So why can’t I like this story?!

When I first got into BL, my brother’s theory was that since I can’t relate to the majority of shojo heroines, BL was likely more relatable to me. I’m a tomboy and hung out with boys way more than girls so BL seemed like a no-brainer. I’ve read other theories that women enjoy BL because it’s the opposite-it’s unrelatable. Since it’s a relationship between two men, women can feel safe reading it because there is no female character to relate to and therefore no potential to feel uncomfortable from things that happen to her.

From there, I got lost. I tried relating to these girls but couldn’t. The first issue being if someone tried sliding their fingers between my legs while we’re all at karaoke, I’d probably break their hand. It became immediately obvious that oblivious and tolerant Yuma was not relatable to me. So then I thought, well, as embarrassing as it is to type out loud, in most BL my personality is more similar to the seme’s. So I thought maybe Hotaru was the key. But again, I have no desire to grab anyone’s crotch, especially when they act like they don’t want me to. It doesn’t matter what the crotch is composed of; it’s just rude. So I struck out with Hotaru as well. I was starting to think I just had no taste for yuri.

Exasperated with the end of the first volume of Netsuzou Trap, I moved on to Emma vol. 5 by Kaoru Mori which had also arrived that day. Volume 5 is a collection of short stories about a lot of the side characters from the Emma series, including Emma’s former employer. Her story takes place lounging in bed in the morning with her husband and looking at her nakedness I thought, “I could read a yuri with her in it. She’s beautiful and sensual and confident and intriguing.” Then I remembered the latest volume of A Bride’s Story by the same author with a chapter about the two avowed sisters (sister-wives) and went, “Yes, yes! I’d read a yuri about them! Their story is sooo good!”

That’s when I realized my dilemma about relatability was somewhat pointless. I’ve been through high school but I’ve never been a wife or German or had a dear avowed sister and a rich husband. So shouldn’t I be able to relate to those Netsuzou Trap girls way more than the women of Emma or A Bride’s Story?

So I came to the conclusion it’s not about relatability; it’s about a good story. Yes, okay, I’m way more tolerant of shabby stories in BL, especially if the characters are at least entertaining. But my favorite BL manga (and non-BL, for that matter) are the ones I feel have the best stories above all else. Their plots may not be especially complicated or intriguing, but they are endearing. They make me want to smile as I’m reading. I smiled reading Emma vol 5; I did not smile reading Netsuzou Trap.

So I guess the question is: will Kaoru Mori ever write a yuri? Do you have a yuri suggestion? What, do you think, is the best yuri has to offer?

As a disclaimer, I realize it’s all about preference. Under no circumstances am I suggesting that yuri mangaka need to write with me in mind or that the genre needs to change for me. I just know from reading BL that there are so many different, interesting stories out there that there’s “something for everyone” within the genre and I’m hoping to find that same thing exploring yuri.

 

Maximus

Maximus Decimus Meridius passed away at 4 a.m. on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014.

We spent 12 years together. He was there when I broke up with my first boyfriend and there when I broke up with my last. He was there when I moved into my house and when I sold it. We traveled across the country and back for massage school.

Every morning while putting on makeup I still look over at my bed, expecting to see him sleeping in my spot. I still hear a faint snort from the other room when I’m in the bathtub. At the restaurant, I start to put meat scraps in a baggie to take home for him. The seat in my car is still back all the way so he has room to sit on my lap and there’s still dog snot on my window. I get in my car after work and have to remember that I don’t need to go pick him up on my way home.

I really debated not saying anything to “the internet”–I really didn’t want memorials or pictures or candles or Rainbow Bridge parades or anything of the sort. Maximus was mine and I didn’t want to share any part of him in this most private of times. But over the years we’ve made many friends, some of whom send us cards, gifts, prayers, etc. and so I felt those friends needed to know.

For the last twelve years, I haven’t slept through the night because he’d wake me, needing a drink or to go outside or maybe his snoring was just too loud. Yet now, I can’t sleep because he’s not there.

This Is Why I’m Fat

So last night someone asked me, “What is it with you and this food thing?”

I. Love. Food.

I love it so much, in fact, I’m interrupting this post to scour the internet for a good butterhorn recipe. BRB.

Where was I? Oh yeah, I love food. I love making food, I love eating food. Beautiful food, delicious food. A perfect meal is one of the few things in life that can be repeatedly duplicated and never disappoints. I love cinnamon rolls and I never get tired of eating them. Every time I eat a cinnamon roll, it’s glorious. Can I say that about any other non-food experience? Nope.

So speaking of legendary non-food experiences, my birthday was a bit ago. Unlike past years I didn’t announce it to everyone I know weeks ahead of time; there was no very loud and obvious birthday countdown. The presents at first looked quite sparse but then I opened the boxes…

Recipes.

Glorious, glorious, beautiful recipes.

And the equipment/ingredients to make them (since, y’know, I live in the middle of nowhere and certain ingredients aren’t always findable around here).

If I were the crying type, I would have cried. I got the best gifts ever from people who (apparently) know me best. Great food is an expression of affection (in my world, anyway). My mom guards her recipes with her life; in the rare event she “gives” you a recipe, chances are it’s missing a certain key ingredient or maybe the measurements aren’t quite right. This is a trait inherited from her mother, who was actually in the restaurant biz.

My friends gave me their recipes for my birthday.

Thank you thank you thank you.

On Beauty

The more I look at myself, the more ugly things I find. So this reply from Nobu  (“Ooku” volume 5) when advised by the Shogun to take more care to be attractive struck me as funny:

“My reason being that I myself am drawn not at all to men of beauteous appearance. If there be maidens such as myself, then it doth follow that there be men of this nature also, who take no pleasure in comeliness, but indeed prefer plain looks in a woman. Therefore I have ne’er once taken it to heart that I am not pretty, Your Highness, ne’er once!”

Better Late Than Never

Whoo hoo! Time for the obligatory New Year post.

I’m not really one for resolutions, mostly because if I want to do something (or feel like I should do something) I don’t have the patience to wait until January 1st to resolve to do it. And if I have something I dread so much that I do put it off til January 1st, I never stick with it.

So why am I bringing this up? Because while I don’t really want to call it a resolution, there is something I’ve been working on and I want to make more progress in 2011. It’s time to get tougher. I talk a big game, but I’m kind of a wimp about certain things. I need to be more self-sufficient and less lazy. Or at least really competent in between bouts of laziness.

The last couple years have seemed especially full of people who turned out to be not what they said they were. I know I’ve bitched about this a lot and it’s not an occurrence exclusive to my life at all. But more than I ever I don’t want to be in that category and I don’t want to bitch about those people anymore. So my solution is to not be like those people. Time to toughen up and walk the walk and all that good shit.

So why the hell am I wasting your time telling you this? Because by putting this out there for my millions of adoring readers (heh) to see, I’m committed to doing it. Now if I don’t do it, you all can call me a big fat liar. Well, you could call me that anyway, I suppose, just for fun but at least in this case you’d be justified.

Alright, cue some theme music. I need a montage. Time to be better.

He Went to Hell, I Mean, Jared

Tis the season of diamond and car commercials.

I’m generally anti-marriage (for myself) but years ago decided that if someone even wanted to attempt proposing to me, a diamond ring wouldn’t be the way to go. Instead, I wanted a Jarrett custom rifle. What, you aren’t familiar with the old saying, “Weaponry is a girl’s best friend”?

Well, since deciding that, I’ve bought my own Jarrett custom rifle. So I don’t really need another one. (Yes, I know, when it comes to guns, I always need another one.)

As far as cars…I bought my dream vehicle several years ago and am still totally in love with it. I have yet to see a vehicle with a red bow on it that could even compete with my baby and its 5.7 Hemi V8.

So naturally I was thinking, “Man, what’s a guy to do? He wants to buy you something that is symbolic of his undying love for you, but you already have everything awesome! Is there no hope for your hordes of suitors?”

Fear not, guys, I thought of something. Something perfect for me that you won’t see in dozens of commercials.

A big, beautiful, glorious bathtub.