The mystery girl, part 1

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Stolovnik, 2008

This is some material I have cut from my upcoming memoir,  Six Years in Slovenia.   The reason I’ve cut it is that it doesn’t really advance the story forward, but it’s kind of interesting on its own.

August 5, 2009, Brestanica train station

It is raining again.  Only lightly, but that makes me happy because it is cool enough to get things done.  I am going to Brezice again to finish what I started yesterday; that girl I sometimes see is here, the one I have an odd little story about that I don’t want to tell right now.  I was a little freaked out by that but I still like her.  She is not one of the fairy-like Slav beauties, but there is something graceful about her silhouette.  I avoid striking up a conversation, though.  I fear intimacy.

Friday November 6, 2009

Tonight Friday, 7 o’clock train from Dobova, I get off the train and the girl is there, walking up the platform and up the steps to the road.  It’s her.  I only see her from the back but I recognize the line of her graceful figure at once, and her boots.  Impulsively I decide not to go to the WC as I usually do when getting off the train, as Krško’s WC is never open, but to follow her instead.  She followed me one day, all the way to the end of the Trg, stood looking after me as I walked on then turned back.

She must live somewhere on the Trg; I am curious to see where she goes.

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Spot the Misogyny: My ex-friend Wim Soetaerts

“No one is born a bigot.  Hate is learned.”

This is a old childhood picture of someone who used to be my friend.  This cute little boy, smiling so brightly, surely deserved to be happy and loved.

But W. was viciously bullied.  He wasn’t athletic and the other kids constantly made fun of him.  Home wasn’t much of a comfort either, because his mother would punish him for trivial things by sending him to his room.  He spent much of his childhood immersed in comic books.

He grew up believing that people in general were just cruel to one another.  This cruelty affected him to his core: inwardly he aligned himself with the bullies and learned to take pleasure in other people’s suffering, and call it humor.  But you wouldn’t see it if you know him only casually, because on the surface he can be very kind, generous with gifts and time.  You might think he has a dark, twisted sense of humor, but you’d probably overlook it because he seems so good in other ways and is devoted to his friends.

He seems like a nice guy – as long as you don’t get too close.

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On beauty

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We live in a society where beauty is demanded of women.  There’s a beauty industry making billions of dollars by convincing women that they’re all ugly and unacceptable unless they buy this or that magical beauty product.  A lot of us are sick of it,  sick of hating ourselves, but we don’t know what to do about it.

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The ugly truth about Survival of the Prettiest

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While doing research for another post on beauty, I ran across this old review, written by Karen Lehrman, of a book called Survival of the Prettiest by Nancy Ercoff.  The cover features a headless female torso wearing a painful-looking corset.

Lehrman points out that Ercoff has won awards for her research on sex differences and the brain.  Which doesn’t mean her book isn’t full of shit.

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