So Steven can make croissants now

Steven got this Craftsy course on croissant making on Black Friday. Making croissants is finicky and takes a long time, so of course Steven loves it.

Croissants take a lot of butter, yo

Croissants take a lot of butter, yo

Usually, Steven has trouble making doughs and I end up swooping in to save the day, but not this time:

The outfit must have helped

The outfit must have helped

The process involves a lot of folding your sheet of butter into your dough:

Yeah, that top square is all butter

Yeah, that top square is all butter

Of course you have to measure to get everything precise

Of course you have to measure to get everything precise

Rolling pin action!

Rolling pin action!

Finally, after much toil, they started to look like croissants:

Laaaaaaaadies

Laaaaaaaadies

Unfortunately, he had to leave them proofing to go to orchestra practice:

Hella professional proofing set up

Hella professional proofing set up

So it was left to me to actually get them in the oven:

Steven trusts me too much

Steven trusts me too much

Luckily, my part wasn’t that hard, and they turned out beautifully:

Perfection

Perfection

The insides are just the right flaky consistency:

We each did our part

We each did our part

Next time: Pain au Chocolat/I die of joy

Women need pink for reading comprehension

So here’s a book I found at the library:

Essential Car Care for Women!

Essential Car Care for Women!

Dudes, you don’t need this. You were born knowing how a four stroke combustion engine works. But ladies, in the name of equality, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Literally that’s how the back justifies itself:

Despite the many advances women have made since the internal combustion engine was invented, there is still one widely held belief that won’t seem to go away: “When it comes to cars, women should just leave it to the men.” In Essential Care Care for Women, ESPN NASCAR pit reporter Jamie Little and Discovery Channel “Turbo Expert” Danielle McCormick team up to dispel this myth once and for all

Because a special pink book for women really dispels the myth that they know fuck-all about cars and can never learn. Or maybe we just can’t learn without someone condescending to us! It’s true that I have trouble understanding text that’s not pink.

Finally someone understands my lady-needs

Finally someone understands my lady-needs

And yet, to my knowledge, this hasn’t made it on to any challenged book lists. I feel like debating this would be a better use of our time than freaking out about classical breasts on the cover of The Awakening.

Hate Book Club: Grinding in Greenville

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This was probably my favorite edition of Hate Book Club yet! I challenged Brian to read a romance novel set in Texas, while I had to read one set in North Carolina. He definitely got the better end of this deal as far as choice is concerned (Here’s his review!). There is really no end to the amount of torrid cowboy romance even in my local branch library. Meanwhile, most of the choices I found involved divorced women going to the Outer Banks to learn how to love again from humble fishermen. Pffffff no. So for the first time I turned to Amazon instead of the library, and actually paid $0.99 for this sucker.

The cover lets you know exactly what you're getting into

The cover lets you know exactly what you’re getting into

As always with Hate Book Club, I was forced to think of three good things to say about this book. They are:

1. I learned where Greenville, NC is

It's only an hour and a half from me

It’s only an hour and a half from me

2. This book is hella short

It’s only 182 pages, which is like a third of the length of Brian’s. He tried to make me feel guilty about this but we picked our own books, Brian, it’s not my fault you’re bad at it

3. The really problematic attitude towards rape is after most people have probably given up

Even though the book is short, I would guess that most readers would give up before page 156, when the most disturbing scene takes place, which basically says that rape is okay as long as you have an orgasm. Romance novels glorifying sexual abuse is sadly nothing new, but I was surprised this one decided to go that extra step and address the rarely-talked-about fact that some women experience arousal or orgasm during sexual assault. Although this is actually a common experience, it’s often ignored because it makes victims ashamed and can (stupidly) cloud issues of consent in a society that already victim blames too much. THE FACT THAT BODIES RESPOND A CERTAIN WAY DOES NOT MAKE THIS LESS OF A CRIME. Since that apparently needs to be said. I remain hopeful that other people were turned away by the multiple grammatical errors and terrible writing way before encountering this horrible message.

The Plot

Grinding in Greenville follows three BFFs: Marley, Tori, and Hayley through their love/sex adventures, especially centered around a romance novel convention in Greenville. These book conventions (the book opens at another one in Raleigh) sound kind of insane:

The Readers Romp in Raleigh was an author signing hosted by a book blog that apparently read, reviewed, and pimped out authors they loved… Bloggers (fan girls, as some called themselves) were the worst mothers-of-the-bride on the planet. They didn’t want to be next to the author they were originally beside because ‘she stole my storyline,’ or the’bitch copied my cover,’ or ‘that whore stole my model.’ (1)

Besides crazy authors, they are full of ridiculous fans:

“Name is Red, can you guess why?… Red room. Christian Grey is mine and no other bitch around here can have him!” (17)

And also the male models from the cover art for the fans to hit on all weekend.

Marley grew up on a hippie sex commune, and after catching her first One True Love getting it on with her mom, has sworn off love to protect her heart. But after a one-night stand with a hot male model at a Raleigh book convention… is she ready for SOMETHING MORE? Nope, because facebook stalking him reveals that he has a kid, which apparently is a total turn-off:

Apparently he was recently divorced and had a kid?… Now as big Daddy was licking the meat taco I would be thinking about him wiping some snot nosed kid’s little snotty nose. (48)

“Cute kid and all but I’m not banging a daddy.” (136)

Sorry, single dads. Marley cannot touch a hand that has also touched child snot. Because germs.

Tori/Victoria has the perfect rich sorority girl life until her ONE NIGHT of partying gets her pregnant, because of course. This plot point is, of course, treated with 19th century levels of drama:

I have brought shame to my family (41)

GASP AN UNWED MOTHER HOW SCANDALOUS! Luckily, the frat guy knows he must “do the right thing” and fake an ongoing relationship with her before quickly getting engaged and married. He decides this is going to happen without giving her a choice, and seems completely annoyed when she doesn’t immediately start acting like his fiance should:

“I have expectations, needs, that my wife will be expected to fulfill.” (43)

I mean, I already knocked you up, what else could go wrong? Tragically, right after asking her father’s permission to marry her, her parents are killed in a sudden car accident! So she marries him and spends the rest of their marriage till the book starts feeling that she killed her parents with premartial sex. They almost divorce, but then find love together through a boring Internet catfishing scheme.

Finally, there’s Hayley. She grew up in a trailer with a literal crackwhore mother (where have I heard that tragic backstory before?) and a little brother who manages to hang himself from a tree outside at nine years old. Luckily, she is able to use the power of education (with the help of an inspiring English teacher, of course) to hoist herself out of poverty and into college… where she drops out senior year to marry a rich, older lawyer to live off of?? And is shocked when this ends terribly??

Hayley’s story is definitely the worst/best. Despite her husband’s condescending objections, she opens a coffee shop, mostly run by a long-suffering woman who is clearly underpaid:

She was an amazing pastry chef, never formally trained so she worked for just above minimum wage. (29)

I dont’ know why the book adds these details, while still wanting me to sympathize with Hayley? Oh, you pay your chef $8 an hour instead of $7.25, what a generous employer?? Go away.

After her husband cheats on her, Hayley goes on a sexual odyssey to finally discover what she has been missing. This involves (1) a hot lawyer who OH NO has the smallest penis ever, in a scene that is condescending to both men and women equally, and then (2) a sketchy alley encounter with a stranger who immediately forces himself on her with no prior discussion. But it’s okay, because apparently she’s cool with it?

I should be screaming, telling him to stop, he was being extremely rough with me, but I couldn’t because the pull of desire between my legs far exceeded my ability to react the way I knew I should. (157)

Despite orgasming from the experience, Hayley is naturally upset after it’s over. Marley counsels her that it’s fine because “Most people go a lifetime without ever having the kind of sex that rocks them so hard the aftershock rapes their emotions” (160).

no

The Writing

I mean, yeah, this book could have used some copy editing. But that didn’t take away from the central ridiculousness that is language use in a romance novel. You’ve got your basic hilarious (and sometimes incorrect) word choice:

His hand moved up under my skirt as his baby blues blazed… Our tongues fought for control and he growled into my mouth. (18)

His rock hard rod was perfect. (19)

I awoke to his hand cascading down my stomach (21)

And sometimes the oddly clinical:

…and then heat accumulate in my vaginal area. (64)

The North Carolinaness

If I had to rate this book on my arbitrary Scale of North Carolinaness, it would look something like this:

Right around our award for "Most Puppy Mills in the US"

Right around our award for “Most Puppy Mills in the US”

Because it sure does have our name all over it, but we don’t really want to claim it.

The Terrible Life Examples

Besides the most egregious crimes listed above, we’ve also got:

“We could always become lesbians. I’m hot, you’re hot.” (74)

Because sexual identity is a choice you make. When you’re disappointed with someone, you should probably just boycott their whole gender and switch.

“It means if I can’t have you, I want to destroy all those who took my place… I want to crush the people you care for.” (89)

This is healthy and romantic, not terrifying.

What a selfish bitch I am. A selfish, drunk bitch who was gonna be raped and murdered. I hated wine! (125)

This is the perfect quote to leave you with. And the perfect gif for this book:

stop

Don’t forget to read Brian’s review of his Texas romance novel!

Previously:
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

All Star Thanksgiving 2014

Despite my being three different kinds of sick this week, Steven and I still managed to have a delicious Thanksgiving! This is almost entirely due to Steven’s skillz.

As usual, we bypassed the usual subpar Thanksgiving fare and each chose 2 favorite foods to cook. This year’s lineup:

Me: Biryani and peach smoothies
Steven: Spinach pomegranate salad and cherry pie

Success!!!

Success!!!

I’ve chosen biryani before, but I can’t help it–it’s one of my favorite things Steven makes. And it’s so warm and filling once it gets cold outside! See his recipe after the cut.

The spinach pomegranate salad also had pear, pecan, and feta. A really easy (and Christmas colored!) salad that tastes delicious. I modified it from the one found here.

I’d never made a cherry pie before, and Steven had never had one made with fresh cherries instead of that questionable filling from a can. But I’m not going to dump can filling into my beautiful crust, so I had to try it! We used this recipe for the filling, and both agreed that it was pretty good, but needed something to combat the intense cherriness. Cinnamon? Vanilla ice cream? Steven will have to perform experiments to find out. My easy-awesome crust tutorial can be found here. Steven helped roll it out! Like a pro, of course.

Smoothies don’t need recipes, they are delicious no matter what!!!! This one had frozen peaches, frozen mangoes, peach nectar, vanilla yogurt, honey, and almond meal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Hate Book Club: Men are from mars, Women are from Venus

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Yay Hate Book club! Where Brian and I read the same book we think we’re going to hate!! Read his review here!

For the second round of Hate Book Club, Brian and I decided to read the famous 90s bestseller Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, which is the name a particularly unimaginative serial killer on the lam would choose to try to start a new life as a relationship counselor. I’m not saying that’s what happened here, but I’m not NOT saying it either.

This cover is the perfect blend of pandering and stereotypes

This cover is the perfect blend of pandering and stereotypes

The book offers some pretty basic relationship advice, under the premise that men and women are actually aliens from completely different planets, and need to learn to understand each other’s language and values as such.

One rule of Hate Book Club is that we say three nice things about the book, and I like to get that over with right away so that I can forget it ever happened:

1. John Gray is super repetitive and fond of lists, which makes his chapters easy to skim.
2. Talking about “Martians” and “Venusians” instead of men and women does a little to hide the offensiveness of a lot of his blanket assertions.
3. I like that he generally encourages empathy, which I think is the key to being a good person.

In general, I think the advice to try to see things from someone else’s point of view is excellent. Everyone has different ways of coping, thinking, and communicating, and many disagreements can be prevented by trying to determine the reasons behind someone’s action or reaction rather than just getting mad because it doesn’t conform to your own expectations. Of course, I completely disagree that these differences are based on gender, and think stressing the supposed dichotomy between men and women sets relations back further than this book helps.

Men and women seldom mean the same things even when they use the same words. (61)

This is the kind of attitude Cosmo has all the time (“Decode his man brain!”), and I hate the assumption that men and women are polar opposites with no hope of ever understanding each other without the “professional” help of John Gray or magazines. This attitude tries to force the spectrum of human behavior into a strict binary that doesn’t exist. Plus, usually it is based on ridiculous outdated stereotypes:

To fully express their feelings, women assume poetic license and use various superlatives, metaphors, and generalizations. Men mistakenly take these expressions literally. (61)

Remembering that within every man is a knight in shining armor is a powerful metaphor to help you remember a man’s primary needs. Although a man may appreciate caring and assistance sometimes, too much of it will lessen his confidence or turn him off. (152)

The strange and beautiful Venusians were a mysterious attraction to the Martians. Where the Martians were hard, the Venusians were soft. Where the Martians were angular, the Venusians were round. Where the Martians were cool, the Venusians were warm. In a magical and perfect way their differences seemed to complement each other. (43)

No mention is ever made of same sex couples, of course. The main difference between men and women, as reiterated over and over, was that women show love by trying to help and men show love by fixing things without assistance. If you offer to help a man, you are basically calling him a woman! ULTIMATE INSULT

To honor him by not offering advice would have been a gift equivalent to his buying her a beautiful bouquet of flowers or writing her a love note… The next time he was lost, instead of offering “help” she restrained herself form offering any advice, took a deep relaxing breath, and appreciated in her heart what Tom was trying to do for her. Tom greatly appreciated her warm acceptance and trust. (15)

When a woman in a similar caring and concerned way says to a man “What’s the matter, honey?” he may feel insulted or repulsed. (86)

How dare you try to help me? I am insulted and repulsed! Similarly, women need men to take care of them. Otherwise they get all depressed and emotional, as women do:

To deal with their depression (without men) the Venusians were busy sharing their feelings and talking about their problems. As they talked they discovered the cause of their depression. They were tired of giving so much all the time. They resented always feeling responsible for one another. They wanted to relax and just be taken care of for a while. (47)

People like me, who have trouble envisioning themselves in the narrow stereotype he defines as “woman”, just have some weird hormone problem, probably:

Generally speaking, about 10 percent of women will relate more to being from Mars. This is often simply a result of being born with higher testosterone levels than most other women. (xix)

He doesn’t mention what it means if men identify with the women stereotypes. John Gray often reminds me of Mark Driscoll, author of the last book we read for Hate Book Club, in that a lot of the advice seems to set the bar really low. For instance, from a list of “Ways to score points with a woman”:

77. When listening to her talk, use eye contact

87. Verbally say thank you when she does things for you(208)

Does John Gray envision all men as socially inept cave people who have never interacted with another human or learned some basic manners? From the same list:

33. Wash before having sex or put on cologne if she likes that. (205)

Women love some basic hygiene.

Just like Mark Driscoll wanted us to think he was superior because he decided not to cheat on his wife (“become the adultery guy”), John Gray explains what a great guy he is when he decides not to “head for the door” (xxvi) after getting into an argument with his sick wife after she’s taken care of their newborn all day. You didn’t leave your wife and child to fend for themselves while still weak and semi-helpless? Good for you, John Gray, someone give this man a medal. Clearly he is a more empathetic human than the rest of us. We have much to learn from his wisdom.

Every time their favourite Martian went into his cave, they would go shopping or out on some other pleasing excursion. Venusians love to shop. (81)

So wise

My final reaction to this book:

belle

And, because, every Hate Book Club review has to have a graph:

Hatejoyment over time

Hatejoyment over time

Don’t forget to read Brian’s review too!

Previously: Real Marriage

Brewer’s Dictionary: G-M

Okay, so I’ve been really falling behind on posting about Brewer’s. And reading it. I just finished M this morning and it’s already October 27th. Whatever, more than halfway there, I can do this!!! Anyway, here’s what you missed while you were not spending your 2014 reading a reference book:

G

Giotto’s O.The old story goes that the pope, wishing to employ artists from all over Italy, sent a messenger to collect specimens of their work. When the man visited Giotto (c. 1267-1337), the artist paused for a moment from the picture he was working on and with his brush drew a perfect circle on a piece of paper. In some surprise the man returned to the pope, who, appreciating the perfection of Giotto’s artistry and skill by his unerring circle, employed him forthwith.

Goddam. A name given by the French to the English at least as early as the 15th century on account of the favourite oath of the English soldiers. Joan of Arc is reported to have used the word on a number of occasions in contemptuous reference to her enemies.

Grammar. Suetonius writes that Tiberius was rebuked by a grammarian for some verbal slip, and upon a courtier remarking that if the word was not good Latin it would be in future, now that it had received imperial recognition, he was rebuked with the words, Tu enim Caesar civitatem dare potes hominibus, verbis non potes (‘Caesar, you can grant citizenship to men, but not to words’).

Great Bed of Ware. A fourposter bed 11ft square and capable of holding 12 people. It dates from the late 16th century and was formerly at the Saracen’s Head Inn, Ware, Hertfordshire.

Sleeping in style

Sleeping in style

H

Haha. A type of ditch found in the grounds of country houses and perhaps so called from the exclamation of surprise when coming across it or of malicious pleasure when another is seen to fall into it.

I knew what hahas are, but am really gratified to learn that the origin of the name is as silly as you think.

Hats It was a point of principle with the early Quakers not to remove their hat, the usual mark of respect, even in the presence of royalty. The story goes that William Penn once entered the presence of Charles II and kept his hat on, whereupon Charles removed his own hat. ‘Friend Charles,’ said Penn, ‘Why dost thou uncover thy head?’ ‘Friend Penn,’ answered Charles with a smile, ‘it is the custom here that only one person wears his hat in the king’s presence.’

I

I guess there were no standouts under I? I didn’t write anything down.

J

Ditto J. In reality, I think I lost my Brewer’s notebook for a while.

K

I must have found it in time to record this gem of Brewer’s understated sass:

You know something (or) what? I am going to tell you something.

L

One of the best things about Brewer’s is learning interesting word origin stories, like:

Lady: Literally ‘bread kneader’, from Old English.

Or:

in-laws A way of referring to one’s relations by marriage: mother-in-law, brothers-in-law and so on. The law is that of canon law, and it refers to the degrees of affinity within which marriage is allowed or prohibited.

And other times there’s an entry that shows slang has always been cray. I mean, wtf:

Lead apes in hell. The depressing consequence of dying an old maid. Hence ape-leader, an old maid.

Also, folk beliefs are always amazing:

Lick into shape. To make presentable; to mould into a satisfactory condition. The expression derives from the widespread medieval belief that bear cubs are born shapeless and have to be licked into shape by their mothers.

Love spoons. The giving of elaborately carved love spoons by a lover to his lady as a token during courtship was common in 18th-century Wales.

Get with the program, Steven

Get with the program, Steven

M

Apparently Magenta is named after a battle!

Magenta. A brilliant red aniline dye derived from coal tar, named in commemoration of the bloody Battle of Magenta (1859), when the Austrians were defeated by the French and Sardinians. This was just before the dye was discovered.

Milo. A celebrated Greek athlete of Crotona in the late 6th century BC. It is said that he carried through the stadium at Olympia a heifer four years old, and ate the whole of it afterwards. When he was old, he attempted to tear in two an oak tree, but the parts closed upon his hands, and while he was thus held fast he was devoured by wolves.

That escalated quickly.

Mohocks. A class of ruffians who in the 18th century infested the streets of London. They were so called from the Mohawk Indians. One of their ‘new inventions’ was to roll people down Snow Hill in a tub. Another was to overturn coaches on rubbish heaps.

I’m on page 805 of 1298, so only 493 more to go! I can do it!! I’ve just got to believe in myself.

Previously: E and F

Hate Book Club: Real Marriage

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Welcome to Hate Book Club!! A book club Brian Reinhart and I formed to read books we think we’re going to hate, and then review them on our respective blogs. Here are the rules of Hate Book Club:

1) We have to choose books neither of us have read before
2) We have to say THREE (3) positive things about the book
2a) They can be sarcastically positive
3) Each review must include one graph
4) Final opinion of the book must be summed up in gif form

Hopefully this project will also allow me to poach some readers from Brian’s seriouspants blog. Hello, Person Who Probably Has An Opinion About David Foster Wallace! Let me show you what a gif is:

wszh5k96v8cd6vucgxrq

It’s basically the same as the postmodern art you enjoy, you’ll be fine.

Anyway, the first book we chose for Hate Book Club was Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together by Mark and Grace Driscoll. If the name “Mark Driscoll” sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because you remember the controversy recently when he referred to women as “homes for penises.” Definitely a guy you want to take relationship advice from!!

Spoiler alert: my marriage isn't real

Spoiler alert: my marriage isn’t real

Let’s get the compliments out of the way so I can begin to block out the memory of thinking anything nice about this guy:

1) He uses the Oxford comma throughout his entire book.

It's important

It’s important

Working in the academic publishing industry has taught me that serial comma use is far from universal, despite the fact that not using it makes you seem like an illiterate assface (YEAH, I SAID IT, New York Times stylebook, BRING IT). If you don’t use the Oxford comma, I hate you. It’s pretty much that simple.

I just want to save you from yourself

I just want to save you from yourself

I still hate Mark Driscoll, but I have other reasons.

2) He taught me a story about Martin Luther I didn’t know.

In the early morning hours one Easter, twelve young runaway nuns climbed into empty fish barrels and were smuggled out of their convent. Their unlikely hero was a renegade monk they had written to, imploring him to rescue them so they could marry and one day become mothers. The escape was a daring and successful adventure, and it led to a most unusual friendship and marriage. The hero monk? Martin Luther. (19)

Okay, to be fair, I didn’t fact check this story at all, because I was afraid I’d then have to think up another compliment for Mark Driscoll and I have a lot of other things to do right now. So, regardless of this story’s veracity, it is fun and would make a great historical action movie.

3) He stresses that friendship is the basis of marriage.

Well, it is

Well, it is

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to my hates:

On the first page of the preface, Driscoll pretty much sets the tone for how you’re supposed to take his marriage advice:

Don’t say, “I [we] tried that, and it did not work.” If it’s rooted in biblical wisdom, keep trying until it works or you die. (xi)

OR YOU DIE. His marriage advice will either work OR KILL YOU. No other options.

This book has a lot of advice you’d expect from an evangelical Christian, including a staunch adherence to traditional gender roles:

Admittedly, a wife working before kids are born, or who finds a way to make money from home without neglecting her first God-given responsibilities of Christian, wife, and mother is acceptable. But men, you should make money. You should feed your family. (52)

Stay-at-home Dads are truly an abomination in the eyes of God.

These gender roles are totally legit because women are the weaker sex, and therefore need to be protected by men from the harsh realities of the world outside the home:

But since a husband is one with his wife her weakness is his weakness, which means he needs to honor and protect it rather than exploit it. Because she is a crystal goblet and he is a thermos means she is not only delicate but also precious. (49)

The difference between men and women, according to Mark Driscoll

Do you not remember the Bible talking about thermoses? It’s in Acts somewhere.

But, don’t worry, all this lady-oppression is totally rooted in the Bible so you can’t argue with it.

This assignment of the husband to the role of covenant head is not something rooted in culture that can be changed, but rather something rooted in creation that is unchanging. (54)

His list of Biblical evidence for that begins with:

1. God called the race “man” and “mankind” 2. By naming Eve, Adam was exercising authority over her as God commanded (55)

Ah yes, basing sweeping theological arguments on the exact vocabulary in a document that has been translated so many times it is basically like playing a 3000-year game of telephone. “It’s called MANkind.” This argument brought to you by the same people who brought you “Adam and Eve, NOT ADAM AND STEVE.” Classic.

Of course, like any adherence to strict gender roles, men are treated as equally infantile, with a lot of urging to MAN UP and provide for your family economically, emotionally, and spiritually. Driscoll wants us to return to a simpler time when boys became men by achieving important life hurdles in quick succession:

1. leave your parents’ home
2. finish your education or vocational training
3. start a career-track job, not a dead-end-Joe job
4. meet a woman, love her, honor her, court her, and marry her
5. parent children with her

Then he poetically sums up how the “invention” of adolescence and socio-economic circumstances have LED OUR CULTURE ASTRAY:

But the fools’ parade hijacked the march to manhood. (42)

Come on, sixteen-year-olds, why are you wasting your time on the JV soccer team, when you should already have married and impregnated your junior prom date?? GET WITH THE PROGRAM. The MAN program.

Naturally, Driscoll has to caution his readers to follow his advice, unless you want a horrifying secular marriage:

For many men and women, the questions are: Is my spouse keeping up his/her looks, making his/her share of the income, doing an equal amount of the chores, and having enough sex with me, or not? And if at any point I do not believe my spouse is keeping up his or her end of our business arrangement, I simply nullify the deal and file for divorce to the terms of a prenuptial agreement in which the divorce was organized before the marriage began. (54)

I mean, really, he’s got me there. The second I suspect I’m doing more dishes than Steven I whip out our prenup, which, because I’m a feminist, just says “I get everything, sucka!”

But you pretty much expect all this in an advice book about marriage written by a hardcore Christian, right? Perhaps more interesting was Driscoll’s discussion of his own background:

Growing up, my goal was to get out of my neighborhood and enjoy a new and better life… I did not want to get trapped by gangs, drugs, alcohol, crime, or manipulative women. (6)

Hmm… one of these things is not like the others.

He started dating his eventual wife Grace in highschool, who somehow found the courage to be with him though, at the time, she was a Christian and he was not. Then Driscoll undergoes a dramatic conversion after God prevents him from going to a frat party. But just because they were both Christians doesn’t mean the Driscoll marriage was all Happily Ever After. For instance, both seemed to have trouble overcoming pesky secular ideas about equality and getting back to basics, gender role wise:

Grace was pregnant with our first child and suffering… which culminated in me apologizing for not bearing the entire financial burden for our family. She gladly came home from work(11)

Making issues even worse, I (Grace) realized I hadn’t really followed the Genesis command to leave my family and cleave to Mark as my new family… I called my parents “my family,” which made Mark feel as if he and I weren’t family. I had to learn to pray and work through our conflict differently, plan some of our own traditions and memories, set healthy boundaries of privacy, and refer to Mark as “my family” and others as our “extended family”.(10-11)

Sorry, Mom and Dad. I have to cleave to Steven. You’re my extended family now. No word on if the dude’s parents are family or “extended family” though.

Sometimes Driscoll’s treatment of his wife is disgusting, but the reader is clearly meant to side with him:

In this season we shifted into ministry-and-family mode, neglecting our intimacy and failing to work through our issues. This became apparent to me when my pregnant wife came home from a hair appointment with her previously long hair (that I loved) chopped off and replaced with a short, mommish haircut. She asked what I thought, and could tell from the look on my face. She had put a mom’s need for convenience before being a wife. She wept. (11)

Yep. SHE’s wrong for cutting her hair and putting “mom” before “wife” or “my happiness” before “being attractive to my husband.” Your short hair is why you can’t keep a man, ladies. You are right to weep.

Then God grants Driscoll a vivid dream about his wife cheating on him when she was 17, and she later admits that IT WAS TRUE. Then he shuts her out for ten years as punishment for something she did when she was 17, repeating multiple times that, had he known, he would never have married her. Driscoll paints himself as a victimized martyr through all this:

So I put my head down, kept my pants on, and decided not to be the porn or masturbation or adultery guy (13)

Props for not becoming “the adultery guy,” Driscoll. That was so big of you.

Also, my favorite thing I learned from this book:

Emotional adultery is having as your close friend someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. (25)

OH GOD I AM AN ADULTERESS FIRE UP THE BRANDING IRON AND SLAP THAT A ON MY FOREHEAD:

ADULTERY

ADULTERY

Near the end of the book, Driscoll addresses the most common sex advice questions he gets from Christians, asking whether certain things (porn, sex toys, etc) are okay or not from a Biblical standpoint. This section was surprisingly boring, and I can sum it up in chart form:

part2sex

All in all, this book was fun to read aloud, especially to an engaged couple I was counseling as a dutiful wedding officiant. This book didn’t really shock me with its contents, I guess because I kind of knew what to expect going in. Sadly, nothing about it really lived up to a “penis homes” level of ridic, so my reaction was just generally:

nothankyouplease

Don’t forget to read Brian’s writeup here.

Yay Hate Book Club!!!!

HATE Book BLINGEE

Challenged Books: The Popularity Papers

Hey team!

Sorry I have been failing at my 2014 goal of posting a blogpost every week. Moving is stressful and I’ve lacked the internet for 5 days now (currently at the library like a cool kid)! And I’m mainly posting this just to prove that I did in fact read a challenged book each week of September.

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

This book was super cute!! It reminded me a lot of the Ameila’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss I remember buying from my elementary school book fair, full of hand-drawn pictures and text to look like handwriting. The story chronicles two 5th grade girls’ attempts to watch the popular girls and figure out how to become popular themselves. It’s pretty standard older-elementary/early-middle school themes about friendship and acceptance and maybe just discovering some boys are not gross (maybe). The only reason it was challenged was because one of the protagonists has two dads.

Previously: The Bluest Eye and The Color Purple

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