We Are All Carlton.
Well, Dame S. is, for sure, (and Adam Gopnik definitely knows what I'm talking about!) but perhaps this is the one true privilege of Jewish Christmas? Chanukah is over, my interfaith family & I can rely on the delights of the movies & dim sum, and during the years I get to participate in the festivities of actual Christmas celebrators like my beloved in-laws, I count myself extra-lucky. Both of your devoted Dames hope your day was merry & bright, friends, however you spent it.
On to the mini-issue! We've got just two links for you this week: one extra-weighty, one an extra-light confection with just the right amount of emotional & intellectual heft, because: Dames.
Weighty Link: Emotional Labor
'ow you say? No sweat!
You know all those birthdays you keep track of, the holiday gifts you buy, the “hey, how are you today?” texts you send to chums near & far, the medical or school forms you are constantly filling out? The term for all those activities (and way more) is Emotional Labor, and it’s the glue that holds all our healthy relationships together.
It’s important, and it’s often unrecognized, because that’s kind of the point: those of us who engage in the most Emotional Labor are supposed to be like Ginger Rogers, effortlessly gliding across the floor in the arms of Fred Astaire. But as smarter people than we have pointed out, Ginger Rogers was performing all those dazzling dance steps, too, just backwards, and in high heels.
So! At this time of year, which is full of commitments to the happiness of others, here’s something we think every human should read: the condensed version of AskMetafilter’s vast discussion thread on Emotional Labor.*
This is 71 pages of intense analysis & soul-searching, and Your Dames do not recommend reading it in one sitting. We’re still making our ways slowly through it, ourselves.
*We would like to heap grateful blessings on the head of the industrious person who put this together, because that was surely some serious EL, too.
Fluffy Link: GREAT Romance Novelist Alert!
Our true religion: the female gaze on the male gaze.
As the Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners in our audience might already know, Dame Margaret is on today’s episode talking about keeping the Cry in Christmas; the excellence of her long-time favorites Lake Street Dive, San Fermin, and Lucius; and what Ryan Adams’s 1989 tells us about pop culture in 2015 [Your Dames are basically always having Taylor Swift Thoughts -- Dame S]. Smushed in with all that, she also took a moment to shout-out the writer whose historical romance novels have been making her month: Rose Lerner.
Lerner writes with knowledge and detail about the Regency period she’s focusing on, but doesn’t lean on the Regency to ignore economic, racial, or sexual diversity, instead engaging with the fascinating things that happen when the mainstream and the margins collide. Best of all, she writes heroes who, like the great Henry Tilney, know their muslins: heroes who like women, who understand how to talk to them, who know about typically feminine spheres and speak about them without affectation or derision, AKA Dame Margaret’s very favorite type of hero. So far, Dame M. has devoured In for a Penny (her least diverse, but also her first-- and a book that is fascinating in dialogue with Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility), A Lily Among the Thorns, and ¾ of Sweet Disorder.
Fun Dames Nation fact: After hearing about Rose’s greatness for years (most particularly from Stephanie Burgis, an unparalleled source of both great booksand great romance recommendations), it was her A+++ participation in Hamilton fandom on Tumblr that actually got Margaret to pick up one of her books, instead of thinking vaguely that she ought to.