Category Archives: humor
(PLEASE CLICK FOLLOWING LINK TO SEE Jungle Dance (Click HERE)
Dance with me
You know you want to glide
Don’t you ever dismiss
That ridiculous monkey
Who is taking a free ride?
Messing up your concentration
Just inhibiting your mind
Going nowhere really fast
Just hanging on your shoulder
Knock it off,
That damn encumbrance
Why don’t you ever
Go out on a limb, and
Take a little chance?
Look at me,
I’m hanging precariously
Dangling here from
Intoxication, feeling dizzy
From the dance
Push me-pull you
Back and forth
And all apart
I don’t know where it ends
Because I don’t know
Where it starts
It’s all so confusing
And extremely amusing
Moving and swaying
And dancing around and around
And around once more
I just thought
I heard that encumbrance
Fall and hit the jungle floor
As we dance into oblivion
To penetrate the core
Of the matter
And the center
Of the heart
I see there is no ending
Just another place to start
Sharon Lynn Van Meter
The Unsolicited Response
Go ahead and inquire of me
And we’ll so just how eloquently
I can toss my words across the great divide
In an insurmountable effort to reach the other side
Only I won’t subterfuge
The essence of deity that is you
And your mass confusion
Creating an illusion
Of a simple complex task
Requiring slightly more than manipulation
And frustration is its core
For small wonders become obsessions
When the night is long and stretching
To eternity and my bed is like a glacier
On an ocean full of dreams
So vivid that your hands are all consuming
As reality is looming
Unwelcome as a curse upon my tongue
Where your name escapes captivity
From a buried treasure full of gold
In the dark recesses of my soul
Weighing down and locking in
All the passion of the truth
Held forever from my youth
Slaughtered by maturity
Whose precedent is tact
Malevolent for the act
Of improper concentration
On the art of prim sedation
As opposed to open speculation
Leaving everything exposed
To the scrutiny of my prose
Dripping thick with forbidden compromise
In the painful pleasure of your eyes
Brimming with hostility
For an established institution
Leaving any mere solution so blasé’
And there’s so much more to say
But that bird will never fly
Spread its wings into a sky
With alluring hoops and mazes
And seductive words and phrases
Which beckon basic primal instincts
Fashioned by the art of our reflection
In an extreme effort of survival from rejection
And nonchalance is the protection
For its safety first and foremost
Through unmitigated trust
For your honor is a must
And my virtue stands unshaken
On the path that we have taken
Living only for that moment
When the barriers may falter
And lose their grip of power
Be a second as forever but an hour
In my mind when heart plays unto heart
All is lost regards to time
And place and circumstance
Is a willing for the chance
To respond to and in kind
Be in subjection to the mind
For if not for the latter
Would it not but cease to matter?
For a brief interlude to build castles out of clay
And seek soothing restlessness by grasping whispers on the way
To the horizon of the sea
Crashing over you and me
Gasping in a reverie
Of unbridled ecstasy
Be it fate or destiny
In the meeting of the souls
As we fight for some control
Slipping on a downward spiral
To enhance the thrill of our survival
Where the desperation mingles
With the scent of satisfaction
And the beauty of it lingers there
To drive you to distraction
Alas, it is you queue
For my defenses now are shattered
And if it ever truly mattered,
Respond to me, I have to you.
Sharon Lynn Van Meter
“We’ve never had sex on the beach,” Rhonda says in a nasal voice, trying to lift her head up off the sofa. When she breathes through her nostrils it sounds as if she’s sucking air through a straw. Damn, why did Christina have to come to work sick and give everybody the flu? And why in the name of God when she felt so lousy did Rick have to watch that stupid football game?
“What?” Rick cocks his head to one side to look at his wife. Her long dark brown hair had been pulled up in into a scrunchy but now is just hanging from a matted ball. Her dark green eyes are puffy, her nose is beet red, and she has on his raggedy old green and gold football jersey. He sighs heavily and takes a swig of his Budweiser, turning his attention back to the game.
Rhonda blows hard into a tissue and laboriously drags herself up to a partially reclining position. Rick lets out a sigh accompanied by an exaggerated burp in response to the irritating honking noise. “God, you sound like a Duck…that’s been shot or something. I’m trying to watch this, can’t you blow a little quieter or something?”
“I can’t believe you! I am sick and all you care about is that stupid game.” She plops herself upright on the couch, her head reeling. “All you think about is yourself!”
Rick scowls at her, grasps the remote and turns up the volume. He downs the rest of his beer, crushes the can, turns and shoots toward the trash can, burying it. Rhonda gets up, saunters over to the television and shuts it off. She turns, hands on her hips and stares him dead in the eye.
“Woman, what are you doing? There’s only two minutes left in the game!”
“Oh well…” She sighs hoarsely.
“Honey, please get out of the way and let me finish watching this game.”
“You want to watch the game? Watch the game!” She says, stepping aside as he switches the remote back on. “I want a divorce!” He looks at the screen, steadily watching her out of the corner of his eye. The room is quiet, except for the sounds of the game. She strolls back over and plops back down on the sofa, coughing loudly.
“Damn!” He yells at the screen, springing to his feet, “you idiot, he was wide open!” He hurls a barrage of obscenities into the air, clicks off the remote and throws it against the wall, then turns to her shaking his head, “What the hell is your problem anyway?”
“I’m not the one with the problem.”
“What are you talking about?” he yawns, scrunching his shoulders, rounding his back and stretching out his long arms and legs.
“If you don’t know, I guess it’s not important.” She quips, grabbing a magazine from the coffee table, and flipping the pages.
“What did I do now?” He drawls, falling back into the overstuffed recliner.
“You really don’t remember, do you?” She takes a long sip of water then taps her nails on the side of the glass.
“You don’t remember what today is?”
“Sunday?” He glances at her again, “I give up. You tell me.”
“Figures, it’s been so long since we did it, you don’t even remember the first time.”
He stares at her. The house is noticeably quiet; His eyes dart to the remote control lying on the other side of the room.
“So who is she?” she sniffs.
“What do you mean… who’s who?”
“Whoever you’ve been getting it from, cause it sure ain’t been me.” She tosses the magazine onto the coffee table, knocking over her Vicks Vaporub.
“Woman, you’re crazy.”
“Well, what’s wrong then? You must not be attracted to me anymore.”
“I’ve just been tired baby.” He absently hooks his thumbs into the sides of his sweat pants, studying his shirtless sculpted torso.
“For two months?” She abruptly starts crying, forcefully blowing her nose. “You don’t love me anymore.”
“What?” He sighs, dragging himself out of the recliner and pulling himself up to his full six foot two inches. “Baby, don’t cry.”
He sits down next to her on the sofa, shaking his head, “Baby, please don’t cry, you know I love you.”
She continues to sob pathetically, intermittently blowing her nose, which reminds him of that foghorn from the summer his parents pawned him off on his grandmother while they were going through the divorce. “Baby, pleeease don’t cry like that.”
“I can’t help it,” She sniffs, “You don’t want me anymore.”
“Listen.” He clumsily tries to smooth her disheveled hair, “You just don’t feel well, that’s all. Do you want some juice? How about tea with lemon? You like that, don’t you, baby?”
“No Rick, I want to know why we don’t have sex anymore.” She sniffs. “And don’t say it’s because you’re tired, I don’t want to hear that.”
“Baby, I don’t know why.” He says bluntly.
“What do you mean?” She says, turning to face him.
“I said I don’t know why.”
“There has to be a reason. I know I’m sick and I’m feeling really bad right now, but I need you to make love to me. I feel like you just don’t want me anymore.”
She turns to face him. Her large eyes are feverishly bright, her cheeks are flushed, and her tan thighs peer out at him from under the jersey. “I do want you” He murmurs.
“Well then why?”
He takes a jagged breath, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I want you but I can’t do it, alright?” He blurts out, standing abruptly, “Are you happy now? Is that what you wanted to hear?”
“What do you mean, you can’t… do it?” She wrinkles her forehead, staring up at him.
“I don’t know!” He says, “Alright? It’s just not getting hard, ok?”
“I don’t know, maybe. Sometimes, Jeez…”
“It’s not me?”
“No” he sighs, looking down at the floor. “It’s not you. I don’t know what it is. I said I been tired you know.”
“Rick, maybe….you should go to the doctor.”
“I don’t need a damn doctor.”
“Then maybe we should go to a marriage counselor.”
“No, I’m not going to any marriage counselor. Are you crazy? What the hell can they do?”
“Ok then what do you suggest?”
“I don’t know”
“Well, then I guess you don’t care about me or this marriage. Because if you did, you’d want to fix it. And if it’s not me, and you don’t want to go to a marriage counselor…”
“No, I don’t” He said roundly.
“Well, Jennifer down at The Mane Event said her husband had a problem doing it and he went to the doctor. He found out his testosterone level was low or something and now he’s taking Viagra. Jennifer said that little pill… well it literally saved their marriage.”
He raised his eyebrows, “Well, I don’t have that kind of problem.” He scoffed.
“Well then what kind of problem is it? And don’t say you don’t know. You have to do something because if you don’t, then I don’t know what’s going to happen…”
He throws his hands up in the air. “I…” He stares at her, his voice trailing off. He runs his fingers through his wavy blonde hair. His lungs deflate like a tire with a slow leak. He turns and storms out the door, letting it slam shut behind him. Rhonda reaches for a pillow, buries her face in it and screams.
Sharon Lynn Van Meter
Taming the Beast: Women and Fairy Tales
The love/hate and submissive/manipulative relationship between woman and man has long been depicted in fairy tales as that of a beautiful, naive and helpless young girl who is seduced by a hideous, controlling, forceful (yet inexplicably kind and gentle) beast. He is at once repulsive and seductive. The damsel in distress is eaten, beaten, ravaged, raped or otherwise tortured and abused by the hideous creature. Even so, more often than not, she willingly manages to miraculously “change” the loathsome yet somehow loveable creature into a handsome young prince through her loving kindness. The “new man” then is compelled to prove his virility still intact by “rescuing” her from…herself. Here we may venture to ask, who writes this stuff anyway?
Distinguished author and analyst Marie-Louis Von Franz, who worked closely with psychoanalyst, C.J. Jung until his death, examines the relationship between women and fairy tales in her book, The Feminine in Fairy Tales. According to Van Franz, fairy tales “express the creative fantasies of the rural and less educated layers of the population”. Thus they have the “advantage of being naïve (not literary) and of having been worked out in collective groups, with the result that they contain purely archetypal material unsecured by personal problems.
Though, initially written for adults, fairy tales were rejected and distributed to the nursery in the late 1700’s because of appearing to be “irrational” and “nonsensical”. However, in modern times, they have become increasingly popular in psychological studies. Von Franz intimates “Feminine Figures in fairy tales are neither the pattern of the anima (Jung’s name for man’s femininity) nor the real woman, but of both….some […] illustrate more the real woman and others more the man’s anima, according to the sex of the person who last wrote down the story…”(4). Many fairy tales do not reflect a woman’s point of view, but the feminine “anima”. This explains the reason why women in fairy tales and in society today “play the role” of the beautiful maiden as portrayed in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm in “Snow White”, “Cinderella” and “Brier Rose”, which is intimated to them by the male anima (feminine part of the male personality.) This is most likely initiated by their fathers…and of course through other countless male-authored or influenced fairy tales.
In regard to the nature of relationships between modern day man and woman and those heroes and heroines in the fairy tales of yore, we are still Beauty and the Beast personified. Von Franz observes that “Just where the man has a most uncertain delicate feeling, the woman places the thorn of her animus; and where the woman wants to be understood or accepted, the man comes out with some anima poison dart”. In light of this truth, can a woman transform a beast into the man of her dreams through domestication, and on a deeper and more intimate level, does she truly even want to? I propose that women do not desire to liberate themselves of the savage brute (Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “beast” as “a four footed mammal…, a contemptible person” or “something formidably difficult to control or deal with”), and, in fact, crave the beast on an erotically sexual and primitive echelon which would explain the immense popularity of fairy tales such as Beauty and the Beast.
According to Christina Bacchilega in Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and Narrative Strategies, “Beauty and the Beast” is one of the most popular fairy tales. Bacchilega states that Folklorists have deemed it a “sub-type C” or “Search for the Lost Husband” fairy tale and they have counted over fifteen hundred versions”. A famous French author of over seventy books, including stories and works for children, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, wrote the immensely popular version of “Beauty and Beast, published in 1757,” (which she based on a longer version penned by Mme. de Villeneuve). Beaumont’s enchanting version is found in Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales, which is edited by renowned critic and editor of fairy tales, Jack Zipes. In Le Prince de Beaumont’s adaptation, Beauty is the youngest daughter of a rich merchant widower. Because she possesses a kind, selfless character and great love for her father, she becomes his favorite which generates a great deal of envy and animosity from her two older sisters.
As in so many other fairy tales, such as “The Maiden Without Hands” found in The Complete Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm and “Belle-Belle Or The Chevalier Fortune”, which is alsotranslated in Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales, the father either loses his wealth and, whether inadvertently or not, in some manner promises one of his daughters (usually his favorite) in exchange for his life and/or wealth. In Beaumont’s version of Beauty and the Beast, Belle’s father loses his wealth, goes away on a business trip and spends the night in the enchanted castle of the Beast, who threatens to take his life for picking a rose unless he gives the Beast one of his daughters in exchange.
Belle’s love for her father is so great that, although he adamantly prohibits her from going to the Beast in his place, Belle finally persuades him into taking her back to the enchanted castle. After meeting the Beast, Beauty is terrified yet that night she has a dream in which she is told that the “good deed” she is performing to save her father’s life will not go “unrewarded”. However, the next morning, Beauty is convinced that the Beast intends to “eat her that night,” (which could also be interpreted as a sexual connotation).
Beauty soon is attracted to the beast for his “innate” kindness and tells him that this realization causes him to no longer appear “ugly” in her eyes. When the Beast agrees that he is good yet still a “monster,” Beauty admonishes him; “There are many men who are more monstrous than you and I prefer you with your looks rather than those who have pleasing faces but conceal ungrateful and corrupt hearts (Beaumont qtd in Zipes,).” This observation is indicative of the moral in many fairy tales which unfortunately uphold society’s double standard which dictates that a man may be as ugly as a beast and still be desirable as long as he is good-of high moral standards- (and perhaps even more desirable if he is not) however a woman must be both good and beautiful in order to be desirable, or at least what fairy tales and society represent as the “beautiful” archetypal fairy tale woman.
As is typical in this form of fairy tale, Belle finally realizes that she cannot live without the Beast. After she promises herself to him the Beast is miraculously transformed into a handsome prince, and since Belle has broken the evil spell, they live happily ever after because their relationship was founded on “virtue.” However, it is of great significance that Beauty cannot help asking “What happened to the Beast?” And as Bacchilega quotes from Jean Cocteau’s 1946 movie, Beauty and the Beast, “Beauty has a mixed response to Prince Ardent’s looks, and when asked if she is happy, she answers “I’ll have to get used to this” (Postmodern Fairy Tales).
But does a woman really want to get used to losing (or reforming) the beast? Bacchilega deduces “One need not be a Freudian to realize that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ depicts a woman’s struggle to reconcile sexuality with ‘love’” (Zipes, Beauty) Beauty has abandoned her childhood dreams and come to terms with reality as well as her sexuality. Unfortunately whenever she finally comes to “terms” with the Beast (her sexuality) and can conceive a happy future with him, he disappears. This metamorphosis occurs with virtually every new wife and/or in every new love/sexual relationship. Just whenever a woman is ready to settle down and “play house”, her Beast turns monotonous (the sex and the man), and, as Bacchilega quotes Barchilon “Le conte merveilleux” in Postmodern Fairy Tales: “When the fear goes away, so does the beast, a charming irony.” And as Bacchilega adds; “A magic trick which leaves almost no trace of Beauty’s desires and losses”.
So why does a woman continue to endeavor to tame the beast if in the process she loses her passion for him? Women feel that they must tame the beast because in doing so, they tame their own natural and primal desires which they feel is necessary in order to reconcile into a long-term monogamous relationship. However, is this really true? Fairy tales never venture beyond “and they lived happily ever after” because theoretically there is no wild and passionately erotic “happily ever after,” which survives past the electrifying, “virginal” and tumultuous throes of love’s early passion. This is precisely why Romeo and Juliet must die and Catherine must die in Wuthering Heights. This is why Elizabeth leaves John in the immensely popular erotic movie 91/2 Weeks; to stay any longer would have been emotional suicide for their affair since it was primarily based on sexual passion and domination. Courtly love between a Knight and a Lady of the Court was similar; Lancelot and Lady Guinevere could never consummate their love, thus they were assured that their passion would never wither and die.
That is not to say that a man and woman cannot continue to share an erotic sexual and romantic relationship, however the intensity will never be quite the same as in the initial stages. Just as in steamy, passionate love affairs depicted in books, movies, etc., fairy tale romance is also filled with erotic, sexual tension because it teases and tantalizes us with not only forbidden love and lust but sexual taboos such as implied bestiality portrayed in “Little Red Riding Hood”: The wolf “hid himself under the bedcovers and said to her….come lie down beside me. Little Red Riding Hood undressed and got into the bed where she was astonished to see how her grandmother appeared in her nightgown” and in “Little Red Riding Cap,”(the original Grimm version). “After the wolf had fed his desires, he lay down and fell asleep…” (Zipes, The Brothers Grimm). The majority of these fantasy tales are never entirely played out which makes them even more subtly erotic.
It is interesting to note that, according to Jack Zipes, (Brothers Grimm, xxix) most storytellers were women. Perhaps this is due to (most) women’s biological deep intuitiveness and natural openness. In Postmodern Fairy Tales,Bacchilega insists that anthropological and historical research has shown women to be more commonly identified with and closer to nature than to culture. Unfortunately, in a “patriarchal structure [this] makes them symbolic of an inferior, intermediate order of being…by show-casing women and making them disappear at the same time, the fairy tale thus transforms us/ them into manmade constructs of ‘woman’” (Bacchilea). On the bright side, fairy tales allow women the beauty of utilizing the “mirror image” for reflecting, refracting and faming (Bacchilega).
According to Von Franz;
Woman to a great extent-and the less they know about it, the worse it is-rule even life and death in their surroundings. If the husband dies, and the children die, very often women had something to do with it. But it would be inflation and absolutely destructive, if a woman thinks she is responsible…”
It is also Von Franz’s belief that a person is indirectly guilty if [she] hasn’t realized the evil within [herself]. Thus, a woman must be able to look into the magic mirror, so to speak, and see the evil along with the good and accept it. This is what fairy tales allow us to do. For, as Von Fronz infers; “The more one has looked in the mirror and watched one’s own face for hate, jealousy, dissatisfaction, etc., the better one can read the other person’s face and be wise enough to keep out of the way”.
If a woman is truly honest with herself and in touch with her inner psyche, she will likely admit that she is sexually aroused by a dangerous, controlling and forceful man and everyone is fascinated on some level by the “forbidden.” In numerous surveys, women have admitted that a “dangerous” man is highly provocative as well as attractive and this is repeatedly highlighted in literature among heroes such as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights and Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre and is witnessed by the immense popularity of fairy tales such as the aforementioned “Beauty and the Beast” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” as well as the phenomenal and hugely successful Disney movie trilogy, Pirates Of The Caribbean, featuring seductive bad boy, Captain Jack Black.
And more recently, we see Stephanie Meyers, author of the immensely successful Twilight book (and movie adaptation) series, embraces this identical “Beauty and the Beast” theme. Edward, the forbidden vampire and his nemesis, Jacob the werewolf, are both forbidden beasts. This tale of illicit love and romance carries strong sexual connotations of women’s secret desires for the “bad boy”, the “dangerous and forbidden” and, of course, the all-consuming “beast”. Whenever Bella, the “beauty” finally changes to conform to society’s patriarchal “bad girl”, we note that she also must retain the majority of her “good girl self” in order to be accepted by the same patriarchal society’s standards of the female archetype. Edward and Jacob both can remain in the “dangerous and forbidden self” but they also must possess a “kind and gentle” side as well.
Most women will concede that a dangerous, controlling man is not a good choice for a lifelong mate and therefore she must either “tame the beast” or find one who is already “domesticated.” Bacchilega suggests that since “Cupid and Psyche,” “King Crin,” and “Beauty and the Beast […] all represent marriage as a social and ideological institution (Postmodern Fairy Tales),” and according to Bacchhilega, in the two aforementioned tales, the wives enjoy their husbands “mysterious nocturnal visits” with a “sexual attachment not matched by the trust, sensibility, common sense and intellectual affinities, which by today’s standards would presumably make for a solid marriage.” So a woman with a “dignified, resolute and courageous character” such as Beauty’s, although the “object of an exchange” may turn […] her victimization into heroism”.
Thus if a woman and man are both secure and balanced in their animus/anima, it is entirely possible to live as Beauty (with her masculine side) and Beast (along with his feminine side). Just as women are drawn to a Beast who is in control, men are drawn to a woman with a “wild nature” who is also in control. However, for this union to be successful, both parties must also agree to allow themselves to be “out of control” to a large degree, just as are the characters in fairy tales find themselves.
Above all else, it is imperative that they reconcile their passion with love, for one without the other can logically never survive. Equilibrium in the male/female relationship is difficult to achieve, especially when one must overcome societies archetypal male and female roles such as those which are ironically portrayed in fairy tales such as “Beauty and the Beast.” “There is no love without thorns,” thus; “the thorny hedge growing around the castle blossoms suddenly into beautiful roses in a Fairy Tale (Von Franz.)” Passion does not have to die and the equality in this liaison will reveal a couple’s natural amorous desires and thus prevent a woman from waking in the morning to ask in dismay; “What happened to the beast?”
Bacchilega, Christina. Postmodern Fairy Tales: Gender and Narrative Strategies. Penn:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997.
“Beast.” Miriam-Webster Dictionary. 11th Ed, 2007.
Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. New York: Random House, Inc., 1944.
Bronte, Emily. Wuthering Heights.New York: Random House, Inc., 1944.
Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight. New York: Little Brown and Company, 2008.
9 ½ Weeks. Dir. Adrian Lyne. Perf. Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger. Turner
Entertainment Company and Warner Home Video, 1991.
Pirates of the Caribbean. Dir. Gore Verbinski. Perf. Johny Depp, Orlando Bloom,
Kiera Knightley. Walt Disney Entertainment, 2004.
Von Franz, Marie-Louis. The Feminine in Fairy Tales. Mass: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1993.
Zipes, Jack. Beauty and the Beast: And Other Classic Fairy Tales. New York: Penguin Books, Inc., 1997.
Zipes, Jack. The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm. New York: Bantam
Sharon Lynn Van Meter
Copyright 2009/Revised 2012
- Fairy Tales For 20-Somethings: Beauty’s Anxiety About Introducing Beast To Friends (thoughtcatalog.com)
- The Stars of Beauty and the Beast on the Show’s “Gritty” Take on the Fairy Tale (5min.com)
- Happily Ever After Giveaway Hop – Beauty or Book of Choice (iamareadernotawriter.blogspot.com)
- Bella Quiz: Guess the Beauty Traits of Disney Fairy-Tale Characters (bellasugar.com)
- A Fairy Tale for the Modern Princess… (passionatereads.com)
- Fairy tales can come to U T S (shawjonathan.wordpress.com)
- Fairy tale (footnoteonlife.wordpress.com)
- Fairy tales are not so ideal. (zenscribbles.wordpress.com)