Loves, as an elder millennial, I am cursed to watch my references recede into the past; my memes wither and die; my ability to think of other jokes to put into this sentence dries up imperceptibly, day by day. So it is with my major reference point for explaining the major tropes in courtly love which are still weaponised as romance now – Hotline Bling. The kids are coming up from behind with references that are more relevant than all of the references I know. They don’t care what a child groomer had to say about love and how that connects with twelfth century romance. And you know what? That is fair.Continue reading “On courtly love and pick up artists”
[CW mention of a count of historical sexual violence – nothing graphic, but it is there. Be safe!]
My friends, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but sodomy is not just butt stuff. It is also – and this is crucial – not just gay stuff either. (OK. I love to tell you this.)
This week class is outside at the Barbican, where we talk about the London city wall. Enjoy!
For more on belonging in the medieval period see:
Friends, we are as ever living in a society that spends a lot of time and energy attempting to uphold what it sees as “normal”. Normality, after all, doesn’t police itself, or even hold up as a concept without strenuous effort from the people invested in it. What we’re thinking about today is that in our society over time if something isn’t “normal” it is probably also sexual. Because sexual stuff is bad and therefore Not Normal and what we in the overthinking stuff game tend to refer to as “other”.
The other can vary from society and society and place to place, but here in Europe and in the areas that Europeans subjugated there is an underlying default, and that is a white straight dude. This was certainly true in medieval Europe, where, as you may have noticed men bossed everyone the fuck around and decided that they were defo the norm.
Friends, today is a great day, for it was with deep pleasure that I found a spicy medieval take on women on the twitter TL. Check out Denise with the big medieval vibes:
Friends, I love everything about this garbage take. As regular readers will note, this is a very medieval way of looking at women because it sees them as sexual aggressors. Here women are Too Horny to FunctionTM and actively going about seducing poor hapless men into impregnating them. On display we also have the medieval idea of sex as an enervating agent that just sort of happens at men. A woman lubes up her legs (???) and next thing you know they have been tricked – tricked I say! – into the good old PIV which results in pregnancy, AKA the only real sex. That’s just how the world works.
What I love about this, and what we haven’t talked about here yet, however, is the connection that your girl Denise is making between makeup and lube (again, deeply, from the bottom of my heart ????) and sexual chaos. (Side note – sexy chaotic is where you’ll find me on any standard Sexy/Neutral/Asexual alignment chart, just so you know.)
This week in the godforsaken wasteland that is Twitter where I hang out for some reason (?), the public has been treated to the absolute gift that is a bunch of dudes insisting that women, in their experience do not like sex. No, they do not see this as linked to their person, and it is as fucking hilarious as you are imagining. WITNESS:
Or how about your boy Scott?
These responses came as a woman sensibly pushed back against the Alyssa Milano’s proposed Sex Strike (I know.) to protest the new and draconian abortion bills in Alabama and Georgia. (That is a whole other mess for a whole other day, because there is already so much to unpack here.)
Now you and I can see that these dudes are out here straight telling on themselves, but they simply do not see it that way. Why is that? Well aside from being world-class douche nozzles, I would make the argument that there is a historical and philosophical basis for this particular way of seeing things, as wild as it is.
I was lucky enough to spend some time chatting with Danièle Cybulskie on The Medieval Podcast the other week. Have a listen if you want to know exactly, why widows were so sexy, why it can be hard for us to find our LGBT friends in medieval texts, and what the nicest looking dildo in the medieval period was made from.