Brit+Co: Sex and the City and the internet: my strange companions

This essay was originally published by Brit + Co, titled “How an Internet Ad for Rebound Friends Saved Me after a Breakup” on May 3, 2017. It is set in 2005.

Waiting inside Tasti D-Lite that afternoon, Divya looked nothing like a cult follower or an aging Hello Kitty devotee. In fact, her very normalcy was alarming, given that we’d met on Craigslist.

A decidedly trivial thing was to blame for our meeting. Just a few weeks prior, a cab ushered me across the Hudson River a liberated woman who, for the first time in her life, was about to live on her own. That’s when the trivial thing appeared. It nodded a solemn hello on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel. It made itself comfortable in my cab loaded with two suitcases, a couple of overstuffed shopping bags, a printer, and a new twin-size sheet set. It squeezed through the closing elevator doors and slipped into my temporary studio apartment. That thing was silence.

“Alright,” I finally said to the silence. “What do you want?”

“Oh, nothing,” the silence indicated. “Nothing at all.”

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Book: Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Once in a while, something comes along that changes the way you look at things. It might be a movie, a book, a person you meet on the train (or, for the late Steve Jobs, allegedly dropping acid and the resulting Apple, with “Think Different”).

Two texts, specifically, blew my mind when I studied literature.

The first one was a social anthropology article by Clifford Geertz: “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight.” The guy went to Bali, checked out some rooster fights, and came up with the theory that what you are is what you do. The Balinese reaffirm their identity by betting on rooster fights together. Simple, yet liberating, isn’t it?

The second was an iconic feminism book, at the time when I, brought up with the old school Soviet, wasn’t comfortable with using the “f” word. Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar’s Madwoman in the Attic exposed the reductionist portrayal of female characters as either “angels”

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or “monsters,” in Victorian novels.

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Created by predominantly male writers for centuries, a woman could exist on a page either as a docile wife & womb or by going nuts/turning into a witch, and cast aside.

Similarly, Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout, written in the 70s, changed the way I view communication. Continue reading