June 15, 2021

Lorde, lesbian PAWG attempting Manic Pixie Dream Girl role in "Solar Power"

The new song and video for "Solar Power" by Lorde ties together so many recurring themes here.

This is a clear attempt at a Manic Pixie Dream Girl role, or an earthly guardian angel (a beachier, "prettier Jesus") who nurses a sad sack back to social-emotional health, in order to help him to fulfill his potential.

These roles appear during the restless warm-up phase of the 15-year cultural excitement cycle, as people are coming out of their refractory states from the previous vulnerable phase of the cycle, and feel like mixing it up again with the opposite sex. The last heyday was 2005-'09, which drew people out of their refractory states from 2000-'04. The most recent vulnerable phase was 2015-'19, and as of last year people are ready to come out and play again.

In this song, though, she's not aiming at a specific sad sack, who's been unlucky in love. It's more about nursing everyone back to health, not just men, and not just in the romantic domain of life. She could easily be encouraging a group of women to find confidence and fulfill their potential. She's a free spirit leading by example.

The earthiness and the dating-and-mating aspect is still there in the double-entendre about "my cheeks in high color / overripe peaches". But it's aimed at a general audience.

And Lorde does check almost all of the boxes of the MPDG type.

Crucially, she's born during a manic phase of the excitement cycle, and was re-born in adolescence during such a phase at age 15. She was born in 1996, during the late '90s manic phase, and turned 15 during the manic phase of the early 2010s.

Manic phase births imprint on a zeitgeist where energy levels have taken off in a spike, which is carefree, invincible, and resilient regarding risk and loss. This gives them a natural attitude of dusting yourself off and trying again, not wallowing in abjection. The last such crop were those born in the early '80s manic phase, who led the MPDG way during the late 2000s restless warm-up phase. (And before them, those born during the late '60s manic phase, who led the way during the early '90s restless phase, such as Julia Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker.)

You might not have known it — certainly I did not — until this new video and the cover art for the accompanying album, but Lorde has a pronounced hourglass shape. The MPDG is fundamentally a nurturing role, and this is reflected in their hyper-feminine waist-to-hip ratio. Also, they tend to be butt girls rather than boob girls, and Lorde is no exception. This relates to their being corporeal rather than cerebral, as corporeal people are butt people, while cerebral people are boob people. And the MPDG is an earthly nurse, not a cerebral therapist or Socratic tutor.

The one thing that she misses in the MPDG checklist is being heterosexual (as is the norm) or bisexual (a la fellow late '90s birth Rebecca Black in the Manic Pixie-ish "Girlfriend" from earlier this year).

Here is an item from Blind Gossip, whose clues clearly point to Lorde as the lesbian being described ("drama" referring to the title of her then-new album Melodrama, and the related link being about a "Royal" being gay, referring to her breakout hit "Royals"). She got defensive about "What's wrong with lesbians" when questioned by an Australian radio interviewer about her close friendship with (closeted lesbian) Taylor Swift — another dead giveaway, if I had been paying attention back then. Google image search both of their names, and you can see they were very physical and excited to be around each other, even though they seemingly had little in common. Taylor was just hyped up to find another lesbian in the music industry, and a quasi-forbidden 7-years-younger minor at that (no hate, 16/17 and 23/24 is totally natural).

I didn't suspect she was lesbian because lesdar is incredibly hard for outsiders to refine, unlike gaydar, but I should've been tipped off by how mature / old she sounds and presents herself. Lesbians are fundamentally a peri-menopausal group of women, in contrast to gays who are fundamentally a pre-pubescent group of boys ("ewww, girls are yucky"). Lesbians are more likely to be butt girls than boob girls, so that's another match.

When "Royals" came out, she was only 16, but her voice, affect, and the rest all came off as 10 years older. In the new video, she could easily be in her late 30s or 40s, just having a really tight body for her age. It sounds more aimed at an adult contempo audience, who want to rejuvenate their lost or slipping-away youth. When the women are doing the tai-chi inspired poses, I immediately thought of those "yoga your way through menopause, and discover the best you possible" kind of products.

However, this does allow her to target a broad audience, and to talk about more than just dating and mating, as though she were a wise middle-aged hippie, rather than a naive or ditzy youth. So her being a peri-menopausal lesbian works for the song, but does keep it from being a true MPDG role.

* * *

So far I've discussed her persona instead of the music itself, because this is mostly a change-of-character performance from her indie / dark persona. The music is OK, not something I would buy, but not something I would change the station for if it came on the radio. I was never into her earlier stuff either (didn't hate it, though), so this isn't necessarily a backslide for her maturation.

But how does the music embody the larger themes? It's fairly subdued for the most part, with plainspoken vocals, occasional layers of sighs, and sparse instrumentation. In that way, it's like the dream-pop sound typical of the previous vulnerable phase of the cycle, characterized by trance-like droning layers rather than dynamic melodies and riffs. It taps into the late 2010s drowsiness and moodiness that is still a familiar feeling for us, especially her target audience who need encouragement to leave behind their cocoons.

There's hardly any percussion, although the guitar strumming is a bit syncopated, and the pick striking the strings is amplified so heavily that it takes on a percussive timbre, all creating a stirring-awake rhythm. People are just coming out of their cocoons in the early 2020s, not off onto an energy spike just yet. And it builds steadily toward an uplifting choral finale, for when we are finally awake and raring to go.

It sounds nothing like George Michael — I don't know how that became a common take. Everyone in the media today is a failson or faildaughter being propped up by central bank handouts (quantitative easing), so it's no surprise to see them have such an impoverished store of references in memory, that they heard a sparse verse with an acoustic guitar strumming, and instantly went to "Faith".

What does it actually sound like? It does have an early '90s vibe to it, since the 1990-2004 cycle was a low-energy cycle, whereas the cycles before and after it were high-energy (1975-'89, and 2005-'19). Or an early '60s vibe (another low-energy cycle, 1960-'74, before the high-energy one that followed). I can't think of a particular example from the early '90s, though.

However, it otherwise sounds like "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield.

Technically this was released first in 2004 in the UK, where it went nowhere, but really released in '05-'06 in the US, where it was one of the biggest songs of 2006 and cemented her fame here. "Unwritten" is a bit faster and groovier, but is still very sparse in instrumentation, features a simple acoustic rhythm guitar in the verse, and has minimal percussion (mainly a muted bass drum, akin to the bass guitar in "Solar Power").

The vocals in the verse are fairly plainspoken, occasional sighs for layering, but it gradually builds toward an uplifting choral finale, which is in a Christian gospel style — not unlike the New Age-y religious chant of "solar power" in the Lorde song.

Thematically, it's another anthem about finding confidence, not letting the past weigh you down, and turning over a new leaf, ready to fulfill your potential. The running metaphor is writing, and the initial state she's in is having writer's block, like a sad sack from an MPDG movie who starts off stuck in a rut, at an impasse in life. Totally in touch with the zeitgeist of shifting out of the early 2000s refractory state and into the restless warm-up phase of the late 2000s.

And just like Lorde, Bedingfield was born during a manic phase (the early '80s, along with the MPDG actresses from that same late 2000s era). Judging from her other music videos (like "These Words"), she looks like more of a butt girl than a boob girl, and styled as a free-spirited gypsy. Unlike Lorde, she seems pretty heterosexual, full of youthful energy and libido, and not like a middle-aged mentor (however funky they may be).

Both songs are less about the music per se, and more about channeling the zeitgeist, and spurring forward the social-emotional changes under way between the vulnerable and restless phases of the excitement cycle. They're more cultural than aesthetic, but no less important for that.

June 13, 2021

Flirting in public continues to resume, but muted by masks

Two high school girls cornered me in a supermarket yesterday to say, "I really like your shirrrt..."

For the record, the same shirt that an alt girl complemented me on when I flirted with her at a thrift store, as related in this recent post on the resumption of flirting in public with the beginning of the restless warm-up phase of the 15-year excitement cycle.

It's an edgy B+W graphic tee with lots of areas of contrast (same principle as a checker-board pattern), with the background being black. And yesterday I was wearing white pants, and black shoes. So, reviving the B+W craze that's typical during a restless warm-up phase -- very big in the late 2000s, but also the early '90s, and the late '70s (second wave ska, Parallel Lines cover by Blondie, etc.).

I think the "alt" look of 2019-'20 is pretty much dead by now, sadly. Like the attempt to revive the scene queen maximalist look of the late 2000s, or the anime / cosplay influence from the 2010s. The 2005-2019 cycle was a high-energy cycle, and this new cycle is going to be a less-intense one, similar to the 1990-2004 cycle (they alternate).

But the all-black-and-white thing is still going. I saw a trio of alt girls in a different supermarket the other week, each one wearing only B+W.

And one of the girls yesterday was wearing high-waisted shorts with a B+W piebald cow pattern. Something I don't think I've seen before -- zebra, cheetah, etc., yes, but not cows.

OMG -- it was like the Gateway computer logo from the '90s! And the cover of the early '90s Aerosmith album Get a Grip. Talk about convergent evolution... similar zeitgeists hit on similar outcomes, without conscious imitation. Random / wacky patterns are going to come back.

Anyway, it's too bad that the two teens were wearing masks, since I pretty much ignore those people by now. It feels really anti-social, when the tide has shifted so much against masks. But maybe they're just doing what their parents tell them, or they haven't gotten vaxxed yet (thank God, they don't need it), or whatever.

They must have been eying me for awhile, since we were headed toward each other for at least 50 feet with no one in between us. Then right as I was about to turn away from them, they made their move and said their words -- but muffled through the masks, and with their facial expressions hidden behind the masks.

It really didn't hit as hard as the typical unsolicited flirtation from teens usually hits. I barely had enough time to process it, from the masks muting their signal. I was already turning away, and turned my head back around to say thanks to them, before parting ways.

Imagine if I were also wearing a mask -- this whole charade has totally warped the social development of young people, hopefully not for life. But the longer they delay the total eradication of COVID security theater, the less likely they'll be to reach a healthy recovery.

June 12, 2021

Aimee Terese, perfume muse (and the decline of fragrance during the 2010s)

I've been looking back on the recent history of perfumes and colognes, to see if there's confirmation for the broader pattern of cultural stagnation and decline after circa 2010. Related to this post on the death of the fashion industry during that time. It's hard to remember the last time there was a major popular awareness, let alone irresistible buzz, about fragrances.

That's true even of their ads, once a mainstay of "have you seen it?" cultural excitement. I remember Keira Knightley in the bowler hat for Chanel, along with her appearance with ScarJo and Tom Ford on the cover of Vanity Fair, way back in 2006. Ford was primarily a fashion figure, but had also gotten involved in fragrances, and it just looked like a perfume ad — heavily stylized, dramatic poses, and the female nudity. It was iconic enough to provoke parodies — similar to the parodies of the equally iconic Calvin Klein TV ads in the '90s — and when was the last time anything perfume-related has accomplished that level of cultural awareness?

In any case, some of the big trends of the 2000s reminded me immediately of Aimee Terese. "That's such a MENA baddie scent!" The heavy, dark, masculine aspect combined with a lighter, brighter, feminine nature. The in-your-face extraverted sillage. The tenacious longevity. Just an all-around libidinal, heady, and intoxicating experience.

It was an abrupt departure from the usual low-energy, reserved, tranquil scents of the aquatic-to-spicy Nineties. And, since mainstream participation in the fragrance culture seems to have totally collapsed during the 2010s, that was the last time we'll ever know of women confidently announcing their presence in public so sensually yet tactfully, when every other 20 to 30-something urbanite woman was an edgy minimalist fun-loving badass chick.

On a hunch, I checked to see if Aimee had appeared on the Perfume Nationalist podcast, and why of course she had. Naturally she said she disliked the fruity, floral, sweet, overly feminine stuff, preferring the heavy and heady scents instead. (Note to her suitors: send gardenias, not roses.) Anna Khachiyan made similar remarks in her appearance on the show.

As an aside, this is yet another reason why passionate women find liberal soyboys unappealing as dates and mates. How can they enjoy wearing their favorite perfume, if the reaction is going to be about having allergies, or sensory overload of their autism? Recall that infamous DSA conference not only had a rule against loud noises, but also against strong or aggressive scents — flagrant anti-MENA discrimination from the professed allies of the Palestinians and Iranians.

Nope, if intense women want to find a man who can handle their intensity, he'll have to be a cultural moderate or conservative. Not some flinch-nerd who's going to suffer an anxiety attack if she smells like anything other than the interior of an Apple Store.

* * *

What particular examples do I have in mind? I'm not a frag-head, but here are a few I know of.

Scent Intense by Costume National (2002). The only one I own myself, it's listed as unisex but is more on the masculine side, and suitable only for the baddie crew among women, as well as men with a strong romantic streak.

I have the same bottle from when it came out while I was in college. I had to travel to the Barneys CO-OP outside of Boston (the Mall at Chestnut Hill), first by express bus for an hour, then a 30-minute metro ride, and finally walking for 15-30 minutes. Quite the excursion for a fragrance, but I wanted it bad, and didn't want to have to wait until my next day-trip to New York. (Costume National has a boutique on Wooster St. in SoHo if you're nearby.)

But still, that gave me a greater experience than just placing an order online and opening a package left on the doorstep. It was a journey, a commitment.

For Her by Narciso Rodriguez (2004). I never toured the women's fragrance sections, but could not avoid this one when it debuted. During the summer of 2004 in Barcelona, I always walked through the El Corte Ingles department store downtown, to catch a break from the heat and humidity. Knowing this behavior of the pedestrians, the store put in place an entire gauntlet of displays and models who were all but pulling you into their personal space to smell the test strips.

Mediterranean babes offering a heady, dark, intense aroma to test out? Hmmm, yes, I think I can stop by for awhile and chat them up about what ingredients are in it, what kind of woman I might buy it for, etc. Come to think of it, the last time I was stopped by a perfume babe standing in a heavy-traffic path inside a department store was the summer of 2013 — more confirmation that fragrance culture died out during the 2010s.

Black Orchid by Tom Ford (2006). I haven't actually smelled this one, but it sounds like a fellow traveler of the others. And in college, I did used to have a deodorant stick of the newly released M7 by YSL, which Ford was in creative control of at the time, so I trust his judgment in making an equally heady-and-heavy scent for women. Unlike the others in this trend, though, there's a cornucopia of ingredients, more of an homage to the symphonic arrangements of the 1980s than the minimalist 2000s.

* * *

I was trying to think of what celebs would've been most likely to wear these scents, but came up empty-handed. The main examples did not use them in their ads — just the anonymous and alluring fashion models, who have been steadily replaced by actresses, singers, and other celebs as fashion figures.

The typical wearer was also a type that hardly exists anymore — they were not girlboss careerists choosing a perfume as though it were a weapon for battle, nor were they hipsters who would've found perfume categorically pretentious and unsuitable to ironic usage. Not pop culture strivers / junkies either, a type that didn't really exist back then.

They were urbanite professionals who were not yuppies — those whose primary interest was in living an exciting lifestyle, creating a mysterious persona, and so on. Working to live, not living to work. Their job — not even necessarily in a very creative field — was just a means of paying for parties, drinks, clothes, perfumes, and the rest of the good life.

So, she was akin to a hipster, but not part of an identifiable sub-culture. She could have been the only woman in her social circle who dressed that way and wore that kind of perfume. A cultural lone wolf (or rather she-wolf, as MENA baddie Shakira would popularize in 2008 with her sleek and sensual disco-rock song of that name).

However, the American-led economy blew up for good in 2008, with the top 20% only prospering thereafter from central bank bailouts (quantitative easing). Elite over-production kicked into hyperdrive, and then there was no more "work to live" spirit left. The economy, and with it the rest of the culture, became palpably more and more fake over the 2010s, whereas the free-wheeling spirit of the mid-to-late 2000s could not have thrived under such conditions of nihilism and cynicism.

And again, these new attitudes are not just a psychological problem that may be undone, but the inevitable consequence of the entire economy becoming openly, unmistakably fake. The QE handout recipients of the 2010s through today can only feel like spoiled rich kids who don't deserve their wealth, and are just getting paid to party. That's more of a degenerate socialite's situation, not the "work to live" professional whose mind was not weighed down by unavoidable doubts of being an over-glorified welfare queen.

In fact, independence and confidence were central to their lifestyle, and once the economy blew up, they began obsessing over their basic material security. "Is the next QE check from the central bank going to clear this month?" "Does my new boss have a line of credit with the central bank, or are we going to go under without getting bailed out?" This ceaseless anxiety is also that of the degenerate socialite, who has to worry each time they run their daddy's credit card — have they been put in financial time-out this weekend, or cut off altogether?

Professional gals of the 2000s did not have these ongoing anxiety attacks, and could enjoy their "work to live" lifestyle in blissful ignorance of what was to come during the next decade.

June 6, 2021

The difficulty of fine-tuning lesdar (vs. gaydar) from IRL observations

First time a lesbian has followed me around a thrift store yesterday. Although with all the talk about disappearing lesbians and rise of "non-binary" types who are clearly female, maybe she was one of those.

Somewhat taller than average for a girl, early-mid 20s, cute face, flawless pale olive skin, boyishly short side-parted hairstyle from circa 1990 (NOT a gay whoosh) but with the back and sides shaved close, brunette, small boobs, thin but athletic (visible abs), midriff-baring tank top, khaki shorts just above the knee, forgot the shoes, some kind of glasses too.

She was there with another girl, who had a fashion mullet, and who I assumed were a lesbian couple out thrifting. Toward the end, I saw them both debating which woodcraft items they were going to buy to decorate their groyperesque, uh, I mean cottagecore home.

But for awhile there, the mullet one was off browsing t-shirts, and the tomboy one was clearly trailing me and trying to get me to notice her. I don't think a lesbian has ever had a clear case of the hots for me, unlike the other girls there, so maybe she was just "lesbian presenting" but actually a straight or bi girl with an edgy aesthetic.

Or she was one of the rare surviving lesbians, but was not trying to get my attention sexually. Maybe she saw someone with a cool edgy look, and wanted a fellow cool person to acknowledge her own coolness. Seeking validation as girls do, but not for their body.

However, the confusion of her signals left me wondering what she really was and what her motivation was, so I didn't actually smile at her, talk shop about thrifting, or anything like that. Perhaps for the better, as I would've inevitably asked, "So... are you a lesbian or what?"

It can be hard to tell who's lesbian and who's a low-body-count straight girl. Both have amazing skin (lack of pollution from all those different partners' germs, or whatever). Both are adorably bashful. Both dress more comfortably and sometimes alt, but in that '90s slacker way rather than the flamboyant late 2000s scene queen way.

No more exciting of a conclusion than that. More of a case study of how lesbians don't always jump out of the background, unlike gays who are always flamingly obvious (whether they're "out" or not). Fine-tuning your lesdar is way more difficult than gaydar.

And a reminder that if you're basing your intuitions about lesbians from the ones you can easily detect, you're forming a biased view since most lesbians try not to stand out in a crowd, let alone flaunt their non-hetero sexuality. Those are either the butch dyke types, or the off-the-wall bisexual types.

To get a better understanding of lesbians, you really do have to go straight to the source and listen to a variety of them, none of whom would be identifiably lesbian out in the wild. Contrast that with gays, who you can easily identify in public and just observe their mannerisms etc. to see what they're like.

June 4, 2021

Lesbian normality vs. fag-hag abnormality, further details and cases

Continuing the theme of the last post, here's PAWG-alicious lesbian Dua Lipa straddling the border between gay and lesbo culture, as usual, in the newest video for "Love Again":

On the one hand, it's a disco sound (required of the restless warm-up phase of the excitement cycle, beginning in 2020), she's wearing a cowboy hat, and there are Village People inspired back-up dancers.

On the other hand, she's got modest boobs and a thicc ass, is comfortable in her body to the point of exuding sex appeal and charisma (one of the few lesbians who gets straight guys horned up), not some type of neurotic body dysmorphia (super-skinny or mega-fattie). She's not a notorious fag-hag, despite making danceclub music.

Related: she's the only member of the Albo mafia to not bleach her dark eastern Mediterranean tresses. That's comfort in her body-as-it-is, knowing it's hotter than bleaching -- which is more of a gay or fag-hag thing.

Gay guys bleach their hair or frost their tips (part of their broader syndrome of body dysmorphia, which they share with their fag-hag BFFs), whereas lesbians do not.

Fag hags like Madonna, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, et al. are much more likely to lighten their hair, even if they're already dark-blonde (like Christina Aguilera going platinum blonde).

Isn't Dasha from the Red Scare podcast a natural brunette? But no blonde dye job for fellow anti-woke left brunette Slav, Heather Habsburg -- who is a lesbian! Hehe.

Aging-but-trying-to-stay-young women also lighten their hair, another typical fag-hag demo who are, typically, looking to avoid the straight male gaze that would remind them of their sub-ideal attractiveness level (due to aging). Lesbians are peri-menopausal, hence "aging" in some sense, but fine with it and not desperately trying to reverse it.

Lightening your hair is one of those girls-vs.-other-girls contests, like getting an eating disorder or spending big bucks on high-heeled shoes -- not an attracting-mates behavior.

Lesbians may have a somewhat catty personality, like all women, but they don't go off the deep end with those competing-against-other-women contests. All part of lesbians being peri-menopausal (the opposite of neotenous gays), when you're done competing and are settling into a grandmotherly serene stage of life.

Less careerist, more slacker or blue-collar (at least in affectation). Healthy weight, natural hair, natural hair elsewhere too for that matter, sensible / practical footwear (could be pretty or stylish, but not high-fashion)...

NO FAKE TITS, how could I forget that one? Boob jobs are not meant to attract mates, since it only targets boob men, and even they don't like the rock-hard fake bolt-ons IRL. It's used in women's pecking-order games of who has the biggest cup size. Notice women don't compete over who has the most thicc and juicy ass -- that's for attracting mates, just like the primate gods intended!

Lesbians continue to be the pleasant surprise among the non-hetero population, and naturally the least promoted by the LGBTQCIA mafia during Pride Month, the parades, and the rest of the normalizing-abnormality spectacle.

June 1, 2021

Why are fag hags never PAWGs, but only super-skinnies or mega-fatties?

An old post looked at the main reason why women become fag hags — to adopt a surrogate child, when they are unable to find a man to give them a baby for real. Gays are neotenous or pedomorphic, meaning they resemble pre-pubescent boys, both physically and especially psychologically ("ewww, girls are yucky"). Lesbians are the other way around, resembling peri-menopausal women, and are therefore more mature physically and psychologically. So if a woman wants to adopt a child-like creature (other than a pet), she cannot befriend lesbians, but only gays.

Having said that, there are other secondary reasons that some women prefer the company of gays over straight guys. One pattern that just struck me is that you only ever see and hear about fag hags who are on either extreme of the BMI spectrum — super-skinnies or mega-fatties. Normal weight, thicc, curvaceous PAWGs are just never going to restrict their male acquaintances to gays only. They're perfectly fine interacting with straight guys.

What explains this bimodal distribution of fag hags by body type? Well, they're the farthest away from the ideal female body type in the eyes of the only group who gets to determine that standard — straight guys, especially the hot ones — whereas PAWGs are smack dab in the ideal shape range.

That suggests that another key reason why women avoid straight guys and prefer gay friends is that they do not want to be reminded of their less-than-ideal shape. Gays do not want their body, or any other woman's body, so they will never send a positive or negative signal about her physical desirability. Straight guys, on the other hand, will frequently give off signals, however involuntary and subtle (or not, as the case may be), reacting to the woman's shape.

Over time, the super-skinnies will develop an implicit understanding that their straight guy friends and acquaintances don't find them to be the ideal shape. Indeed, if the guys comment openly at all, it will be to the effect of, "You could be so hot if you'd just put on 20 pounds and really fill out your jeans" (suicide material for the thinspo crowd).

Ditto for the mega-fatties, who probably already know they're not ideal, but still do not want to be reminded all the time that straight guys don't react to them in a horned-up way. They too do not want to hear the occasional comment about changing their shape: "You could be so hot if you'd just lose 40 pounds" (an indignation for women who want to shove carbs in their face all day every day).

And so, the only way to avoid these negative reminders of their not-very-ideal shape is to eschew the company of straight guys to the greatest extent possible, and rely on gays if they must associate with the opposite sex.

Thicc girls with hourglass figures would never receive such negative feedback about their shape, so they're perfectly fine with hanging around straight guys. Not necessarily the "I can only be friends with guys, not other girls" type, just that they have no problem associating with us.

Some of them may enjoy the positive feedback, and prefer being in our company as often as possible. Others may be more shy about all the drooling tongues they're going to provoke, and try to cover up their shape — but even these ones will not feel bitter or resentful toward straight guys, so they will not seek the comforting social rescue of a fully gay circle of friends, like the fag hag coping mechanism.

And of course, not all of the super-skinnies and mega-fatties become fag hags. Some of them are humble and accepting of reality, and don't mind the constant reminders from straight guy friends that they could be so much hotter if only they'd radically alter their shape. What I'm saying is that these not-ideal types are clearly more driven to become fag hags, so they will make up the vast majority of them.

This explains why some types of girls, who you would expect to be very gay-friendly, wind up not having many gays in their circle. Pornstars and strippers are part of a broader group of people who are sexually permissive and/or deviant, including gays. And yet they don't really associate with each other because those girls are more of the ideally sexy body shape.

Then there are the lesbians, who are more likely to be normal weight, even PAWGs, than anorexic or morbidly obese. And they famously cannot stand being around gays for very long (and vice versa). They don't mind hanging around straight guys, though, which again is not to say they prefer us as friends. Just that they don't feel the repulsion and urge to withdraw from us, out of existential dread about their shape. You'd think if any group of women would be repulsed by straight guys, it would be lesbians, but it's actually the super-skinny and mega-fattie straight girls who are.

Is this internalized homophobia ripping apart the "LGBTQ community"? No, it's just lesbians feeling more secure about their body shape, compared to anorexic or obese straight women, and not needing to flee into the non-judgmental arms of gay guys. And lesbians are not more secure about their bodies for delusional reasons — they actually are closer to the ideal female body shape than are the super-skinnies or mega-fatties.

Nor is this due to lesbians not needing some kind of male approval. If they felt like avoiding those who might remind them of their lack of physical desirability, they would avoid their fellow lesbians! Lesbians, not just straight guys, are judges of the ideal female shape, and they're the only such judges that a lesbian would actually feel stung by if treated as not-so-ideal physically.

If a lesbian truly felt the same need to protect her ego regarding body shape as super-skinny and mega-fattie straight girls, she would befriend straight women. None of them would be attracted to the lesbian, and therefore would not give off good or bad feedback about her sexual desirability.

Lesbians seeking ego protection about sexual desirability would never hang out with female-attracted people — other lesbians, or straight guys — and yet they do. Some even prefer those two groups for their social circle.

Conclusion: lesbians are not hung up about their body shape, probably because it's not the polar opposite of ideal in either direction. And sure enough, they're more of the corporeal butt girl type, less so the cerebral boob girl type (just the way hot straight guys like 'em).

May 31, 2021

The '90s PC setup, for that ultimate cozy computing experience

I've noticed over the past few years a revival of the '90s computer setup among online Millennial nerds, mainly those who are into video games and want to recreate their childhood experience of playing Doom etc. on the original hardware, for authenticity value. A couple visual reminders:

Aesthetically, everything is in beige or light gray. While most cutting-edge consumer electronics of the '90s were black, computers were supposed to be for more utilitarian tasks, and did not have to look cool and sleek and all-black. They were the same bland, unnoticeable beige-y color as medical equipment and landline phones.

The uniformly black appearance of computers and their peripherals only took place during the 2000s, when they were no longer used for utilitarian purposes, but rather as entertainment devices that were replacing the television set and the rest of the old home entertainment center.

Functionally, there are separate devices for each major function, instead of the current all-in-one device (laptop or smartphone). A desktop PC (tower or slab, either is fine), a good ol' CRT monitor, a keyboard (preferably clicky), a mouse (rollerball type, therefore with a mousepad as well), and speakers. I've also got a flip-top disk case meant for 5 1/4" floppy disks, which also fits CD-ROM cases (the color is beige body and tinted clear lid, naturally, with an '80s typeface on the front: "DATA-CASE").

As a result of all these bulky components being present, the '90s setup required a solid piece of furniture — a desk or table. These were not the nerd battle stations of future decades, but something right out of contempo home office design, as the computer was still treated as a productivity device, not one primarily for entertainment. Today's nerd battle stations or rigs look more like a home entertainment center from the old days.

Although it's something I'd like to explore more in depth in another post, the location of the computer was also more like that of a home office device. It was most definitely not part of a man cave, goon lair, gamer dungeon, or blacked-out bedroom. There was nothing escapist about the room it was in, since it was for being productive, not entertaining yourself into an alternate dimension where you no longer feel like killing yourself.

There was at least one window nearby, letting in natural light, and perhaps some natural white noise from the outside world. And there were other places and things and furniture items in the area that could distract you for awhile after you got bored of writing or spreadsheeting or whatever on the computer. It could even have been in a wide-open area like the kitchen / dining room, or the living room, where there was no expectation of privacy — because the user wasn't using it for escapist purposes. It was for wholesome, innocuous use for the entire household.

At any rate, the all-in-one setup only took over as computers became goof-off devices, where you don't really care about how each separate function performs. Back in the '90s, computers were not yet the next time-killing tech addiction.

Also portability was of no concern, because what kind of lame geek would want to do some computing on-the-go? All-in-one design dovetails with portability, and both are related to the current use of them as tech addictions to kill time. You need your fix wherever you go, so it must be portable, and therefore all-in-one.

One function, however, that laptops and smartphones never integrated from the old setup is the printer — a perfect sign of how disposable and impermanent the output of your touchscreen tapping truly is.

But the main function that was lacking on the old setup, which prevented it from becoming a mind-numbing, soul-sucking dispenser of digital opium was online connectivity. Sure, a few people had primitive internet service in 1993 with AOL — and basically no one was online before then — but recall how barren the online world was back then.

Hardly anything on the world wide web, especially anything of an addictive social media interactive nature. Not even the Web 2.0 stuff from the 2000s like blogging. Virtually no porn, let alone in a video format, let alone full scenes, let alone streaming.

What did an online account actually offer you back then? An email account that saw no more than a couple emails a day, a chat room that got old after an hour, Instant Messenger for the occasional conversation with a rando anon (not constantly touching base with your IRL social circle, or displaying status updates like the "away message"), probably only one discussion group that interested you, and a barebones reporting of the national daily news.

True, you probably had a handful of video games for the PC that could eat away at your free time, but except for the 1% of guys who are incurable video game addicts, nobody played them for hours a day, day after day. It was a fun little diversion for an hour, then you turned it off, came back to it a couple days later, picked up where you left off, and kept it casual.

And yet, just like the primitive form of the internet that would only get worse, the '90s computer culture was marked by the rise of the first-person shooter video game genre with Doom, which did allow for online multiplayer (although hardly anyone made use of that at the time), foreshadowing the disappearance of guys into the online video game vortex during the 2000s and after. But during the '90s itself, these things were still in a fairly benign state.

So, any attempt to recreate the '90s PC setup has to turn off the internet connections (if they exist), and restrict the number of video games to a handful... no more than 10. Probably just Myst, Doom II, a legacy copy of Oregon Trail, some Sierra point-and-click adventure games, etc. No autistic collecting of things you'll only play once or not at all, but rather a small number of things that you are committed to long-term.

This also economizes on memory usage, as online programs chew up the most resources, and it obviates the need for second-order programs like security / firewall, which also hog resources, and themselves need to be constantly updated over the internet. You can still transfer data from and to the internet via USB flash drives, or floppy disks, or CDs.

I've switched to writing all my stuff with offline-only computers, and if I need to upload it to the web, save it to a USB flash drive, which an internet-enabled computer can send off into the online domain, from which my composition computer serves as a virtual sanctuary.

This is the only way to accomplish "distraction-free" word processing, spreadsheet filling, coding, or whatever else you're trying to get done. It's not a full-screen word processor (although I do use one of those too — Q10), it's a machine that does not even tempt you into "just checking in on" the buzzing and churning of the online world.

And no, this does not render the computer into a mere "overglorified typewriter," because of all the other productive tasks it does (spreadsheet, database, etc.). It allows for some entertainment with separate video games, as well as fun little puzzle games like Minesweeper or Solitaire that you can play for a little bit and feel fine putting away.

And it serves as an archive, especially for pictures. Most people never look through their old pictures on a laptop or smartphone, because they're posting those pictures as part of their social media addiction and status-striving contests, where the buzz and novelty evaporates within 24 hours, and they're of no use or concern ever again. Something you shot on your digital point-and-shoot camera and downloaded onto a desktop computer, or older prints that you digitally scanned into modern image files, were meant to be looked at every now and again. They were meant to memorialize something, however mundane it may have seemed at the time, but which can really take you back and feel a larger impression when you look at them again for the first time in years or decades.

It can also serve as a music library, or at least playback device. All your digitally owned files, or CDs, will play perfectly well, and you'll have a better pair of speakers than what's in a laptop or smartphone (that includes the crappy headphones that are necessary for phones). No streaming, though — you actually have to commit to something for longer than a single listen, although you could delete the file or sell the CD later if you really don't like it.

You probably won't be playing TV shows or movies from DVDs or large digital files, since the monitor is not HD-capable, and the CD-ROM drive may not handle DVDs. But those should be played on a TV anyway, not a much smaller computer monitor. This also prevents getting endlessly sucked away into an escapist activity like binge-watching TV shows on a streaming platform.

Speaking of monitors, you probably won't be able to find a nice CRT monitor (of any color) for a reasonable price anymore. They, along with all the rest of "retro / vintage tech," got scooped up over the past decade, as the central bank's program of money-printing for the top 20% (quantitative easing) gave autistic collector nerds in the tech sector more disposable income than they knew what to do with.

Inflation shows up where they're actually spending their money, so that did not include ordinary clothing items at Walmart, but did target anything tech-y and collectible. Video games are the worst casualty, but it includes less nerdy and more artistic things like old photography equipment as well.

I was fortunate to score a flat-screen Sony Trinitron CRT from the early 2000s off of Craigslist for only $20 back in 2014. One of the most advanced monitors of its type. It's a beige box with Dell badging, so it feels more '90s than 2000s.

You should still be able to find beige LCD monitors, though, without too much hunting or paying too much for them. Beige computer stuff is getting more difficult to find in the wild at thrift stores, as the Millennial autists scoop it all up, but that's only necessary for aesthetic authenticity.

The most important aspect to recreate is the functional nature of these machines — separate components instead of all-in-one, arranged on a desk or table, near a window, in an inviting area rather than an escapist lair. And disabling the damned internet connection! You could revive this experience with a black-case desktop, black LCD monitor, black USB keyboard, black optical wireless mouse, and black speakers, according to current aesthetic trends.

It would have a more cutting-edge color palette, and probably none of it would be made in USA or Japan like in the good ol' days, but functionally you would be right back in the pre-degenerate stage of computer usage.

The dignity of the home office, or really the study / den / library, is something that most Gen X-ers — and certainly most Millennials — do not expect to ever enjoy. One of those things that the Boomers all had, but which our deteriorating standard of living has ruled out. But in this case, it's all your own fault, giving in to your online tech addiction, particularly involving social media.

None of the equipment has to be expensive (only if you want all vintage), especially if you buy it used or donated. Lower wages and salaries are not preventing you from using components instead of all-in-one, getting a table or desk (used / thrifted are cheaper and higher quality anyway), and placing it all in a pleasing, soothing location instead of retreating into a lair or slumping over in bed all day with your phone in hand.

Ideally, keep all the gay internet-enabled crap in another room, at least a different part of the same room. But you need a safe space from online world. It's more fun and enjoyable, anyway — and more productive!

May 28, 2021

Reflections on getting COVID in April 2020

I'm going to do a bit more COVID posting, but have decided to break it up into a more digestible series. And what better place to start than looking back on and learning from when I myself got coronavirus during the spring wave of last year?

To begin with, I find it strange how few people on the internet appear to have gotten it. It's rare to hear people share their stories, whether they're a large account on social media, or a lowbie in their replies. I understand why, say, Aimee Terese did not get it — she's in Australia, and their country smartly closed its international borders early and consistently, as did their Kiwi neighbors. See, even a libtard-run government like New Zealand can protect its people from pandemics, and all without the insane protocols that we have had to endure for over a year in America.

Really the only case I remember was @HeatherHabsburg from Twitter, fellow founding member of the lads-and-lesbians affinity group. She also got it during the spring wave.

Perhaps the cerebral types who are terminally online simply avoided contact with the outside world better than the corporeal types? Sorry, but one lesson I learned was that this thing was not nasty enough to turn yourself into a hermetically sealed nerd in order to avoid, or to keep others from catching — unless they were old and vulnerable.

It also makes me wonder whether lesbians like Heather were more likely to get it than gays. Gays are more cerebral, nerdy, and snobby, whereas lesbians are more corporeal, jockish / craftsy, and down-to-earth. I've read through the Red Scare podcast subreddit occasionally, and the girls-and-gays crowd there has mostly avoided it. I don't know about the lads-and-lesbians crowd — if someone has a better feeling for Tumblr, witch tok, or other lesbian online spaces, feel free to chime in.

If so, it would be yet another example of the horseshoe theory linking cottagecore lesbians who were on Tumblr in 2012 and groyper super-straight lads who were on 4chan back then. Every time I see @that_groyper (now just @groyper on Gab) posting a picture of home-baked bread, reporting on his moka pot brew du jour, and posting about nature hikes and interest in bugs and other ugly creatures, I have to check to make sure I haven't wandered into a cottagecore YouTuber's videos.

At any rate, by far the most widespread reaction to Heather Habsburg getting COVID was the deranged moralizing about how she had no one to blame but herself, since she sat in a restaurant where no one was wearing masks. She also commented on how pleasing it was to see such a sight. So in the minds of the deranged, the epidemic gods were meting out punishment on her not only for flouting the protocols, but praising the rule-breaking for its humanizing effects.

Even those who were sympathetic to her still concern-trolled her over masking, saying you're too good to succumb to COVID just because you don't want to wear a mask.

However, for the moralists keeping puritanical score, I happened to get COVID when everyone including me was the MOST restrictive in our behaviors. Everything was shut down except supermarkets and drug stores, which I only made a trip to once every 2-3 weeks. I held my breath and covered my nose & mouth when I went outside to take the trash / recycle bins to the curb. I had no one over, and visited no one. I didn't even go for a leisure ride in the car!

I wore a surgical, not cloth, mask on the rare trip outside, and I disposed of it after a single use, not just after every 8 hours. I wore latex gloves inside the supermarket, and disinfected my eyeglasses with rubbing alcohol after getting back home. In the supermarket, not only did I keep 6 feet away — we kept out of the entire aisle when someone else was already there.

The only extreme measure I didn't take was the disinfecting of grocery packaging, quarantining them, etc., since it was already known to not spread that way.

And despite all of that, it still got me. I didn't blog about it at the time because I wasn't fully sure that it was COVID — I did not suffer the supposedly telltale fever, but I had all the other symptoms, including the strange ones like the freezing feeling in my fingertips and toes for a bit before the debilitating ones struck. And it was during the spring wave that was hitting the rest of the country, so it wouldn't have been unusual for me to have gotten it too.

It wasn't a cold because there was no typical stuffy / runny nose, or other sinus problems. No productive cough either. It wasn't the flu. It had severe dehydration, though.

After 2-3 days of not even being able to drink a cup of water, let alone eat food, at last I could eat and drink again. I made a nice hearty steak and vegetable stew, loaded with animal protein, fat, and electrolytes. The first dish of that instantly brought me back to 70% of normal functioning. When you're low on electrolytes, which the nervous system uses to communicate, your brain can't send signals to itself or to the rest of the body, so it adds to the bodily fatigue and the mental cloudiness.

Recovery went well from there. I felt pretty normal after a week, and fully normal after about two weeks. I have no remaining problems taking a full breath. The only thing I'm not sure about is impairment of the sense of smell. I've always had a really strong sense of taste and smell, and it seems to still be that way, although there could be some minor loss that would show up on a lab test.

Naturally I didn't go anywhere or interact with anyone once the bad symptoms hit, or during my recovery. And again, I was maximally protective — at least, according to the official protocols — when I may have been infective early on before the major symptoms.

But it's possible, perhaps even likely, that I did spread it to someone else because those protocols were clearly wrong. They had a totally incorrect model of how it was being transmitted — as though it were a person-to-person contagion. And objectively in hindsight, they did nothing to slow / stop the spread.

I'll be posting more on the correct model for COVID's spread — where infecteds pollute a common public resource — but even if you didn't have any mathematical modeling under your belt, or knowledge of history, or awareness of diseases in other parts of the world, you could still figure out that the experts had gotten it totally wrong.

Somehow someone spread it to me, despite the fact that everyone in my neck of the woods (not just me) was taking the most extreme measures in April 2020. So I could have just as easily spread it to someone else, in the same way that I picked it up. Both links in that chain of transmission took place because the technocracy had no clue what was going on, and instantly fixated on an incorrect model of transmission, as well as a set of protocols that were therefore destined to fail.

Luckily for me, I was "only" 39 years old at the time, and it felt like a bad cold or bad flu, albeit with its own distinctive mix of symptoms.

On the silver lining side, I had immunity during the much more widespread wave during the fall / winter. And it convinced me that for most people (under 60 or 70 or whatever), it was not severe enough of a threat to justify the extreme protocols — even if they did work, which they observably did not. And it got me thinking about what the epidemic's dynamics actually were, if the flu-like standard SIR model was wrong. And after that, what types of measures might actually be able to slow or stop the spread — purifying, or at least neutralizing, the public resource from its pollution.

May 16, 2021

Maskless Pixie Dream Girl, coaxing wary sad sack out of his corona quarantine cocoon

Just had one of the most delightful little experiences tonight, and gave me an idea for how a Manic Pixie Dream Girl role could be set in a story about emerging from the hellscape of the past year.

The governor, like some others from the holdout states, has finally lifted the coronavirus restrictions (de facto for now, de jure starting next month). So I headed out today to make the rounds and see what effect it has had. Basically none for now -- it was only announced yesterday, and most people will take a few days or a week to hear about it and react.

But while stopping by a supermarket, I saw a nice bubble-butt girl down the way, so I figured let's take that path and make a little eye contact. Then as I got closer she turned so I saw her in profile and... wait, is she not wearing a mask? No way!

Normally when you see another maskless person in a public place, you don't really high-five each other or even acknowledge each other as belonging to the same team. However, I was so taken aback by a babe baring it all like that in public, that I couldn't help my eyes from fondling every feature of her face. The way you look a curvaceous girl up and down -- only just around the face! How crazy these restrictions are making us.

And just like getting her entire figure looked up and down, she was a bit shocked but more pleasantly surprised, especially since it was from a fellow no-masker, and a hot guy to boot. No judgment, no nagging or finger-wagging. This time, actual recognition that we're both on the same team -- team cool people.

She burst into a bright pure smile, giggled a bit, and said hiiiii! I gave her a nice smile and "Hi" back, letting her know what a breath of fresh air that was, and left it at a pleasant passing interaction. If I weren't recovering from a cold, and had more mental focus, I would've chatted her up a bit about how nice it is to not have to wear them anymore, how surprising it is to see another person doing the same, of course slipping in a quick compliment about how unjust it is for a pretty face like hers to have to be hidden under a mask for so long, and so on and so forth.

Life needs to get a lot more flirtatious now that the dam is breaking among the impotent rulers about trying to force these failed restrictions on us.

Then my mind went to analyzing what type she was, and who to expect the early adopters of free faces to be. She was 5'8 - 5'9, light brown hair, TANNED, cute face, fit body, bubble butt, high-waisted light-blue jeans and a white mid-riff baring top with ever-so-slightly puffy shoulders. As always with us guys, I didn't notice her shoes at all (only really attention-getting stuff like tall boots make an impression).

I'm guessing she was an athlete in high school or college. Now that I think about it, she reminded me a bit of my best girl friend from high school, who played a bunch of sports, as well as cheerleading / poms. Chipper, outgoing, fun-loving, wanting to provoke a little reaction -- for the good -- in other people, while still being a wholesome girl-next-door.

Was she... born from 1995 to 1999? Pretty sure, she didn't look to be in her late 20s, more like 23-25.

That would make her a prime candidate for a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who are born during manic phases of the 15-year excitement cycle, and play their roles during a restless warm-up phase of the cycle. The last such climate was the restless phase of 2005-'09, with women born between 1980-'84. Fast-forward 15 years, and here we are all over again.

Use google to search the blog for "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" to see all my previous posts on the topic, mainly from last year. But she did seem to check all the boxes, including the ones most observers don't notice as defining features of the MPDG (butt girl rather than boob girl, manic phase birth, boy-ish streak but fundamentally girly and nurturing).

* * *

So then, how could this be made into a MPDG movie for our new restless phase? Below are just the set-up points for this particular movie, with most of the gaps filled in with how they would be in any other example of the genre, with or without some idiosyncratic flare depending on who the writer, audience, and producer are.

Obviously the male protag would not be like me, as I'm not a sad sack seemingly always down-on-his-luck, lurching from one quarter / mid-life crisis to the next, wary to leave the comfort of his asocial cocoon. She doesn't need to nurse me back to health, coax me out of my cocoon, and give me the confidence to give it my all in life and love, etc.

Plus I'm not from the right birth phase -- the sad sacks are typically born during a restless phase. In the late 2000s, these guys were born from 1975-'79 (not a big age gap). During the early '90s, the characters were played by guys born from 1945-'49 (larger age gap, midlife crisis movies). I was born in a manic phase (early '80s), so I'm like the MPDG in being resilient, carefree, and happy-go-lucky. I wouldn't need her to swoop into my life and pick up my spirits. They're my best friends from high school -- peers -- not guardian angels who rescue me.

This time around, who would be in need of her charms and powers? If it's a quarterlife crisis movie, then someone born from 1990-'94. If a midlife crisis movie featuring a noticeable age gap, the same '75-'79 cohort from the late 2000s, only now they're in their mid-40s instead of early 30s. The IRL couple Zach Braff and Florence Pugh would fit the hypothetical pattern, though I don't know how well they'd actually work on camera.

Casting decisions aside, what would be the rough plot and themes? It's like the other MPDG movies, only tied in to the pandemic, and really the restrictions and our adoption of those restrictions. It's another kind of cocoon we've put ourselves into, supposedly ordered by the government -- but hardly anybody challenged them to find out if they were truly being enforced.

Small biz owners held protests last summer, but they were not petitioning the government as everyday ordinary citizens subjected to masking, social distancing, school closures, shuttered offices, etc. Ordinary citizens who didn't want to wear pointless masks indoors, or parents who wanted their kids to be taken care of in school since they paid their taxes already, didn't really push back forcefully until this year.

Now those restrictions are gradually being lifted, although from the view of those who have burrowed into the cocoon, the change is way too rapid and abrupt. Jarring, disorienting, filling them with dread and anxiety.

Naturally, the warped losers who will bitterly cling to these restrictions would not be the main characters, since they're not truly human and do not deserve humanizing. They're just boring lamewads and libtards, whose lives are unworthy of dramatization. Maybe as minor characters who act as foils to the humanizing portrayals of real people. There would be zero mention of politics, "not wanting to appear to be a Trump supporter," etc. Partisans should leave angry, and the silent majority should feel relieved.

The sad sack is someone who is well-meaning and went along with the protocols just to avoid confrontation and not have to face the prospect that he was being told to do something pointless or even harmful. Not a zealot, he was passively psy-opped -- although he was already in a place in his life where he'd been sinking into depression, loneliness, and the like, which made the choice to burrow into the corona cocoon all the easier to just go along with.

Now that the mandates and restrictions are winding down, he feels the security and stability of his bubble-world starting to erode. He sees some people behaving as though corona never happened, and others as though the end of restrictions never happened. It's yet another perplexing social puzzle fucking with his mind.

He's still going along with the restrictions, though out of passivity rather than zealotry. He just doesn't feel prepared enough to emerge from the cocoon -- too risky, at least right now -- although he does flash back to how pleasantly mundane his daily life used to be before the lockdowns etc., and does want to return to that world. Not utopia, but something ordinary, where people aren't wearing masks everywhere, where people exchanged small talk, and schools, libraries, etc., are no longer closed down.

All of his social circle is as hesitant as he is, or more so, to leave the cocoon. So no help in his character development there. Some are passive sad sacks like him, others outright MSNBC junkies, who he views as pitiful and "I hope I don't wind up like that".

Then one day in the supermarket (one of the few places everyone will continue to visit), there's a young woman without her mask on, and he's struck not only by her looks but her having left the cocoon. For a man, it never feels reassuring to see women who are more risk-taking than you. At some point, you might try to prove you're not more risk-averse than she is. The initial feeling is merely unsettling -- upstaged by a girl!

Fascinated, he wanders closer to her, and when he gets within 10 feet or so, she notices him, gives him a puzzled look, which makes him nervous -- what has he done wrong? "Y'know you don't have to wear that thing anymore..." Delivered with a dry-humored head tilt, if she's a mumblecore indie actress, or a bright knowing smile if it's for mainstream audiences. A gentle neg, while still initiating conversation and encouraging him to leave behind his burdens and improve himself.

Maybe she follows up with a highly self-aware comment like, "Besides, I'll bet you have great bone structure, and shouldn't hide it under a mask", sensing that he's the nervous type and might have taken it the wrong way and requires a humorously over-the-top compliment to reassure him.

Their first interaction is pretty brief, leaving him bewildered but consoled that somebody out there seems to care about his well-being. The setting is a supermarket, so they'll both be back frequently and run into each other before too long, not ships passing in the night. Each time he's still wearing the mask, partly out of his own anxiety but also to prod her into chatting him up about taking it off, renewing their social contact during a lonely time. It's somewhat of a running joke between them, but also something she really wants to see him change, as does he.

No wait -- she works at the supermarket, then they don't have to knock into each other coincidentally at the same time, over and over. The proverbial cute Whole Foods cashier of every middle-class liberal under 40's dreams. Maybe she works at the bakery department -- more feminine and nurturing, allows her to show her free-spirited creativity by the type of things she bakes, and how she decorates them, or carves patterns into the bread loaves, etc. And there's more free time for them to chat without the line getting backed up.

As their relationship progresses, she bakes a loaf (or a cake) just for him, with a cartoony version of his mask-free face carved / decorated onto the top. To show she's thinking about him and cares about him, wants to make nice things for him, but also wants to see him pull himself up and leave behind the corona cocoon (for which the mask is only one iconic element, representing the entire spectrum of isolated depression-living he has slipped into).

The cartoony style of the decoration takes the edge off of her message, shows it's not judgmental or harsh, and makes light of a sad situation. (It's also more believable technically -- she's not an accomplished portrait artist, who also happens to work at the local Whole Foods bakery).

The social distancing angle is secondary, since most people didn't really adhere to it very much -- masks were the main thing. But occasionally it references that part of the protocols, by her getting close to him, he gets uncomfortable because he's a nervous sad sack being approached by a babe-alicious guardian angel, but he rationalizes this as fear of germs instead, again using corona as a crutch. But she persists anyway, to express her fondness for him, as well as to cure his fear through exposure therapy -- "See, this isn't hurting anybody, is it?"

When they first kiss, I think she initiates it, and even removes his mask to do so. First she gets up close, casting aside the social distancing guideline. Then she gently removes his mask, against the mask zealotry. Then she gives him a gentle, tender kiss -- not a French kiss -- against the guidelines about not exchanging germs literally face-to-face during a respiratory / aerosol pandemic.

After building up to that point, this first kiss catalyzes his transformation. He gradually starts to undo one restriction, beginning with the mask itself, then another, and another -- and then those restrictions that he invented himself and placed on himself, with no one like the government to blame. Like, "Well, we're quarantined for months... might as well watch Twitch streams / listen to podcasts for 6 hours every day to kill time until it's all over. I have to occupy my time somehow..."

He learns to give up Zoom calls, goes back into a physical building to work, making a point to smile, shake hands, small-talk, and all the other physical mundane stuff he'd been used to. His boss notices this new-found confidence and assigns him some special project, one that can only be done through an IRL presence, joking to him that a lot of his colleagues are still too frightened to leave their Zoom cocoons. Wow, now the boss respects him more, too.

Manic Pixie Dream Girls are fated to not stay with the male protagonist, as they're earthly guardian angels meant to nurse him back to health so that he can do what he's supposed to do, with renewed confidence, vigor, and happiness. Once their role is done, that's it -- but they're the nurturing type, and are happy to play that role, satisfied by how their pet project turned out.

Toward the end, he meets another woman who is still wearing a mask, not sure if it's a co-worker (boring, but also believable). He uses the same line on her that the bakery babe used on him, about good bone structure. She responds to the cocky-funny neg by removing it, and they small talk, flirt a bit, arrange some dates, and start dating seriously. It doesn't really matter who she is, she's the off-ramp, and we can fill in the rest ourselves.

I don't think the MPDG should get spurned in this one, so she meets some creative type who she starts dating as well. Usually she would have to vie with the other woman for the protag's affection, get jealous, feel used or cut loose after having nursed him back to health, and so on. With all the crazy raw emotions going on around the pandemic, lockdowns, etc., I think that part of the standard formula would be out of place.

During their final encounter of the movie, the protag shows up to the bakery with his gf, and sees the MPDG flirting with her bf. While things had gotten more than just friendly between them, they were never a serious couple, so there's no hard feelings, and both have used their new-found confidence to find success in the dating-and-mating world for real -- outside the playful / mock-version that had been transpiring between them during the first 2 acts.

Sure, it's a happily-ever-after ending, but the goal is to make audiences more hopeful and feel inspired to make these changes and improvements themselves. Not to have moral ambiguity cloud the critique of the restritions, nor to have it leave audiences scratching their heads about how they ought to interpret the implications for their own lives.

It's not a high-brow for-all-times movie, but a cultural shock to help get us the hell back to a more normal world. Not by achieving political or economic change -- that's not what culture is capable of doing -- but altering enough social behavior that ordinary people start treating each other differently. The silent majority in this country, and elsewhere, already wants this to happen -- this would not be imposing something on a blank slate. They just need an inspiring pep rally to give them the kick in the pants they need to get going.