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For those of us of a Certain Age, who grew up in a Certain Cultural Context, there is a birthday that comes with a default soundtrack.

When I get older losing my hair, many years from now

Some sentiments in the song mark the point of view as strongly gendered—and gendered within certain specific cultural expectations.

Will you still need me?

The speaker assumes that the value they provide will eventually decline—

Will you still feed me?

Today, my department at work is taking me out for a lunch celebrating my 15 year anniversary at the company. My plan and goal (knock on wood) is to be here to celebrate my 20 year anniversary and ideally to retire at some point shortly thereafter. I don’t know whether my career path is at all typical of my generation, but it’s certainly different from that of my parents’ generation and feels different from how my younger friends talk about career expectations.

A Note on Commenting

Last week I talked about how manipulation of point-of-view can change the entire flavor of what I’m writing. This week, rather than talking about my own writing, I’d like to bring together three things that have passed through my brain recently about understanding and portraying romantic relationships between women in historical settings.

(If you’re unfamiliar with the phrase “the uncanny valley” in visual representation, this Wikipedia article is a useful start, especially the section on computer animation.)

There is an expression—a phrase, an image, a verbal trope—that I am trying to eliminate from my critical writing: “Does not disappoint.” When I think about it, I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me so long to identify it as something I wanted to stop using, because I’d already examined a different model of the underlying issue from another angle and identified what it was that would eventually start bothering me about “does not disappoint.”

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