HAPPY VALENTINE’S Y’ALL
This is a response to this statue currently installed at my alma mater, Wellesley College, and the resultant furor it has inspired.
Martha? Martha, darling? Are you awake? Oh, dear Martha! I had the strangest dream…it was so cold. So very cold. It was dark. So very dark. I was wearing only underpants. So very much only underpants.
I was somewhere that looked familiar to me. It felt fabled, hallowed, and somehow…female? Is that possible that a place can be female, Martha? It was, I swear it! Its snow soft, its woods sinewy, its air delicate—the entire landscape felt curvy. And it emitted—oh my dear Martha I know this sounds like lunacy!—a low hum of empowered menstruation. A beautiful, full, and vibrant menstruation! A menstruation that seemed to flow like a river underneath the very ground where I stood!
Amid the winter hush I could make out the dim silhouettes of brick edifices through the pine trees, and from afar what appeared to be a center of some sort—a gathering place where bright young minds could come together to eat pizza, drink beer under meticulous police supervision, and listen to a group of sopranos and altos sing Lorde and Maroon Five a cappella. Could such a place be, Martha? Can you imagine it? A center of…students—yes, I felt quite clearly that these souls gathering were students. A center of students.
It was so beautiful. I found myself lulled by the sense of history, by the sense of possibility, by the sense of community. I no longer wanted to be ministered unto—I wanted to minister! It embarasses me to say this, Martha, but I was so moved I didn’t continue on my way—back to home, back to warmth, back to you.
Instead, I froze.
I stretched my arms into the dark New England night. I willed myself to become a silent observer as my hands thrust into the void of unknowing. I closed my eyes and opened my senses. I was a part of this place now. I was one with it. I was at peace deeper and fuller than any I’ve experienced in my life..except for in your arms, dear Martha—that goes without saying!
But then, all of a sudden—Oh, Martha!—my reaching out became a grasping. A fumbling! I was assaulted with a hostility I could barely imagine when I first dreamily stepped out of our warm sheets, donned my old white underwear, and walked into the snowy night. I could hear faint cries, accusations, objections—they made their way to my slumbering ears, muffled by the cold air. Hard as a tried, I couldn’t suss them out individually, but then they all seemed to coalesce into a giant banner looming large over my bald pate—
Martha, my dear Martha! I had become a symbol of the patriarchy! My peaceful winter walk in the secret woods of women interrupted by this sickening accusation! I tried to move, tried to plead my case, tried to tell them I was but an anecdote in a larger conversation that perhaps was not about me but something else altogether—but it was no use! Before long I had become a symbol of “CENSORSHIP!” A symbol of “ART!” A symbol of “THE REFUSAL OF THE ADMINISTRATION TO HEAR OUR CONCERNS!”
They vilified me, Martha. Mocked me. Laughed at my belly, sagging over the elastic waistband of my underwear. Why should I care what my underwear looks like, Martha? It’s only you and I and the Maytag that ever see it! They malevolently rubbed my bald head. They poked at my sallow, drooping face. They scoffed at my lack of body hair. Oh Martha! All those years of your positive affirmations, of your assuring me that my imperfect body was beautiful! All crumbled, all dashed—in an instant!
I thought of all people these strong women, stumbling through a world which sometimes seems to have no place for them could understand my midnight journey, my confusion, my struggle. I was a stranger in a strange world Martha. I was Viola—”What country, friends, is this?”
But mouth didn’t open, my eyes remained closed, my feet didn’t budge. I was stuck, Martha! What had seemed a posture of passive discovery now became twisted into a posture of phallic assault, and I was powerless to change it. I stood there, unmoving, absorbing it all and hating myself for what I had become. I wished I could melt into the white cold around me and become a collection of cells, finally shed of their odious form…
And then all of a sudden I was back here, next to you—dear Martha, how I love you! And now it all seems a fever dream from another time, a stolen moment from a dark, nasty fairytale. Ah Martha my dear, it is early, and you are tired—rest, my dear. Rest.
What’s that? Why yes! My underwear do appear to be quite damp, don’t they? How odd.
Oh yes, I’m sorry dear—do tell me about your dream! You were a dog..who could fly…at Disneyland? Fascinating!
This week’s UCB Close Up features Langan Kingsley! Langan has been gracing UCB with her presence since 2008. She is a gifted improviser, and has been a member of numerous Harold Teams, including CAPTCHA and Dance Break. She is currently performing in What I Did For Love (for tickets, click
UCB Comedy was sweet enough to write up a little post on me in honor of a very funny, very well-produced video by the UCB Beta Team Scraps (written by the one, the only, the Ed Mundy).
I don’t deserve this accolade but I’ll take it because I am a middle child and soak up validation like a lizard sitting on a hot rock! Thank you UCBComedy.com!
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