Things They Never Told Me

A list that never made it into Sei Shonagon's Pillow Book


There are no locks on the doors!!!!! What's up with that?

Hair this long is extremely high maintenance. But I make it look good.

No man likes it when you point and laugh. Use this tactic sparingly. 

Small steps. 

Make him blush with praise, he'll remember you forever. Make him blush with shame, he'll remember you forever. 

Small steps. 

Know your kasane. LIVE your kasane. (That pointing and laughing thing goes both ways.) 

If "But I'm only thirteen!" doesn't work, if "I'm honored, but no, thank you," doesn't work, if "What part of 'I have a head ache' do you not understand?" doesn't work, if crying and struggling don't work,* a sharp poke in the squishy bits with a folded fan or stiffened fingers even as you apologize loudly and sincerely for your "clumsiness" will often take care of the matter. You MUST apologize loudly and sincerely (paper walls - what genius!) If you can manage to accidentally on purpose knock over the byobu so it hits him in the head, so much the better. 

Should that fail, point and laugh.

Should that fail, kill him after he falls asleep. Jigai at this point is optional, however, your reputation for "clumsiness" could be an opportunity to improve the quality of the gentlemen likely to attempt a visit.*

Know your kasane. LIVE your kasane. (So who dresses you, Carrie Bradshaw?) 

Laugh at his jokes. It costs you nothing. 

The blossoming cherry, the morning dew, a good hair day. These things are fleeting: enjoy them while you may. 

Know the classics. Live the classics. You'll get the obscure poetic references and people will think you're erudite. 

Work the fan. 

"Lady" does not mean "passive." "Woman" does not mean "weak." We just have a different armory and supply line than he does. 

That's 5-7-5-7-7. Which will one day be the postal code of Wanblee, South Dakota. 

Speak elegantly and musically. Your voice might just be the only part of you he can fall in love with at first sight. 

Crap. I've just knelt on my hair and I can't get up. 

Know your kasane. LIVE your kasane. Your hems might just be the only part of you he can fall in love with at first sight. 

Running and sliding on a newly polished wood floor doesn't work very well in nagabakama. 

*If anyone thinks the "forced affection" advice is in poor taste, my apologies. I did think long and hard about that bit as I wrote it. Rape is not funny. However, it is a facet of life in the Japanese court that women had to deal with. To a modern reader, the hero of The Tale of Genji comes off as a serial date rapist - and he SHOULD. To Japanese readers of the 10th century and after, he was a romantic hero. To pretend not to consider this aspect of my persona's existence is unrealistic. 

Laughter and tears are sisters. I am blessed that I have never had to deal with such a situation for real. I hope I never have to. 

Copyright 2005, Lisa A. Joseph

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