The first part of this blog will be a manga reivew of five top manga, followed by that classic and tragic experience and pain we all have felt, ‘when your girlfriend goes straight…’ Wow, a pang of pain just in writing that.
But first, a lot of great people have been gifting me with manga from the wishlist. So these are five titles I have been given that we (Linda, Cheryl and I) have all read and enjoyed, all rated as top notch. And when you have three lesbians saying, “Go read these heterosexual romantic manga!” then you know they are good. The first, The Name of the Flower is more about healing and how we bond as humans than it is a simple romance. The story starts with a girl whose parents have died, and she has been passed every few weeks or months from one family to another until she ends up with her uncle the writer. He is a total grouch. She hasn’t spoken or cried since the funeral.
So the uncle tells her, ‘You clean and cook and you can stay here.’ And she does, and when he sees her one day he says, “If you have extra time, you can garden.” So she goes to school, comes home and cooks, cleans and works in the garden. And after a time, seeing the plants she has planted as seeds grow up and then bloom, for the first time in a long time…..she smiles. She made something grow. And over two years, she joins the community gardening society (she is the favorite of lots of old men) and cooks and eventually the grouch, who used to speak to no one, starts to speak to her. He asks her the name of a flower. He actually reaches out of himself and asks her something.
With the garden, in some way, she learned to grieve and then learned to go on with life and put it all into her garden so it was a pleasant place to sit. It has joy. This manga is the highest recommended from all three of us. There will be a book two but this volume can stand alone. Also, this, Heaven’s Will and We were There 1 & 2 should all be available on the 4 for 3 Amazon promotion, which means it has free shipping and you get all 4 for about $26-27.
The next one we recommend is Heaven’s Will, I have talked about this manga before but this was a book that was SO good, we were all disappointed that it is listed as a ‘stand alone’ (meaning just one volume) book and we want MORE. There is a girl Sudou who has a really bad fear and experience with boys. She can also see ghosts and runs because she is scared...a lot. Sudou is running from a ghost when she meets Sato who is a beautiful goth girl who with her man-servant Kagari (who happens to be a vampire), can exorcise ghosts. Sato and the vampire have a deal; but it will take a lot of trust before Kagari will explain why he is with Sato, even when Sudou walks in on Kagari feeding on Sato in her long black negligee. Oh, yeah, and Sato is technically a guy, but since he is ‘keeping his body perfect until he can have a sex change’ it is sort of easier to think of Sato as she. The good thing is that Sudou now has a friend, who while technically a guy, is sort of a best girl friend and is teaching her how to be strong and stand up for herself. And while Sato is helping Sudou to be strong, Sudou is trying to help Sato with Sato’s pain, and complicated past (COMPLICATED!). I don’t want to give anything away but this is a great goth loli, best girlfriend, vampire, adventure, friends helping each other and learning to accept each other AND themselves manga I can recommend. We all want more! So write and draw fast Satoru Takamiya (the author), please!
We Were There is a story complete in two volumes. This along with the other manga listed have all won awards. This manga is about a boy who has his girlfriend die (only, of course, it is more complicated than that!), and shuts off his emotions and about the girl who falls in love with him. He uses a smile and an air of ‘I don’t care’ to keep everything emotionally away. It is not like she wants to be, and he shuts her down a bunch of times but... she IS in love with him. He soon knows it, they talk about it, he teases her but they become friends but the past is always between them. Is there ever a way for him to move beyond what happened in the past and live in the present? Is that possible for any of us? And this is no simple ‘love wins out’ western story but a Japanese story which leaves the complexities of repressed emotion, falling in love and how even two people who want to care for each other can still hurt each other, and then....maybe love. Again, if lesbians are recommending romances between guys and girls – top recommmendation!
Object of Desire is part of the Luv Luv series and is for adults, or at least mature 17 or 18 year olds. It is about the sex that is going on NOW (with girls from 17 and up). I liked it because I heard the kind of statements I used to hear at work in Cardiff, “Oh, I am going down to club xxxxx tonight and having some sex.”
Me: “Are you looking for a boyfriend?”
Her: “That would be nice, but I just want to have some sex for now.”
Or statements like, “It wasn’t great, but the sex felt good afterward.”; or thoughts like, “Do I stay with him, or let him have sex with me just so I have someone?” – these are the statements in this book too! Like I said, this manga is about real life. There are five stories ranging from a virgin who is known as the Ice Princess who is hounded by a dope she finally accepts as her boyfriend and her first time. Then a story about a girl with large breasts who always has boys after her; wanting to be her boyfriend but really, they just want to have sex. She wonders, will anyone be honest, will they stop using these stupid pick-up lines and just say, “I want to have sex?” Amazingly, one guy does, and it turns out that she ends up, not with just throw-away sex but a boyfriend, in this clueless wonder of a guy. The favorite story of Linda and mine is called 'Maid for Love' and it is about a girl who works at one of the Maid café’s. She likes her job, she likes pretending to be a maid and while she is sexualized by lonely men at work, she knows how to cut them off in a polite (and if she has to, not so polite way). She likes to fantasize that she is a maid for her boyfriend, and goes to a work party with him. It turns out to be the house of a rich woman and she volunteers to be a maid for the night saying, “I’m a professional!” But when the other wives and girlfriend find out where she works, they talk trash about her, and when some husbands find out, they come and ask her to ‘service them’ – her boyfriend arrives to take care of her. She just wanted to be a 'real maid' for once, which is what she likes being (what difference between that and the SCA?), so she could dressing up as one. Also her boyfriend watched out for her, made sure she was okay, protected her, because she was a bit of a klutz. As he says while she is sleeping, “You make a better fantasy maid than a real one!” But he accepts what she likes to do. And he helps her do it. The whole book was so interesting (five stories in all), that I put two more of the ‘luv luv’ seres that were recommended on my wish list (they said “if you like Object of Desire try….). I know, I am getting manga with five hetero stories to read? Oh no, is Beth going straight? That will soon be answered!
So go off and try those manga (the last one only if 17 or 18 and above) and see what you think.
This is a brief pause in order to insert a cat girl picture. It is like looking at the Sakura Blossoms. Is there a need or reason for the picture beyond its beauty? Would an Elizabeth McClung blog be complete without one?
I finish this post with a common scenerio, in fact one so common that two of the three of us were shocked, maybe a little hurt when they found out that X, a good female friend was…oh, it sounds so wrong…..STRAIGHT. There I said it. Yes, she turned out to be straight. She had the vibes, she had a lot of cues, but in the end, out comes the man. And how do you deal with that?
So a quick survival guide for what is becoming almost an epidemic: girls going straight. I know they say they can’t ‘choose’ their orientation, but…not to MEN, try harder? Nevermind, not going to debate that. We all know that there is a natural order and beauty to the world….lesbians. I mean, it is what high school romances, and crushes are all about right, finding the right girl, hoping this lasts beyond high school, that special bond, those ‘special sleepovers.’
Now, the thing is, you have a best girl friend and a really close friend, the kind of person you can run up to and give a surprise hug when you see them on the street. That kind of close friend, and you are pretty sure you have all the signs down, I mean, they are lesbian! Or at least bisexual, and while you may hook up with your own girlfriend you are completely comfortable around them. You are there, giving your special greeting hug (you are the one with blue hair!) sort of just huggig each other while you talk and gossip (you are there for each other hugging when times are bad..or good! And often like today you just hang out). Then she starts talking about some guys butt.
This is the great mystery; apparently hetero women can SEE a butt on a guy while lesbians just sort of see the back of a pair of jeans. But a butt on a girl? Oh yes, getting hot now! So she talks about a guys butt or worse, some actor’s chest (it is flat, with hair…what is to get excited about?). So you think “Okay, she’s bisexual!”
Only next time, you are talking to her, she comes out with this story about a guy who ‘totally saved her’ (turns out he caught some oranges – how is that ‘saving her?’) and how cute he is. You are kind of in shock and miss the next part. Which is probably for the best because it turns out she, for his KINDNESS, invited him out on a picnic. Yeah, it’s a DATE. OMG!
So they go out on this picnic and he is apparently so kind and considerate and she talks about him and everything he said and what he wore, and how afterward he came home and helped her take in the laundry? And how he is man enough to do housework, how sweet is that? You don’t answer in case the gagging noises are audible.
And then the next time you see her she talks about how they have taken it to the NEXT LEVEL which is kissing and how sometimes it is just great to be hugged and embraced. You think to yourself, as she is lying in your lap; Oh I know some great embraces and they don’t involve GUYS!
But see you DON'T say that because you went and got a out a BOOK from the library and read some Heart columns and you now know that your friend is 'coming out' as straight. What do you do? Here are some tips from the book (Taken from actual help sections): “Try not to think of her being straight as good or bad but more like just being left handed.”, “you may disapprove of what she is doing but accept who she is.” Plus, “It is okay to express surprise, just not TOO much surprise.” And most important, “Do your research to understand what straight means.”
You have followed the book: “Hugs are encouraged”, as well as, “Take them out for a celebratory meal” and “as long as she’s happy.” You did that, which to you is sort of looking like a date but she is clueless and you end your date/time out on the lawn and she looks for four leaf clovers.
“You like this guy” you say, trying to be supportive.
“Oh yes”, she lies in your arms and twirls the four leaf clover she has found and continues, “I wonder if this means I’ll get lucky tonight!”
You are glad she can’t see your eyes as they bulge out: get lucky? Oh my, this is NOT like being left handed at all. You remember the book, “take the opportunity to learn about what it is like to be straight” and restrain yourself and manage to choke out a, “um…ah….what about size and that?”
She twirls the clover the opposite direction, “I guess that doesn’t matter….oh I mean it DOES, but I have the Rabbit for that, I just want to know that I am special and feel that glow and him inside…”
“Um isn’t that a tornado?” You say desperately trying to cut her sentence off.
But that is what she wants and that is what she gets, (she virtually attacks him!)and you have to hear the blow by blow the next day about how he was great and afterward she wrapped herself around him and ahhhhhh.....(try not to claw out eyeballs)
Okay, she’s straight. You have to deal with it. You have to meet him, as the book says, “Love is love no matter who you fall for (apparently this includes men), and the whole, “If you love them, then I love them” It just can’t be avoided, maybe after a while, like two or three seconds you can tell her that the sexual blow by blow can be toned down (or eliminated) because you have to eat later. But you are all for him and if he makes her happy (you are envisioning yourself nine months in the future with her sobbing in your arms about what a bastard he is!)…
So the thing is, most females like female friends. It is sort of natural, in the same way guys get together to play games with game stations and grunt or hoot, or they go bowling, females get together and talk and share and sometimes just hang out. But, here are some tips to help you next time, so you aren’t SO surprised, that your friend just might be straight (or a femme which would be cool since you need someone to go shopping with):
1)She wears high heel shoes and claims they are ‘comfortable’ even for eight hours.
2) She likes wearing panty hose
3) She can actually SEE something when looking at a man’s butt (all I see are jeans, what does she see?) and likes it.
4) She says,“He’s so cool!”
5) She says, “Do you think I should act less smart so he isn’t intimidated?
6) She talks about how she watched sports with a guy….and enjoyed it (but can’t name any of the rules)
7) She starts praising a guy for things like: Carrying a 20 lb BBQ (“You are so strong”), lighting candles, “I never could have done that” – apparently this isn’t a lobotomy, it is called straight dating rituals, aka, getting laid.
8) She tells you she wants to get ‘lucky’ as she hold a condom.
Just because your friend is straight doesn’t have to stop you being their friend, indeed you can become stronger friends, but that brief pang you feel as you realize, “Oh no, not a bunch of drunken men over you! You are special, you are precious, don’t you get that?” But apparently it is like being left handed.
13 hours ago