I read last week somewhere that the author H.H. Munro, aka Saki, once wrote a short story about an organiser of house parties who employed a professional quarreller. Her job was to quarrel with all the other women so that they would go home thinking they had had a good time.
While I am strangely entertained by the notion of a professional quarreller, and what her written job description might look like, I can’t help thinking that times might have changed since Munro’s era. He died in 1916. I am also guessing that PQs are somewhat thin on the ground in the 21st century, so it’s perhaps pointless to enquire if any woman on this message board is similarly employed.
The issue currently exercising my brain is whether or not there are women here who go home from a party satisfied that a good time has been had as a consequence of a good old argument.
I’ve highlighted the relevant words, the sort of house party that Saki was referring to was a pretty big bash - and lasted several days at least - from another of his storys, Orlando, we can infer that a fair bit of bonking went on.
My raddled memory of your story, is that the idea of a PQ was to be the ultimate bitch, which would unite the other females against her, rather have them turning on each other.
Her function was to draw fire, rather than provide a satisfying quarrel. Now I come to think about it, just about what the USA and UK are doing in Iraq.
I haven’t read the story but I’m curious to know why there are, or were, women who would go home satisfied following a good quarrel. From your memory of the tale, is the feeling of satisfaction gained from letting off steam or from bonding with the other women at the party?
It was not a good quarrel, it was diverting fire onto a professional bitch.
the women bonded as they had a common (and formidable) enemy.
In some ways it is a ‘scapegoat’ or ‘sundenbok’
I strongly recommend reading as much H.H. Munro as possible, ‘When William Came’ is a classic (basic plot, circa 1910 Germany conquers England and the German conquerers go native - derivative of course, just Ireland ).
Incidentally, Saki might have observed that males tend to stand behind the Alpha male, while women set up some sort of peasant’s rebellion.
Neat question - hopefully we shall have some outraged responses from the colonies.
I like a good discussion, but that’s a cultural trait. People from the Basque Country and Navarra tend to think that zinging each other verbally, or even just a debate in which both parts actually agree but give the braincells a good workout is a Great Way To Bond.
Those of my relatives who were from “outside” (Mom, SiL, one of my aunts) were all shocked when first faced with the sport. As Mom told SiL “don’t worry dear, they’re not really fighting, it just sounds like it.” In that particular conversation, Middlebro and me actually agreed 100%, each argument given was merely a refinement of a point that had come up previously. But it went completely over SiL’s head, so all she knew was that we were talking real fast with lots of hand gestures.
Fighting otoh I find terribly tiresome. Mostly because people who do that never know when it’s time to give up and shut the fuck up, yawn.
On the premise that most fiction is based on some kind of truth I’ve no doubt that it happened. Probably not very often, but still.
The party organiser and the PQ are definitely the kind of women I’d like to meet. In fact, I’m thinking of reviving the profession. It needs dragging into the 21st century without delay. I can stir it with the best of them when circumstances dictate.
My only concern is the possibility of violence ensuing from over-enthusiastic quarrelling on my part. For this reason I intend to become a Virtual PQ. I’ll set up a QuarrelCam at home and troll interactively via a Big Screen at parties. Payment is irrelevant at this point in my career. Once I’ve refined my quarrelling technique I’ll obviously charge the industry standard.
Only problem with your plan is that the women can’t know that you’re a PQ. You have to be undercover. Incidentally, a friend of mine went to LA to seek his fortune. He got a job with an event planner as a partygoer. The event planner would give him a role to play during the party, so that the room would be filled with “interesting” people.
I don’t like quarreling, which I define as petty arguing, after which grudges may possibly be held. I truly hate the petty stuff that seems to crop up with alarming frequency within large groups of women, such as pouting because you got moved out of the most prominent place in the chorus. :rolleyes:
I do, like Nava, enjoy a good rousing discussion. Brother No. 3 and I get into it fairly frequently, and always enjoy ourselves immensely. However, we both knowing we’re just jousting, and pretty often we agree, and one or the other of us is playing devil’s advocate for the health of the discussion. I refuse to enter into any discussion of substance with Brother No. 2. Ever. It’s not a good thing. Brother No. 1 and I can discuss things, but we have to be careful and tread lightly on one another’s toesies.
I guess for me, it all comes down to how much I trust you. I trust Brother No. 3 completely and know he’s not going to be an idiot later because of something we disagree about (Mr. Stuff falls into this category too, by the way). I don’t trust Brother No. 1 quite as much, and I trust Brother No. 2 not at all.
I hope some of that is interesting, and not just rambly.
I generally am not fond of discussions that revolve around pouting or “OMG, he’s so cute!” on the basis that there aren’t a ton of petty things that I’m really all that interested in. I also find that, somehow, in circles like this, if I don’t go out of my way to acquiesce to every stupid thing each person says, I somehow end up being the object that the pouting is caused by. Blech. :smack:
I also like having discussions that can have opposing points of view. It can be fun, and I like talking about things that I’m passionate about with people. The major problem with this, however, is that it alienates my future MIL, who prefers “peaceful” conversations. It also alienates a lot of people who dislike strong opinions or disagreement in general. Sometimes with me, it’s tough to get a middle of the road point where you’re not debating but you’re not saying nothing at all out of politeness, and thus sometimes I get pegged as a “bitch” or a “smartass” because I state an opinion firmly. :rolleyes: