After a few years of Jr. college, I ran away to the redwoods after I was accepted to Humboldt State University. And of course, I had to attend some stupid orientation where students tried to engage us and get us to have a chat with a perky “if you could meet ANYONE from history, who would it BE?” *twinkle smile*
seriously–this may have been the birth of my misanthropy.
I think I said Genghis Khan or Mary Queen of Scots–just to keep the perky lil cheerleader out of my hair–but would I really want to meet those people? I mean, Khan wouldn’t have spoken to me, and I’m sure Mary had a serious need for incense.
Seriously–why do we romanticize these non-bathers?
However, in my grumpy, misanthropic ways, there ARE a few characters (mostly fictional) I wouldn’t mind having tea with. I realized there are some books to which I return, not just for their wordcraft, but also because of some very amazing women within them.
so step with me into my ornate and garishly decorated parlor, with doilies on everything (why yes, I DID make them all), a silver service in need of a good polish, teacups with pictures of men on them, whose clothes disappear with heat, and shelves and shelves of books. Oh, and my Chihuahua Manny–the only male permitted to this tea party (I mean, he IS lacking testicles…)
Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)
Ah, my dear sweet Lizzie. With a sharp tongue, a well-read mind, acerbic wit and the ability to admit she was wrong. Not that Darcy was at all charming upon first impressions. But anyone who could stand up to that old hag lady Catherine deserves a seat at my table. Plus, she knows enough about basic manners to keep the conversation going if necessary.
Josephine March (Little Women)
And next to her we have the lovely Jo. Perhaps not as witty or acerbic, but refreshingly honest and forthright. With a passion. I have always had a soft spot for Jo. Making her way in the world. determined to be a writer (mirror mirror…) knowing that loving the wrong man would be the worst for her, and instead ending up with the man who challenged her mind. Another well- read lass, but with American sensibilities, and not quite so much “refinement”.
Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing)
This was a bit of a toss up–because it would seem quite natural to invite darling Kate to my parlor. And while I adore Kate, there is something in Beatrice that speaks to my soul. The sharpest of all tongues covering a tender heart. Prepared to enter hell as an Old Maid rather than marry to please the men in her family, she is spunky and sharp! No mooning over some silly boy at my table–nor would she tolerate it in others.
Sookie Stackhouse (The Sookie Stackhouse novels)
Now, let me be clear–I mean precisely the character from the book, and not that insipid nudist on HBO. I don’t know who that whore is, because she isn’t HALF as charming as The character created by Charlaine Harris. THAT Sookie is real, down to earth and SOUTHERN, from her charm and hospitality, to her perfect usage of the phrase “Jesus Christ, Shepard of Judea!” I might have to mix up a batch of sweet tea for our darling Sookie, but I’m sure she’ll still have delightful manners, and perhaps a saucy tale to two to tell.
Professor Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter and the gazillion incarnations)
I’m hardly a Potter head, but I have read all of the books, and Minerva always stands out for me. Oh, you can have your Snapes and Malfoys and Rita Skeeters, but I’ll take Minerva any day. There is no question to who she is or what she stands for. No mystery, no back story. Again–straightforward and honest (this time with Scottish sensibilities), she takes her work seriously, and works very hard to instill in the youth around her a solid moral compass. But she also strikes me as someone who would appreciate vigorous conversation and witty repartee. Besides, I would HAVE to invite another witch, would I not?
For me this sounds like a loverly afternoon, where one might find laughter, debate, passionate declarations, snappy come-backs, honesty and charm. And a nice Oolong. Shall I be mother?