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Thursday, September 07, 2006 

Pre-Raphaelites

I love the Pre-Raphaelites. I love the idea of them, and I adore the paintings. The idea is of an artists’ group who fought for the affections of a woman. One woman, a muse, a model, a legend. Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife, but model for so many. She’s my favourite, but I love the painting (left), William Hunt’s Isabella and a pot of basil.

My sister reminds me of the Pre-Raphaelites. It’s the way you stand in front of the painting and are awed, it’s the way they make you speechless. I fall in love with art, and I fell head over heels for the Pre-Raphaelites. Men fall in love with women, and fall head over heels for her.

When we were little I was always the pretty one. The distinction generally wasn’t made out loud by our parents, but it was made by others. It wasn’t a huge thing, it was just always there. Growing up we went through the phases; gawky, skinny, chubby, ugly, whatever. And eventually, not so long ago, we came out of it nearly finished products.

I’m pretty. I’m attractive enough to keep men, and I’m really good at provocative once I’ve got their attention. My sister? She has a wow factor like the paintings. It isn’t that she’s more gorgeous than everyone else; it isn’t that she’s stunning; it’s just that she can walk into a room and there isn’t going to be anyone else better looking. Maybe there will be someone as attractive, but even when there’s someone conventionally better, she’s still got something.

A few weeks ago I made a comment that could have been interpreted as ambiguous. The comment being: “It isn’t that I don’t want him to see other people, it’s just that I don’t like people who are prettier than me.” I don’t like people who are prettier than me. Wrong. You’re gorgeous, that’s great, I don’t care. The people I don’t like are the ones who act superior because they’re prettier than me. I.e. my sister.

I’m proud of her, I love it that when she walks past a group of men they’ll stand there mutely watching her go by, and then when she’s past one quietly says, “wow.” I’m more than happy with who I am, and I think it’s good that she’s got that, I’d love it. But she isn’t happy. When we go out it can’t just be to have fun, it’s always got to be “I can pull more people than you,” or “the guy I pulled was much more attractive than the one you did.” It’s like somehow I’m a lesser person if I don’t compete and reach the same level as her.

And what kind of level is that? She’s beautiful, why does she need to verify that to herself by being better in some way than me? I don’t want to compete. I don’t want to pull every man in a club just to prove something. If I pull then invariably it’s because I’m too drunk to know the difference, but I like to think that it’s because I like the person. When I’m sober enough it sometimes is.

Like the Pre-Raphaelites I'll watch from a distance. I can’t compete, and I would never wish to if I could because if she ever felt that I’d won she’d be broken. That’s who she is, and I won’t hurt her. But it bothers me. It bothers me that there isn’t room here for the two of us anymore. My father said it; this house no longer has room for two women, we simply can’t live together. Salt and pepper, too different, we don’t belong in the same grinder. And that hurts me. But unless I have some kind of personality transplant, I’m not sure how to change it.

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  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
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    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
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