The Nesting Habits of the Thesis!Bird…

Meli just posted a photo of her academic workspace- I like the look of the desk, with the glass top and space to slide things under it :). My desk is rather boring, having only a computer, pens, a phone, a box of tea, and assorted Things I Have Not Yet Put Away lurking on it.

Instead, have a photo of the nest I had built for myself in the college library last weekend:

It looks quite spacious, but that’s because I was the only person left down there when I took the photo. For most of the weeked, K had her essay-fortifications built opposite me, and various other people were occupying the far end of the table.

On the far end of the desk, observe my review copy of the new Brepols book on Old English Homilies:

I was sitting here at 2am, minding my own business and thesis-ing away into the wee hours of Sunday morning… when my solitude was interrupted by two stark-naked men, whose clothes had apparently been stolen by a college resident. They saw fit to sit down and have a long-drawn out chat with me, while various senior sorts of residents tried to extract information like who the hell were they, why were they here, and how precisely did they intend to get home while stark naked?

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14 Responses to “The Nesting Habits of the Thesis!Bird…”

  1. Hannah Kilpatrick Says:

    … You know, that never happens to me when I’m studying.

    I must be doing something wrong. Or perhaps Sydney simply has a higher rate of naked men per library.

  2. highlyeccentric Says:

    All things considered, I wish Sydney had a lower rate of naked men… but then, that’s what I get for living in college. Too many naked men, and all the wrong kinds.

  3. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    I told you, it’s that helmet… But, um, yes. Not quite my study experience either.

  4. highlyeccentric Says:

    No, this is quite the first! Some friends and I were chased across a bridge by a pack of naked men in first year- we lost them by splitting up in the corridors beyond.

    And THIS year I had a bunch of clothed guys decide that it was a good intimidation tactic to line up outside my door and recite quotes from The Hobbit in an intimidating fashion.

    But this was definitely the first time I’ve had a long-drawn out conversation with a naked man while studying.
    Wait. Make that a naked man I didn’t already KNOW.

  5. kishnevi Says:

    Enjoy it while you can. Once you’re a professor, naked men don’t casually sit down with you quite so often.

    Must admit that no one ever sat down naked with me while I was studying. But that may have something to do with the fact that I used to study in the library, not the dorm. Also, I spent my last two years in a co-ed dorm; where, paradoxically, moral standards were markedly higher than they were in the single-sex dorms. The fact that a pair of ladies lived next door seems to have kept us males on our best behavior.

  6. Larry Swain Says:

    Fortunately, I’ve never sat with a naked man while studying. Unfortunately, I’ve never sat with a naked woman while studying either, though for me that would probably mean I wouldn’t be studying for long.

    In other news….I’m insanely jealous about the homily book….I can’t afford that one yet!

  7. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    I often wonder, I do, how this topos, that naked men are a pain to the vision in a way that naked women are not, fits with gendertyping. It seems to imply that the same heterosexual women whom the (usually male) observer in question would prefer to see naked, are somehow lacking in taste and therefore intelligence for liking men back. Surely this is not how a species procreates, though it might be how a patriarchy is maintained. ANYWAY. My candid opinion is that nakedness and study do not help each other at all, even if the same person is doing both, but especially if different parties are involved.

    However, instead I shall tell you a story of a party held by a friend of mine, where in a few farflung corners of the house things got a little abstracted between one or two couples, and she had to step over one pair to get into her room. This was not the good bit, though, as her housemate later came upstairs to see said couple break from the clinch in order for one to say, “But seriously, I do think you’re engaging with the politics and not the country” before resuming, as he put it, ‘eatin’ the faces off each other’. Drunk humanities students for victory!

  8. highlyeccentric Says:

    Kishnevi: I shall look forward to both professorhood and co-ed living for JUST those reasons.

    Larry: *grins* it’s a very nice blue book… and I’m incredibly smug about having it!

    Jonathan: Ahaha! Drunken humanities students ARE for the victory.

    I often wonder, I do, how this topos, that naked men are a pain to the vision in a way that naked women are not, fits with gendertyping.
    Well… it definitely IS a social constructy thing. Consider the Greeks, who were all happily appreciatin’ male beauty.
    I think it’s in part that society as a whole idealises whatever contemporary men find attractive or admirable. Thanks to our old friend the patriarchy, you can hit two birds with one stone: display a naked woman, and men will think she’s attractive, and WOMEN will think she’s admirable because she’s attractive to men.
    There’s also the fact that men have a stronger social pass to ogle, perhaps? Not that women don’t ogle, but it’s less acceptable to talk about it. There ARE plenty of girls who rush out of their rooms cheering when the boys’ college nudie run goes past. I am simply more discreet in my ogling 😛
    Naked men might be more attractive if they struck heroic poses, rather than running around yelling. Run around while naked and all you have to show for it is a highly unattractive bounce factor. Naked women might also be similarly impaired, but most women know better than to run around bouncing without a sports bra on.

  9. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    “Thankyou for your support: I shall always wear it” and so on. Boys’ college nudie run? I don’t think I’ll surprise you if I say that really, this is not something that happens in Cambridge. (No boys-only colleges for a start.)

    As to the meta-topic, I think your idealisation factor is spot-on, but I’m not sure it serves to explain why the naked male is thought unsightly (bouncing and last-turkey-in-the-shop cases not withstanding, for the species’s sake that’s got to be surmountable). I think that sometimes at least what powers it is that men feel they have to refute any such possibility for fear of being taken to be gay. But I’ve never worked out whether I can also blame homophobia on the patriarchy, except in as much as in this line at least the same stigma doesn’t arise over same-sex appreciation among women.

    Yes, yes, I’m over-thinking, it’s this or book revisions and reference-begging e-mail you see.

  10. highlyeccentric Says:

    Hmm… You’re right. I’m slightly tipsy so my coherency is going out the window, though. I think you’re right about the homophobia aspect, but there’s also old-fashioned patriarchy at work. Women, it seems to be agreed, are routinely objectified as sex objects, objects of beauty, etc. Maybe men sensibly don’t want to do that to their own gender? After all, as soon as you start objectifying your own gender you’re wondering how you measure up. (This is not to say that men aren’t objectified in OTHER ways, or don’t have to measure up in other ways.)

    I find it highly interesting that so many *women* find m/m slash fascinating (self included). And slash art, too, so evidently large portions of the net do not find the naked male form unattractive. On the one hand, it’s- we’re- evidently objectifying men for our own pervy ends. On the other, why don’t women want to read/see women in fanporn and erotic fanart nearly so often as they do men?

    YEAH. I’m drunk, and this is where my brain goes. Watch me destroy my academic respectability 😛

  11. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    Well, I’d still hire you, but it’s well-documented where I am on this whole question 😛 And there as here, I had to be desperately careful with my wording so as not to look any more like a slavering pervert than was unavoidable. But this, even this is gendered; the male is assumed to be more sexually aggressive so male interest in such things is so often assumed to be predatory, whereas while I’ve certainly heard women, even academic women, described as predatory, I don’t think there’s the same assumption that, if a woman voices bawdy approval of some piece of well-shaped maleness, she’s going to come on to him crudely within the next five minutes as there would be if a man told her she was ‘a bit of all right’.

    On your other points, I think you’re right or don’t have answers. I did try and frame some but had to delete every attempt as being Too Much Information. I may have hit the discretion buffers; sorry it took so long to happen…

  12. highlyeccentric Says:

    oooh, a Discretion Buffer. I desperately need some of those, where do you suppose I should find them? 😛

  13. Jonathan Jarrett Says:

    I think your best option is still to link whatever you say to Gawain and the Green Knight somehow, or if necessary to scholarship on it; you seem to be able to find precedent for most things in that text…

  14. highlyeccentric Says:

    Hehe… SGGK is listed as its own fandom in the Yuletide festival (big end-of-year fanfic secret santa thing). So yes, I can definitely link it back. But I feel that might jeopardise my credibility when I put on my SRS face and talk about queer theory analyses :P.


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