Daily Archives: April 30, 2007

Electra and Oedipus on a date

Oedipus and Electra read the same books. Their playlists are very similar, just categorized and played differently. In fact they grew up a few miles from each other. And their parents may have met…they belong to the same circles. They’re both talkers and listeners. They are successful, friendly, well-liked by their peers and have full lives. They are also both single. And looking. Then they find each other.

Eyes meet from across a room and the words fly like sparks. They’ve both been schooled in the art of making impressions by using their minds. And they were both good students. Besides…Electra is wearing Oedipus’ favorite colour (actually it’s the one he’s grown up seeing most often on a certain other woman) while Electra finds his well-ironed shirt topped by a messy mop…most endearing. (Uh…he’d probably fit exactly into that shirt she bought last Sunday for dad).

Electra makes the first move. It’s the new millennium after all! She doesn’t of course realize that Oedipus’ momma would never have done something like that. Besides pa always taught her to go for what she wanted. What’s more…its high time she got away from the bad boys (actually she never really liked them that much….they were just a fun way to annoy mum when she was in her strict “be home by 8” phase)

Oedipus, for his part, jolted by the vision of loveliness turned strangely unclassifiable in his eyes since she doesn’t behave like a woman (like mama!)…pauses and accepts. Intrigued and hooked by the thrill of the chase….there must be some glory in capturing the brightly-coloured loud-voiced bird too after all!! (Oh and dad, you were wrong, pretty girls can be smart….you had some in your heyday didn’t you? Try topping this one…she’d be too smart to fall for your lines but she liked me!)

Electra smiles in delight and a mistaken sense of her own triumph over old-fashioned standards. After all, papa is always proud of the girl who’s as good as the boys. Uh oh….how come she doesn’t realize that’s because papa isn’t one of those boys?

So they dine. And wine. And laugh. And talk.

Oedipus is having fun but he can’t quite figure out where to place his playmate now. What to do with a woman he can’t take home to mama? And umm….there are those moments when he isn’t sure of the ground he’s standing on at all which makes him feel quite ridiculous. Pop never had that problem, after all mum and he understood each other so well. But Electra….silly woman runs away from those gestures he thought were so romantic, she doesn’t blush coyly the way mum did.

Electra wonders what’s happening too. Oedipus was so promising. Smart, unshaken by her energy, strong in his own sense of himself. She’d actually come to think she might feel safe with him. But suddenly he lapses into moody silences. He doesn’t seem to approve of her behavior but he doesn’t bother telling her why. And one day he vanishes. Or walks off with another woman. Or just explodes in a sudden tantrum that both disgusts and frightens her. A real man isn’t supposed to behave that way, she reasons. And hardens her heart and herself to the next Oedipus.

Then she asks herself the age-old question.

How come no man ever measures up to dad?

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