The Not So Beautiful Game, Step 9: In Which Our Narrator Blames Everything on a Woman and is Horrified by Mental Illness
Remember how last step Style was explaining the tensions in the house full of internet Don Juans? Forget all that. “It took just one woman to bring Project Hollywood down.” Style then describes Katya, the woman in question, though he immediately reverts to calling her a girl, as in “standard-issue party girl” and foreshadows how she is going to destroy the merry band of libertines in their Hollywood mansion. One is reminded of the immortal words of Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “when [the Beatles] broke up everyone blamed Yoko, but the fact is the group split itself apart; she just happened to be there.” Joss Whedon, however, both sees women as people and is good at depicting actual people who behave in believable ways, so I’m sure Style wouldn’t like it. Back to Katya being blamed for everything, she is a woman that Mystery meets somewhere, falls desperately in love with, and then after 3 weeks of knowing her, marries her on a spontaneous jaunt to Vegas. After the marriage, Katya continues to go to clubs as is normal for her, but Mystery spends all his time in bed in his room. Style might have considered this indicative of a return/more severe continuation of Mystery’s mental health issues, had he not been busy explaining to us readers that men (who are all alike) only need gold (meaning sex) while women (who are all alike) need rocks (going out to parties and such) and because Mystery was getting gold from Katya but not giving her rocks, there were bound to be problems. I think it might be more of a problem that Mystery is sick and they obviously have different life goals and Mystery is controlling. This is evidenced when Katya thinks she is pregnant and promptly takes steps to become not pregnant. When finding out she wasn’t actually pregnant at all, she is bouncingly happy while Mystery looks at her with hatred for being willing to have an abortion. Personally, I find men who hate women who don’t want to be pregnant ridiculously unattractive, but I’m sure Style would condescendingly tell me that really I just want rocks from a man.
Regardless, there is strain between Mystery and Katya. Mystery deals with it by bringing home various other women, but it is Katya who is blameworthy for hitting on other men in the house. After Mystery gives Herbal permission to go ahead and sleep with Katya (literally, permission is the term Style uses. Ick.), Mystery decides he really is in love with Katya after all and has the mental health episode which happened back in Step 1. But in this retelling we get what Style seems to think is a large and horrifying reveal, that is, Mystery gets a prescription for pills that are labeled as being for the treatment of schizophrenia. I think we’re supposed to be horrified by this, and I am a little horrified that we’re supposed to be horrified. It’s like the Lovecraft tale in which the horrifying reveal is that the woman who was murdered and buried in the basement and now her hair is crawling around murdering people was really “a negress.” Mental health should not be a horrifying reveal any more than race or ethnicity should be. Besides which, I have a vague recollection from a gen ed psych 101 class of the professor remarking that schizophrenia is the most common diagnosis given to people at a first diagnosing who don’t have symptoms that seem to be clearly anything else, but even if I were convinced Mystery was schizophrenic, and given that he is not under regular care, and if he were I probably shouldn’t know the details, who cares exactly? Based on Style’s descriptions of Mystery, I think he is a horrible person, but I also think he needs help. Ideally from people who actually care about other people, which would not so much be Style.
The by-now mandatory name-dropping subplot is about Courtney Love, who has moved into the mansion and whom everyone admires because she doesn’t give a fuck. Her habits of living without anything regarding hygiene, to the point that she doesn’t even twist open bread bags, she just rips them apart at the top, is seen as just a symptom of this so very admirable trait of not giving a fuck. Style meets a musician in one of her bands and wishes he could meet a “girl” like that at the clubs he frequents. I suppose he could try to meet women rather than girls and targets and victims, and possibly go places other than clubs and stop seeing sex as the only possible end goal for interactions between men and women, but those things might require some revision to his pronouncements on the natures of men and women, and then he might start thinking of people as people with varying personalities that don’t map neatly onto gendered categories, and that might make for interesting writing with sympathetic characters. We can’t have that.