Great Expectations: Mentor Essay from “The Babyproofer” I’m supposed to be getting a bracelet. That’s what Sydney said, after suggestions of giant chocolate hearts and neck-bending statement baubles. On a day like this, I can’t not expect a loving gift from my loving boyfriend. And I will like it. How can I not, after listening to a panicked lecture from my best friend last Saturday on the great art of gold-digging while in a relationship. She means well. I am a female, after all, and as such I must be the one to expect gaudy favors from my desperately affectionate male counterpart. The eighty dollar bill to Charming Charlie is nothing when one considers what it takes to buy my love. And what better day on which to express recognition of this love than one created to celebrate a romantic martyr. I am, after all, a martyr in my own adoration. Adoration of gifts, that is. I will expect gifts on this day, I will accept gifts on this day, and I will like it. Upon his insistence, I asked the boyfriend for a gift of chocolate on this special day. No, says my eager advisor to the romantic cause, that’s not good enough. God forbid my request be inexpensive, I am told, and God forbid it be anything obtained through a two-minute drive to the supermarket. This day is a work day for men; I must use it to my full gluttonous advantage, demanding he bring me diamonds and flower bouquets. Flowers, I say, okay, flowers. Oh no, that’s not right, I am reminded. Flowers may wilt, and they’re cheap, and why request sweet carnations when the possibility of Swarovski crystals looms? The boyfriend, of course, was delighted with the idea. Why daffodils, he asked, when I could bring you diamonds? Why diamonds, I asked, when they’ll end up next week somewhere in a box. I don’t wear diamonds.
I could wear diamonds, however. I should, seeing as this bright little day in the middle of the doldrums of February demands expense and extravagance. I should, seeing as itâ€™s a good girlfriend thing to do. I should, seeing as I'm not really a woman until I've pressured a member of the hapless male gender into expending his monthly paycheck for the sake of my pleasure. The thing is, I do like chocolate. And I do like hearts and necklaces, and lovely flowers, especially roses with crisp edges and artificially smooth stems. And I do like my boyfriend, who in turn likes giving me gifts. I digress. So on this day of love, the boyfriend is arriving in the evening. With him he is most likely bringing a gift, because thatâ€™s what I should expect him to do. Itâ€™s what I do expect him to do, now. And I will like it. I'm thinking about the possibility of a bracelet, which I will flaunt daily, or a pound of fine chocolate, which I will consume while wearing pink yoga pants and watching that show about dramatic girls who become models. I'm looking forward to it. I'm sitting here cautiously, too, because I need to look perfect for when he presents me with something expectedly extravagant and then makes me dinner. I'm practicing my passive appreciation face. I like it. I must.
Sarcasm Understatement Grotesque Repetition Overstatement “Snappy” isolated statements Rhetorical questions Indirect dialogue Reflection I think I had a pretty good attempt at mimicking the style of Larry Doyle in my essay. It was fairly similar to the original in that it critiques a social norm; instead of satirizing overprotection of children it satirizes the cultural convention of women expecting huge romantic gestures on Valentine’s Day. I think my sense of humor—lots of sarcasm, in typical teenagerlike form—helped me a lot in writing this essay. Also, it turned out to be helpful that I couldn’t think of anything else to write about except for Valentine’s Day, because I had a lot to say about it. I think one way in which my essay was different from Doyle’s was that I left less unsaid, with more explicit statements than it seemed Doyle used. One way I did well in mimicking, I think, is demonstrated in the quotation “I should, seeing as this bright little day in the middle of the doldrums of February demands expense and extravagance. I should, seeing as it’s a good girlfriend thing to do. I should, seeing as I'm not really a woman until I've pressured a member of the hapless male gender into expending his monthly paycheck for the sake of my pleasure.” While the style of writing is a bit more biting than Doyle’s, the sarcasm is there as well as repetition and the short-short-long sentence pattern. At another point in the essay, the mimicry is
weaker in my attempt at the “isolated statement” type writing which Doyle often utilizes, when I say, “Flowers, I say, okay, flowers. ” It’s not as snappy as a declaration of “Dead baby” or “The babyproofer needed a $10,000 retainer” (Doyle 1). I liked it anyway, since it was a first try and fun to write.