Thursday, 10 March 2011

Clean Monday, Stunning Corfu and Why I Am TiRed of Alpha Men

Greeting all from a cold Corfu,

Yes, my husband definately married me under false pretenses. Corfu does get cold and then some. I just can't believe it decided to pick Spring in which to do it. Typically Greek that; perverse. So, it's the start of Lent and Monday saw my friends and I troop off for the grand annual kite flying and picnic. As is tradition in the Orthodox faith, from clean Monday {Καθαρά Δευτέρα}nothing is supposed to be eaten that contains blood.

Isaiah 1:1-20), which says, in part:

Wash yourselves and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well. Seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, I will make them white as wool

Wikipedia can explain it better than I:
Clean Monday is a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus, where it is celebrated with outdoor excursions, the consumption of shellfish and other fasting food[2], a special kind of azyme bread, baked only on that day, named "lagana" (Greek: λαγάνα) and the widespread custom of flying kites. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is traditionally forbidden to Orthodox Christians throughout Lent, with fish being eaten only on major feast days, but shellfish is permitted in European denominations. This has created the tradition of eating elaborate dishes based on seafood (shellfish, molluscs, fish roe etc.). Traditionally, it is considered to mark the beginning of the spring season, a notion which was used symbolically in Ivan Bunin's critically acclaimed story, Pure Monday. People on Clean Monday usually take their picnic baskets and put inside fasting foods because it is the day that Lent begins.
The happy, springtime atmosphere of Clean Monday may seem at odds with the Lenten spirit of repentance and self-control, but this seeming contradiction is a marked aspect of the Orthodox approach to fasting, in accordance with the Gospel lesson (Matthew 6:14-21) read on the morning before, which admonishes:

When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face, that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret... (v. 16-18).

In this manner, the Orthodox celebrate the fact that "The springtime of the Fast has dawned, the flower of repentance has begun to open..

So, quick theological lesson over, I am happy to report, we had a lovely day. It was cold, with a biting wind but the rain stayed off long enough.

So on to the question of the week:

Alpha men? I hate them. Now, don’t get me wrong, here. I love strong, handsome guys as well as the next woman/man. How could I not when such godly delights as Gerard Butler and Russell Crowe and Daniel Craig roam this earth in human form. BUT, what do these three guys have in common? Think of their most famous roles?
Russell Crowe – Gladiator. Strong, brave, loyal, ready to kill for the freedom of men and yet, emotionally, he was a destroyed man. The loss of his wife and child meant he no longer had the will to live and did so only to exact revenge. Who can forget that moment when he falls to his knees and weeps for his dead wife and child?
Gerard Butler – 300. Oh Spartans don’t come any tougher. {Those bodies in leather underpants. I will never be the same again}. Ah but do you remember the tender love scene with his wife when he admits he doesn’t know what to do?
Daniel Craig – James Bond. Why is Casino Royale my favourite Bond film? {Apart from the delectable Daniel}. Because we are allowed to see his vulnerability. We find out, for the first time, what it was that shaped his character.
I look for the same criteria in my romance books – in ones I write and read. I want my men to shed a tear occasionally, I want them to be kind to animals, children and defend the underdog always. I want them to be emotionally flawed, human, make mistakes and sometimes-bad judgment calls but, above all, my hero needs to admit he is in love. No more macho crap, boys please: we all know you are the weaker sex. I do not want a tattooed, bear-swilling redneck nor do I want the kind of man who – let’s be honest here – all too often grace the cover of torrid romances. Boy next door is good, as is nerd, at times. Personally, I find Sheldon from Big Bang Theory very cute and oddly sexy. So I am weird. So, to sum up, no more macho crap, boys please: we all know you are the weaker sex.


{My little Shelly}


  1. I've never thought of the 'alpha male'as being arrogant and conceited. That's just the posturing some men do. I look at them as the 'natural leaders' who take charge with quiet authority.

  2. Although Alpha heroes are more widespread, I believe sensitive and caring works too.