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Love etc

Hemingway’s less macho side

The author with his fourth wife, Mary. Underwood Archives/Getty Images

A notorious big-game hunter, drinker, and ladies’ man, Ernest Hemingway was “masculinity in hyperbole”, says Mary Katharine Tramontana in Esquire. But the author was also “an explorer of gender fluidity in the bedroom – both in his literature and his life”, according to Ken Burns’s latest documentary, Hemingway. His “androgynous” mind-set can perhaps be traced back to his early childhood, when his mother enjoyed twinning him and his older sister, dressing them identically as boys or girls.

In the film, biographer Mary Dearborn says Hemingway “really had a thing about androgyny and he liked to switch sex roles in bed”. His fourth wife, Mary Welsh Hemingway, “cut her hair short and bleached it platinum because it excited him, and sometimes pretended she was a boy and he was a girl”. Hemingway wrote that Mary “loves me to be her girls, which I love to be”. Gender-switching roleplay features in his novel The Garden of Eden, which he deemed “too sexually adventurous” to be published in his lifetime, but was released in 1986, 25 years after his death.

A sticky situationship 

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For some the early stages of romantic relationships are mysterious and exciting, says Carolyn Steber in the online women’s magazine Bustle. For me they’re a minefield. I’m talking about those not quite official relationships, or “situationships”. A situationship occurs when two people act as though they are a couple without making any actual commitment to each other. Common side effects include “frustration, stress, and near-constant confusion as to whether or not you’re a couple”.

The trouble with situationships is that they’re nearly always one-sided, meaning “someone’s needs go unmet”. So how do you get out of one? “Since lack of communication is one of the defining qualities of a situationship, the best way to figure out what’s happening is by – you guessed it – communicating.” Be honest sooner rather than later or “you’ll end up in a stickier, um, situation”.