Eleven Thoughts About Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth Salander is always willing to fuck you. That's what makes her Lisbeth Salander. You know it, from the first page. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

My old boss used to compare me to Lisbeth Salander. My old boss never understood why I did not take this as a compliment. After all, Lisbeth Salander is hot. "Not that you're a sociopath!" she would say. "Just, you know, you're thin, and you have so many tattoos. And your clothes." If I remember correctly--it's been a long time, since I read the Lisbeth Salander book--Lisbeth Salander only has one tattoo, a dragon, placed in a becoming manner upon her bony shoulder. Lisbeth Salander definitely does not have a stick-and-poke banner (empty) from the night she drank a fifth of Wild Turkey with her friend Matt and decided to commemorate the occasion, or a procession of wobbly broken hearts up the inside of her calf from the time she let her friend's ex-junkie lover practice on her with his new tattoo gun. Lisbeth Salander does not have her dead cat's name inside a heart over her hip, or a flight of shorebirds winging their way from her knees to her hipbones--the first tattoo I paid real money for, and the best tattoo I have ever seen, if I do say so myself. Stick and poke banners: not sexy. At all. Believe me. It's tiny, at least. My old boss used to compare me to Lisbeth Salander, and then she would make me go get her coffee. Small latte, not too hot, two sugars. Look at me: I still remember.

Lisbeth Salander is skinny. Frail-skinny, bird-boned skinny, so that when you fuck Lisbeth Salander you think: Not so tough. I could break you. Fuckable damaged girls are always skinny in books by men; fat girls are a different kind of damaged. Which is to say, unlovable. Remember that, the next time you tell someone Lisbeth Salander is strong.

Here's what most women I know who have been raped did to the person who raped them: Nothing. There's not much you can do. If there were, most women I know probably wouldn't have been raped. I worked once, more than ten years ago now, with a woman who shot her abuser. She's still in jail. He's fine.

You're the only one who sees it, the woman inside the monster. Like Beauty and the Beast. Give her a rose and she's yours. Lisbeth Salander will never look for the beauty in herself. That's your job, tiger.

The posters are up for the Lisbeth Salander movie. They're everywhere, in all the subway tunnels. Not the famously controversial one, where Lisbeth Salander is naked and gazes defiantly at the camera as James Bond grabs her boobs. This one is just the side of her head, with James Bond inside it. I don't think it's supposed to be symbolic, that there's a dude in there.

The Lisbeth Salander clothes store on Gansevoort is only open for three days. I went yesterday, the first day. It was full of Italian girls in Uggs. The store has a fake library and flashing lights and a dj. Real comprehensive look. In New York they call this a curated environment. I got some pretty sick plastic pants even though I keep telling myself no more sweatshop clothes. They're not very well-made. I'm kind of thinking about going back today and getting another pair, for when they fall apart. Is that weird? Maybe that's weird. It's just that they look so good.

Lisbeth Salander is not an actual person, although she reminds me a lot of Lara Croft.

Lisbeth Salander is crazy, Lisbeth Salander is broken. Lisbeth Salander doesn't know kindness. Until you come along. You. Yes, you. Lisbeth Salander is waiting for you, to show her the mysteries of her own heart. Lisbeth Salander: incomplete without you. You'll find yourself attracted to her, despite her prickly demeanor; underneath it all, she's really rather pretty, although she doesn't think so. Tell her she's a babe! She'll growl, but secretly she'll be pleased. There's a soft spot in there, just waiting for you to find it. Draw it out, with your compassion. Feed her a square meal. Lisbeth Salander is a stray you can take home. Pick the burrs out of her matted coat and brush her until her fur shines. Lisbeth Salander is cleverer than you but by the end of the book that won't matter. Lisbeth Salander just needs to fall in love. You--yes, you--can be the only man who makes her real.

I've known some strong women. Feral, my friend Dirt's forest-activist girlfriend, who u-locked herself by the neck to a bulldozer on a forest stand that was about to be clearcut and lived on a platform in the trees for months at a time. Later she went to work on the Greenpeace boat and after that she sailed around the world. I had a brief delusional moment where I considered forest activism, until Dirt told me you have to poop in a bucket. In front of other people. That's the thing about the platform: You can't come down. My friend NoƩlia, who grew up in the middle of the desert with a dad who beat the shit out of her and brothers who did other, worse things, who was hooked on meth by the time she was fifteen, which is around when she met the boyfriend who spent the next ten years trying to kill her. Now she is a lawyer who does pro bono work for undocumented women; in her free time, she started a social justice organization. My friends who have hopped trains alone across the country, hitchhiked solo from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, bicycled alone from Morocco to Ulaan Bataar, my friends who are social workers and activists and artists and revolutionaries and lovers and fighters, fighters, fighters. Me. Not to toot my own horn, but I am pretty fucking strong. I guess "Is awesome, loves self, probably won't have sex with you" would make for a pretty short book, though. Or at least, not a compelling one. Because it wouldn't be about men.

My friend Meg and I are looking for an intern, to go see the Lisbeth Salander movie and take screenshots of Lisbeth Salander's clothes. Not during the rape or torture scenes, please. If you're interested, let me know.