The Secret Origins of Wiffy
Howard Russell

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Hello Everybody,

Who was the first to see the subtext? It’s hard to say at this late date but here are the three main contenders I could find:

I found a copyright date for “Bizarre Love Triangle” by Janet F. Caires-Lesgold: 19 March 1998. One year and nine days from the premiere of the series she recognized that Willow wanted Buffy.

“Louder Than Words” by Kimly was written during the summer of 1998. Again, it’s more that Willow wants Buffy.

Pink Rabbit’s page from 03 December 1998 (Thanks Wayback Machine!) has “Spin, Spinning, Spun Out: A Tale of Love, Lust, Hormones, and Empty Coke Bottles.” It’s not tagged as a new story then but that’s the earliest that the Wayback Machine has her site archived. Only she could say when it was written. It bears the distinction of being the first Buffy fic on her site. This one is more of a mutual attraction, maybe the first to see it that way.

There’s one, maybe two, possibly three fics written during or immediately after the second season. Right in the midst of or during the aftermath of the canon B/A. All of them written before Willow’s famous “I think I’m kinda gay.” line. Wiffy goodness early on.

“Bizarre Love Triangle” by Janet F. Caires-Lesgold:
“Louder Than Words” by Kimly:
“Spin, Spinning, Spun Out: A Tale of Love, Lust, Hormones, and Empty Coke Bottles.” by Pink Rabbit:

For myself, I got into Wiffy very late. After the series ended, I wanted more—so I began reading fanfiction on the web. At first I read fairly conventional adventures before I found the ’shippers. I tried B/S but only found the same BS from the show. (No, that’s not a typo.) I found some B/A that I liked but that quickly led to the classic CWC smut. Still not very satisfying.

Then I discovered the unconventional ’ships! Wow! B/Giles, B/Faith, B/Cordelia, W/Cordelia—couples and triads and moresomes galore. It was time I started being choosier. Looking for recommended fics, I soon discovered Pink Rabbit’s Subtext Zone where I read my first B/W. I was instantly hooked. Out of every ’ship I’d read, Wiffy just makes sense to me. They’re perfect for each other. I began scouring the Web for more Wiffy. Eventually I ended up here on the Yahoo! Group, Buffy Wants Willow.

In my humble opinion, that Willow wants Buffy is practically canon. Let’s see, who have we seen Willow share onscreen smoochies with? Oz, the first boy to notice her; Xander, her best friend; Tara, a blonde female; and Kennedy, a slayer (potential). The odds that she wants to kiss the first girl to notice her: her blonde, female best friend, the slayer are pretty darn high. And I love Willow so I want her to get what she wants. Add in the fact that all of Buffy’s canon ’ships sucked ass and that I’d like her to have someone who’d appreciate her—pretty much Willow or Xander for that. But I like Willow a lot more. :) And they’d be blisteringly hot together. Sorry, I am a guy after all.

Anyone who says that Buffy is unrelentingly straight missed the third season—“Bad Girls” in particular. I don’t think she’s been secretly gay all this time, but she’s definitely thought about it. People like to make a big deal about Buffy’s freak when Willow told her about Tara. “Bah!” I say. Let me tell you a true story:

One of my best friends I met in Boot Camp. We were in the same training program for the next two years. While he never dated in that time, Naval Nuclear Power School is an intense and difficult school so he wasn’t alone in not dating. Like many, he had a difficult time. Forty hours a week in school with another forty-five hours of required—and supervised—additional study isn’t very conductive to a social life. But in our free time we talked. We told each other of past girlfriends: names, places, activities. We bonded as best friends do.

After graduation we were stationed on different ships in different ports. I made new friends off base. A number of these new friends were gay because I became involved in a local theatre. I’d never had a problem with gays so we became close friends, despite my shipmates’ vocal objections. I also learned that some of my other shipmates were themselves gay, and that they were pleased to know someone they could admit that to. The man who slept across from me in my quarters was gay and it was never a point of friction between us. I met his boyfriend and occasionally contributed to his deception—publicly verifying the existence of his “girlfriend.” I was Mr. Straight Guy advocating integrating the armed forces on my ship while secretly knowing that said integration had already occurred. I even attended rights marches and other pride events in the company of my friends—I’ve always believed in equality.

After we got out of the Navy, my best friend and I reconnected. We went to the same college to be close to each other again and ended up rooming together. He learned of my earlier adventures with the gay community and my best friend, of now five years, finally got the courage to come out to me—turns out that he’d never admitted it to anyone before.

I freaked more than Buffy did. In no way was I horrified that he was gay nor did I suddenly have a problem with cohabitation with a homosexual. It was three things: One, shocked because I had no clue. Two, hurt that I’d been lied to for all those years. And three, disappointment that I didn’t know my best friend as well as I’d thought. Like Buffy, I quickly accepted and moved on. It has never been a big deal and we remain the best of friends to this day. I am doubly blessed in that I have two best friends; so I can freely say, “Some of my best friends are gay.” One out of two is some. :)

That’s how I always took Buffy’s reaction: shock, hurt, and disappointment—not homophobia. Her having any “kinda gay” tendencies in no way invalidates her being shocked that Willow isn’t as straight as she always appeared. If she ever had any late night fantasies about Willow, her shock is even more understandable. The lost opportunities . . . .

Some of you may wonder that I can be interested in Wiffy while drawing parallels between their canon relationship and my own. Well, I’m not Buffy and he’s not Willow. And if we were, I’d’ve made a move by now. :)

Your fellow ’shipper,
Howard Russell

P.S. Of course, there is a reason for all of the ’shipping in Buffy:
“ALL the relationships on the show are sort of romantic
(hence the B Y O Subtext principle.)”
— Joss Whedon

P.P.S. Re: the quad scene from the very first episode. Willow looks at Buffy’s cleavage THREE times on camera. Quick glances, to be sure, but fairly telling, right from the very first episode.
That Willow wants Buffy is practically canon.
That Buffy Wants Willow is our vision.

Grrr . . . Argh.

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