Name: Daphne Vanessa Roblensky (née Filliard)
Date of birth: 13 September 1980
Place of birth: Manchester, England
Year I created her: 1998
Role: Main character in ensemble cast, Quasi-Antagonist
Daphne is one of the Atlantic City characters from my own generation, and one of the characters I love to hate, who’s really fun to write. She’s only nine months my junior and graduated high school the same year I did, 1998. But there are a lot of things we don’t have in common, like Daphne’s obsession with Titanic (a movie I’m proud to say I’ve never seen and hope never to see), her anti-feminism, and her love of all those damn boygroups and poptarts MTV and the media were pimping in the wake of the pop explosion of 1997. She was also married before she was even old enough to vote.
Somewhere along the line, Daphne, the mutual granddaughter of Kit and Cinnimin, and her older sister Karyn picked up some extremely pre-modern views, particularly when it comes to women and so-called sex roles. While Karyn is at Northeastern U trying to get a Mrs. degree more than a real degree, Daphne already is a Mrs. by the time she goes off to Rowan U (in Glassboro, NJ, if you’re wondering). Although at least Karyn has a real brain underneath, and isn’t frigid.
Daphne thinks marriage is little more than playing house, and is in for a huge shock when she finally manages to get her very reluctant father’s permission to wed underage. This girl can’t even do laundry, cook, clean, or budget. Not only that, but right before her very unpopular wedding, the ghost of her thirteen-greats-grandma, Jennifer Lennon- Zargovich, places a curse on her. Part of the curse includes a miserable, unconsummated marriage. A few months later, Jennifer (who’s regularly haunting Daphne, but not as a nefarious spirit) gives her some curses that go along with blessings. One of these curses is that her marriage will end in divorce once she turns 32.
Daphne and her husband, Berus Roblensky (the late-life youngest child of penultimate Roblensky sibling Maia), are living in an efficiency that’s not much bigger than the stateroom in A Night at the Opera. They can’t even have sex, since Daphne is suffering from what turns out to be vaginismus. Everyone knows about the unconsummated marriage, and she’s the butt of many jokes, both at home and on the Glassboro campus. While she’s visiting her dream sorority during Rush Week, wearing a fancy outfit that looks completely out of place, two of her rivals from back home, cousins Brittany and Alexis Vandervelt (the grandchildren of Julieanna’s maternal cousins), tell the entire sorority lots of dirt about her, including the unconsummated marriage. Shortly after she has her dream of being a sorority girl crushed, Berus finally finds his balls and walks out on her. Daphne is furious to be left alone in the efficiency, but she gets a job and starts hatching a plan to win back her husband during the separation.
Some of out of touch Daphne’s typical lines:
“I don’t care what the politically correct ball-crushing feminists think! I’m going to sign my checks, put my name in classwork, and introduce myself as Mrs. Berus!”
“I don’t need to run a house,” Daphne asserted. “That’s what servants are for.”
“Planning ahead isn’t romantic! And besides, condos come already furnished and with dishes.”
“Whatever, I’m not the one who denies my femininity by wearing pants and being in junior ROTC.”
“And this is why you’ll never have a husband. You’ll probably have to crawl in shame to the sperm bank because no man would want a woman who makes love to nine instruments all day long.”
“Oh, whatever, I’m not the one dating a dyslexic.”
“The Greens will always have more money than the Vandervelts,” Daphne said smugly as Alexis fiddled with a tanzanite bracelet. “My family could’ve easily gotten me a diamond bracelet. Colored stones look cheap anyway.”
“It looks like a clown cake. Proper society women never make their own food anyway, but if they had to, they wouldn’t put so much food coloring in! The cake looks like a kindergarten exploded!”
“Oh, Great-Great-Aunt Lucinda was born in 1910! She went to the movies when dinosaurs practically roamed the earth! Any sensible person knows that all the handsomest actors are from today, not seventy or eighty years ago.”
“I don’t need to see or touch it, since we’ll be in the dark, and it’s most improper for a lady to touch unmentionables.”
“We only do brief closed-mouthed kissing. What am I, some ho?”
“I didn’t want to reciprocate, but I knew it was my marital obligation. It felt so embarrassing and weird. I think I’m still recovering from that traumatic moment when I first saw his—uh—his—you know—”
“Male iceskaters are gay,” Daphne said in disgust. “And who rollerskates anymore?”
Daphne extended her hand and smiled back. “I’m Mrs. Berus Roblensky.”
“Only bad girls like that! I don’t even care about foreplay. Just push it in and be done with it.”
“Respectable women derive their security and identity through a man! My title means something to me!”
“What do they know! They both went on birth control before even having sex! Only bad girls plan ahead!”
“I’m not supposed to make a lot of money! Decent ladies only work on the side for extra cash if they need to!”
“I’m a freshman. My name is Daphne.” It was like nails on a chalkboard to not call herself Mrs. Berus Roblensky, but she know it would be the difference between forfeiting her last chance at making friends here.