Whumpers: a manual
Congratulations! You are now the proud partner of a whumper. This guide will –
"Hang on. A whumper? I thought she was a nice, normal person. I think I'm going to reconsider"
No! Stop it! Don't run away! Don't believe the lies peddled in the newspapers. Whumpers are not dangerous. Whumpers do not maul babies in the street, and pummel their loved ones. Whumpers do not have glowing red eyes and fangs. Whumpers are, in fact, completely safe and house-trained, and capable of great love and affection.
"But don't whumpers torture the person they most love?"
Well, yes… but only the fictional character they most love. Whumpers are not stupid, you see. They know the difference between fictional and real. They hurt the fictional characters they most love; they don't hurt the real people they most love – or, indeed, anyone. Think of the fictional whump target as a dog's chew toy or a clockwork mouse filled with catnip. A dog will chew a chew toy, but refrain from chewing your arm off. A cat will murder a clockwork mouse, but are famous for living in happy harmony with… real… er… mice?
"But how do I know I'm not fictional?"
Now you're just getting silly. Or profound and philosophical. Or maybe you're in a meta fanfic…
No, don't be silly. You're real, okay? Now let's get on with this.
Congratulations! You are now the proud partner of a whumper. This guide will help you get the most out of your new relationship and will, we hope, lead you to have many happy years together. No-one can have missed the few high-profile tragic cases recently of whump relationships that ended badly. Several whumpers have been abandoned beside highways, leading to our "A whumper is for life, not just for the hiatus" TV campaign. Then, of course, there have was that awful case last spring of the whumper who felt compelled by her husband's anti-whump bigotry to keep her true proclivities secret. When her husband discovered, he over-reacted, leading to… Well, everyone knows the tragic result of this. Most people won't have access to llamas, so that particular tragedy is likely to be one of a kind, but similar cases of betrayal and misunderstanding happen every day. This guide aims to prevent this.
"Okay. So how do I keep my whumper happy so she won't bludgeon me?"
For the last time, she won't bludgeon you, no matter how provoking you are. Are you even listening? Are you just skimming this guide, the way people skim licence agreements, then click "I agree." Now go back and read this whole guide again.
"Sorry. Done that now. I was… um… a little bit distracted by… um… planning how to keep my darling whumper happy with… er… romantic treats. Talking about romantic treats: how do I best make my whumper happy? How do I provide for her and maintain her?"
Firstly, it's not 1950. Your whumper is quite capable of maintaining herself, thank you very much. However, any relationship thrives on the mutual giving of happiness and little treats. In which case you're onto a winner here. Whumpers are exceedingly easy to please.
"Trips to Paris? Expensive underwear? A dream kitchen?"
Seriously, why about a kitchen when you could be dreaming about whump? (Mmm. Kitchen-related whump. Knives. Killer dishwashers. Graters. Mmm…) No, really, none of these are needed. All that's needed to send your whumper into paroxysms of delight is a tiny hint that their fictional whump target is going to be hurt in an episode in six months time.
"So my partner's entire happiness rests in the hands of writers and producers that she's never met. That makes me feel a bit powerless and useless, as if her entire happiness lies in the hands of strangers."
Well, yes, that's true to a certain extent, but many other things can make your whumper overjoyed. Pictures of existing whump moments. Vids. Fanfics. The really astute and attentive whumper's partner will notice which images she particularly likes, and will print them out and leave them scattered around the house – perhaps presenting her with one instead of roses on Valentine's Day. He is advised to keep several such pictures with him at all times. Waving one in front of his partner at times of crisis can diffuse many a domestic argument.
"Can't I just send The Boys round to the writers and beat them up until they promise to put in whump in every episode?"
No! What part of this don't you get: fictional whump good; real whump bad.
"So I'll just make up fake whump-filled spoilers,
No! Few things leave a whumper more angry and dismayed than a false spoiler that does not deliver. If you make up a false spoiler, your whumper will distribute it across the internet within seconds. When its falsity is revealed, you will have hundreds of whumpers wailing and depressed… and angry. Angry with you. Do you really want this?
"But… but… I thought you said whumpers were safe!"
Whumpers are safe and harmless. They won't actually hurt you. However, they have deadly stares and they know all about creating angst. Just saying.
"So how else does one annoy a whumper?"
Never change the channel during a whump moment. Don't talk during a whump moment. Don't talk if there's the possibility of a whump moment. Don't disparage the whump target ("He screams like a girl.") Don't quote Monty Python. ("It's only a flesh wound!") Don't over-analyse the whump ("A bullet at that range, coming in at that velocity on that trajectory, would leave him dead, not heroically staggering to save the day.")
Actually, if in doubt, don't talk. Unless you are a confident and experienced whump partner (Advanced Diplomas in Whump Support may be available from your local College) it is best not to try to talk about whump. You will only get it wrong. Nod, and say, "I'm so happy for you." Don't try to offer an opinion about the whump unless you're totally sure you know what you're doing. Support her and encourage her, but don't try to be a whumper yourself. You'll only mess up.
"Oh! Sorry! I've got to interrupt you here. My whumper's malfunctioning! She's emitting a loud high-pitched sound and won't stop!"
Stop! Don't panic. Your whumper is squeeing. This is quite normal.
No, really, it's normal. There's nothing wrong.
"She's turning blue!"
If you are concerned, stay within sight and intervene with sweet tea and cooling fans (cooling fans to cool the fans) if the blueness gets too severe. Urge her to remember to breathe. It does usually help.
"Now she's fallen on the floor!"
It sounds as if your whumper has temporarily gone into "thunk!" mode. Many whumpers do this from time to time. Again, it's normal. Provide cushions, but do not try to prevent this from happening.
"This is worrying. Anything else she might do to harm herself?"
Like we said, squeeing and thunking is normal and harmless. Whumpers do not like hurting themselves, as a general rule. If your partner belongs to the fanfic writer subset of whumpers, then you might notice some behaviour that apparently contradicts this. The fanfic writer can sometimes be found lying on the floor with their hands "tied" behind their back, trying to see what it feels like, or struggling to stand up without using their right leg or their left arm, or slumping limply to the ground to see where she lands. This is called Research, and is quite harmless. Sometimes your whumper might ask for your assistance in this – e.g. "Pretend you're strapped to this table. Now, can you see the colour of my eyes as I stand here cackling in the doorway?" Remember that the operative word is "pretend." This is research, not masochism.
"Okay. I think I feel a bit more confident now."
Good! Remember, there is no reason why you and your whumper shouldn't have a happy time together for as long as you choose to share your lives. Hopefully this little guide will help avert any possible misunderstandings and causes of conflict. But don't forget the help desk. We are here 24/7 to help if you run into any difficulties. Okay. Not any difficulties. We can't help you if your burn the sauce while cooking her birthday dinner, or can't get the car to start, but if your whumper is suddenly exhibiting some strange new behaviour while staring at whump, or if you've disparaged some whump and don't know how to make it better, don't hesitate to get in touch.
The Society for the Integration of Whumpers into Polite Society: Relationship Division