Monday, May 21, 2007

The Feminine Mistake

I made the mistake of reading Leslie Bennetts' new book, The Feminine Mistake. First off, she reminds me of the "heroine" of Murder She Wrote, you know, the small-town woman around whom murders just keep happening. In Ms. Bennetts' case, it seems as if everyone she knows has a husband who has "left her for a younger woman" or just simply died, inevitably forgetting the life insurance.

Before I get too wound up on this topic--let me set the gentlemen straight:

Gents, I assume that you all have adequate life insurance, hmmm? You know, minimum 10x yearly salary (or, mortgage plus college education x children plus 10 years adequate income)?
I am currently carrying $1.2MM in life insurance through various policies accreted over several children--and I will soon be upping it again.

Ladies, if your man dies without adequate life insurance, uh, sure--you are an idiot (and, to be fair, so was he). Does that mean that a marriage must be run as if two roomies were having sex?

By the way: Ms. Bennetts' book is yet another written for the same Manhattan crowd that freezes its eggs, i.e., "hard-charging, career women" (versus the remaining 95% of the world). I often wonder what her own husband thinks of her musings.

The basic message of the book is: do not rely on a man (or anyone) for financial security, as you are doing yourself (and your children) a disservice. The book also echoes the message of Linda Hirshman's, Get to Work.

The idea is that women suffer long-term earning damage by taking time out to, in their words, put the needs of the family ahead of their own (which is one way to look at it, I suppose). I asked Mrs. Bosh about that one: she said of choosing to stay home with the children, "it's what I want to do." Of course, she is brainwashed...

A little bit about me:
I have not seen a paycheck for about 10 years; that is, my pay is direct-deposited into a bank account somewhere. I have neither a checkbook nor an ATM card--and don't want either (I do have credit tools, however, and my wife makes sure my wallet has cash). Why? Because I cannot be trusted to write down any transactions (whereas credit tools keep track of that for me; get it?).

Any pay I receive (and I hear I am doing quite well) is a)for the benefit of the family, of which I am but a part, and b)entirely due to my wife's goals and efforts (otherwise I would still be an apartment-rentin', sportscar drivin', bar-tab grabbin', soldier of fortune). Isn't that how families are SUPPOSED to work?

We have a friend who is now divorced, something we predicted months before it happened; how? Because her marriage was set up for failure (suspiciously along the lines of Bennetts' book, which certainly may be just a coincidence...). She and her husband had separate jobs, separate accounts, pro-rated mortgage payments, even separate grocery lists! (The woman, a vegetarian, did not want meat to appear on
her list or statement...) I gave them a year (which was about right).

Oh--and now to MY point: Ms. Bennett and Ms. Hirshman and, it seems, all of the "your marriage is bound to fail: prepare ye now" crowd often use illustrative anecdotes that state things along the lines of "after 30 years of marriage, my husband presented me with a divorce and now I am financially screwed." Well GUESS WHAT: maybe if divorce were not so easy (you know, the major innovation of Feminism), then such outcomes would be less frequent.

I am unsurprised by the unintended consequences of no-fault divorce, i.e., in order to save relatively small number of women from difficult situtations, Feminism opened the floodgates to equal-opportunity "I am ticked off this year, hence, I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee" activity. (Have I linked to the study that, five years after the patch-o-difficulty, those who stayed married were, on balance, happier than those who divorced?

Here--a few pearls of wisdom:
Men suck. They are like dogs--messy and smelly. They like rules, standards and training (hell, I loved the army!). They are often short-term planners and, if you let 'em, will run and hide. They take a few go-rounds to learn a lesson and, these days, the lesson often comes too late. I am a man, and I know this.

As an aside: all these whacked-out programs to make men "nicer" (e.g., no recess, no keeping score in sports, and the general war on boys) are just wrong-headed. Really. Seriously.

I am accounted by some to be among the "good" men; yet I am merely lucky to have avoided juvie (there was the famous greenhouse-smashing incident... the firebug stage... the smashing of cars--other people's cars... oh, a host of things that make me shudder now). Were I a typical child of today, I would be on Ritalin and a rigid psychiatric schedule. Instead, I am a stable family man, company man, with specific retirement goals and academic expectations of a bevy of children. Go figger.

Where was I? How about some more about me:
We covered life insurance and pay structure. Let's see. I think the ketubah puts me pretty much in the hole if things go south, i.e., my wife gets everything. Everything. Did I mention...everything?

Why am I okay with this? Because I do not expect to get out of this marriage alive.

And if you knew more of my history (which, undoubtedly, you will eventually glean, although you must be really bored to keep up with these ramblings), you would find that stance pretty amazing.

Let us just say that, as a youth, marriage and family were not among my stated goals (in fact, I may still have my manifesto, written at age 12 or so, which has as tenets 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9: NEVER GET MARRIED!). Let me add that none of my friends (some of whom are now divorced) would ever have laid money on my stability or commitment. Shows how misunderstood I was, I guess.

Oh, so, ladies (ESPECIALLY you Manhattanite buyers of Ms. Bennetts' books): If'n yer man done left yer for an udder woman (or'n he done died widout widder protection), cast yer eye inward, mesdames, 'cause the answer may be within. That is, maybe your marital failures suffered a more-than-is-comfortable effect from the cohort of men from which you chose (driven, one assumes, by your views and goals at that time) than with men in general. I hear my mother: "How nice for

Enough diatribe for today, except to say: I saw a man repairing the street today. Thinking about the gender-wage gap: how long would the streets last without men, I wonder? (Of course, without men, we would all ride horses, fed with organic oats-n-honey, right? Riggghhhhht.)

I need to give Abbie Thernstrom a call.

One more note: My wife wishes that I waste less time writing down these thoughts, because a)I should focus my efforts on maximizing family income, and b)what's the point? No one is every swayed by argument--either you GET IT or YOU DON'T. Why am I so lucky/blessed/happy? Totally random event having more to do with my privileged place in the oppressor society than with any individual efforts, commitments, sacrifices, focii, talent, love, ambition on the part of me and mine. Yah, that sounds right.

“To get what you want, you must commit yourself for some time.”

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