Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Nope: This One's All Yours, Bitches

"Are yoga-toned women of a certain class all secretly dying to get divorced? It's seemed to me that everywhere I look—in Vogue, in O, in Glamour, in books like "The Bitch in the House" — there's an essay by a woman about the challenges of matrimony that basically devolves into a long humiliate-the-hubby session. Usually these verbal drubbings come high up in the piece. In distress, one searches in vain for some humor, some lightness of touch. ... But as you point out,...there's no Lucy-and-Ricky good cheer there.

Whatever form marriage takes, it has to be a shelter. It's a little circle two people draw around themselves in order to protect each other as best they can from life's slings and arrows. And the old moralist in me feels that while you're in that circle, you don't deliver your partner a cathartically vituperative tongue-lashing before scores of strangers. (If you really feel you must, don't do it in a personal essay in O; at least aim to produce a new Tender Is the Night.) I'm curious: Does this seem like an old-fashioned idea now? In our age of disclosure, is marriage on the same plateau as everything else—friendships, sex, boyfriends? Or does it, should it, still occupy a separate realm?

Meanwhile, it seems to me that this mini-phenomenon is majority-owned by women. But do you all see lots of essays by men—in GQ, in Men's Vogue, wherever—running down their wives?"


-- Meghan O'Rourke, discussing the NewAge phenomena of wives demoralizing their husbands, on Slate.com's XX Factor

If I had the time, I could go on for years about this one topic,...