Tuesday, November 01, 2005

 

Thoughts On Dowd

Maureen Dowd wrote a column in the New York Times a couple of days ago which created quite a stir. In the column, titled "What's a Modern Girl to Do?", Dowd laments about the difficulty of finding/having a suitable male partner in her life.

In the process Dowd covers nearly every cliche known to the relationship game. She covers the games women play to determine if a man is acceptable material for a relationship, such as who will pay for the meal the two just ate.
"They make like they are heading into their bag after a meal, but it is a dodge," Marc Santora, a 30-year-old Metro reporter for The Times, says. "They know you will stop them before a credit card can be drawn. If you don't, they hold it against you."

...a TV producer in New York, told me much the same thing: "If you offer, and they accept, then it's over."

When I asked a young man at my gym how he and his lawyer girlfriend were going to divide the costs on a California vacation, he looked askance. "She never offers," he replied. "And I like paying for her." It is, as one guy said, "one of the few remaining ways we can demonstrate our manhood."
The last example struck me as particular pathetic. No wonder this guy is in a gym. He is trying desperately to develop some "manhood."

More:
A few years ago at a White House correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful and successful actress. Within minutes, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."
First, it's a wonder anyone marries a famous, successful actor or actress when you look at the marriage/divorce rate of Hollywood. These people marry and divorce more often than high school kids go steady and break up. No normal person wants to disrupt their life in this way.
A study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggested that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors. Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them. There it is, right in the DNA: women get penalized by insecure men for being too independent.
Most people, female and male, probably want a partner who they feel is supportive to them. A "subordinate" person would probably be more willing to be supportive of more successful person because it includes a increase in status and standard of living. However, this is less likely to be the case with males because independence is a strongly held male value. Having a spouse who out earns you is a threat to this value. Over the last 40 years, valuing independence has increased in females also which only makes the problem of getting together with someone even more difficult.

Continuing on and on and on, Dowd relates feminism to the relationship problems about which I am sure she is partially correct. She also describes how there is a boomerang reaction to feminist values currently. Mostly she demonstrates how one can write a long, seemingly in-depth article and still be very shallow. All her anecdotes revolve around the successful types of New York, Hollywood, etc. In the typical conceit of these people she assumes they lead society and that the masses follow their lead.

This is the conceit that prompts celebrities to threaten to leave the country if son and so is elected. This is the conceit that makes celebrities believe everyday people care about their political opinions. This is the conceit that leads celebrities to disparage the huddled masses as stupid, uninformed, mislead, whatever because they didn't vote the way the celebrity thought they should.

This conceit is primarily what prevents many of the successful from enjoying the benefits of relationships that ordinary people enjoy. For many of the successful it's about self-aggrandizement, status, and the such. For ordinary people it's about building a life, meeting day to day challenges and mutually helping someone else for the benefit of both.

Comments:
Great astute observation. I'm one of those huddled uneducated masses. But in the immortal words of Jeff Spicoli,"As long as I have tasty waves, chicks, and good bud, I'm Fine."

Aloha,

Jeff
 
The greatest failing of feminism was to equate equality to the basest of male qualities. What this ended up doing was cheapening the contributions of both women and men to the relationship.

First of all, to address the male side of the issue: men behaving badly is not behavior to be emulated by either men or women. Though many 'fellas' lionize their boys who run through women like six packs, this kind of behavior is all the more destructive to both the women who are caught in the trap by the 'playa' and the men who have to deal with those women afterwards. What is the point of going out and actively participating in making a social wasteland more barren of real and honest interaction?

I could never figure that one out.

Not to put all the blame on men. I can remember many a night where, sitting at the bar and listening to beautiful, intelligent women go on about all the things they would do for their deadbeat and worthless boyfriends. Driving them to work, paying their bills, letting them live rent free in their apartments, putting up with their animal like packs of 'friends'...the lists went on and on. On many of those nights, I would end up so shocked and appalled by it all, I would just go ahead and have another four or five whiskeys to drown the thoughts.

I've told more than one group of such women that they need to unionize and get rid of these men who don't live up to anyone's standards.

There are plenty of good guys out there who are looking for good women. These men fear neither real relationships nor emotional intimacy; they fear the dramatic controlling woman and subtle emasculation.

These men are far more interested in women who have skills and talents; the stunningly beautiful girl looking good at the bar is far less attractive when the man realizes that this is her only skill. The teachers, nurses, doctors, horseback riders, guitar players, artists, musicians, law students, lawyers, social workers, businesswomen, activists, et al are far more attractive, I have found, to the real man than any girl who only looks pretty and takes on a subservient position.

And to speak about that for a moment. Most of the men I know could give a damn about what work the woman does (whether she is the boss or the secretary), and is far more interested in the way she acts around him. A lady who is interested in a relationship as a team sport is far more valuable than the one who wants to dominate the relationship or be subservient to the relationship.

That's my experience anyway, different strokes for different folks, of course.
 
"they fear the dramatic controlling woman and subtle emasculation."

Describes me pretty well.

"Most of the men I know could give a damn about what work the woman does (whether she is the boss or the secretary), and is far more interested in the way she acts around him. A lady who is interested in a relationship as a team sport is far more valuable than the one who wants to dominate the relationship or be subservient to the relationship."

I agree. In Ms. Dowd's article she gives examples of women who more interested in who pays for dinner, not a team attitude. Dowd also writes, "Women moving up still strive to marry up. Men moving up still tend to marry down." If the woman is very successful that makes it hard to find a man. Apparently men still like to be the bread winner. Plus, once you rise above the median in success level, there are more people "down" to choose from than "up."
 
Slate goes at Dowd here. A scathing retort that really goes for the jugular.

As far as "on the way up/down" it also depends on where your social circle extends. If it is limited to the same business, anyone may look "down" because those are the people you come in contact with the most. I try not to date anyone I work with because of the workplace drama that can cause. Also, that way, the up and down stuff really matters much less.
 
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