Oh, To Be A Combination Coffee
Table/Magazine Rack, Now That Aprils Here
By Lydia Sargent
I was chatting with a feminist in the street the other day. How did I know she was a feminist, you ask? Because she was talking to me without the aid of a male, which was obnoxious, totalitarian, a turn off, and therefore lesbian behavior. Whenever one encounters these man-less gals, the first question that pops into ones head is "What do you femlesgals want, for heavens sake?" So I asked her, through my husband, of course.
The feminist said, "We want a world in which we are all liberated; where we dont obey orders in institutions we had no part in creating; where we can walk freely without fear; where marriage and motherhood arent the sole reason for being; where we are appreciated for who we are and what we do, not how we look or how much we weigh, where "
I cut off her vague ramblings, well, my husband did, since I havent had an independent thought since 1955 when I was 12. "Thats the trouble with you femlesgals, you dont really know what you want. So you ramble on irrationally, trying to compensate for the fact that you havent got a man." I grasped my husbands arm, lest I fall over from the exertion of this conversation, and to keep the feminist from stealing my hubby.
"Dont you know that the feminist stranglehold on our nation is over," I burbled. "How do I know this? Because I read it (well, my husband read it, reading being a bit much me) in the Wall Street Journal. In an article titled "Feminism Loses Support," Jo Anne Randall reports that the High-Waisted Thigh Trimmer by Nip, Tuck & Boost, advertised in the Hanes Place mail order catalogue, is sold out! This girdle encases a womans body from rib cage to mid-thigh, promising tummy-tucking, bun-hugging, thigh-trimming control, similar to encasing a sausage." Jo Anne says this event marks the end of feminism, just as the Berlin Wall coming down marked the end of history. Of course, the article was written in fun, because the author was clearly a feminist, by dint of the fact that she wrote a column for the WSJ, but no matter.
"If a thigh trimmer is sold out, then so is feminism, because feminism was about letting it all hang, shake, sag, and jiggle," I said to her through my husband, since talking, standing, even breathing without his aid while wearing the Thigh Trimmer, was impossible.
The femlesgal started to utter an independent (therefore bitchy) thought, but I burbled on, "Thank goodness for the Thigh Trimmer, because, in a few months, feminism would have turned boys and men into the second sex. In fact, it already has. How do I know? Because read about it in the Boston Globe. Clark University professor, Christina Hoff Sommers, author of "Who Stole Feminism?," is taking a two-year fellowship at the conservative American Enterprise Institute to write (among other things) a book about American boys, a group she maintains is in danger of becoming the new second sex in schools."
Our feminist pointed out that the article said Sommers was moving her husband, Fred, and 12-year-old son, David, to Washington with her and wasnt that a feminist thing to do?
"No," I shrieked, almost passing out with not having breathed recently, due to the girdle. "Im sure theres a man behind all her books, and that her earnings are going into a trust fund for her son. Im sure soon she will give it up, following her own teachings, and never be heard from again. Besides," I twittered, "shes only echoing what Michael Gurian says in The Wonder of Boys, a new book about how the decline of traditional families, shifting values, and the loss of positive male role models has lured boys away from the direction we hope theyll grow. Gurian says that in helping to right social wrongs against girls and women we have created new myths in a single party line of feminism: That men have inherently more power on this earth than women; that masculinity is responsible for the worlds ills, and feminism for the worlds salvation; that men are the only dangerous ones; that males and females are only different because theyre socialized to be different. Also, boys are suffering because in the last five thousand years, one book, Reviving Ophelia, has claimed that gals are neglected in schools, particular teen gals. This book has caused a total neglect of boys and their needs!"
I paused, or rather my husband/interpreter paused, to rest my feeble brain. Our feminist was about to utter an independent thought again (i.e., a diatribe), when I limped on. "Using the stories of Pinocchio and Jack and the Beanstalk, plus tribal rituals and warrior culture, combined with almost no data whatsoever ,except conversations with a few patients, Gurian makes a compelling, well-researched case for renewing our commitment to boys. He says that boys are boys because of their high testosterone which makes them hit people and turn toys into guns. Which makes their brains different: they turn on like a machine, do a task, then turn off. Also males are in competition with others males and their sperm for the females egg. Males sperm needs constant arousal and high testosterone. Not enough testosterone, a boy will come out of the womb looking like a girl. (Im not making this up, get the book.) We need to provide a way for boys to compete, do combat, and perform so they can feel worthy. War and sports help with this. Also older male mentors (and their books), like Gurian, uncles, shop teachers, ministers, coaches, and extended families can help boys become constructive in war and sports instead of destructive in gangs."
Our feminist was getting very angry now, i.e., her true castrating lesbian nature was coming to the fore. But I didnt not want to listen to her politically correct jargon about independence and liberation, i.e., dogmatic attempts to keep us from shopping for oxygen-depriving under garments and makeup to enhance our servant/sex objectness, items we feel no pressure to buy, in spite of the constant barrage of advertising, which is in no way dogmatic or coercive or anti-gal in any way.
I stammered on, "Gurian says that women are winners in current income earnings and that the single goalequality in the workplace, which has become an obsession of many feministsis only one of the important goals in a human community. What we have not noticed is the danger that change holds for men. Gurian says gals must let boys alone so they can develop their tribal culture, and so elder men can have a role in the raising of boys, teaching them the art of husbandry, where he can provide, protect, and nurture those he is called on to love, among other things."
"This book sounds a lot like Robert Blys Iron John, said our self-assured (therefore, obsessed) feminist. "Dont you think it strange that both Bly and Gurian use, as models, stories from times and cultures where women had few, if any, rights whatsoever?"
"You see what not having a man does to a gal?" I remarked. "You are bitter, irrational, and hateful. Plus you have lied to us all these years about wanting independence. How do I know? I read about it in the Boston Herald. An article by Margery Egan tells us all about Kate Roiphes article "The Myth of the Independent Woman," published in a recent Esquire magazine, clearly the right place for objective thinking about gals. Says Roiphe, I was out to drinks with a man Id recently met. Ill take care of that, he said, sweeping up the check, and as he said it, I felt a warm glow of security, as if everything in my life was suddenly going to be taken care of. And I really, really liked that glow, admitted 28-year-old feminist author Kate Roiphe. I thought how nice it would be to live in an era when men always took care of women. And she pictured a lawyer with a creamy leather briefcase going off to work, while she remained at home working idly on her dissertation, when she wasnt ordering flowers, fretting over the dinner menu, or soaking in the bath in the townhouse he bought for her."
My husband, who was telling the feminist this on my behalf, stopped for a moment. "Whats wrong, honey," I simpered.
"I dont know. Suddenly, I saw myself soaking in a tub while you took care of me in the townhouse you bought with wages earned from writing a book trashing feminism. And I liked it," said my husband.
"Honey, snap out of it. Remember, Kate was 23 when she published The Morning After about how what we commonly call date rape is not rape at all but bad sex that is regretted the day after."
My husband shook off the tub soaking image, and let me lean on him again. He continued, on my behalf, "Kate goes on to say, This fantasy is one that independent, strong-minded women of the nineties are distinctly not supposed to have, but I find myself having it all the same. And many of the women I know are having it also Why shouldnt we find a man who will take care of us the way our fathers did.? One Kate Amara, a 25-year-old TV producer, seems to agree that Kate is a voice of honesty in a sea of PC feminist should-think. She actually admitted that she wants a guy to pay. Plus, were she to be hassled in the bar while her guy is paying, she wouldnt feel bad if her guy punched the hassler in the nose. You still want a guy whos bigger than you and puts his arm around you and makes you feel, well, taken care of."
Our feminist tried to point out that, if this so-called feminist Roiphe was so into being cared for, why was she publishing books and earning a living. Also, why was Margery Eagan writing a column about it in the Boston Herald instead of being at home soaking in the Calgon, bought with the $20 bucks she managed to get off her hubby that morning before he headed to work with the creamy briefcase?
My husband and I ignored her, as we were seeing each other again with new, romantic eyes; the thought of me soaking in a tub bought by him, the thought of him caring for me like a father was turning us both on. A recent ad home furnishings in Architectural Digest, a magazine I often leaf through (but never really read, as that would be too feminist) came to my dependent mind. In the ad, a leotard clad woman functions as a combination coffee table, magazine rack! I got so carried away, I assumed the coffee table position. His breathing quickened. His ears perked. He poured coffee. He put his feet up. He pulled a copy of Esquire and read more about "The Myth of the Independent Woman." I wiped a little coffee spill of the coffee table, which isnt easy to do, when youre the coffee table.