Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The Fifties Have Not Left Us!

So I still don't remember my point from yesterday, which is really too bad. It was subtle (well, for me), and it shone a gorgeous light on professors. I'm also a little annoyed at myself for the massive contradiction, i.e. "I never criticize people" and then I go and criticize someone(s). Maybe I should rephrase that to "I never criticize people who I think will somehow hear about it." Which is not only more accurate in general, (see? I told you it wasn't a good thing), but also removes the inconsistency.
But to the point.
You know how some people have "guilty pleasures"? Women's magazines -- i.e. F@mily C!rcle -- are my guilty annoyance. I inherit them from a family member, and read bits and pieces at desperate moments of reading-less-ness. A day or two ago, I was having an extremely desperate such moment, and ended up reading an article I would normally have skipped over. It's entitled something along the lines of Don't Nag, Nudge, and it was all about how to get your husband to clean up some of his bad habits.
I think I chose it because one of the academic entries that has stuck with me is Bitch PhD's entry on how to be a bitch. How to get a partner to participate in housework? Now I don't remember the title, but her idea, as I remember it, is to keep a running commentary of everything you're doing, and at some point, your partner will be so annoyed, they'll start doing it too. Clearly, her plan was much more subtle and intelligent than that simplistic sketch I've just written. The reason I mention it is because even her intelligent plan would come under the heading of Nag.
So that's interesting in and of itself. I like her idea; moreover, I like the underlying implication I come away with: women have just as much right to demand as men.
(Nerts. That's not thorough, detailed, nuanced enough. It will have to do.)
This article's title, on the other hand, implies that women don't have such a right (the nuanced, subtle right that I can't articulate).
Oh, wait. It gets better.
The article lists 4 or 5 areas where not to nag: too much TV, not enough help around the house, etc. The second to last one is about the husband's lack of ambition.
A tangent. Do y'all remember, about six months ago, there was a cartoon floating around the blogs? It was a drawing of a happy fifties family, and the accompanying text was a list of all the ways the wife should make her husband's life better: make sure to make yourself pretty just before he comes home. Bring him a cold drink and his slippers. Don't bore him with your little concerns of the day, he needs to relax and unwind. It turned out to be modern, rather than contemporary.
Well, the tips on how to nudge rather than nag about ambition are... not the same, but of a piece. Don't offer advice. Let home be a place where he can relax. He needs to feel your in his corner, so reassure him. If he frets about his weaknesses, emphasize his strengths. The only sentence in the whole paragraph (and it was the longest in the article) that indicated this was written less than 60 years ago was the last one: if your husband just isn't ambitious, maybe you should go do something yourself (not a direct quote).
I can't believe it.
I can't believe I can't believe it.
I'm very sad, angry, frustrated that it isn't as unbelievable as it should be.


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