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January 14, 2005

Do Men Avoid Challenging Women?

A sensible woman would give this topic a wide berth, but I don't know that I've ever been accused of an overabundance of discretion. As one of my favorite movie characters always said, "What's the matter... you want to live forever?"

Yesterday as I prayed for a merciful death hoped for a distraction from the dubious joys of UNIX virtual paths, spd rdr sent me this MoDope column, in which our favorite columnist laments what she sees as a deplorable trend: powerful men seeking, not equally powerful mates, but their secretaries or administrative assistants. The reigning Queen of Anecdotal Evidence stuns us all with her usual fact-based arguments:

Women in staff support are the new sirens because, as a guy I know put it, they look upon the men they work for as "the moon, the sun and the stars." It's all about orbiting, serving and salaaming their Sun Gods.

In all those great Tracy/Hepburn movies more than a half-century ago, it was the snap and crackle of a romance between equals that was so exciting. Moviemakers these days seem far more interested in the soothing aura of romances between unequals.

Well not exactly. Ms. Dowd might want to re-run a few of those old movies: she appears to be living in a dream world. Did all that glamorous studio lighting really erase the wage gap? Amazing what a little Vaseline on the lens will do... And what Tracy/Hepburn flick was complete without the obligatory scene where the feisty, independent career gal whipped up a nourishing meal for her man? Part of that "snap and crackle" were the skirmishes that preceded the inevitable half-surrender of the female of the species to the male lead. I noticed that, even as a little girl. Surely MoDo can do better.

Ms. Dowd might also contemplate the difference between masculine fantasies and what they decide in real life. I think we can all agree that, if asked by an 'unbiased researcher', most men would say they "prefer" to hook up with [insert mindless, sex-starved starlet with surgically enhanced breasts and serious dependency issues here].

La Dowd regards with positively Munschian horror the results of this study:

... in which college undergraduates were asked to make hypothetical choices, suggests that men in search of long-term relationships prefer to marry women in subordinate jobs rather than women who are supervisors...

How special...I'm so glad we've scientifically measured how college students answer hypothetical questions about a life decision still several years in their future. But do their secret wish lists drive mens' real-world decision making? MoDope isn't interested in the answer to that question, but I was:

Men's mate preferences change when situations change. Today, a woman's paycheck may be more appealing than her perfectly-baked brownies. Men's wages have been stagnant or declining for 15 years now, and the "family wage" of the industrial age has been replaced by the job insecurity of the global age.

Most couples require two paychecks to stay in the middle class, a math lesson that is not lost on men.

Judge Richard Posner, author of a book on the economics of mating, "Sex and Reason," suggests, "economics is not divorced from mate selection. People change their behavior as costs and benefits change."

J-Date, the popular online national dating service, automatically requests information on women's incomes, because their male clients ask for it.

Mary Balfour, director of Drawing Down the Moon, an executive dating agency based in London, says that college-educated and professional men in their 20s and 30s now want women who match their intellect and earning abilities. "It is only those in their 50s and 60s who tend to take a deep breath when introduced to powerful women," she says.

Today, more than 42 percent of married women in the United States earn more than their husbands.

OK, you say, but are such couples happy? Indulging in some non-scientific Dowdian (oh my... was that redundant?) analysis of my own, I'd say, "yes":

According to Stepford theory, these couples should be sexually frustrated (especially the men) and highly divorce-prone. Not so.

Unlike the threatened Stepford men, modern husbands are not turned off by women who can succeed at work. Women's earning power does not appear to get in the way of pleasure. Psychologist Janet Hyde conducted a year–long (1996) longitudinal study of 500 couples. She found that couples who said they had the most rewarding intimate lives were those in which both partners worked and experienced high rewards from their jobs.

Using a highly unscientific sample size of two (which, statistically speaking, means nothing), I conducted my own longitudinal study spanning 27 years. Based on the available data, I'd have to say that my own enthusiastic and in-depth research supports the Hyde study. And why is this, you ask?

If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's the very thing Ms. Dowd thinks men don't want: psychological distance, and the lure of a challenge. Many studies have shown that, sexually, men like to be the pursuer. There is more of a 'risk element' if your wife works. Not to say that non-working wives can't keep the old guy on his toes: it's just a built-in factor if you work. As the study linked to first in this post points out, many men do secretly wonder if a wife with her own income is more likely to cheat or leave them. If the relationship is a healthy one, this makes them more likely to appreciate her and do the things needed to keep her around.

Having both worked and stayed at home during our marriage, I have noticed that working also changes the dynamics of a relationship. No matter how egalitarian you thought things were, bringing home your own salary changes the power structure. I have less time, less patience, and I'm definitely less conciliatory. This makes a relationship more confrontational, but also more exciting and challenging. The trick is to work as hard (if not harder) at making up as you do at everything else in your life.

And so once again, we're back to economics and tradeoffs and maximizing utility after all. Men and women don't behave all that differently - it's just a question of what we value. And the answers (at least in the real world) are more easily divined by looking at the decisions we make than about what we say we value.

Actions speak louder than words.

Previous post: Do men prefer less intelligent women?

Posted by Cassandra at January 14, 2005 05:44 AM

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Heh. I read the MoDo column on my hideous day of "travel" yesterday (reported in the usual location at 1 a.m. this morning), and I wondered if you were going to respond. As it happened, one of my travelling companions was an extremely bright single woman in her thirties. One of her female friends had emailed her the column by mid-day. So there is my own two point study suggesting that the MoDo column was quite the topic of conversation in single professional female circles yesterday.

Neither MoDo nor you acknowledged the opposite point, which is that many high-achieving women will not even consider dating men who are of lower socio-economic status. If a prospective date earns less money than these women he had better have a damn good reason for it -- college professors are legitimate, as are writers and artists who can put food on the table with their craft and have actually achieved professional acclaim. But that's about it.

I know this because I have had many women lawers ("lawyers who happen to be women") work for me over the years. Me being the sort of accessible guy that ends up getting a lot social life detail (we all have our vicarious thrills), I have been stunned at the uniformity with which these women categorically reject "dating down." Most women lawyers I know wouldn't date an accountant, fer Chrissakes. Except maybe a partner at PriceWaterhousecoopers.

This obviously limits the available population of suitable male companions.

So the interesting question MoDo did not answer is whether she would be willing to date a truck driver or construction worker, or whatever the male equivalent to secretary might be. Why do I doubt it?

Posted by: Jack at January 14, 2005 08:29 AM

Actually I had an entire long para in there in which I made that precise point, but I took it out because the post was getting too long and it didn't scan.

And my writing sucks badly enough as it is - I decided to limit myself to a less aggressive and confusing set of points.

I agree, although frankly money wasn't even a blip on my radar screen when I was dating. I won't date down, intelligence-wise (although frankly I can see an argument for that, too). But money/status? Who cares?

If he's responsible, smart, and can hold up his end of a conversation, the other stuff is gravy. But I think women are more status-conscious than men, because we derive our status (most of us, at least) vicariously from the guys we date/marry.

Stupid, but there is evolutionary sense in this. When you're preggers, you're pretty helpless and you want a good provider/protector. So I can see it from that standpoint.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 08:36 AM

How interesting.
Comparing college age students preferences, to young (20-30's) profesionals, to older men in their 50's (who have, shall we say, MADE IT).

Like comparing hand grenades to H-bombs.
College-age kids tend to idealize everything that they observe.
20-30 year old professionals (or otherwise) want to begin to fulfill their hopes for a life ahead.
50-plus year old guys (take it from here, spd rdr), want to try and recapture some of the vitality of their youth (younger women?). This is just a personal, anecdotal observation made on several men I have known who had affairs, divorces, etc., and most of them were real jerks too.
But that's just me, and so what would MoDo think about that. I thought she was retired, anyways.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 14, 2005 08:38 AM

Well...that was another point I made and erased: that show biz - which MoDo cites repeatedly - is hardly a paragon of family values, wealthy, powerful older men aren't likely to place a premium on earning power in a mate, preferring instead to maximize on youth and pulchritude (and they can get younger women to marry them because they have money).

And yes, a lot of men secretly want these things and when they have all the money in the world, good sense is overruled and they go for the gusto. Contrary to Ms. Dowd's wishes, it is still a free country.

Hopefully they get what they pay for.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 08:47 AM

Well, I married down, in a sense, because dh was a mere enlisted man. He went through OCS and when he was overseas, brought home a six figure salary.

Uh huh. He turned down lucrative job offers here in the southeast, making at least 50 grand a year to start in some entry level positions (ops manager, etc.)

He is a domestic sort of male, and with his pension, and his salary now, we are doing all right. All our debts are paid, except for the two houses, and we have decent health coverage.

I am a contended Domestic Diva.

I need not the millions. I have a roof over my head, a clever kind of man who can fix things when they go wrong, and he can also change diapers and cook.

I too, have those skills, but I have something he missed growing up: A library of well read, well loved books.


Posted by: Cricket who is being piggy this am. at January 14, 2005 11:07 AM

Many moons ago, I think I mentioned that one of the few men to turn my head in all these years of married life was "a mere enlisted man".

Of course I would never have acted on the attraction, but had I been single, his job status (or educational status, for that matter) would not have stood in my way for an instant.

For several reasons, he wasn't as good a "catch" as the man I'm married to, but that's not surprising: in 27 years, I've never met another man to equal him. But my husband was in high school when I met him and we were dirt poor when we were first married. I certainly didn't marry him for his money, though any moron could see he wouldn't end up destitute - he's too smart.

I married my husband for his personal qualities, and if his earning power went away tomorrow and he could no longer support me, that would just about kill him but I really wouldn't care. He is the prize, not his paycheck.

Of course, how do you convince a man of that?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 11:35 AM

A survey of college age males? Worthless. My favorite girlfriend in college was a little blonde who didn't have a brain in her cute little head. It didn't hurt that she was a nympho either. I wouldn't have married her for all the tea in China.

I like the smart chicks, marriage should be a partnership so you need someone you can talk to and help make important decisions. Where women go wrong, and I can see MoDo doing this, is that being equal doesn't mean competition or a power struggle. All men want is to be respected, and some nookie.

Posted by: Pile On® at January 14, 2005 11:35 AM

Pile my friend, you should package that little comment up in a time capsule for your daughter, because I guarantee you that you have just neatly summed up a major difference between the way the sexes think.

Women persist in thinking that if a man keeps coming back and sleeping with them, it must mean he loves them. Because for most women, this is what it would mean for them.

And most girls don't believe their fathers when they tell them boys think like that; that they don't equate sex with love. But it might be more convincing if you put it that way.

Hard thing to say, though, to your daughter.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 12:01 PM

You know, reading these comments takes me back to community college days in the 70s. We would sit around in the cafeteria discussing just this sort of stuff and the fellows all said the same thing: They want to be able to talk with their girls, post coitus.

I made mental memos to myself that I would not go out with these characters because I way too young (I was 17 when I graduated and started college)
and very naive, and what they were saying I understood well enough to keep them at arm's length. I married dh nine years later, after a job and independence.

He was a good provider then, and continued to astound me with his accomplishments. We will be able to help our kids out and that is a good thing.

And it seemed that the Airheaded One of Pile On's past either brought up that way (shudder) or decided to be ditzy because it would work in getting a relationship; also a bad idea.

You know that we are talking about is something MoDud would tear her hair out over if she could hear it: Equality. *GASP* Intellectual equality. *thud thud thud*

Note as well the quality of discourse on this board.
It is civil, bantering and highly toned. Even when dealing with lesbian adjunct trolls in need of head shrinking.

Posted by: Cricket at January 14, 2005 12:30 PM

or a good roll in the hay.

*ducking and running*

Posted by: Cricket at January 14, 2005 12:31 PM

Respect + 'some nookie' = Good Hetero relationship

I'll bet the proportions of that equation change with age, I'll darn betcha. :)

PS. I like smart chicks too, and I was once hopelessly infatuated (in my late 20's then, go figure that with Modo's hypothesis) with a 'smart chick' (she was an MD), until she not so subltely informed me that our relationship would be "a downgrade" for her, she aimed higher in income, etc. She is happily practicing Oncology in suburban Denver now, and I could care less what her life is like.
I like my life, my wife and kids plenty, and wouldn't trade them for anything. So there.

I think MoDo and women (and men) like her are somewhat stuck in a mindset regarding all the material rewards the world has to offer, and seduced into thinking that those are the be-all and end-all of existence.
What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? MoDo should write an Op-Ed on that one.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at January 14, 2005 12:35 PM

Consider polygamy.
One wife to cook.
One wife to sew.
One wife to talk to.
One wife to listen to.
One wife to have fun with.
One wife to keep the house.
One wife to the kids straight.
One wife to keep the husband straight.
And one wife with plumbing skills.

I've just solved the wife unemployment issue.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 14, 2005 12:56 PM

Man is more gooder more smarter an more stronger than woman
Man should get many more trinkets for days work
Woman should make food keep clean house and kiddies and please man
Womans place is behind man, about 3 steps
Man important. woman is property.

Posted by: Osama - Bush (AKA/Joatmoaf) at January 12, 2005 09:32 PM

Now if that ain`t a challenge I don`t know what is.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at January 14, 2005 01:04 PM

I'll bet the proportions of that equation change with age, I'll darn betcha. :)

Well personally Don, I've been surprised to find as I get older that I can dispense with the respect but I get darned cranky if you interfere with the other part of the equation... :)

Actually I'm just kidding about the first part.

One of the reasons I doubt I'd marry again if something happened to the SU is that I find the prospect of dating rather intimidating. It would be too hard for me to remain celibate (sorry, not in my nature) but I also am not about to jump in bed with some guy I don't love, or who doesn't love me. I want more than that out of life.

And I'm just too trusting, even at my age. I still find it hard to believe someone would sleep with someone they didn't care for - I know it intellectually, but find it difficult to accept emotionally. So the prospects just aren't that good, sad to say.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 01:15 PM

Now if spd had a chant and a kewl ring to go with that fellowhsip, he might find some takers...
*ducking and running again*

Posted by: Cricket at January 14, 2005 01:25 PM

Cassandra said: "I still find it hard to believe someone would sleep with someone they didn't care for - I know it intellectually, but find it difficult to accept emotionally."

Don't you believe a word of that honey. Now come on back to my room. I want to show you my CD collection.

Posted by: Piggish Male Faking Sensitivity at January 14, 2005 01:49 PM

You womyn wouldn`t know a challenge if it bit you! Many times on this blog I have challenged you broads yet none have been man enough to accept. If MoDo were here she would know what to do, she`s a truely liberated chick and she writes about issues that are important to dames everywhere.
You gals need to lighten up.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at January 14, 2005 02:20 PM

You're right Joat. I don't see you as a challenge.


Posted by: Cricket at January 14, 2005 02:25 PM

Of course we're not "man enough" - that would be demeaning now, wouldn't it???

Perhaps we've just figured out that, like a certain VA attorney, you are full of it and just enjoy pouring gasoline on the fire?

Nah... :)

If I responded to every oinker that tried to bait me, I'd never get anything done! But then a woman's work never IS done, is it? We have to deal with you all. It's a constant battle - something like housework.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 02:33 PM

Oh I can't touch that one...I really really really
can't touch that. Nope nope nope. Please..not.. that. Anything...but....a ...snarky....oh helk...I must....be....strong...must...not...give...in...to..


Something about appliances and men being easily turned on comes to mind...

*sweating with the effort of fighting a losing battle*

Posted by: Cricket channeling James Kirk at January 14, 2005 03:11 PM

Honey, it ain't turning them on that worries me...

It's finding that all-important off switch :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 03:25 PM

Oh. That's easy. Show them a picture of Hillary Clinton. snort snort

Posted by: Cricket at January 14, 2005 04:25 PM

There's a difference between turning something off and damaging it beyond all repair. :-)

Posted by: Masked Menace© at January 14, 2005 05:02 PM

"...many men do secretly wonder if a wife with her own income is more likely to cheat or leave them."

Regardless of just who might walk out the door to earn it, the wife always has her own income.

Posted by: RIslander [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 14, 2005 05:17 PM

Women in executive positions have an alarming tendency to be, as they say, "married to the job". Who, of either sex, wants to play second fiddle?

Also, Cassandra, I tend to disagree with you about working. I worked for many years before quitting to take care of our son, and I find that our marriage is better now than it ever was when I was pulling down a paycheck.

Once again it seems to boil down to the erroneous presumption that income is a true measure of a person's worth.

Posted by: MrsPurpleRaider at January 14, 2005 05:38 PM

Remember the beginnings of the feminist movement:

"We can do anything a man can do!"
"We should be paid the same as men!"

Well, the feminist movement (the NOW gang) said they could do without men, and spent the next 30 years proving it.

And now they are yelping because men aren't paying any attention to them.

Be careful what you wish for Feminists, you may just get it.

Posted by: Purple Raider at January 14, 2005 05:47 PM

I'm not sure you're disagreeing with me about working, Mrs. Purple, as I don't believe I said working makes marriage better, per se. Based on everything I've written over the past year, that would be a pretty huge leap, don't you think?

I only said that, in my highly unscientific sample of one couple, certain aspects of our married life were better when I worked. I didn't extrapolate to other couples - I have no experience for doing so.

If fact, if you're working and have no time for sex, I would think that that would be just like 'new mother' syndrome. Hardly helpful.

There's another huge factor we have in common - we've both been married longer than we were earlier :) Good marriages (hopefully) get better with time. Also many couples find that having children gives them an incentive to pull together that simply wasn't there before. Or you could just have more time to focus on your relationship now that you're at home - that was my experience. There are always tradeoffs between time, income, attention, etc -- it's not just working that factors into that equation: I only addressed a very narrow part of it.

And "better" is subjective; what works for one couple isn't necessarily ideal for another, and ideal at one phase in your life doesn't necessarily work 15 years later. I was very happy at home. I don't know that I'd go back to that willingly now.

As you pointed out on the other thread, there are two halves to the puzzle: I only commented on the male half.

Since I've worked on and off, I can say with some certainty that working has a good effect on some aspects of married life, for me. But so did getting away from the kids when I was at home, or going somewhere I'd never gone before. I hate being bored.

In other words, if Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy.

And I don't think anyone (except perhaps Ms. Dowd) was conflating income with worth.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 05:57 PM

"Once again it seems to boil down to the erroneous presumption that income is a true measure of a person's worth."

Amen Sister. The true measure (TM) of a female's worth is monthly income plus sexual value, or TM= I/12 + SA^(1+r)

Where I = Annual Income; SA = Sex Appeal; ^ means raised to the power of; r = rate/week average at which SA is put to good for man's sake.

For example, if the woman earns $96,000/year, has a sex appeal rating of 8.4 (to get this figure, send scantily clad photo to www.hotornot.com and get average score after two weeks) and puts it to good use 2.5 times per week, then her true value is 8,000 + 8.4^3.5 = 9,717.82. This is what it should cost you per month to get a comprable replacement woman.

Posted by: KJ at January 14, 2005 06:15 PM

Cass: You nailed it on the head that the issue is one of aggressiveness/combativeness rather than intelligence (re your post last week on this issue).

I am a well-educated fellow with post-graduate degrees. I enjoy intelligent women who can provide stimulating conversation and share mutual pursuits in music, the arts, travel, etc. I can think of little worse than a vapid, uncultured wife whose idea of fun is watching Oprah and soap operas all day. I believe most men enjoy such stimulating companionship rather than a mindless "Stepford Wife".

The problem with so many intelligent, career-oriented women is the (pardon the french) "bitch factor". Naturally, the Maureen Dowd-types don't want to admit that it is their combativeness/bitchiness which repels men, so they pick the safe topic of blaming men who are "intimidated" by "smart" women.

I am a professional who works 60+ hours per week. I am also compensated quite handsomely for my time and effort, so I can provide a high standard of living for my loved ones. I have a number of friends in nearly identical situations. All of us are/were married to intelligent, sucessful career women. I can say that only perhaps 2 of 10 are successfully married. The rest either have marriages that are falling apart or have recently gotten divorced. I have joined the ranks of the recently divorced.

The problem for me was that I just got tired of having to arm-wrestle my intelligent, successful ex-wife over everything. Many women feel they have to "out-masculine" the men in order to succeed in the workforce, but in doing so they lose their femininity. Being the no-nonsense ballbreaker at work may get you a promotion, but its a recipe for disaster in the home.

After going to war all day in my career, the last thing I want is more of the same at home. With the hours I work, I might not get home till eight or nine. I don't want to be greeted at the door with an immediate laundry list of things to do, or hear how I'm not doing my share of the household chores. A warm meal might also be nice once in a while.

Unfortunately, it seems that the women raised in our post-feminist world feel that taking on a greater share of the household duties is somehow demeaning or an admission that they are not "equal partners" with their husbands. There is thus a constant battle or jockeying for status to show that they are, in fact, not playing second fiddle to any man. The result is a bunch of women with giant chips on their shoulders (I am woman, hear me roar), hypersensitive to any perceived slights as to their "status". How can this ever create a loving, harmonious marriage? What man wants women who roar all the time?

I always responded to my ex that it was not a slight to ask her to do more around the house when I got home at 8, while she got home at 5. Give ME an extra 3 hours per day, and I could sure get a lot of things done around the house. It is just not realistic to expect me to get home at 8 and immediately start cooking dinner or cleaning the house. To be fair, I usually did all the cooking on the weekends to try to balance things, but this was never enough.

The Dowd article says that "intelligent" women are unfairly portrayed in the media as grasping, narcissistic, bitches a la Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, or Whatshername in Network. I do not believe such representations are unfair, but accurately portray the women who bought into the feminist revolution.

No one wants to feel unappreciated or used. Men are no exception. When a husband is treated as nothing more than a walking paycheck by a combative, bitchy princess (I would imagine Maureen Dowd fits this description perfectly), that husband will leave sooner or later.

When studies show that men prefer women of a lesser social, socio-economic, or whatever status, I think this merely represents the male desire to be appreciated and respected in his role as breadwinner for his family; an important role which has been nothing but villified by the feminists. Poor women, however, are much less likely to take these achievements for granted and understand this fundamentally male role. Think of the differences in appreciation of wealth between someone who works for a living versus spoiled trust-fund brats like the Kennedys.

The most happy marriage I know is between one of the smartest professional women I know, and a friend of mine. The difference is that she was raised on a poor farm in the heartland, with traditional values, and an appreciation for how hard it is to earn a dollar. I call her the anti-feminist, and she is a delight to be around. She has made a successful career, and is brilliant, and men swarm around her like bees to honey (she just laughs off the attention and is FIRMLY devoted to her husband). If men are so intimidated by "intelligent" women, why is she mobbed at social events? She is in no way physically stunning, just average-looking, so its not just male lust.

I think its because she's warm, witty, and charming, rather than the feminist model of a Soviet political commissar like Maureen Dowd. Men will always prefer the former to the latter.

Sorry for the long post, but this discussion hit a hot button.

Posted by: a former european at January 14, 2005 06:17 PM

afe, you said it better than I ever could have.

I firmly believe men want (and need) to be appreciated, even looked up to. And it does not diminish a woman (a real woman) in the least to look up to an admirable man (except joatmoaf of course... who needs to be smacked :). My husband is one such. I admire him and appreciate him, and I try to let him know that.

I have to be honest here - my working creates friction at times. We both have to work harder to make things work - I alluded to that at the end of my post. My husband is old-fashioned and he'd like to walk through the door and have a 4-course meal waiting. Well, that ain't happening anymore. But I try to make it up to him in other ways that are important to him.

But he doesn't cook during the week either. He gets home late and he shouldn't have to do that. And I don't EVER give him honey-do lists - that's a marriage killer, or maybe I'm just a wimp, I don't know. He works hard - at the end of the day, he shouldn't have to do more -- he needs to relax.

He does do most of his own laundry now - since coming home from his last 1 year unaccompanied tour in Japan, he'd gotten used to it, and when I started to do it for him, he said he was happy to keep doing it since I work now.

So I let him.

I was a bit squeamish about saying a lot of what you just said (and some other things you'll never hear me say) but I believe we haven't gotten away from biology and gender roles - they're just changing somewhat with the times.

Men are still men (thank God) and women should be women, not miniature men. We can be strong in our own way without being doormats.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 06:34 PM

I'll tell you something else: making a gracious and relaxing home is an art that is vastly underappreciated.

I'm not stupid, and I get really annoyed when I hear women putting homemaking down. It's hard to run a home well, and to create an inviting and tranquil atmosphere at the end of the day. Gracious living is why we work so hard, after all.

Women who can take their husband's paycheck and turn a tract home into a haven of peace, order, and beauty should be valued and admired for that talent. And it's not just the physical plant/equipment stuff: keeping everyone happy and getting along isn't easy either - I know, I've done it.

It was law in our home that when Dad walked through the door, the chaos needed to come to a stop for a while so he could unwind. Sometimes a million little crises get handled smoothly before he ever pulls into the driveway and he never hears about it.

That's no trivial job, as far as I'm concerned, if it's done right.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 06:40 PM

...now I have to pick up the hellhole that is my living room before the Big Guy sees what a mess I made while working today :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 06:41 PM

afe, sorry to hear about your divorce. I have been in just about the same situation.

I went out and found a sweet little, and beautiful Chinese lady with a Phd and a mind of her own but was shocked to learn that women were burning their braws in the 70's.

She is the best and knows that being feminine does not diminish her in any way,....wish she would get home and stop making money for us/ :)

Posted by: Pile On® at January 14, 2005 06:48 PM

Very sorry about the divorce AFE. I just hate hearing news like that. I saw too many growing up I guess. I am sure you will catch your balance soon, which isn't meant to imply you haven't already.

Posted by: KJ at January 14, 2005 06:58 PM

I agree, Cass. I think a nice, peaceful home is a tremendous blessing. It recharges a man (or woman) to go out and battle in the workplace the next day. If there is no such respite, you eventually burnout.

Achieving such a home is truly an art, and takes much hard work. I know I totally lack such skills beyond the usual fixing/cleaning most men can accomplish. I am an excellent cook, however, so I guess I have one redeeming domestic skill.

Post-feminist women, however, seem to be insulted by such domestic skills as somehow being beneath them. Many seem to take pride in their inability to boil water, much less sew or decorate. I guess this is a symbol of how "liberated" they are.

In its definitional sense, though, being "liberated" is the opposite of being bound in a committed relationship like marriage. Could this suggest a causal link between the pursuit of the former and the inability to maintain the latter? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Posted by: a former european at January 14, 2005 06:59 PM

Boy AFE, you took all the air out of my inflamatory "true value of a woman" equation.

Posted by: KJ at January 14, 2005 07:05 PM

Thanks for the support, guys. Actually, freeing myself from that negative situation has been, dare I say it, liberating. Its amazing how much negative energy can just drain you for everything else. I have achieved tremendous professional and personal success over the last few months, and am now running my own company (which is ironic, in that my whole life has been about sticking it to the Man, but now I AM the Man).

Pile On: I am very happy for your joyful union. She sounds like a real catch. Her positive attitude may arise from her cultural background, since Chinese culture pretty much seems to reject the feminist crap pushed by the West. I know several guys who are now dating oriental woman, and claim it is like a breath of fresh air. Hmmmm, I may have to look into that.

KJ: No worries. Like the Karate Kid, I am achieving Macchio-like balance. I am not bitter towards women, nor my ex.

Now if only that creepy Miaggi guy would just stop following me around, things would be great!

Posted by: a former european at January 14, 2005 07:14 PM

I guess I didn't convey what I meant very well.
The "income" remark was referring to Mssssss Dowd and other feminuts, not you.
Also, my point about marriage was that women can be happier not having the dreaded J-O-B, and that riles up the feminuts, to whom money really is net worth.
I wasn't commenting on your personal situation, only mine.

Is it Friday yet?

Posted by: MrsPurpleRaider at January 14, 2005 07:16 PM

Oh good, Mrs. P. - I'm always afraid of stepping in the feminist tarpit :) If you're at home you're always afraid you'll sound critical of working, and if working, the reverse. Having done both, I know there are pitfalls associated with each.

I wish we could all just get past that.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 14, 2005 07:29 PM

Marriage! Now there's a subject I wouldn't even give myself advice on.

Posted by: RIslander [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 14, 2005 11:35 PM

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