When Urania was young/ All thought her heavenly/ With age her eyes grow larger/ But her form unmaidenly

Monday, September 04, 2006

SBD - Irreconcilable Differences

The attraction of Regency begins and ends with Mr Darcy, of course. - Beth Kingston

And that's perhaps why neither Romance nor P&P work for most men as escape: we don't want to be Darcy, let alone to anyone's Elizabeth. Oh, we'd take the money and the looks - might even suffer to carry the fundamental decency as long as we got to sport the indeed, no improper pride utter arrogance. But, you know, being of service simply has no appeal at all, and aside from a bit of dancing that certainly doesn't sound nearly as kicky as my times in the mosh pit, Darcy doesn't do much else. In his Mr. Bingley, he has the single safest, dullest male companion I can remember - clearly chosen for him by a female creator careful to leave him not much more fun the rest of his life than another evening of his wife's lively wit. Perhaps it would be too much to give Darcy a Mercutio or Falstaff - but, gosh, I'll bet even the monosyllabic Friday would come on over on Saturdays to toss around the old coconut, after draining it of some semifermented milk.

And Elizabeth - that that that spunky thing? It's true I'd wish her on my hypothetical best friend (because glazed schadenfreude really is the tastiest Bavarian pastry), and it would amusing to have her at my dinner table, at a dinner party, being all sane and rational, and so-decorously clever. And then for her to go home with said friend (ah, how the mighty have fallen!) , chaffering him all the way home, taking those liberties he would not countenance from his younger sister. Such fun! While Becky Sharp and I roll up our sleeves to do the dishes, and really dish. Umm, not saying that's a standard male fantasy or anything, but anyway. (Aside to Rock: Not quite the manly persona I wanted here, nu? Go fold doilies or something.)

So let's be a little more pointed here: The famous Forbes article. (note the spunky official rebuttal from Elizabeth Corcoran!) about whether marriage to a career woman provides a lower return at higher risk than chosing a noncareer woman. The squeals of outrage in blogland weren't all that different from what admirers of Elizabeth would have to say: but we're worth it! And we don't really wouldn't like anyone who thought otherwise! (Would that this be true - at least it would be predictable.) And look what our husbands get:

In spite of those dangerous statistics, my husband and I are about to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. You'll see us snuggling at a mountain-winery concert this month, enjoying the occasion. I don't think I'm all that unusual.

Me neither! Oh yes, those mountain-winery concerts, and snuggling! His second choice, no doubt, but the ballet (shut UP, Rock) was sold out and the chestless ladies in tights and iron-maiden-slippers kept sliding down the snowy mountain into the grape presser anyway.

Oh sure - some omega males think this is just fine. When they have a relationship dilemma they write to Carolyn Hax, who provides a balanced, progressive perspective on how they just haven't sucked it up quite enough.

You folks know that great Marxist phrase "false consciousness?" Really stupid people (e.g. Marxists) think it means not having those great progressive views, the one that the all the good progressive people do. But what it really means is you're being conned out of what would otherwise want by thoughtlessly adopting ideological positions that disguise this. A very useful concept, both in its original economic context and as later adopted in feminist theory. Now, of course, in the stupido version, that critique only works in one direction, toward egalitarianism and Pareto-optimized social solutions and the lion laying down with the lamb, shame about the subsequent anorexic end of the carnivore.

In the smart version, women get to want Darcy and be Lilith - I mean, Elizabeth - and all that. And they can cheer each other on and tell each other how they deserve no less, which, if the concept of what people deserve wasn't a meaningless noise, could very well have been true. They can certainly say Don't Settle, which, as an imperative, is neither true nor not-true, and is at least arguably an effective strategy for reducing unhappiness. But don't expect the coconut-tossers to stop their game to join in the applause, nor to necessarily suffer the slings and arrows of your absence.


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