If People Magazine is laying around, I might pick it up and flip through it. But for the most part, I’m not that enamored of big celebrities’ lives. I always assume that what I read is some sort of publicist-created façade anyway, and it’s not all that interesting to me. But not-so celebrity gossip? Now that is intriguing. This obsession and this 1972 piece about the role of a wife from Ms Magazine got me thinking about how far we've come -- and how far we haven't.
Recently a friend called and said, “What are you doing?”
“Reading this divorce decree,” I said.
“Divorce decree? Whose?”
“Oh, Bud and Bai MacFarlane, these insanely crazy people,” I said, “If you were a really devout Catholic you’d know who they are.”
“Well how do you know who they are?” she dug.
Hey, take it easy, I might not be such a great Catholic, but I keep up on the gossip from time to time. That’s admirable, right?
This is also one of my favorite things about my job. When someone is applying for a mortgage loan, you get to break every bit of cocktail party etiquette you’ve ever learned and really go for the jugular.
“So how much money do you make?” I ask, “ Oh - that’s not very much. Do you have any in the bank? Yikes, not enough. How about your family – anyone in your family got money?” And on I go until I’ve learned their entire personal and financial history. Real people fascinate me.
The other day I was reading a divorce decree that said, “The husband may only have supervised visitation with the kids and may not use drugs four hours prior to or during the visit.” (Thank you, God, for my husband.)
Then I was talking to a young woman who wants to buy a house with her boyfriend. They can’t afford it, in large part because he has to pay $700 per month in child support. “I wish I got child support for my son,” she said.
Which you know put my feminist knickers in a twist. “What do you mean you don’t you receive child support? You are entitled to child support. It’s the law!” I lectured.
“Well,” she said, “I have no idea who the father is.”
Ah, I see – that is problematic. Next time you’re getting knocked up, maybe at least ask the dude’s name. I know it kind of ruins the moment, but still – you never know when that kind of information might come in handy. (Like when you’re earning $9 an hour and want to buy a house, for instance.)
My most favorite quasi-celebrity gossip story is that of Liz Jones and her husband, what’s-his-name (I can’t bear to utter it on my sacred blog). I first learned of these people when he wrote this annoying piece describing how feminism has destroyed real men. I had to read it three times, so certain I was that it must be satire. But no. He is dead serious:
I'm always telling my wife, the writer Liz Jones, to shut up. She gets into a prissy huff about it, but I know she respects me for not indulging her neuroticism.
A man who is too in awe of his woman isn't going to tear her blouse open and ravish her on the couch; he isn't going to pull her hair and whisper profanities in her ear. Whenever my marriage is at a crisis point, and my wife's ego and mine are jostling for a position of supremacy, we inevitably have strenuous, battling sex.
My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth.
The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women: a man who appreciates this can negotiate whatever difficulties arise in his relationships with them.
Last Christmas, my wife threw me out after discovering I'd been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. Unfaithful as I'd been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness.
I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: 'Who's the boss?'
The question threw her. Initially she wouldn't give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. 'You are,' she finally gasped. 'You are!'
Earth to Dickhead – while we all certainly enjoy a good roll in the hay, women can have orgasms all by themselves if they want to, it’s really not that complicated. Don’t flatter yourself.
I was pleased as punch when I learned she was finally going to ditch this loser. But then she had to ruin it for me:
He has blamed, over and over again, his philandering on the fact that he felt emasculated by what I wrote in my column, and I can understand that. Even if we haven’t all written a column, my generation of women, capable divas that we are, have reduced men to poor creatures who can’t even change a light bulb.
I know so many women my age whose husbands, if they haven’t chased after young floozies who at least look up to them (the emails Daphne sent my husband made me want to throw up, so saccharine were they in their adoration), behave like extra giant children (mine would often call me ‘Mummy’ or ‘My old Mum’, much to my annoyance).
I do think, and hope, that women in their 20s won’t make the same mistakes of trying to do everything, be everything, and then have it thrown back in their faces.
Liz, what I hope for women in their 20’s is that they will learn that your mistake was not being strong or successful professionally, but being weak personally. And for the love of God I hope they’ll be smart enough not to marry a man who calls them “mum” – I mean that is just disturbing. Furthermore and for the permanent record, there is NO component of feminist theory that encourages women to marry assholes.
So you see why I’m addicted to not-so celebrity gossip. Admit it, the inane escapades of Lindsey Lohan and Useless Paris Hilton totally make you yawn in comparison.
(As an aside, a shoutout to Suebob who skirted my breastfeeding post. Thanks - very cool!)