To the consternation of Jezebel.com and other progressive “girly” sites, we’ve recently witnessed an uptick in “controversial” articles by women, for women, with titles like “Why You’re Not Married.”
That HuffPo piece by Tracy McMillan, based on her new book, reiterates stuff I read as a teenager, in 1950s tomes reissued in mass-market paperbacks — sporting covers of pensive, bell-bottomed strawberry blondes posing in soft-focus fields, designed to make them more saleable in the ’70s.
Similar dating advice can be found in arcane classics like Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress and the more recent Secrets About Men from the Mayflower Madam (who trained her “girls” in deportment and other finishing-school finer points).
Advice like: Don’t act like a slut (in public). Listen. Be gracious and grateful.
And don’t talk too much.
The Jezebels are outraged.
“These writers want us to go back to the ’50s!” they type furiously.
(McMillan may write for Mad Men, but since she’s a bi-racial single mom, I somehow doubt she’s in the market for a time machine.)
Well, there was a lot wrong in the 1950s (although some of the “wrong” stuff has been greatly exaggerated), but in those days, right and left still agreed on one thing at least: men and women are different.
The Jezebels’ refusal to acknowledge this basic fact explains why they are such human toothaches.
Now on to their latest hate object…
In the July 4 Daily Mail, Sarah Bridge asks, “Are women like me too critical to attract a man?”
Here’s an excerpt:
Single at the age of 39, I’ve often wondered why none of my relationships lasted the distance, but had always put it down to luck and timing — assuming I had neither on my side.
But recently, my friend Steven threw some cold, harsh light on the subject.
“Your problem is that you’re really snippy,” he said.
“Snippy?” I asked, not entirely sure what he meant.
“Yes, snippy,” he said. “Abrupt. Critical. If someone says or does something wrong, then you’re onto it straight away. Men will ignore a lot of things if they fancy someone — a weird dress sense, or taking hours getting ready to go out — but they hate being put down or made to feel small. You can be funny, but sometimes it’s way too close for comfort.”
Now, should you read the original piece online, which includes two photos of the writer, you may have other ideas about why Bridge remains unattached.
However, even I felt my inner Jezebel rousing herself from hibernation while reading this article.
We are “freaks of nature.”
So unlike the women who so annoy Adam Carolla in the audio segment below, I do know about World War II. And a lot of other things.
No one asks to play Trivial Pursuit with me twice. I made one opponent cry.
My therapist back in the 1990s, all too aware of my temperament, once asked me a very ‘90s question:
“Would you rather be happy, or would you rather be right?”
I didn’t hesitate: “Being right makes me happy.”
I’ve mellowed a bit with age since then.
A precocious 48 year old is just the sort of contradiction in terms that sets off my “autocorrect,” so that aspect of my temperament has partially collapsed under its own weight.
(Also, for the last three years, I’ve lived with my 87-year-old mother-in-law, who insists, among many other things, that penguins can fly…)
However, if you ask me if I’ve ever been on vacation in Cuba – a question that comes up fairly regularly here in Toronto – I’m still going to respond that no, as a matter of fact, I do not holiday in communist prison camps, thank you very much.
Women bloggers of the Jezebel persuasion seem to think Sarah Bridge is giving females advice out of one of those 1950s handbooks: that if they want to be popular, they should do a lot of smiling and nodding while the man is talking, and laugh at his jokes even if they suck and so on.
I think my fellow Toronto blogger Laura Rosen Cohen (who I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark cerebral alley) had a better take on Bridge’s article:
Surprisingly large numbers of smart women are actually married. So, this is about not being “too clever” but rather about not being such a critical, nitpicky crankypuss toward men that you become a complete turn off.
Obviously, I’m deeply biased, but I also don’t hear Bridge telling Marie Curie not to let on to Pierre about those two Nobel prizes.
Bridge simply seems to be suggesting that women not fill up the air with unsolicited, highly personal and probably cruel observations & advice or unfunny, mean-spirited “jokes.”
To which I’d add, dial down:
- tedious gossip about third parties, especially people he’s never met
- boring trivia about your job (such as the ongoing saga of the break-room fridge)
And, my personal favorite:
- Which “real” housewife bought which trendy frivolous accessory that you and your real husband can’t afford and don’t need. (See “Carolla, Adam,” above.)
Speaking of husbands, how, you might ask, does mine cope with my “autocorrect”?
He doesn’t have to.
My compulsive need to be right weeded out all the idiots until I met my spouse.
Arnie’s wrong about PCs, but that’s about it.
Being married to a guy who already knows everything too has weakened my “snip” reflex.
What can I say? He knows more about World War II (and lots of other things) than I do.
See more from Kathy Shaidle on women: