Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dowd, Full Strength

So finally, my long overdue review of Are Men Necessary? (The answer to which, incidentally, is YES! “for breeding and heavy lifting,” at the very least.) The book made for one the most entertaining and quotable reads ever. Suffice it to say that it is one of the few books I would like to own. My main criticism of the book is that its title is misleading. It’s not really about whether men are necessary or not. It’s mostly just a humorous, witty, and sarcastic account of society today, ridiculing the men and women who make it up along the way. There are also some great statistics and interviews. Some snippets:
“Feminists in the seventies went overboard,” agreed Anne Schroeder, a twenty-six-year-old magazine editor in D.C. “Paying is like opening a car door. It’s nice. I appreciate it. But he doesn’t have to.”

Unless he wants another date.

* * *

Cosmo quoted a survey by Youth Intelligence, a market research firm in New York, that found that 68 percent of three thousand married and single women said “they’d ditch work if they could afford to.” And a Cosmo poll of eight hundred women revealed the same startling statistic: two out of three respondents would rather “kick back a casa than climb the corporate ladder.”

* * *

Five years ago, you would often hear high-powered women fantasize that they would love a Wife, somebody to do the shopping, cooking, and carpooling, so they could focus on work.

Now the fantasy is more retro: They want to be that wife.

* * *

She [Cosmo editor, Helen Brown] explained that she refused to run articles on sexual harassment in Cosmo because, "I have this possibly benighted idea that when a man finds you sexually attractive, he is paying you a compliment..when he doesn’t, that’s when you have to worry."

She also reminisced fondly about her salad days at a Los Angeles radio station KHJ, as she worked her way through secretarial school, when the men played “a dandy game” called “Scuttle.”

“Rules: All announcers and engineers who weren’t busy would select a secretary, chase her down the halls, through the music library and back to the announcing booths, catch her and take her panties off. Once the panties were off, the girl would put them back on again. Nothing wicked ever happened. Depantying was the sole object of the game.

“While all this was going on, the girl herself usually shrieked, screamed, flailed, blushed, threatened and pretended to faint, but to my knowledge no scuttler was every reported to the front office. Au contraire, the girls wore their prettiest panties to work.”

* * *

The earthshaking question they considered was: Why are men attracted to female cartoon characters, while women are not attracted to male cartoon characters?

* * *

“What happens genetically when a man who has his nose done, chin augmented and ears pinned back is attracted to a woman who’s had her eyes done and her lips pumped up and her face lifted?” Alex Kuczynski wonders. “And they have a baby and look at each other and moan, ‘My G-d, where did this ugly baby come from?’ or ‘Honey, that’s not your nose’ or ‘Baby, whose ears are those?’ I’ve talked to doctors who have already seen this happening.”

* * *

New York doctors envision princess-to-frog (or dog) scenarios in which men marry smooth-faced women and, four months and no Botox injections later, wake up next to a shar-pei.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

For all those who get married and dump their friends, read this:

Abridged version of Too Close for Comfort:
It has only been in the last century that Americans have put all their emotional eggs in the basket of coupled love. Because of this change, many of us have found joys in marriage our great-great-grandparents never did. But we have also neglected our other relationships, placing too many burdens on a fragile institution and making social life poorer in the process.

Until 100 years ago, most societies agreed that it was dangerously antisocial, even pathologically self-absorbed, to elevate marital affection and nuclear-family ties above commitments to neighbors, extended kin, civic duty and religion.

Researchers soon found that men and women with confidants beyond the nuclear family were mentally and physically healthier than people who relied on just one other individual for emotional intimacy and support

As Americans lose the wider face-to-face ties that build social trust, they become more dependent on romantic relationships for intimacy and deep communication, and more vulnerable to isolation if a relationship breaks down. In some cases we even cause the breakdown by loading the relationship with too many expectations.

Paradoxically, we can strengthen our marriages the most by not expecting them to be our sole refuge from the pressures of the modern work force. Instead we need to restructure both work and social life so we can reach out and build ties with others, including people who are single or divorced.