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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fuck 'em!

Long time no hear from, I know, I know. I've been, I was going to say uninspired, but really just lazy. I'm annoyed today however, so I've got a little more fire in my belly...here goes:

I know from the title of this post it's going to sound like I'm spoiling for a fight but honestly I'm not. Actually I'm more resigned than anything.

On Thanksgiving afternoon, my mother passed along to me, my soon-to-be sister-in-law's gently used copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. It was nearly a full year after she promised to lend it to me and in the intervening time I'd learned all I actually needed to know about the book from various media and others who'd read it and were only too happy to share. But I read it anyway. I'm like that. I always want to know what all the fuss is about and I want to know first-hand. For that reason, I've also read the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and the five Game of Thrones tomes. I'm always happy to hear about it but then I've got to make up my own mind, thankyouverymuch.

So I made fairly quick work of Fifty Shades I and moved on to II, but now I'm irritated. Irritated because I've been so easily manipulated (like everyone who made it a NYTimes best-seller) by the author's prose. It's not literature, don't misunderstand. It's not even an awesome read but it's definitely much better written than I had any right to hope for. As you can guess, all it is is erotica- they have sex every three or four pages with a little character development in between-there are no greater aspirations. (That is a compliment.) But a lot of the stuff I've read recently has been sorely lacking in even those fundamentals. So it's been interesting reading.

What makes this book so intriguing yet annoying is how utterly textbook it is. From all the hubbub in the news, I was expecting to be scandalized. I thought I was in for some high-kink but really it was quite pedestrian (and maybe that's more a statement about me than anything else). It's basically a by-the-numbers, if raunchy and better fleshed-out, Harlequin romance. The protagonist is highly uninteresting but the love-interest? Well, that's it really, he's where the meat is- as it should be right? A commanding, wealthy, Captain of Industry, who underneath it all is really just a deeply-flawed and painfully insecure man in need of the love of a good woman. That, my friends, is (at least in part) the description of almost every romance novel ever written, isn't it? Nothing new there.

Which brings me very neatly to my beef. There it is in every romance novel and every rom-com movie you'll every read or see: from Sex and the City to Jane Eyre- the same issue. "What do women want?" men ask. C'mon dude open your eyes or read a fucking book! And no, I'm not saying all women want is a wealthy industrialist (though I'm sure no women would kick one out of bed). And no, most don't want to heal a psychically wounded man (although, I'm positive there are a lot of women out there that are doing just that). What I'm saying is, what women want and offer when they offer up themselves is very obvious.

They want love (duh) and someone to take care of. That's it. Not complicated at all. I say that in a very generally way because in my soft, (and according to Wendy Williams - pink), woman's soul I believe this to be a universal truth. Now, don't get it twisted, I don't mean "take care of" like, cook, clean, procreate and darn socks- although again, there are a lot of chicks out there doing that shit too- but that's not what I'm talking about. I have absolutely no interest in doing that for myself, let alone another fully-grown adult human being, so no.  I'm saying that any woman out there you'll find -including the most non-traditionalist, radical, femi-nazi in Christendom- is interested in being your anchor, your balm, your succor, your home (in the truest sense). I'm talking about the tending of someone's soul. That's what the average woman wants and proffers with herself. And I have thousands of years of human history (and the scientific fact that attached men are healthier than single men) to back up that assertion. Sounds good doesn't it? Pretty nice deal. one would think.

Yet men scorn us. They content themselves with the idea that they must be snookered or guilted into relationships. They run screaming away from marriage and act like the sky is falling or the universe is collapsing in on itself if a woman wants a commitment. Really? Because being adored and supported is such a cross to bear? Is it in truth? All women just want to lock men down and trap them- become giant albatrosses around their necks? Sounds frightening.

So I say, fuck 'em. Why should a man need to be convinced to be in a serious relationship? Why should I have to convince you to do what's in your own best interest? And why should I let society convince me to drag some random dude kicking and screaming into an institution that ultimately will be to his benefit and my detriment- sucking all of the lifeblood out of me (particularly once you bring children into it)? It's just dumb.  What about a series of random hookups and empty serial relationships holds such seductive appeal? I don't get it. Personally I think you've seen one vagina, you've seen them all.

And what does any of this have to do with Fifty Shades of Grey? I'm just annoyed- with myself most acutely -for being such a unmitigated sucker. For liking the goddamned book. For swooning, like everyone else, at the idea of being everything to one man, his love, his salvation, the only woman in the world (like Rihanna said). For wanting (despite knowing better), what every woman wants. For buying into the bullshit. And for, maybe not believing, but accepting when men say that they don't know what we want or they don't know how to give it to us or they don't understand us. Really you don't?

Well, then go read a romance novel, any one of them... I know for a fact E.L. James wrote three of 'em.

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