Saturday, December 5, 2009

One Too Many Mornings

Katherine Connell reviews the essay collection Love is a Four-Letter Word, yet another literary exploration of the empty anomie of "modern love," at least as it's practiced among Blue-State urban memoirists. the contributers are both male and female, but mostly it's a catalogue of bad male behavior: Emptiness And The City
One of these unpleasant truths is that feminism hasn’t quite delivered on its promises — at least in the realm of romantic relationships. Michelle Greene begins her essay with the frank admission that “by the time I turned thirty, my life in New York had taken on a desperate edge.” A tale of a toxic relationship follows, which she rationalizes this way: “What I wanted were street skills: some sort of power that would allow me to engage in sexual drama without getting burned.” This path to female empowerment eludes her as it does others — such as self-identified feminist Maud Newton, who theorizes, “maybe I didn’t need to fall for every guy whose bed I woke up in,” only to fall very hard for the next guy whose bed she wakes up in.

D. E. Rasso relates how, after weeks of repairing to the room of an older college classmate for sex that left her “bruised, scratched, and — one time — bleeding,” she finally mustered the courage to inquire of him if they were “going out.” His reply was, “No. Of course we aren’t. . . . I’m at a point in my life where monogamy isn’t my style.” She was crushed.

Michelle Greene suddenly realized that her cheating, womanizing boyfriend of years “wasn’t the guy I wanted to marry” — but only after a pregnancy scare on a hike in the Himalayas, to which he responded, “Oh man. Look at where we are. What do you want me to do?”

Said Sayrafiezadeh tells the story of a 34-year-old girlfriend who wanted his baby — though not necessarily marriage — and gave him a year to comply. He dumped her at the end of it.
OK, so men are jerks, but women are famously drawn to jerks. Will they ever take responsibility for what they bring to a toxic relationship? For all the talk of seduction, pick up artistry, and alpha/beta males, one of the secrets of life is this: women choose the men, not the other way around. Oh sure, men do the chasing and all that, but the smoothest line of patter will do absolutely no good when the target is not receptive. College educated feminist women often don't realize this with the result that they are unable to manage their men in the same manner as, say, a high school graduate working at Neiman's. Or Laura Bush. Or Sarah Palin.

The authors of books and essays about single-life, and the people who read them, might have the rest of us beat in education and sophistication, yet they obviously have great difficulty with some of the most basic aspects of human nature.

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