Never enough

9 12 2009

Be beautiful.

Be smart (but not too. . .).

Be supportive.

Be thin.

Be a wife. Be a girlfriend. Be a mother.

Be everything.

But not enough. It won’t be enough, not for him.

Let it be stipulated that not every man cheats. Let it be stipulated that women cheat. Let it be stipulated that monogamy is not for everyone.

Let it be further stipulated that athletes and politicians and corporate moguls and celebrities are not like the rest of us.

Nonetheless.

I look at these everything-women and their caddish men and think Women are fucked.

Told constantly by magazine writers and self-help authors and media representations and advertisements and sexperts that if women would only lose the weight and change the hair and brighten the smile and maybe engage in a little bo-nip-tuck-tox (and, of course, shave/wax/defoliate one’s nether and whatever other  regions) you too could earn yourself The Man of Your Dreams™, we are confronted with the scenario in which said Man simply decides that one is nowhere near enough.

I know: media representations are bullshit, and my rational feminist brain tells me that relationships are complex and compatibility runs far deeper than the skin.

Nonetheless.

This plain and single woman cannot rid herself of the enduring thought that if only she’d lose five pounds and/or get in better shape and get her teeth and eyes fixed then maybe, just maybe, she could be worth dating.

Irrational, yes. Pathetic, yes. A handy way to avoid addressing the real reasons I don’t date—yes, absolutely, yes.

Nonetheless.

The thought remains.

As does the apparent evidence that whatever fixes one enacts won’t ever be enough.

Fucked, all around.


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3 responses

9 12 2009
Christine

I think it’s time women accepted that men cheat. And maybe we can be grown-ups about it, some day. I’m thinking of a more continental European attitude – our relationship is central, but we have affairs – that kind of thing.

Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t expect our SO to be our everything? Wouldn’t it be great if we got our self-esteem elsewhere? Wouldn’t it be great if the pressure on women would ease up a little?

Fat chance.

9 12 2009
geekhiker

Can we also accept that not all men cheat? That some of us do want to meet someone for life, someone who excites our minds as well as our bodies? Someone who knows that conversation is the best aphrodisiac, and the one that will matter in the end?

Meh, what do I know? I’m just a neanderthal who only thinks with his genitalia. 😉

9 12 2009
absurdbeats

That was the first stipulation, Mr. GH. And my parents have been happily married for 50 years, and I have zero reason to believe that either them have ever cheated.

I also know a fair number of het and hom couples where each person wants only to be with the other. Monogamy is possible, for those who want it.

But not everyone wants this—which is fine, as long as they admit this to themselves and their partners. The trouble begins when they do neither.

As for the Europeans, I don’t know that they are more grown up (Berlusconi, anyone?). More to the point, I don’t know that the ‘men cheat’ notion isn’t simply a patriarchal holdover from the times when women had damned few options in life. Today, do women accept this, or are they resigned, because they (still) think there are few options (i.e., there’s little social or legal support for women who toss cheating husbands)? Furthermore, are the women afforded the same non-monogamous opportunities as men? Are they punished by divorce or custody laws or asymmetrically-judgmental social norms if they step out?

I agree, C., that the Andy-Gibb-ish ‘I just want to be your everything’ haze surrounding the allegedly ideal relationship is just so much hothouse juvenalia. But the pressure to BE a girlfriend/partner/wife is just so goddamned great that even those of us who should know better end up become infected with the ‘be perfect’ worm.

We’ve talked before that one of the nice things about being in New York is that you can be single, and know other single people, and have that state of being be normal. Doesn’t mean the infection isn’t worming its way through us, however, such that we use our satisfaction w/singleness as way to avoid disinfecting ourselves.

Or at least, it doesn’t mean the infection isn’t worming its way through me. . . .

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