The Chronicle, U.S.A.

Radical Feminist Observations are Funny

I'm not like the other moms, behaving as if they are stuck in high school. I'm settled in somewhere between "David Letterman's Stupid Pet Tricks" and "Animal House." I found out this weekend that most men within my age range still dislike feminists or feminist talk. In other words, no one wants to hear what older women have to say unless it comes with pay (and I hear female bosses are still a thing with some men). I converse with lots of people who don't mind me listen to them reveal their thoughts and feelings. An emerging image is formed from the quips and bits I'm told. Admittedly, I spending a bunch of time in chat rooms, Internet dating sites, bars and clubs, actively seeking these conversations. Apparently, women have a shelf life and I have reached my sell by date, or, maybe I need a hug and everything is just fine. However, I don't understand the point of saying women are liberated because they can pay for a date. While a man may not balk at his date picking up the tab, I don't know many women who wanted to do that anyway. What we want is to go out, whether or not the man in our life has the funds. I don't understand why roles in relationships aren't malleable within the 40s dating scene Why can I not just be myself without chastisement? Women still sneak clothing items into their closet after shopping. I find women still telling woeful tales of their boyfriend's infidelity and yet they still want to be married to him. I know it is because they put so much time in the relationship and everyone knows them as a couple and it would be embarrassing to break up. Ego. I hear women still telling tales of sadness when it comes to relationships in this day and age when a woman does not have to be in a relationship or get married to get ahead in life or have children. There is a reason for that. Whether or not it is legal, men beat women more often than women beat men. Even if it is not a physical beating, mental and emotional beatings cut deep. I guess some men feel as it we need it from time to time. I guess someone figured out that if we stop forcing the issue of marriage, most women would go unmarried and unbeaten. Charismatic men can still talk a woman into sex, if need be, make promises and not keep them and and society would not be forced to look closely at her swollen eye, her pink, purple and blue bruises or itself. With all of that shame heaped upon a single woman, she might just shrink herself down small enough to disappear and then we won't have to notice her at all. Problem solved. These are not the isolated complaints of poor women or working women or women who are of average looks or women with a parcel of kids. These are also the complaints of pretty women, career women, women who spoil their men, love their men and put up with their man, his family and his behaviors. It is almost as if a man is turned off by a woman's' happiness and her self-focus. Even an hourly wage earner hopes to gain more out of life so they work harder and smarter. They are self-focused. The career-focused female who also wants male companionship is seemingly beat before she starts. Career women are still portrayed in countless books and films and sitcoms as working as a means to an end. Ms. Busy Bisington so busy with her work, pulls it all together when she gets a man in her life and now, she is a real woman. (Nod to the Family Guy flashback) What does society say when Ms. Bisington ends up paying half of everything including her man's child support payments. If a woman wants to spend her money for a weekend getaway for the both of them, a man won't say no but he may sulk a bit privately. If you've been in a long term relationship, take notice at your mate's behavior and non-verbal cues. He either will behave like a son or a father towards you because he is confused that he isn't your husband and has no clear right to even suggest to you, what you should do with your money. I believe it is for this reason came the rise of the boy toy. He'll go to the islands with you and have fun no problem. Okay, there are problems but that is the point. Women who are in their 40s and look their age and who are unmarried, must emote a special scent that repel all princes on white horses because many of us are single and seldom dated. Even those of us who are younger-looking are not having as much luck with men as we used to because it is difficult to play young. Wisdom creeps out when we respond to questions and think. A woman's wisdom is a problem for some men, that is why we drink wine. Wisdom slips farther and farther away with each glass we consume. Even the women who look 10, 15 or 20 years younger than their chronological age and who have a rocking hot bod and such, wince at the subject of dating. A friend of mine said because of the sadness of the 40s dating scene, she and her husband decided to get married because of love and also because they were both tired of looking. If you look younger than you are, you can attract a variety of men. Marriage proposals are elusive or come with serious caveats. These guys like the younger-looking woman but not to marry necessarily. These guys like arm candy. The more calculating dude will understand that viable, healthy pregnancies and births may be a roll of the dice for a woman in her 40s and they don't like the odds if they plan to lock her into it. Also, many women end up with men who have already started families—married or not—and they think of responsibility when they think of committed mature relationships, marriage or you. These scenarios lead to dead end roads for far too many women. The 40s dating scene is worse for women who have children and who have not been married. Many of them don't want to get married anymore or just don't understand the concept of growing old with a man. I have also heard women comment they are waiting for the nest to empty before finding love. Their lives are tumultuous. Men come and go. They grow old waiting. Girls night out are the only nights out. I tend to live life out loud as a single woman but even that time is coming to a close because I am getting older. I think twice before I roar. My children don't believe in Santa Claus and I have hair growing in gray, around my hairline and I am allergic to hair dye. I have already had my kids and am divorced and widowed (death after divorce) and the dating scene is is a mixed bag. I seem to meet only men who want to rush into things or the complete opposite — the one night stand—even if it is over and over again for the next five years. Men I meet somehow cannot understand that a woman raising children alone is a very busy woman and he may get lost in the fray school and chores. Maybe he doesn't want to watch his woman transform from soft boo-thang to the mom-you-have-to-be to get stuff done. Yelling down the hallway, telling the kids to go to bed isn't sexy. What is unsaid is that a husband is useful in said situation but I don't have one anymore. Should I think of any potential suitor as a space filler? Often, my relationships with men are of an undefined characteristic. Maybe men who are interested in me notice I spend most of my time issuing orders and ultimatums, especially when I talk. Maybe sex isn't seen as reciprocal. Sometimes men express to me they essentially want to marry a domestic and I'm not her. I never hear from the men I meet, explain how he will provide emotional support for my two children and I. I guess the three of us are not considered a family, or maybe we are not worth the effort. Men say they don't mind being used for sex but they do. If he is going as far as being a boyfriend, I find he is actually acting more like a bad husband. Men in their 40s are not sowing wild oats, they are going through various stages of midlife crises. Many of them are looking for some type of wife, some security in their life, someone to come home to and even someone to care whether or not they are stepping outside of the relationship for companionship. Cheating is not cheating if there is no one there to notice or complain. Finding out the hard way that men are very territorial is a tough, time-consuming lesson. They don't even have to be in love with you to become territorial. What I don't get is how the same flash and independence that attracted said man, seems to put him off too. I think some men secretly (outwardly) hate happy, independent women but love the convenience of them. Making us feel bad about ourselves and how we live our lives is supposed to knock us down a peg or two, make us appear vulnerable but that is not vulnerability. Vulnerability is me being able to reach out to him and he respond with kindness. He shouldn't become annoyed because he thinks I want him to take care of me. If I cannot reach it, then his arms, being longer and stronger than mine, can get it for me. Maybe he does not want to be an extension of me. Confusion reigns because if I can get it for him I will, because I want to be of use to him for a bunch of things. Instead, I find myself being utilized like gym clothes. Many men, if they are honest, long for an old-fashioned relationship from the good ol' days where women were in their place on their backs and at the kitchen sink or stove—thus the popularity of Mad Men. Not all of us were happy with our positions in life during the 1950s. Women, as we age, seemed to still lose our value within our society at large. Marriage was the best way to feel secure and to have material goods but now we can live without a husband and still have and live well. A woman in her 20s and 30s cannot imagine a world where she had to marry (and have her husband's permission) to obtain credit or birth control. I was born in 1966. Those rules were in effect until the early 70s. I thought my mom was joking when she told me in a quiet tone one day, about what women used to have to go through. It was as if the very mention of those days would suddenly bring them back. The word feminist is still a nasty, hushed-up word to many but I grew up with that word embraced. I used to get called feminist all of the time. It was usually said to me in the form of an accusation. I have figured out that there are degrees of feminism, graduating from acceptable to unacceptable. Being a high earner is acceptable. Feeling like a free and grown woman with your money is not—whether you are in a relationship or not. Wait. Shhhhhh. We are still defined by men. If a man did not tell us we are pretty, we would not understand pretty. If enough men said women with six horns growing out of their head is the new face of beauty, next season, it would be floating down the catwalk smothered in red organza. However, men like the convenience of an Enjoli perfume commercial woman who can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, a reality of 40s dating. Many men do not miss being financially responsible for everyone and everything. I get it and so do other 40-ish woman. However, The 50/50 split does not seem to work well for us because we seldom get to be vulnerable. A woman financing half of the household catches a frown if she takes a cry break after having a spate of babies because she should be getting into work mode. We signed up for this superwoman life. Women have to enact those womanly wiles still, to be coy and to slink about all in our sexy like Jessica Rabbit, just to get a dude to do anything for us. All the while, we have to fight, fight, fight for any position in the world. It is a bit exhausting. I don't always easily transition from fighter to mom to lover, so I yell from time to time because I'm confused. Women still don't enjoy equilibrium within relationships. Men won't stop sifting all of the women they meet into the categories of saint/wife/whore/mom/sister. I literally have to find myself a place in there to gain traction but I end up slipping down into the b-word bin. No matter where I meet a man, when he is boiled down to his essence and at his worst, he projects insensitivity, gruffness and seeks to be mommied and fussed over. I am a mom and I don't have energy or time for this lifestyle. I'm too busy looking for the perfect hair dye and a hug.

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