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January 14, 2005

You Still Don't Complete Me

Whoa. I just read Maureen O'Dowd's column in today's New York Times and now I know the reason why I'm not married! (Other than the fact that I don't want to be married.)

A few years ago at a White House Correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful actress. Within moments, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."

I'd been noticing a trend along these lines, as famous and powerful men took up with the young women whose job it was to tend to them and care for them in some way: their secretaries, assistants, nannies, caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers.

Women in staff support are the new sirens because, as a guy I know put it, they look upon the men they work for as "the moon, the sun and the stars." It's all about orbiting, serving and salaaming their Sun Gods.

In all those great Tracy/Hepburn movies more than a half-century ago, it was the snap and crackle of a romance between equals that was so exciting. Moviemakers these days seem far more interested in the soothing aura of romances between unequals.

I have experienced this twice. For some men, there's this idea that, as a woman, if I don't consider them the sun around which I orbit that it means I'm not into the relationship. I've had male friends who prefer to be with women who make them and the relationship the focus of their entire life.

Which I've never fully understood; I understand the desire to be loved and appreciated, but I don't quite get the desire - beyond pure egotism - to be worshipped. It sets up the relationship in a grotesquely unequal way, and I don't imagine those kinds of relationships last very long (or are ultimately very fulfilling).

BUT, that's just me. I've always been one of those people who is attracted to men that I feel are my equal, especially intellectually. If that equality isn't there, he doesn't hold my interest for very long.

Art is imitating life, turning women who seek equality into selfish narcissists and objects of rejection, rather than affection.

As John Schwartz of The New York Times wrote recently, "Men would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame."

A new study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggests that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors.

As Dr. Stephanie Brown, the lead author of the study, summed it up for reporters: "Powerful women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men may prefer to marry less-accomplished women." Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them.

A second study, which was by researchers at four British universities and reported last week, suggested that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals. The study found that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.

I'm screwed. So, so screwed (if that's true. I refuse to believe it is, or that it makes pairing up impossible).

I just thought of something - what if the glitch in the study results is that men who are attracted to women who are their equals don't necessarily seek out marriage? And vice versa. Maybe those types of people are more likely to eschew a "traditional" institution such as marriage?

This part makes me sad, because I really like Carrie Fisher and think she's wonderfully smart and talented:

I asked the actress and writer Carrie Fisher, on the East Coast to promote her novel "The Best Awful," who confirmed that women who challenge men are in trouble.

"I haven't dated in 12 million years," she said drily. "I gave up on dating powerful men because they wanted to date women in the service professions. So I decided to date guys in the service professions. But then I found out that kings want to be treated like kings, and consorts want to be treated like kings, too."

Posted by Highwaygirl on January 14, 2005 01:07 PM to the category Current Affairs

I AM a P.R. woman and I don't see any men lining up to marry me! I guess I should be offended by the actress' characterization of the public relations profession, but whatever.

There was a really great scene with C.J. in last week's West Wing episode when she babbled on about the fact that when she was younger she was too intimidated by men and that now, men were too intimidated by her independence. THat'll be me in a few years.

Posted by: Nancy at January 14, 2005 02:57 PM

I'd love to be C.J.-esque in a few years. Maybe I'll just be one of those women who "takes a lover" for a few years at a time; if/when we grow apart, I'll take another.

I just hope they have fantastic names, like Jean-Pierre and Roderigo and Gerard Butler. Heh.

Posted by: Highwaygirl at January 14, 2005 03:11 PM

I hate that I totally agree with this. And this statement: "But then I found out that kings want to be treated like kings, and consorts want to be treated like kings, too" is soooo true (at least in my neck of the woods), it's maddening.

You either have to fawn all over them, (and not mind their indiscretions), or you have to be totally HOT. And if you're HOT, you can treat them like shit and they won't care .. because you're HOT.

Hence, my occasional fondness for that of the married man for a fun fling and then, buh-bye. Probably the main reason for my 68% slut score.

Posted by: TVJ at January 14, 2005 07:41 PM

I'm a male who finds that straight women invariably prefer to date above their station, and men prefer not to.

In other words, women are repulsed by men who are not powerful/wealthy/more-wealthy-than-them/of-higher position. Women don't date garbagemen unless they can't afford anything else.

Nothing controversial about it. Nothing good about it either. Biology is destiny, and evolution sucks. But the inverse of "men prefer to marry personal assistants, and are repulsed by women-more-powerful-than-they" is also true. Women are embarassed to have a boyfriend who is a janitor, a farmer, or even a schoolteacher.

Isn't it better to be honest and up-front about it? Let's not deceive each other for the sake of "not hurting feelings."

Posted by: cointelpro at October 29, 2005 09:22 PM

People should get marriage counciling even before they are married because the divorce rate is ridiculous!

Posted by: gifrank2004 at July 13, 2007 12:39 PM
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