I really didn’t create this blog for the purposes of venting about Feckless Husband, but today he is seriously getting right up my nose. I got an email from him this morning announcing that he and the Vanessa Mae Wannabe are leaving BF, Asia for some remote undisclosed location and will be out of communication for 2 days. Apparently, this is for a concert. Dude, 3 camels in a ger does not a concert make.
There are a lot of things about my situation that upset and annoy me, but apart from the obvious, I found that Jack Hitt really put his finger on one of the deeper underlying issues in his article “Harpy, Hero, Heretic: Hillary“. That link will take you to the full text in Mother Jones, but the key point is here:
Hillary is an avatar of an existential dread skulking in the hearts of every couple who’ve tried to put together a life since the feminist revolution. This anxiety explains why the darkest question a liberal feminist can ask is: Why didn’t she leave that son of a bitch?
The flip side to Hillary’s ambition evokes every career woman’s greatest fear. How fragile is marriage? It can come apart as quickly as that girl delivering the pizza can snap her thong. And there is no amount of superachieving or hard work that can prevent this lurking humiliation… It’s absurd, sure. It’s clichéd and pathetic. But, for the working wife, trying to build a career off the foundation of her marriage to even the nicest (smartest, richest, handsomest) man, her worst fear is that he’ll stray in this, the most debasing of ways. It’s a complete denial of her womanhood, an essential insult. It’s why the kind of anger liberal women feel toward Hillary always circles back around to the issue of why she stayed in the marriage. Why didn’t she take a stand against male grossness?
There’s a lot in that passage that rings true for me, even though it is (ironically) written by a man. I thought I had made an equal, civilised, grown-up 21st century marriage, with an educated man who had ethical and aesthetic standards. Suddenly, my husband apparently prefers a skimpily-dressed airhead who can’t make up her mind if she is 28 or 29, and who has an “interview” with herself on her website in which she makes the following statements:
Do you have a boyfriend or a special person?
Yes, I have a boyfriend; I can’t be without a man!
Which is your favourite musical group?
I very much enjoy watching and listening to Kenny G on sax.
It makes you question the fundamental values you thought you shared. More ominously, it brought home to me that although I thought my marriage was an equal partnership, when the shit hit the fan, it turned out that I was just as vulnerable to male oppression as any woman. Because I refused to abandon it immediately, my husband currently holds all the power in the marriage.
Before this happened to me, I was definitely in the category of liberal women who thought Hillary had betrayed feminist womankind by putting up with this shit. Now, unfathomably, I am in her shoes, putting up with being cheated on. No, more than that, agreeing to let it happen, at least for this month.
There are times when I feel like I have betrayed myself, actually. Why didn’t I kick his feckless ass out when I found out about the affair? Why didn’t I do it when he finally confessed? Is it because I don’t feel able to cope on my own, as a good feminist should?
I’d like to think it is because I am holding on to something worth having, and that he will come to realise that. We have a child and a life together. On my bitchier days, it is because I think, “Kenny G? Seriously?”