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December 15, 2007



Oh, I don't think your standards are too high. I think they're right where they should be. I was single for five years and you would have thought the world had fucking ended the way some of my friends thought of it. Me? I mostly loved it. Even now, yes, happily married (but to a girl, which changes the dynamic significantly), I sometimes miss it.


Living with anyone is hard. I often wish I lived next door to my husband instead of with him and I'd put him at 11%. But I'd put myself at 35% just because I'm the one that gets very lazy and unreasonable. I don't think there's anything wrong with not wanting to get married. I think that sometimes people are desperate to connect (because in spite of being married, they are so lonely) that they want you to be like them in some way so they can relate to you.
It is sad how ingrained we are with our power plays. I sort of played into that "husband must have sex" crap for a while and finally got to the point where I was viciously attacking him (with words, mostly) for badgering me for sex. We finally have it worked out that it's a really bad idea for him to ask more than once. Strangely enough, it finally cemented in my head after watching an Oprah episode about married women being raped. While I was not being raped because I did consent after some whining and badgering; I realized that I did not have to make myself get in the mood if I wasn't in the damn mood, damnit.
And it is really ridiculous that people have such a hard time labeling rape what it is. It's as if you have to be beaten severely for it to count. I empathize with your rape situation and I know how you feel about being sick of sharing it, I can relate.


Everyone will say I'm a man-hating lesbian whose opinion doesn't count, but I WAS married to a man once. I loved him. He was a feminist on paper. He tried his best in practice. I have since loved many men dearly but thank god I AM a lesbian and don't have to marry them (or just be in that kind of relationship with them). I feel sorry for women who don't have a choice but to partner with men or not at all. I wouldn't want to marry any of the men I love--erotics aside. (Sex is moot anyway when you have two small children, let's get real, marriage isn't really about sex when it comes down to it.)

On a different note, I could say a lot about the Duke lacrosse team case in re: your points above about standards etc. Perhaps I will on my blog. Don't know if I want to draw that fire again, but "innocent of rape" is pretty damn relative in our culture.


For what it's worth, I really like being married to my husband. I do think we are exceptionally lucky, though. We've been together for 16 years, and we have a lot of fun. He's got a ton of emotional intelligence and does 50% of the childcare. And we make each other laugh. That's kind of garbled, but you get the point.

I wish John Grey would get run over by a garbage truck. That quote is one of the most horrible, creepiest things I've ever read.


J. says:

While I was not being raped because I did consent after some whining and badgering...

I wasn't going to respond to my thoughts on this because I feel like I'm already hanging by my tonails on this post, but then I thought...what the hell...I'm already hanging by my toenails on this post.

There is a school of thought that the definition of rape should be broadened to include coercion. It is full of murky waters and is an interesting discussion. I'm not sure I know the answers to this. But I guess I kind of see it like I see the difference between physical vs. emotional abuse. Our current definition of rape solidly includes "stranger in the bushes who threatens your life" rape. It has broadened to include date rape, such as my case, but only in the clear cut cases of (proof of) saying "no" and yet being physically overpowered. Lately there has been somewhat of a broadening of the definition of rape by gaining consent of someone intoxicated or otherwise not of sound mind.

The emotional coercion definition of rape is broader still. And even that has a range. This is when the victim consents, but under the duress of having been blackmailed, threatened, etc. For example, if husband would threaten to stop contributing financially or threatening divorce or some other type of threat in order to coerce sex. The whining/badgering/nagging that you describe might be on the mild end of that range, but still might be emotional abuse.
So, should a badgering husband be locked up for 20 years? Possibly not. But I think this goes back to expectations. Men/boys need to be educated from the get-go that sex is only ethical when two people consent to it from equal positions of power and cooperation. Anything else slides steadily downward into abuse/rape.

Something to think about, I guess.

(And I'm glad you and your husband worked this out, but it is hard for me to imagine that you are at 35 and he is at 11% while this was going on! Hope all is on the upswing from now on.)

Krissy Poopyhands

Wow. You know some grade-A assholes!

As for the rape thing, you have nothing but my full sympathies and anyone who thinks that you had it coming should have it happen to them. I'm so sorry for that.

Your priorities are not out of whack with regard to finding a spouse, but in my experience there are more men willing to pull their weight and be a full partner than you'd think.

My husband can drive me crazy, just like I can drive him crazy, but I absolutely have a relationship where each of us gives 65% to everything. Money making, child rearing. I do do most of the cleaing, but that's because the dirt gets to me well before it gets to him, and because it's my standard it's my responsibility to meet it. In the same way that I cannot cook, but don't care, whereas my husband likes to have nice meals, so he does the cooking. It's his standard, so he gets to meet it.

I know that there are still relationships with people we know where the husband does nothing and the wife is naggy and bitches to everyone about how horrible he is, but for the most part it seems to me that the parties are equally guilty there.

There is an illness amongst women who want to feel important where they belittle every attempt by their husband to do things his way; snatching the baby back the instant he does things differently than she does, ridiculing his cooking or cleaning skills; that sets up a dynamic where he figures (rightly) that she wants to be in charge so he'll let her.

They mother and coddle and cluck to death and love to be martyred when the husband gives up in the face of endless criticism.

My husband and I share, and we take responsbility for those items that are important to us. We argue, of course, but then we talk and if we can't reach a solution one way then we tackle it another. We don't have a perfect relationship by any means, but it is an equal relationship in all respects, full of love and honor for us both.

Most of my married friends have similar relationships, and rather than sitting around talking about what heels men are, we often wind up talking about how lucky we are.

Maybe you just know some real assholes.



Actually, rape guy nonwithstanding, I know a lot of great guys. I have had, I'll guess I'll say, 6 major long-term relationships with men in my life, and none of them were assholes. And that doesn't even count a dozen or so close male friends I've had over the years who I would also not consider assholes. In my friendships and long-term relationships, I have not (had to) put up with 1/10th or even 1/100th of the crap I see some other women dealing with. i.e. I've never been cheated on, never been 'dumped', really never been pressured into sex, never been made to feel bad about my appearance or disability or whatnot, etc.

However, all of these men have been influenced and affected by the patriarchy to varying degrees. Some might even say, victims of it themselves. All of us can recognize that even the most asshol-ian of men often have a mother, sister, wife, daughter that they treat well and see as fully human while overall struggling with (or outright denying) the humanity of woman as a whole. This is the "Not my Nigel" dilemma. Patriarcy penetrates everyone and everything, whether we like it or not.
What I want in my fantasy world, is something that doesn't exist. I want a patriarcy free man. I want a little shelter in my home where it doesn't find us in any way shape or form. That is impossible. This is about more than who does the dishes. This is about creating a sanctuary from the effects of the dehumanization of women that permeates everyone and everything in our society. My choice, and it is a radical choice, is to forego marraige rather than settle for less than I want. I'm lucky in some ways that I get the best of both worlds in that I do have a male companion and my children do have a father while still maintaining our autonomy. And he is generally a good person, not an asshole, who works to try and understand these issues.
I have some strong women readers here with great marraiges to great men. But are these marraiges patriarchy free and equal? I'd argue not. I've seen some men who do an awesome job of being aware of the effects of their male priviledge and actively work to counteract that. And yes, I think those men are rarer than the men who just go on their merry way and never think about it, or worse...actively persue the benefits of it. But a patriarchy free, truly equal marraige? I've never seen one. And I hang with a generally great crowd of women and men.
Do women act like assholes as you describe? Of course! And a partnership is too dynamic of an issue to say, well she is acting like an ass so therefore the patriarchy doesn't matter. Some of the ways that women act that are inappropriate (and not all, I'm not making excuses here, remember relationships are complex) are side effects from the dehumanization of women. For example, a woman might act all martyr-y and nitpicky about childcare and stuff because her role in it and the effort she makes is completely not valued. I'm not saying that is right at all, I'm just saying that you can't say that the man is blameless or that patriarchy isn't a factor in the relationship just because the woman is acting like an ass. Obviously this issue affects and is affected by the actions of both men and women. Thus, both men and women need to straighten up about it if things are ever going to really change.
I think the "oh, you hang with assholes" is a dangerous excuse that takes away the focus on the real issues by denying that male priviledge and patriarchy permeates everything.


Men are a lot of work.
Marriage has its good days and its bad.

Krissy Poopyhands

Lisa, you and I will have to agree to disagree on this one.

I agree with you that there is a societal problem with viewing women as second-class.

That worldly ill is not present in my household or part of my personal marriage experience, and I don't believe that forgoeing the institution of marriage is anything other than a personal choice.

It's a 100% valid personal choice, but it is not inherantly more feminist, braver, or valuable a choice than marriage is. It is simply a choice you've made.

Kudos to you for knowing what you want! I also know what I want, and choosing to be married has not compromised my self-confidence, feminine power, or happiness, it's only added to it.

I do not take a single issue with your statement that not being married is right for you; and I can respect that you may feel in a position to defend your choice. That's an obnoxious position to be in because your choice is entirely as valid as mine.

I do take issue with the implication that women who choose marriage are somehow complicit in the furthering of the "women as livestock" way of life.

It is not your choice, but the need to belittle other's choices that bothers me.

Also, if these great people you know are the same people you pointed to in your original post, I would say that you've certainly listed their most assholish behavior to make your point. I would add that the ability to behave like an asshole is neither gender-specific nor out of bounds for the most enlightened individual.

Simply because society still clings to the idea that anyone who is not a fully-able upper-middle-class white male is a second-class citizen, does not mean that at our house we don't see that for what it is, cry bullshit, and live our lives treating each other the way we'd like to be treated.

It's absolutely possible.


Krissy Poopyhands,

First of all, great name!

Second, nowhere in this post do I feel that I belittle the choices of others to choose to marry. If you look at my definition of feminism...the practice of treating everyone as humans while understanding that this doesn't mean that we treat everyone identical and assume their needs are identical...than there is no "nonfeminist" choice. I don't go for any of that business where you must do A,B,or C to prove you are a feminist. It has to do with doing what you need to do to make sure you feel respected. So, if you and your husband have it all worked out so both of you are going at it as equal partners, great for you! And I believe you and I think that is wonderful. However, even the both of you cannot change the fact that marraige, as an institution is tainted with a history of patriarchy, and even if you've created a little oasis of freedom from it in your home, it still exists on the larger scale. We all react to that in different ways. I've just chosen not to marry. Quite frankly, In My Perfect World...there would be no marraige. But anyone could enter into a partnership with any one else on any conditions they wanted (save abuse). Want a big church wedding? Great. Want to coparent with your grandmother, your 2 gay male friends, and your neice? Fine. Want to co house with a bunch of single moms and share the expenses and childcare? Great. But the government would be out of it and no one form of partnership (read heterosexual 'married' couple) would be given preferential treatment over any other. I'm talking about my disenlightenment with marriage as an institution, not criticizing any one woman's choice to enter into it. I do have a negotiated partnership with a man. We coparent, we are each other's power of attorneys, we share some expenses and responsibilities, we share a commitment to each other. But we are not recognized as being married, nor do I see any inherent advantage (save some possible legal conveniences like health insurance or rights of next of kin, etc.) to being married. Doesn't make me a better or worse feminist than you.

Okay, just one more thing. I am not sure where you are getting the men I know = asshole connection. I specifically mention D, Nik, J, Kory, who else?? Oh, briefly both D's and my fathers. And I believe I only said fairly complimentary things about them. I don't want to marry any of them, and I do see evidence of patriarchal thinking in them. Which I've seen in every man I've ever met on the face of the earth. That's just natch in the world we live in. (I, myself, being born of this world, also have patriarchal thinking in me. I haven't really met a woman who has been free and clear either, however, I think we tend to see it in ourselves and others and reject it more.) Basically, though, I will say that all of the men that I mentioned in this article (rape guy excluded of course) are guys that can be called out when they say/do something stupidly patriarchal and are open to what I have to say and realize what I am saying in that regard. (The dad's being a bit tougher due to generational factors and the fact that they are our dads.)
The negative things I said, which letsee, responses to my rape which occurred pre-J, Nik, and D, and responses to the Kobe thing which was mostly from TV and radio media. The whole paragraph of little annoying male examples comes entirely from blogs I read, so these men I don't know personally,(except for my uncle and John Gray example, still men I really don't know personally). Other examples come in the form of other men (and women) who I would not consider in my personal peer group but would classify as "people I put up with." Bosses, extended family, people on the bus, distant acquintances at parties, a fictional character on a soap opera (aka the writers) and oh! All the husbands/boyfriends on the Real Housewives of Orange County, which I personally find to be mostly jerks.

I'm only spelling this out a) because if I insinuated that D, Nik, J, et al were the jerky ones saying stupid shit about rape then that is my poor writing and not a reflection on them, and b) even if you surround yourself with great guys, you can't escape male assholes in your life totally because they are kinda everywhere. In the media, on the bus, at parties, in the workplace, etc. If this hasn't been at least a part of your experience as a woman then I want to move to the utopia where you live.

Anyway, I hope no hard feelings about some of our differences of opinions, Krissy. Always good to have a good discussion here on the blog. Thanks for your comments.


I had a similar experience where I went home with a guy I had just met thinking we were just going to watch movies together. I still cringe at how naive I was and what could have happened. We didn't have sex but what did result was definetly non-consensual on my part. And the worst thing was that I kept dating him and kept letting him do things I didn't want him to do to me becuase I didn't know how to negotiate with him or speak up for myself.

I wish our culture could get over its assumption that rape is only rape if some masked guy jumps out of the bushes. We need to teach everyone what consent raelly means.

Krissy Poopyhands

My pleasure! I read your blog from the beginning and always stop by when something new posts.

I think you do a great job with your kids and always seem to make choices that I consider to be very smart. You've had to put up with a lot of crap, and I don't think I could do it with half as much grace.

The asshole thing was in relation to the stories about, for example, the guy who decided to fix the stairs during his kid's party. He's probably not a cosmic asshole, but my goodness that's asshole behavior! Heh.

I just meant that it seemed like we went from "Look what assholes all these men can be!" to "I know tons of great guys!" really fast. I got bloglash.

Mucho respect for you!


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