Friday, January 16, 2009

Marriage and the Aging Feminist

Lori Gottlieb wrote an essay in the March 2008 edition of the Atlantic Monthly entitled, “Marry Him! - The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough” The premise of the essay is that it is a mistake for women to wait too long to get married.

Looking at Miss Gottlieb web site, you can see that she is a 40 something petite white girl. While she is still attractive, I bet she was quite hot in her 20s and early 30s. However, when she dated at that age, she never found a man that measured up to her standards. As such, she found herself pushing 40 without a man, or a baby.

Unfortunately, Miss Gottlieb decided to become an unwed mother. And she is just now realizing that raising a child without a father is not quite as glamorous as it is shown on TV and the movies.

So choosing a man based on love is no longer a requirement for her. She is looking for someone to help her with her bastard child. As she wrote:

Even women who settle but end up divorced might be in a better position than those of us who became mothers on our own, because many ex-wives get both child-support payments and a free night off when the kids go to Dad’s house for a sleepover. Never-married moms don’t get the night off.

Yikes. I am sure that paragraph will do wonders in catching a suitable man.

Of course, Miss Gottlieb is attractive enough to find many men willing to marry her. The problem is that her ideal of “settling” probably doesn’t include an auto mechanic from Mississippi. She still wants a handsome and rich man than can take her on fun trips across Europe. But that begs the question – why would such a man want to marry such a woman when he is in the position to have much younger and prettier options? Does a rich and handsome man really want to be looked as as a source of babysitting and future child support payments?

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a prime example of an article that could have been useful, but which shoots itself in the foot.

    I remember reading the article. It raised a lot of hackles among women (as anything criticizing women in any way does) at the suggestion that women actually felt fulfilled by having children, or that they should even want to have children, or that they should have realistic standards when seeking a mate. But all of that could have been very useful to have out there in the culture as memes -- because, after all, of course it's true that one thing that is leading women to places where Gottlieb finds herself is the reality that women pass over perfectly good/great mates in their 20s and early 30s because they are all looking for "Mr. Big". So her message that this may be a self-defeating strategy is a good one, I think, as is her reflection that single motherhood can be kind of crappy, over and against the non-stop adulation heaped upon single mothers by our culture.

    But of course she shoots herself in the foot with the part you quoted, and also reveals the mindset of many women about marriage -- oh well, if it breaks up, at least I get child support. She's doomed now. No self respecting man who reads that will ever marry a woman who thinks like that unless he's a card carrying fool - and the kinds of men a demanding woman like Gottlieb are interested in at her age are not going to be the fools they were when they were in their 20s.

    So, no, Lori is now stuck. Stuck with her own bad decisions when she was younger. And now stuck with the poison from her own pen that will undermine her ability to find "Mr.-Help-Me-Raise-My-Baby".