Sunday, June 8, 2008

Feminist Studies

The Matron's higher degrees include minors in Feminist Studies. One of her favorite articles construed marriage as nothing more or less than the economic exchange of women between men, just like property or gold.

How much did the then Youngish Miss adore said theory and articles supporting? She felt compelled to reference that theory in her own wedding -- and not casually, on the side, during a conversation. Oh noo, she worked that whole 'historic economic exchange of women' (those words precisely) into the actual goddamn ceremony. Now that's writing talent. And nerve. And. . . you fill in the blank(s)!

So. . . in the wedding ceremony there were first the 60 seconds of silence for the gay and lesbian friends who were not allowed to marry, followed by the proclamation that historically, marriage may have been one raw deal for women, shuttled from father to husband. But the union ahead? The nuptials of Youngish Feminist Miss and her chosen?


Today, she sometimes stands stock still (with three backpacks over one shoulder, purse slung on the other, green basket from van full of bowls, grapes, half-eaten bagels, library books, homework assignments requiring parental signature and bag of groceries in another while Merrick inquires about the status of his after school snack?) in her own life and wonders: "How did this happen?"


That ceremony with the nod to gay/lesbian rights and the short but very sharply-done treatise on the history and significance of marriage with a Marxist-Feminist slant? Normally, one just hires a judge, any old judge. But the first THREE judges who read the Young Miss's Left Wing Love Song, turned down the job!

So she shopped that thing, just like a novel, and some lovely lefty judge said this: "That is the best ceremony I have ever read!"

On Wednesday, the Matron and her beloved celebrate 13 years of marriage, preceded by four years of living in sin (according to her mother-in-law and probably her own mother whose opinion on this matter she has yet to seek).

That would be 13 years of observing the strange and, yes, sometimes discouraging, divergence between philosophical/political conviction and actual life. As one of her dear friends reminded her just last week, throughout history, women do more domestic work than men. Give it up, girlfriend.

(and because she is lazy this way, the links above were just the first two google finds! There were many many more)

Yesterday's graduation party offered the Matron a cleaning, cooking, serving, socializing, cleaning marathon. She whipped on her best apron and damn near flew out of the gate!

This is the house in which the Matron entertains -- and cleans!

The back view allows for a fuller understanding that there are 2800 square feet and four floors -- to clean!

Yes, she knows she is lucky. She once lived in a low-income housing unit about half the size of her current first floor. THAT is not what she's complaining about.

Today, she tackled a thorough dusting of bookshelves (this family has hundreds - hundreds -- of books), mopping and dusting three children's bedrooms, cleaning the crud in the silverware drawer, sweeping and mopping the wrecked main areas from yesterday, vacuuming dog hair from appropriate places, sorting through summer clothes.

Five hours in, hobbling on bruised knees (from the mopping), she carried the mop, broom and bucket through the kitchen and past her husband and said this: "When I'm working full-time this fall, I think we should hire a housecleaner."

John was staring into his cell phone (it's sort of hypnotic that way): "Hmmm. Well, maybe that's something to think about, maybe."

Do you hear the sound of a woman snapping?

So when John turned and looked at his wife of 13 years and instantly absorbed the imminent combustion and potential certification and divorce, he said this, quickly: "YES! We will hire a cleaning service!"

Year 14, coming right up!


SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Makes sense - it's very hard to do two full-time jobs. I have no idea why it is so difficult for people to understand that erstwhile homemakers who take on outside employment are not "getting a job" - they are getting a new job, without leaving the old one. Either they need to find/pay someone to do the old one, or do both jobs, or split the old job fifty-fifty with their spouse (which is not the wonderful solution early feminists believed, as it just makes both spouses uber-stressed).

Don't even get me started on women such as Linda Hirschman, who give feminism a bad name. Telling women to "Get to Work," as she did in the title of her last book, is tantamount to saying that those of us who do not work for pay are not working.

In other words, if you are going to work full-time, of course someone else is going to be required to pick up the responsibilities and work you have been doing at home. Unless, of course, you want to go insane or spend precious free time arguing with your husband over who does what.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

I sound like I am ranting - I am sorry. This is such a pet peeve with me. I could go on and on and on.

But I won't.

Mrs. G. said...

I am glad that John heard the snap-MM don't get me started on the division of household labor. I am worked up just sitting here reading about all the housework you did.

On a lighter note, Happy Anniversary. And I loved Thorpe! Finished it this weekend.

MamaBird said...

Right *on* MM *and* Suburban Correspondent! Don't get me started on Linda Hischman. Sigh. Altho her analysis of Hillary's campaign in the WaPo today is totes worth reading. But back to the hilarity of your post, omGG, the wedding vows. Till postmodern-hairsplittingly-egalitarian-in-principle passing out of this world do we part...but only after the Matron scours the silverware drawer. You almost made me jealous that my DH and I wrote our vows while driving to our wedding in Stinson Beach (oh, those curves on Route 1 kept em short and to the point). And I wonder now if are you Jenn of Juggling life organized? Pretty cool. Hire that housekeeper anyways.

Lisa Milton said...

Many a marriage is saved by hiring help. I'm convinced!

We have had this conversation many times, and if I get a full time job, by God, there will have to be some help...

(Cheaper than marriage therapy.)

Please take care and try to rest a little. Happy anniversary.

Minnesota Matron said...

Suburban -- You are 100% right. I have been a SAHM and a part-time working Mom and a full-timer. Basically, you are lobbing more jobs onto the full-time one you originally have as a mother/wife. And that job is incredibly taxing in ways the others are not! I'm with you! When I wasn't 'working' I HAD a full-time job with three small children, house, social network, extended family. Rant away!

Anonymous said...

Cleaning help is important sometimes, because then you don't have to hire an attorney.

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Happy Anniversary & Happy Imminent Housekeeper!

My problem is that I want to clean before the cleaning person comes, so he/she doesn't think I'm a total slob. It's a sickness.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I rue the day I gave up my cleaning lady in a fit of frugality and the desire to teach my offspring RESPONSIBILITY.

It's a strange thing about marriages--every one finds different things that work for them. I have friends that work full-time, make more money than their husbands, and still have relationships were the male holds more power. I've been a SAHM forever, yet our marriage is very equal and my husband often does household chores.

But I digress--happy anniversary!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Smart man.

Madge said...

really, we didn't know anything before marriage and kids -- and less after they came along

Raven said...

Is it any wonder then, that I refer to my husband as my "cash cow"? Which is even moreso amusing because I made more than him when we started dating.


Happy Anniversary!

(your house is HUGE and gorgeous by the way)

Manager Mom said...

That's so funny... when I went part-time for a few years, we had to cut out the cleaning lady for budget reasons. Our house hovered roughly around the hygiene level of a Scottish pay toilet the whole time. When I went back full time I hired her back, and doubled her hours. I informed my husband that no matter what befalls our fortunes, cutting the cleaning lady shall never be spoken of again...

Kalynne Pudner said...

Ditto to all the accolades and best wishes. And now for the wet blanket...

My husband finally got us a cleaning service when I threatened suicide last semester. I have repressed the urge to clean before they come. It takes them two days, costs more than our first mortgage payment, and has encouraged my nine children to leave more trash and junk lying around. When I remind them to pick up their snack wrappers/bring down their dirty laundry/empty the wastebaskets, I garner the indignant response, "Well, what are we paying those cleaning people for, anyway?"

The house looks great, and stress is low, for two days every two weeks. Other than that, it's worse and higher.

She She said...

Nothing says romance like 'historic economic exchange of women'.

Happy anniversary!

liv said...

i say amen to maid service. veddy, veddy important.

Miss Grace said...

Smart man!
And I love your ceremony. If/when I get married, maybe I won't have to give a nod to gay/lesbian couples who can't legally wed (I'm over in CA where we're trussing it out as we speak and I have my fingers crossed).

Anonymous said...

Lol Matron. Sometimes I wonder how much is reality and how much artistic licence. You crack me up.
Happy Anniversary in advance. Lucky 13 huh?

Jocelyn said...

I'm awfully glad the sound of you snapping caused him to snap to, lest you both be thrust back out in the dating world, more cynical, less idealistic in certain regards, feeling perhaps that a mere 30 seconds of silence would do for gays and lesbians...a truncated moment that would allow for a LONGER diatribe about how damn much women do.

I, btw, haven't cooked dinner in 8 years. I do fold laundry and vacuum. I don't do dishes.

JCK said...

Happy Anniversary, MM! And housework...don't get me started. However, you appear to be THE white tornado of the county over there.

Last line of the post "Year 14, coming right up!" Priceless!

PicaboMama said...

We had a difficult time finding someone to marry us as well and that inspired my husband (the atheist) to become ordained. In the summertime, Aaron becomes minister to quickie marriage enthusiasts all over the greater Dayton area. He once married a couple at a local hard rock music festival. His only caveat for the betrothed is that they not require him to wear a suit, since he doesn't own one.

Minnesota Matron said...

Okay - must say the cautionary tales give me pause. Plus! The money! I just made some phone calls and oy.

Melanie said...

I have to say: nice digs! What a charming house.

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