Saturday, May 22, 2010

Others weigh in on Elena Kagan

Maureen Dowd is right on about this -- see -- and so is Nikki Stern --

Dowd says Kagan's IQ may have detracted from her social life (ya think?): "It’s a disturbing echo of those Harvard Business School students who said on “60 Minutes” a few years ago that they had hid the fact that they went to Harvard from guys they met because it was the kiss of death with men who were threatened by more successful women. “The H-bomb,” they called it."

The comments on Stern's essay are telling. My favorite:  "Maybe if these high-powered and ambitious career women had the spousal equivalent of a wife (the man behind the woman) to do for them what
full-time political wives do for their husbands, that is EVERYTHING, then they could find the time to get married and have children while maintaining their careers."

Dowd also says Michelle Obama oughta fix Kagan up with some smart guys in DC. Yeah, right.

I advise Elena to hire a housekeeper and adopt a couple of cats and call it a day. But then I am somewhat soured on the dating world at the moment. Maybe next week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

more on being the smartest girl in the room

One of the great loves of my life told me years ago, "Look, I slave away all day in a highly competitive environment. When I come home I don't want to match wits with somebody like you — I want to drink a Bud and watch Laverne and Shirley." The TV reference should give you some idea as to how long ago this was.

My friend eventually married a much-younger woman who, while certainly bright, was no competition for him. Not much of a challenge, either. He wanted a nice housewife who would raise his children and support his career, and that's what he got.

This has become a sad pattern, I'm sorry to say. I meet a man who's clever enough for me, who gets my jokes, who's a great companion, and he weighs his options and picks another woman, usually one who's less prickly, easier to get along with, more subservient. Why? Beats me.

It's not necessarily that they're thinner or prettier, either, though that has often been the case. "She's not as funny as you are; she has less of an edge," one old friend told me about his new fiance, "but she's restful." Another of my great unrequited loves, calculating his romantic alternatives, said to me, "But if we became lovers who would I talk to?"

Sometimes I despair, I really do.

So don't be so quick to assume that Elena Kagan is gay. She probably can't get a date to save her life. Men are often afraid of the smartest girl in the room.

The smartest girl in the room

Okay, so Elena Kagan spent today visiting members of Congress and schmoozing nicely so maybe they will vote to confirm her nomination to the Supreme Court. 

Meanwhile various otherwise-reputable publications are speculating about her sexuality. They insinuate that because she's, like, 50 and never-married, no children, she must be a lesbian.

Oh, give me a fucking break.

I know nothing about Ms. Kagan's sexual preferences, but I can assure you that she suffers from the "smartest girl in the room" stigma no matter which gender she'd want to date, assuming she had any time, which she doesn't. 

See, here's the deal: if you're the smartest girl in the room, you get to be the best friend, not the lead. The lead has to be just a teensy bit dumb. As one of Rosie O'Donnell's best characters put it in "Sleepless in Seattle," "The wisecracking dame never gets the guy." 

More on this tomorrow, when maybe I'll be in a better mood.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

George and Gracie

Here are my two cats, both adopted from the Humane Society. They are very naughty, but I am so attached to them I often hesitate to travel because —while the neighbors will come in and feed them and they'll be just fine — somebody has to sleep with them.

More on rescuing an animal

An American Animal Hospital Association survey found that three-quarters of pet owners would go into debt to provide for their animals’ well-being. Nearly a third — and almost half of all single people — say that of everyone in their lives, they rely most on their pets for companionship and affection, a Yankelovich survey for American Demographics reveals.
            ~ Jon Katz
            The New Work of Dogs

In fact, a study under way at a major U.S. veterinary school was finding that more than half the married women in its sample told researchers that they got more emotional support from their dogs then from their husbands. (In March 2001, The New York Times reported on a similar survey with almost identical findings.) Their dogs understood them better than some members of their families, they said. More than 80 percent believed their dogs loved them “unconditionally” and would be loyal to them “no matter what.” Almost half said they couldn’t really say the same for their spouses.
            ~ Ibid

In Albert and Bulcroft’s 1988 study “Pets, Families, and the Life Course,” the researchers found that pet ownership is comparatively low among widowed people for a number of reasons: physical frailty, expense, housing restrictions, and a desire for autonomy. Many older people in Montclair also told me they didn’t want to get a dog that would almost surely outlive them.
But for those widowed or single people who own one, a pet can be an important source of affection and companionship. “As givers and receivers of affection,” note Albert and Bulcroft, “pets can contribute to the morale maintenance of people who live alone or with few significant others to play such roles.” And, compared to other animals, the researchers found, dogs are the most adept at playing affectionate and emotionally supportive roles.
~ Ibid

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rescue a pet

Life, Love, And Four Paws

I disagree with Ben Stein on pretty much everything political, but his video essay on 2/15's CBS Sunday Morning brought a tear to my eye.

Check it out:

Ben Stein says "adopt a dog"

He's absolutely right. I would have a dog if I could, but George and Gracie would freak. I adopted them both from the Humane Society -- not siblings, but rescued together -- and they provide much-needed unconditional love. The comic relief is an added bonus. Here they are, doing what they do best. 'Night.

To settle or not?

I enjoyed this interview by Sarah Hepola. Gottlieb says, "I want somebody who has my back and whose back I have, and I want somebody who, when the kitchen sink breaks, can help with that."

And David Ehrenstein replies, "Get a dog -- and for that sink, hire a plumber." (See the comments section.)

No shit.

Lori Gottlieb on "Settling for Mr. Good Enough"

Nonfiction -
Rare is the book that infuriates and captivates like Lori Gottlieb's latest. From its unapologetic goal -- to help unhappy single ladies get hitched! -- to its grabby, "oh no she didn't" title ("Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough"),  women haven't argued about a dating book so ferociously since we first learned he just wasn't that into us. "Surprisingly, unnervingly convincing," wrote Alex Kuczynski at O magazine, while over at the Daily Beast, Liesl Schillinger tarred it as "whining, capricious, corrosive." In the meantime,  Tobey Maguire's production company snapped up the movie rights, and Gottlieb has been interviewed everywhere from Dr. Phil to the "Today" show.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Try not to envy the smugly married

Despite everything, I never felt jealous at weddings. I longed for love, yes, but I never saw that love was in greater supply at weddings than in butcher shops or department stores. The sight of a couple furtively holding hands beneath a restaurant table was more likely to remind me of the hopelessness of my life than any number of ladies dressed in giant christening gowns reciting words to become joined to a man in a rented suit. I do not like public ceremony, not graduations, not weddings; not pep rallies, nor church. Perhaps I simply do not understand trying to share one emotion (love, relief, faith, pep) with a quantity of strangers.
    ~ Elizabeth McCracken
    The Giant's House

As Anne Lamott says, I have loved men so much and am so afraid of what they will do to me. And I look at women who get to have husbands and I think, "How dare they complain about anything," but many of them envy us for our quiet time and our freedom from the demands of others.

About a younger friend:

I felt so sorry for her, with all her buddies getting married and she never did.  I think that bothered the hell out of her, frankly.  I know it still bothers me.  One feels sort of defensive about it; I feel secretly ashamed, like I wasn't good enough to get a husband.  And then I see some of the husbands my friends have settled for, and the cats look like a pretty good deal.

“It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”
~ e. e. cummings