Lynn Ruth Miller

Commedienne - Not dead yet

Category: Essays (page 2 of 5)

WHO SAID FIRST IS BEST

WHO SAID FIRST WAS BEST?
A first child is your own best foot forward,
And how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out.
Barbara Kingsolver
In all things in life, being first is considered the best. You win the game, you get the scholarship, you pass the test. You are a winner, that is, everywhere but in your family.
I was my mother’s first born. She had never HAD a baby before but she was pretty enthusiastic about motherhood until the last three months before I emerged. She read books about how delightful little babies are with their cute, cuddly ways and she expected me to be a bundle of exquisite joy. When, at last, I came crashing out of her uterus, I left the warm amniotic fluid that encased me and landed in a cold, hospital room. A bunch of strangers pummeled me to make me cry, cleaned me up and snipped my umbilical cord without so much as a kiss or a word of comfort.
I never got over it. And neither did my mother.
It appears that all first-born children are emotionally and physically bruised just by being first. My own mother never expected to have to deal with a crying, spitting, demanding sleepless infant. She never forgave me for her stitches, the pain, the endless labor she endured for a very questionable reward. “You almost killed me,” she said, every time she looked it me.
She may have been more verbal than most new mamas, but she was actually no different than every new parent when they have to deal with the unexpected rigor of that first baby. The crying, the diapers, the pulling at your breast…. …not to mention the terrible guilt because they are not REALLY enjoying the process.
Everyone knows first-borns seem smarter, more aggressive and more successful than their siblings. This is because they are constantly proving to their parents and themselves that they were worth the pain and suffering they caused. First-borns are usually taller than their siblings because they are the ones that have to reach up to get the dishes off the shelf to feed their little brothers and sisters. They are thinner too and that is probably because parents are always more careful to feed the first one proper food and teach them the good eating habits child care books tell them are best. I had to eat my spinach or else while my sister dined on leftover pie and gallons of pudding. The result was that she tips the scale at 400 pounds and I have yet to top 100.
All that stress and responsibly can kill a person and we now know that it actually does. Researchers in New Zealand discovered that the oldest child from the most well-meaning families suffer more heart attacks, higher blood pressure and have a stubborn resistance to insulin that makes them susceptible to diabetes. That means that the child born first will probably be the first one to go to the other side.
By the time the second kid comes along, the parents are more relaxed. They don’t really notice the germs or the squealing and besides they have the older one to baby-sit. It is the oldest child who ends up being a substitute parent to the others. He is the one who establishes the family reputation in school for industry and intelligence. Band most unfair, when he kicks off, the younger ones get the inheritance.
It doesn’t seem right, does it? That is why I now call on all older children to unite!!!! When that new little nipper comes into the house, use those brains that made you the smart one and smother it with a pillow before it gets out of line.

FISHY JUNKIES

DRUG-ADDLED FISH

Tell me what you eat, and
I will tell you what you are.
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
I am very careful about the food I eat because I know that what is in it goes into me. I will not eat red meat because I was a huge fan of Elsie the Cow, Porky the Pig and Mary’s three little lambs. However, since I never had an aquarium or cuddled something aquatic, I have been relying on fish as a staple to my diet.
I am amazed to learn that the reason I feel so relaxed and at peace with the world after a salmon dinner is that the fish on our planet are all becoming junkies. We are dumping our medications into the landfill helter-skelter and our Prozac, Vicodin and Demerol are being transmitted from the fish in the sea into my bloodstream.
I find this excellent news. It has the potential to save me an immense amount of money when I am moved to escape my current reality. If I eat my perch and dine on cod I will be calm and collected, if a bit loopy, when disaster strikes. I will not panic…I will be properly tranquilized by my dinner.
There is more good news to come. Evidently, all that drug consumption has made our fishy friends sterile. The morning after pills we didn’t need and the birth control pills we discard are affecting the reproductive powers of our aquatic friends. This is bad for the food supply I admit and terrible information for the pharmaceutical companies. We no longer need rely on the pill or the morning-after remedies (some of which are disgustingly unpleasant) to take care of any repercussions from a night of pleasure. All we need do is eat a generous helping of plaice for dinner. (You can even deep-fry it and it will still fix you up). If you decide you would like to have a family, forget estrogen or in-vitrio fertilization. Eat meat.
Ah, how times have changed. Back in the uninformed early fifties, I had two exquisite Siamese Fighting Fish: Herbert and Tarrington. They were lovely to watch, swimming from one side of their little bowl to the other, munching on algae and sparking in the sun. But one day Herbert got into a snit and ate poor timid Tarrington. He digested him whole and didn’t even spit out the bones. Had he lived in this knowledgeable century of ours, I would have scooped up some water for the nearest stream and cured his inappropriate behavior just like that.
Of course there are times when you do not want to dull your senses. You long to heighten your awareness of life around you. No need to waste hard-earned cash on speed, cocaine or ecstasy. Just run to the nearest fish grotto, pig out on sea bass and you are ready to party!
The only ones deprived of this safe avenue to contentment are vegetarians. They will have to rely on prescription medicines for their highs. The poor among them will reproduce like bunnies if they don’t give up sex entirely. It doesn’t seem fair does it? They have already given up so much that makes life delicious.
Fish, to taste right, must swim three times –
in water, in butter and in wine.
Polish Proverb

NEWS FROM THE BRIGHTON FRINGE

Brighton Theatre presents…..
BLACK VENUS
by
Jonathan Cash

“Josephine Baker subverted racial stereotypes and had a huge influence on black performers,” said Faynia Williams, director of a showcase trailer of this production designed by Romany Mark Bruce. BLACK VENUS brings Baker, the first jazz superstar, face to face with Hermann Goering over dinner in occupied Paris. The action combines music, dance and dialogue with Brechtian style flashbacks and promises to mesmerize the audience by intertwining themes of love, food, sex and racism.
Baker grew up in St Louis, Missouri, living hand to mouth in the streets when she was 12, living in cardboard boxes and scavaging for food in garbage cans. Her street corner dancing attracted attention when she was 15 and her career expanded across the ocean to Paris. Indeed, she always said she had two loves: Paris and America. Her famous Banana Dance combined the rhythms of African Dance and contemporary jazz to create modern Continental Break Dancing. She was an activist on many fronts and worked for the French Resistance because of her many contacts in the world of the Axis. It was because of her undercover activities that Hermann Goering invited her to dinner. This play recaptures that momentous evening when the two met face to face.
BLACK VENUS was shortlisted for the 2013 Best New Play Award and given funding by the Arts Council of England. It will be presented for one night only, Josephine Baker Day, May 20 at 7pm and 9pm, at Concorde2, Madeira Drive, Brighton BN2 1EN . It will feature Anna Maria Nabirye as Josephine, Ross Gurney Randall as Goering with musical direction by Tom Phelan.
For more information: www.brightonfringe.org; 01273 917272

LOVE ME LOVE MY DOG

MY FAMILY, MY DOG
There is no psychiatrist in the world
Like a puppy licking your face.
Ben Williams

When Daphne sits on my lap, my blood pressure drops 30 points. Why bother with Lipitor? Daphne is not dispensed to me by a pharmacist although she is definitely good medicine. She is a five-pound Chihuahua with blue eyes and an attitude. However, when she sits on MY lap, her blood pressure elevates…and no wonder. She is at work; she is doing her job.
Daphne’s mother dresses her in high fashion: ruffled skirts with matching knickers and booties, a warm hoodie to wear when she and her mum are on the slopes and a bright strawberry vest to welcome spring.
Daphne has a stubborn anal gland that does not process her food properly and her mother has spent hundreds, nay, thousands of pounds on Daphne’s alimentary canal, to no avail. At last, her mother resorted to holistic remedies and feeds Daphne a nightly soupcon of pumpkin and rice to soothe her aching bottom.
Daphne is well aware of her privileged position in the family. She dines with us at our table. We do not consider her germs as lethal as those of her former daddy or all her cousins…some with four legs, some with only two. We all know her preferences and we do our best to keep her as happy as her presence makes us. She does not like the rain; she considers walking on the other end of a leash demeaning; she loves to watch movies and never so much as woofs lest she disturb the others watching with her. We know that Daphne is absorbing the action on the screen because she often weeps at a sad ending, and she still wails when she remembers what happened to poor Jackie Robinson.
We who know and love Daphne think she is unique but it appears that she is no different than any other dog in any other home anywhere in the world. One look at her stimulates human oxytocin, a bonding hormone that increases our trust and attachment to those close to us and makes us suspicious of strangers. The fact is that the longer Daphne stares at me, the more I love her and want to shoot that yapping little dachshund next door. This explains why we think nothing of spending half our wages on Daphne’s attire, rushing her to a doctor at the slightest hint that she is not in perfect health even as we ignore our own coughs, tummy spasms and exploding lungs. She is far more than part of our family…she is the very adhesive that keeps us together. For, although we all have spats with one another over toilet seats left up or down, toothpaste tubes squeezed wrong and dishes unwashed, we all unite in our love for Daphne. It is she who keeps us human.
Dogs are miracles with paws.
Susan Kennedy

Percy is a Corgi without a tail. He stares at me with the same intensity Jewish men look at me. You know: something is missing and he doesn’t remember how he lost it. The interesting thing is that the more Percy stares at me, the more I adore him. I cannot say the same for Jewish men.

Dorothy is a shih’ Tzu with a raging metabolism. When she sits on your lap, you can feel the heat of her tiny little body warm you right to your toes. When her blood pumps through her veins and burns her calories you will swear the house is on fire. Dorothy’s mother says she has saved 1000 pounds a year on heating bills and her only cost is dog food. That, after all, is Dorothy’s fuel and it is a lot cheaper than petrol.

NO NUDITY ALLOWED

NAKED IS AS NAKED DOES
The male body is hairy and lumpy
And should not be seen by the light of day
Richard Roeper

For Shame


Americans do not mind seeing people murdered on their television screen and they love watching heads flying and limbs severed at the movies. They like the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire, bodies strewn across the pavement and little children crying for their lost mummies and daddies. The more violence the better. That is the American way.
The truth is that violence and tragedy make great entertainment. So does pornography. Americans actually prefer to watch lust happening even more than they like doing it. What a thrill to see a man and women tearing each other’s genitals to pieces or whipping and chaining each other for the sheer pleasure of hearing them scream. Porn is almost as popular in America as violence. We watch both every day and love it all.
But let some poor schnook walk outside to get the newspaper in the altogether and he ignites public outrage. “It offends me to see anyone that way,” said one insulted observer. “It is disgusting.”
That is why San Francisco decided to compromise its image of freedom of expression and tolerance of the odd-ball and ban public nudity from its streets. No more can raunchy old men spread a towel on a stone bench and sun themselves in the Castro district. No more, can its citizens strip to the flesh to bathe in the afternoon sun. San Francisco now supports the theory that our bodies are so hideous they must be concealed in public. No matter, that liberated women, forward thinking men and eating disorder specialists are trying to make us comfy with our diverse shapes and sizes. In San Francisco, it is pc to be ashamed.
Now, it seems that the Japanese, too are offended by nudity, but they have taken it one step further. They do not want to see representations of the human body, much less the real thing. Michelangelo’s David was presented to the town of Okuizumo and the inhabitants ran for cover. “It’s frightening the children and worrying the adults with its nakedness,” said one of the town’s bigwigs.
I can only assume that they have also stripped their museums of reproductions of Van Gogh’s NUDE WOMAN ON A BED or Renoir’s AFER BATHING not to mention Whistler’s shocking NUDE GIRL WITH A BOWL.
Obviously, the very sight of a naked body horrifies the more sensitive among us. It is difficult to understand why we think the sight of a penis or a breast will frighten our children more than the sight of shattered limbs and battered heads. Will our innocent youth smash the bathroom mirror when one day they see those very banned organs protruding from their own bodies?
The truth is that in America our bodies are considered repulsive and offensive unless we film them and flaunt them on a screen. The only answer to this dilemma is to cover every baby at birth with ornamental tattoos so that as they mature, no one will recognize the new growth. And everyone will be amazed when it rises to an occasion.

I don’t even like to be naked
In front of myself!
Camryn Manheim

ART IS GOING TO THE APES

ART IS GOING TO THE APES
An ape cannot speak about his art
Anymore than a monkey can discuss a his digestion.
Jacques Cocteau and Lynn Ruth
In the late sixties, a gorilla won the Modern Art competition at the Detroit Museum of Art. The animals’ owner put several tubes of paint and a blank canvas in the ape’s cage. The furry artist, whom I shall call Sybil, stomped on the tubes of paint and smeared the colors on the canvas with her paws. After an hour, she tired of dancing and began eating the tubes of paint. Her owner pulled the canvas out of her cage, hosed Sybil down and was amazed at the finished canvas. It reminded him of a combination of a Jackson Pollack with a smattering of Kandinsky, a dash of Picasso and traces of Klee. When Sybil’s masterpiece dried, he varnished it, framed it and entered it in the museum’s competition.
To his delight, the painting won first prize. He bought a jeweled collar for Sybil, pinned a pink ribbon in her hair and brought her to the award ceremony. It was a little dicey getting her in the front door but the owner insisted she was a service animal He managed to keep her from molesting the guests by feeding her bananas and bit of cadmium red. When they called his name to accept the award, Sybil joined him on stage. He told the astounded judges that it was not he who created the masterpiece they so admired. It was his Sybil.
Years later, I took a class with the fabulously talented realistic painter Joseph Sheppard and he told me that Sybil was indeed a magnificent talent. Indeed, he had joined her in her cage a few years after her triumph to raise money for the museum. Together they painted a still life that hangs now in that same museum.
Evidently, gorillas not only paint, but they know what they are painting. Sister and brother gorillas Michael and Koko were taught sign language. As a result, Koko (the artist in the family) was able to explain to her curator Dr. Penny Patterson, that she had painted a bird.
Just this past month, word is out that a zoo in North Dakota is selling the artwork of its 275 pound orangutan named Tal. His paintings are so colorful that they literally fly off the wall. The animal’s favorite color is yellow and often he eats as much of the paint as he smears on his canvases. “Could be because it looks like a banana,” said the zoo’s curator.
There is no doubt that creativity is fundamental in the ape psyche. The animals love using crayons, pencils and finger paint although they prefer oils they can eat. Everyone knows that children have the same propensity to eat the colors they use to paint. I believe we can learn a lot from the apes and their ability to transform their creative efforts into funds that support their favorite institutions. I propose that we exhibit and sell all the paintings from local kindergarten classes to pay for amenities in their schools. Think of it! We would no longer have to pay taxes to support education! Our kindergartners would finance the system for us…and who knows? There might be enough money left to reward the young artists with a few bananas.

FALLING METEORITES TELL US SOMETHING

Put on your babushka ……THE SKY FELL IN RUSSIA
You must have chaos within you
To give birth do a dancing star.
Friedrich Nietzsche

A meteorite fell out of the sky in Russia and I think Vladimir Putin should take note. When it feels like the sky is falling on you, it is time to think about your priorities.
I was in Moscow last fall right after the Pussy Riot incident. Remember that? Three young women were charged with hooliganism because they sang obscenities in a Russian Orthodox Cathedral begging the Virgin Mary to “throw Putin out.”
Hooliganism is defined as “a tough or aggressive youth.” When you think about it, almost any action done by a teen-ager these days can be defined as tough and aggressive by parents, teachers or the policeman who sees him cavorting in the park or the underground. What a conservative, established adult might label “tough or aggressive”, might very well feel like a lot of fun to the accused.
Does that mean that Russia is outlawing fun? What a terrible loss for its population. Life can be very dull without a few pranks. Take the Panty Raids at the University of Michigan back in the fifties. I was there and I remember it well. It had been a miserably long hard winter with snow, ice and wind confining most of us indoors for weeks at a time. Driving was impossible, walking a chore and there was no evidence of relief. One freezing spring night, a group of students battling frustration, alcohol and excess testosterone, erupted from their all male dormitories and invaded the women’s residences. They tore open bureau drawers and ransacked closets throwing women’s undies out of windows, hanging bras on telephone poles, draping corsets on trees. The place looked like a landscape advertisement for Ann Summers . Indeed, Victoria’s Secret was revealed.
If you want to get picky about it, the boys were certainly destructive…it took months to retrieve our underwear and most if it was damaged beyond repair. The men were certainly aggressive, pushing their way into boudoirs forbidden to the male sex. In those days, men were not privy to female undies. They actually were thrilled at the touch of satin knickers or a lacy bra.
That was over sixty years ago. Today there isn’t a guy on the planet no matter how perverted he may seem who gets a thrill from a glimpse of lingerie. They see it every day on every woman who has a bit of cleavage worth showing.
I can understand why those girls appealed to The Virgin Mary to help them with their political goals. After all, they say that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and Mary rocked a very influential cradle in her day. Now, I ascribe to no particular religious belief but I cannot help but believe the when The Virgin Mary saw Russia suppressing young girls for expressing their views, she remembered how she felt when she told Joseph her news. In those days, she ran a great risk of being stoned for indiscretion. But Joseph, liberal guy that he was, bought her story of that angel told her God impregnated her,
I think that when Mary saw what was happening in Russia, she thought, “It is time to remind those judges that the girls they are condemning are the potential mothers of the next generation. Their children will either re-elect Putin because they forgive him, or denounce him for his narrow, restrictive policies. “
I can almost hear the severe tone of her voice when she said to the father of us all, “Daddy! If this continues, who knows whom they will attack next?”
I like to think that meteorite fell to remind the Russians that somewhere somehow there is a higher power that believes in freedom of thought.
I know it’s a far fetched theory, but when I remember how silly it would have been to arrest the students who were throwing knickers at passers-by in the fifties, I cannot help but think it was just as silly to jail three young women for having an opinion of their own. In another fifty years, a group just like them might very well be singing Mass.

WHAT IS ART ABOUT?

PRETENTIOUS IS AS PRETENTIOUS DOES
The purpose of art is washing
The dust of daily life off our souls.
Pablo Picasso

A German artist, Wolfgang Laib wanders around the foothills of the Alps collecting four jars of bee pollen every spring. He arranges the pollen on a floor in various shapes and exhibits the results in art spaces all over the world. His current exhibit called “Pollen from Hazelnut” is on display at New York’s Modern Museum of Art, a large yellow blob on the gallery floor. Viewers stand before the mass of pollen that took the 62 year old Mr Laib twenty years to gather. “It’s amazing what happens,” he said. “They feel like they’re standing in front of the sun. They begin to weep. And, occasionally, they sneeze.”
This exhibit brings to mind the eternal question, what makes art, art? I have to say that there have been many moments in my life when I have wept and sneezed over something I would hardly exhibit in an art gallery. Just the other day for example, I was addressing a perfectly lovely slab of fish at The Bank in Brighton. It was seasoned imaginatively with several varieties of pepper. As I chewed, the tart, acrid combination of lemon, fish and pepper brought tears to my eyes until, at last, I sneezed. I did not insist that the waitress send the dish (beautifully presented as it was in its nest of shiny multi-colored vegetables) to The Tate. Instead, I wiped my eyes, blew my nose and ate it. I have to say it was a lot tastier than bee pollen and to my hungry eyes, just as lovely.
The first installation I ever saw was back in the nineties when a friend of mine confined fifty unpaired children’s shoes in a cage of barbed wire and won the prize for her student exhibit. That work of art also made me weep. I shed tears for the unwanted children, the abused, misunderstood, tender-hearted, innocent babies of the world. I did not sneeze however and that just might have been what kept my friend’s exhibit from making the big time.
I doubt if anyone wept or sneezed at Tracey Emin’s “My Bed.” Instead, I feel sure they were appalled at her poor housekeeping skills. Had my mother seen it, she would have turned up her nose and said, ”That girl will never keep a husband at the rate she is going.” And my mother might have been right. However, the thousands of pounds Emin has made on her art work has made it possible for her to continue creating exhibits that mirror her life without worrying about her matrimonial potential.
But is “My Bed” art? Is bee pollen spread out on a gallery floor a work of creative excellence? Art is supposed to be a reflection of the society we live in and the life that traps us. It is certainly true that both these museum pieces make us ponder about what we are supposed to be doing with the time we have on the planet. Laib’s work reminds me that when bees are buzzing in my garden, they are creating a teen tiny bit of something far larger than themselves. When I contemplate Emin’s work, I realize how fortunate I am to have a washing machine.

SIDEBAR 1:
Many years ago I had a child in my class who had flunked the second grade three years in a row. He towered over the other 7 year olds and was delinquent most school days. One day, when I entered my classroom, all the children were clustered around the piano enthralled while that child played Grieg’s Piano concerto note perfect without any music to guide him. I realized then that we reach one another and touch their hearts in many ways that have nothing to do with words.

SIDEBAR 2:
When I took art in college my assignment was to paint the face of the girl who sat across form me. I spent every class period for two weeks creating what I thought was a gorgeous interpretation of who that girl really was in the spirit of Picasso, Braque or Jackson Pollack. I added splashes of bright color for her imagination, dark streaks for her insecurities, pastel moments for her pleasures and when I finished I showed her the result. She immediately changed her seat.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH SAYING NO

NO, THANK YOU
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life
Is “No thank you,” it will be enough.
Lynn Ruth and Meister Eckhart
No one likes to take responsibility for their own destiny and the American people are a prime example. They have blamed the car manufacturers for our automobile fatalities, the cigarette manufacturers for lung cancer and now they are blaming dessert creators for our obesity. It turns out that unsuspecting consumers are not at fault for increasing their circumference faster than the speed of light. Nor is it their doing that they no longer fit in a revolving door. The blame is now on those profit-mongering villains who make delectable biscuits, marvelous confections and delicious drinks to quench our thirst. Indeed, these greedy monsters are deliberately adding a ton of sugar to all the goods we adore for the sole purpose of making diabetes our national disease.
The latest scientific studies confirm their corruption. Sugar is toxic and unscrupulous manufacturers like Sara Lee (yummy cheesecake) or Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have deliberately stuffed their products with this poisonous substance that has been proven to kill us even faster than fatty beef will clog our arteries.
In less informed times, these bakers were our heroes. We longed for their recipes, gobbled up their products and reveled in the sugar high we got to finish our meal. We reached blindly for them in the mid-afternoon to pep us up when the “threesies” hit. Now, thanks to those experts who conduct scientific studies that destroy our confidence in our own preferences, we all know better. We have been the innocent pushovers of a diabolical plot to put money in the pockets of the obscenely rich manufacturers of cookies, cakes and pies even as we collapse in droves from insulin failure.
The baking industry and the soft drink tycoons are scandalized at the accusations the scientific community has made to smudge their good name and destroy their public image. After all, they say, all they did was create a product that people enjoyed eating. “Don’t talk to me about nutrition,” one reportedly said. “Talk to me about taste, and if this stuff tastes better, don’t run around trying to sell stuff that doesn’t taste good.”
I cannot help but remember my sister who turned to hypnotism to help her when she topped 400 pounds. “My right hand was hypnotized so it would not touch the refrigerator,” she said. “So I learned to open it with my left.”
Now, I know perfectly well that it has become politically incorrect to blame the consumer for what he consumes but I cannot help but remember my dear old mother (who wasn’t dear ALL the time but sadly almost always right) when she said. “If you don’t want it, just say, ‘no thank you.’”
I would love to see a scientific study that figures out why the obese among us are incapable of pushing away that second piece of pie, or turning their noses up and their fifth glass of soda pop. I suspect that if we could create a no thank you serum to inject into ourselves before dinner, we would save a fortune in diabetic remedies, fat farms and gastric by-passes. Isn’t funny, how simple solutions seem to escape us?

Sidebar 1:
In the dark ages when I was a child, Gwendolyn Turner and I took my chubby sister to an ice cream parlor and, because we only had thirty-five cents between us, we ordered a chocolate soda with three straws. My sister, who was the shortest, grabbed her straw and began drinking. Gwendolyn and I kept bumping heads trying to get to our straws and before we managed to solve this spatial challenge my sister had finished the soda. Moral: If you want something bad enough, there is always a way to avoid sharing it.

Sidebar 2: My mother’s family was very poor and ate potatoes almost every night. Every once in a while, my grandma managed to bake a cake for her 4 daughters and her son, Charlie. She would cut it into portions, put it on the table and as soon as all four little girls look rapturously at their dessert, my Uncle Charlie would point to the ceiling and shout “LOOK!!!” When his sisters looked down again at their plates, their cake had disappeared. Moral: Brothers cannot be trusted any more that the manufacturers of sugar-filled products; scheming monsters every one of them.

I LOVE WILD WOMEN

WILD WOMEN
Well-behaved women seldom make history.
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
My friend Nancy was married to a man she liked well enough. They had a little daughter together and life went along smoothly. When the little girl was 2 years old, Nancy went to a party and met the most exciting, marvelous romantic man she ever imagined. She danced two dances with him, called her husband and said, “Put the baby to sleep. I won’t be home tonight. I am in love.”
Wow.
My buddy Helen nursed her husband through a six-year fight with cancer. The day after he died, she realized she was a millionaire. She booked a trip to India, took a vacation in Cuba, found a hot Samba dancer to squire her around and became a fan dancer. She never once wore black.
These days, women are tough. They learn karate and they fight back. The day of The Little Woman is long gone . My father taught me that if there was a man in the room, a lady never touches a doorknob. If I tried that little trick today I would never get out of the room. Women today are liberated…. But to me they aren’t very interesting. They are overworked and underappreciated.
Nora Ephron said that the only thing a woman gained from the Women’s Movement is paying her own way. I see the modern matron, dressed in her trim executive suit, running an office all day, driving home battling rush hour traffic and stopping at the super market to pick up food for dinner. She pulls into the driveway, grabs her laptop and two bags of groceries, kicks the door open with her foot and staggers into the kitchen to put her purchases away.
She pulls off her shoes, asks the kids about their homework, kisses her husband and says “How was your day, darling?”
She starts dinner and goes upstairs to change into something a bit less constraining than her office garb. You can’t really do a job with dinner when you are constricted by a latex tummy controller and a push up bra. She manages to put together a stir-fry, salad and ice cream for dessert and calls everyone to the table. Her oldest son says he isn’t hungry, the middle one takes his plate up to his room and her daughter refuses to eat anything but the ice cream.
She cleans the kitchen, hauls out the hoover and does the rugs. She has been on the go since 6 a.m. when she got up to pack lunches for the children. She is too exhausted to make conversation and way too tired for romance.
Today’s woman can try anything and be anything as long as she is willing to take less pay for twice as much work. She can be an executive that runs complex multifaceted companies. But she needs to ignore those snide remarks about emasculating men or being a bit…well you know…a bit ballsy.
If this is liberation, I want none of it. I would rather be interesting and out of the box.
I don’t want to do it all for everyone. I want to do it all for myself. I am untamed and erratic. I wear feather boas in Tesco’s and drink champagne for breakfast. I cook dinner naked and put on my slippers to get the mail. I am wild. And wild is very interesting.
When I walk into a room, the sun to rises and the blinds blink. I am so unusual, cows give me whipped cream and bread turns into toast. So do men.
It seems to me that liberated women play so many roles they don’t have time to be themselves. That is too tame for me. I want to be wild…I want to be interesting…I want to be fun. All it takes is a little determination and a lot of red wine.

AND AS AN ASIDE:
Once upon a time in the dark ages of the twentieth century there were man things and women things. Men took out the trash, fixed the cars and lifted heavy stuff. They drove cars and demanded food. They earned money. Women stayed at home and talked on the phone. They pushed buttons on their modern appliances, shopped at the mall and went to their psychiatrist on a weekly basis. They felt used. They had to give sex on demand and still cook dinner and wash the dishes. And so they rebelled.
NOW they have it all…..because they have to do it all.
I think it is time to share the chores and divide the pleasures. The only problem is that no red blooded liberated woman wants to have sex with a guy in an apron….unless he isn’t wearing anything else.

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