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mawwiage
do i want to be a princess bride?
by lee anne ramsey
11.28.01
writing


I'm reading a new book.

Okay, it's not new. I've been reading it on and off for about eight months, but I'm currently into it again. I always have to read two books at once and the other book I'm reading (a biography of David Hilliard, one of the main guys in the Black Panther Party) can sometimes get to be a little too much and I like to have time to digest each chapter.

It's titled "A History of the Wife," by Marilyn Yalom, and as one might expect, it details the history of the wife-figure from biblical times through today.

There's a lot of learning here for a single girl who considers herself "not ready yet." I've only read up to Puritan America, but I'm pretty sure I get the gist. First off: there is no knight. There is no white horse. And, as I mentioned, I'm not even into the 1960s yet. There are very few examples so far of the traditional wife who takes care of the cleaning and the kids while the husband takes care of earning a living and everything else. Admittedly, there were and always have been defined roles, but rarely in history were there marriages of the type depicted by 1950s sitcoms and conservative politicians.

What this book does for me is completely blow away all theories I have about marriage (in both the traditional or non-traditional sense), and I've still got 200 pages to go.

For a little historical perspective of my own, I looked to the marriages in my family. My dad's parents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this weekend. When I asked my grandpa how it felt, he chuckled and said that things are a lot different now than when he and my grandma got married. Of course, I thought, they were married in 1941! The world was in the middle of a war. Abortion was illegal, women were just starting to get jobs of their own (thank you Rosie the Riveter) and 28-year-old, single women were whispered about unkindly.

My parents got married in 1966. I know they have changed a lot since they first met, but I've also heard a couple of things about what things were like in the early '60s. First of all, my dad broke off the engagement once because while he loved my mom, he wasn't sure he was ready to support a family. Second, while my mother was studying to be a school teacher, she always assumed she would quit teaching when she had kids. Last year she informed me that she was thinking about retiring, but she said it in the same breath that she told me she had won her school's Favorite Teacher Award. Again.

My sister is 31 years old, got married right out of college, has two beautiful kids and a husband who loves her. When she told me she was going to get engaged, I could not for the life of me understand why should would want to get married so young. I asked her how she knew it was right. She told me that she knew Scott loved her and always would, and that was enough for her.

I'm 28, and I am in no big rush to walk down the aisle. My mom keeps asking me leading questions like, "Wouldn't you like someone to share your life with?" and I tell her, "Yes, but I already have that." I have a cute boyfriend and very nice friends whom I love and share my life with. "But," she wavers, "Wouldn't you like to have someone legally obligated to share his life with you?"

You all think I'm kidding, but it makes sense. My mom got married before the sexual revolution and the NOW movement made it acceptable for women to reject the role of "wife," and be single-but-in-a-relationship and proud of it. For a long time, I thought the only reason to get married was to give my future child a last name that didn't contain a hyphen. And to me, the downsides of marriage were too many to list.

The point the author seems to be making in this book is that society's concept of marriage goes in cycles just like a political, economic, or religious cycle. And from the book flap, I think I can tell where she's going with this. I've read more than a few articles about the fact that being a wife in the year 2001 no longer affords you the advantages it once did. It doesn't mean automatic financial security. Nowadays, you have debt, he has debt, and your debts become mutual debt when you get married. Single parenting is now so accepted that Rachel on "Friends" is having her baby without a single harsh word from any Republican vice presidents. And according to the latest Gallup poll, 60% of Americans no longer think sex outside marriage is wrong. According to the US Census, living together without marriage is up 72% between 1990 and 2000, and more than half of brides and grooms already share the same address.

Now, don't think I'm a freak show with these statistics. My agency gets these presentations from a market research company every week. Most of my best stats are pilfered from them.

After 9/11, there has been a great deal of talk about the rising importance of family. There have been a lot of engagements and marriages in the last two months, and very few divorces. People are trying to "make it work." Some of my single male friends in New York City have said that women are having "End of the World Syndrome," and suddenly granting dates to men they normally would have blown off in favor of a good glass of chardonnay and a "Sex and the City" rerun. So, maybe we are going to cycle around again to where men and women feel the need to make it legal, and see the advantages to getting married.

Or maybe it doesn't have anything to do with the idea of marriage as a legal institution.

I was talking with my grandmother (the one celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary) about how full to the brim my life felt. I spend a lot of hours at work and a lot of time traveling for work, worrying about work, and trying to get better at my work. I function from a never ending to-do list that includes cleaning the house, taking care of bills, doing laundry, returning phone calls, working out, keeping up with my friends, finding time to read, eating healthier, scheduling maintenance on my car, finding time to write, and spending time enjoying my relationship. And I don't even have kids yet.

My grandmother knew exactly what I was talking about. She said, "When I used to work, I remember feeling like I wanted to just take a month-long vacation from my life. I used to wonder how people did it." I was amazed. That's exactly how I feel. And here was my grandmother feeling this 50 years ago. She too felt overwhelmed sometimes, by all the things there were to do in one day, and wondered if she would be able to do them.

I started to think about what my mom was like when my sister and I were kids. I remember a particular outburst when she came home from work to find my sister and I in the middle of a terrific battle, the house a mess, and dinner no where near being started. She stormed into the living room and seethed, "Why can't either of you just once pick up a broom and sweep the kitchen floor?" before retreating upstairs for the night. I'm sure - right then and there - she was taking a vacation from her life. (Not that I blamed her.)

And I realized that 50% of the conversations I have with my sister are about her finding time to do things just for herself - be it exercising, reading, or having 10 minutes of quiet time away from the kids. Taking a vacation from her life is coming out to visit me, where she isn't responsible for making any decisions, solving any problems, or dealing with any issues. And she loves coming to visit me.

So just maybe, the negative connection some of us have with the idea of marriage doesn't have anything to do with becoming a wife. Instead, maybe the I Need a Vacation from My Life Syndrome is part of what anyone who wants more out of life feels, from the pilgrims who came to America to the frontier women who traveled in their covered wagons to modern women scraping their way into positions of power. Hey, even Eve picked the apple from the tree because she wanted more.

I think the author's point will be that all our ideas about traditional marriage versus an equal marriage have been around for thousands of years. Perhaps I'll have to stop looking at the whole concept of marriage as scary and realize that it wouldn't change my life much. Perhaps I'll come to realize that I'm not that different from my mother, grandmother, and female ancestors before me, married or not.

I'll let you know when I get to the end of the book.


ABOUT LEE ANNE RAMSEY

Lee Anne is a frustrated "contributing writer" to the Tufts Daily who has never gotten over getting dissed for a column. As a result, she feels the need to write long, somewhat amusing emails to friends and occassionally submit articles to small publications. During the day, she contributes to "what's wrong with this country" by producing television and radio commericals that make you think you are fat, skinny, hip, unhip, old, young, smart, stupid, grown-up, or just a kid again - depending on which products you buy. Her parents are real proud.

more about lee anne ramsey




COMMENTS

mike julianelle
11.28.01 @ 9:43a

A few months or so ago, I was working on a column that dealt with the change in attitude from Murphy Brown's pregnancy to Rachel's on Friends. Things sure change in a hurry.

tracey kelley
11.28.01 @ 10:45a

The "vacation from my life" theory is a great one. I think that can happen to anyone once they take on "real world" responsibilities.

Doesn't matter what type of love relationship you have or whether or not you even one. Anyone in your life can make demands on you that, on occasion, you rebel against by pulling the covers over your head while reading a book and eating Crunchberries.

Or maybe that's just me.

matt morin
11.28.01 @ 11:11a

I think the perspective on traditional marriage is coming back around. Especially after September 11th, people are realizing that there's very little in the world that's permanent. And by getting married, that's the one thing that's supposed to last forever.

adam kraemer
11.28.01 @ 12:56p

In this day and age? People still think marriage lasts forever?

jael mchenry
11.28.01 @ 1:41p

Depends on the marriage.

If I can't have one like that I don't want one. That's just me.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:03p

I sort of prefer Durkee Potato Sticks to Crunchberries, but they do tend to make grease marks on the pages of my book.

mike julianelle
11.28.01 @ 2:11p

Jael, that's the problem. You can never know if you'll have one like that. So you get married, thinking it's great, and then, suddenly, it's not one like that and you're divorced.

I think people divorce to quickly and easily these days, rather than trying to work it out. But I have no experience with that, so maybe I should stop judging.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:12p

Adam, does this article break the length rule? (more of a guideline than a rule)

adam kraemer
11.28.01 @ 2:20p

There's a length rule? Did I come up with it? I think my only rule is that a column should not wind up being longer than the comments in the margin. So you better hope that more of us have stuff to say.

Regarding bad marriages vs. good marriages: sometimes people change. The person you married twenty years ago may not be the person you're currently sleeping next to. Life has a tendency to do that sort of thing. And sometimes it doesn't eventually work out.

yasameen sharif
11.28.01 @ 2:22p

It's funny how our vision of the future changes as we age. I think I was more ready to get married 7 years ago than I am today at the cusp of 30. My present views of marriage are much more realistic than they were in the past, which is good, I guess, since life is all about reality, but it's not so good in the sense that I kinda liked my old innocent picture of the pretty white dress and smiles all around and everything being just roses after you get married. Marriage is wonderful with the right person, I have no doubt, but I hear and believe that it's also a lot of work to keep it that way. That's something I never used to think about when I thought about marriage and thinking about it as being something else that you have to work at somehow takes some of the magic away for me. I still believe that marriage is in the cards for me someday, but I still wonder if there is someone out there who I will want to be with forever who will also want to be with me? (I

yasameen sharif
11.28.01 @ 2:24p

(I am not the easiest girl in the world to put up with, you know!!!) I guess time will tell...!

yasameen sharif
11.28.01 @ 2:27p

(And I'm just going to write this one last little note so that my Lee Lee's article does not have an "issue" with Adam's "length rule" for articles......!!)

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:29p

Phew. thanks for the long post Yas.

yasameen sharif
11.28.01 @ 2:30p

SHOOT - it was too short. Ummmm.........this was a very thought provoking article with lots to say, but I do wonder sometimes about your choices of reading, Lee. Your light reading book is "A History of the Wife"? I'm sending you the Harry Potter book set for Christmas.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:31p

Yas, I totally get your point about the "magic" part of marriage being gone. I don't think that I personally ever had that idealized image, but I know that lots do. I have to give you this book when I finish... it seems like NO ONE has or had that magical life is roses marriage. Even in Jane Austen's England.

yasameen sharif
11.28.01 @ 2:31p

Anytime baby!

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:32p

Harry Potter Schmotter.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:32p

The David Hilliard book was REALLY good too btw.

yasameen sharif
11.28.01 @ 2:38p

WELL WHY NOT, DAMMIT?? And why is it that females especially have that "magic and roses" idealized view of marriage anyway?? Is it movies? Culture? Stories? Parents? All or none of the above? I think that this idealistic view of marriage is what causes a lot of divorces. People don't always think of marriage as something they have to work at to keep it going strong, they think of the bells and whistles at the beginning and if/when they go away they think the marriage is over as well.

adam kraemer
11.28.01 @ 2:40p

I didn't say it was a rule.

Oh, wait, I did, but really since the only person's content I can control is my own, it's only a rule for me.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:44p

Hence my comment about the hyphen.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:44p

Hence my comment about the hyphen.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 2:44p

Why does everything I write post twice??

adam kraemer
11.28.01 @ 3:08p

Why does everything you write post twice?

Maybe because you're hitting "refresh" immediately afterwards? That's when it happens for me.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 3:10p

oh. thanks!

jason siciliano
11.28.01 @ 4:15p

I'm married and happy. Here's my secret...(drum roll, please)...

Change your idea of the perfect wedding and marriage to fit the relationship you've got, instead of the other way around.

Ta-da!



adam kraemer
11.28.01 @ 4:17p

Why do I get the feeling that sounds a lot easier than it is?

michelle von euw
11.28.01 @ 4:25p

Granted, I've only been at it 6 months, but all the things I like about marriage are the same stuff that would have come with co-habitation.

And Jason, I'm thrilled it's working for you, but convincing oneself that what one has is perfect doesn't always work out. There's the extreme cases of abuse, etc., but some people are just not meant to be together.

michelle von euw
11.28.01 @ 4:28p

Wait, I forgot about the gifts. But that is kind of materialistic & not really the point. Except I really do like the microwave.

And Lee Anne, last week my posts were doing the multiple thing, but an email to the AllMighty Joe fixed it up real nice.

roger striffler
11.28.01 @ 5:11p

I used to believe that marriages should last forever. Then I saw a lot of them "fail", and was forced to reconsider. Ideally, I think they should, and they certainly can, but I've had to revise my view to fit my more general philosphy, which is...
People come into your life for a reason. You learn from them and grow from them (and hopefully it's not entirely one-sided). Things you learn from one person or experience prepare you for the next. Marriage is no excemption from this - I think marriage to the "wrong" person can lead to your next marriage being to the "right" person. I've seen it happen several times. It's only sad or regrettable becasue it's not what you expected or thought you wanted.

roger striffler
11.28.01 @ 5:13p

uh...that's "...should last for ever...", not "fail", as it implies...

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 5:17p

How many of you feel that despite never having had a ceremony or the gifts or the newspaper announcement, that you have already had your "first marriage?" I know I had at least one divorce already.

roger striffler
11.28.01 @ 5:27p

I think I've actually had more divorces than marriages, if that's possible.

adam kraemer
11.28.01 @ 5:33p

There's a line from Woody Allen's "Love and Death," in which a pretty young woman, after more or less laying out the plot for The Brothers Karamazov (I believe) comments, "I never want to get married. I only want to get divorced."

tracey kelley
11.28.01 @ 5:39p

Jason, you're a prince. As one of the oldest "marrieds" on the site, I totally agree with you. Yasmeen, you made some strong points as well.

Marriage isn't perfect. There's a news flash. But neither are you, nor is your partner.

I didn't/don't think of marriage as all "magic and roses" and, in my opinion, anyone who does in this day and age is naive. That has nothing to do with a lack of romance on my part, either. It's just marriage requires responsibility, in addition to magic, roses, foot rubs, mortgages, in-laws, compromise, invasion of privacy, yappy friends, sloppy friends....(painted a glorious picture, didn't I?)

The best thing about marriage is finding a partner to share ALL that with - not just the good stuff. Most people don't want to share of themselves enough to understand that, much less actually put it to practice. When you're more willing to share than divide, you'll find the right part

tracey kelley
11.28.01 @ 5:44p

,,,ner to make it last.

Sorry. Got a little carried away. And I already wrote a column about this subject. Go figure.

Lee Anne, remind me to tell you about my 'divorce' from Rick with a silent "P". shudder He passed through my life alright - like chocolate through a dog.

Roger - seriously, you're right about people passages. That's a beautiful outlook, too.


lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 5:44p

I'm surprised no one has commented yet about my mom's now oft-quoted line "Wouldn't you like someone to be legally obligated to share his life with you?"

tracey kelley
11.28.01 @ 5:45p

I laughed pretty loudly when I read it, though.

lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 5:52p

Like chocolate through a dog? I gotta hear this one!!

jason siciliano
11.28.01 @ 5:57p

Forgive me, I must have miswrote. I in no way meant that people in abusive relationships should fool themselves into thinking that they're in perfect ones. I'm not sure how you got that from what I wrote, but I apologize. Yikes!

I was only attempting to put down what I had to get over, what a lot of people in their late 20s and early 30s have to get over, which is wanting something so specific, after searching for so long and going through so many rough drafts and reading so many books, that we aren't willing to let what we've got, which could be just as fantastic, in my case more than just as fantastic, become our ideal.

Does that make any sense? If you're in an abusive relationship, for crissakes, get the hell out!




lee anne ramsey
11.28.01 @ 6:02p

Get out like chocolate through a dog?

jael mchenry
11.28.01 @ 6:04p

Yes, I think everyone should benefit from marriage the way Michelle has -- having me buy them a microwave. ;)

The part I liked best was Joe making it ding.

Lee Anne, I definitely considered commenting on that line, especially in light of the marriage not lasting forever discussion. The legal obligation doesn't even stick, so even if it was a benefit in the first place (which I don't think it is) it's not a benefit now.



jason siciliano
11.28.01 @ 6:14p

Like Queer Nation.

jason siciliano
11.28.01 @ 6:14p

Get out, that is.

matt morin
11.28.01 @ 11:22p

Why hasn't anyone mentioned love?

I think problems arise and people get divorced because they get married for a multitude of reasons other than love.

tracey kelley
11.28.01 @ 11:53p

What's love got to do, got do to with it?

See, this is tricky. I actually think that too many people marry for "love" but haven't clearly defined it. They confuse love with lust or companionship so they're not lonely or belonging to someone or the means to a family.

Like those 70's-era posters by Kim (with an heart for a dot in the "i", I believe) featuring the doe-eyed kids and the title "Love is..." ...love is many things, but it won't save or sustain a marriage if the it's definition doesn't include respect, faith, trust, courtesy, loyalty and a host of other adjectives.

Tricky, tricky. Someone write a column defining love. G'head.

tracey kelley
11.28.01 @ 11:55p

Damn. Two typos in one blast. Why oh why do I notice these things after instead of before? That's it. I'm going to bed.

matt morin
11.29.01 @ 12:34a

Yeah, by "multitude of other reasons" I meant: sex, lust, passion, money, looks, obligation, companionship, etc.

And always a sucker for attempting the impossible...here's my definition of love: When you're attracted to someone because they're intelligent, beautiful, fun, loyal, interesting, etc., and every day you're with them they get more intelligent, more beautiful, more fun, more loyal, more interesting, etc.

Let the debate begin...

jael mchenry
11.29.01 @ 8:02a

Love is when both people can't believe how lucky they are that the other person loves them back. Both.

Wait, that's good love. There are other kinds. But that's the kind that would make me want to get married. Forever.

mike julianelle
11.29.01 @ 12:31p

Would an example of another kind of love be Muskrat Love?

Just trying to liven up a slow day.

yasameen sharif
11.29.01 @ 12:50p

Sigh......the "legally obligated to share your life with you" comment just made me sad. I really think that some parents/grandparents/ siblings, etc. feel that way. (As if you and I are so awful that unless we trick someone into legally being with us no one would voluntarily make that choice.....)

This summer, my grandmother, a loving, funny, vivacious woman in her 70's, made a comment to me in passing. Apparently years ago she had given my mother a set of pearls to give to me on my wedding day. I knew nothing about these pearls, but was so touched when she brought them up in conversation this summer. It came up in a conversation about the 12 weddings (that's right folks, you heard correctly -- the t-w-e-l-v-e weddings) that I had to go to this year. She said, "Well, the pearls were supposed to be for your wedding, but seeing as how we have no idea when that will be and you have all these other weddings to go to, you should just get the pearls now so you can

yasameen sharif
11.29.01 @ 12:51p

....make use of them."

Now, I'd like to think that she honestly was just wanting me to have a nice set of pearls to use for weddings, but in the back of my head I felt this nagging sense of my whole family thinking "we're so disappointed in you....your younger brother is getting married....what is wrong with you?"

I told my mother that I do not want the pearls until I get married. I want them to be special for my wedding as my grandmother planned, whether when I get married (or even IF I get married) falls into their plans or not.

And speaking of divorces, she gave my mother the pearls before my "divorce" from the 5-year guy who they were planning on me marrying and still love and ask about. We've been apart now for the same amount of time as we were together - am I allowed to just tell my family to GET OVER IT?!?!

lee anne ramsey
11.29.01 @ 1:13p

Yas, do you want me to answer that?

lee anne ramsey
11.29.01 @ 1:15p

And, by the by, you and your "divorce" was exactly the example I was thinking of.

I wish I could come over to your house in Brookline and give you a big hug right now, Yashoney!!

matt morin
11.29.01 @ 1:36p

My parents have always been really good about not tossing out those not-so-innocent comments about marriage and kids.

But when I was home for Thanksgiving, mom let slip that they'd have more storage space in the house if it weren't for all the baby stuff they were saving for when they had grandchildren.

Uh mom, wish I could help you out, but I don't even have a girlfriend at the moment.

lee anne ramsey
11.29.01 @ 1:45p

Way back when Cute Boyfriend was Ex-Boyfriend Slash Friend... my big mouth told him (while giving advice about a relationship he was about to exit) that women are under a tremendous amount of outside pressure once they hit a certain age. All of a sudden, the damn breaks and older relatives stop being subtle about the marriage/grandchildren thing. And the girl he was planning not to date anymore because she wanted to get married and he didn't... well, she got engaged a few months ago. Hm.

He likes to remind me of those little gems. Not that I think I was necessarily wrong, but I think if you say something to someone who is an ExBoyfriend Slash Friend, it cannot be used against you if that person turns into Cute Boyfriend.

matt morin
11.29.01 @ 2:25p

I get your point, but that sounds so devious: You know he doesn't want to get married so...you tell him his current girlfriend REALLY, REALLY wants to get married.

mike julianelle
11.29.01 @ 2:46p

Like that stuff doesn't go on all the time! That's the problem with being friends with someone you're attracted to, because no matter how much you convince yourself your their friend and are looking out for them, you are always looking for that opportunity to help yourself.

But being the friend-waiting-to-be-more is tough, and there is a strategy involved if you want to make it to the next level. All's fair...

lee anne ramsey
11.29.01 @ 2:56p

HOLD ON there little shit-stirrers. (Shame on you Matt, as you know the truth!)

I was not - repeat - not trying in any way to sabotage anything. Damn, that would be absolutely awful of me!!

HE told ME that said girl was looking for the ring. I was giving him HER side of the story, which is that women get a lot of the pressure that he doesn't get.

lee anne ramsey
11.29.01 @ 3:00p

Matt, you are such a punk. How absolutely stupid would that be of me to be that devious and then admit it in a public forum. For the love of god. . . talk about mis-reading what I wrote.

lee anne ramsey
11.29.01 @ 3:00p

(I mean that in a loving way my dear.)

adam kraemer
11.29.01 @ 3:17p

My 93-year-old grandfather used to make a big deal out of when I'd give him great grandchildren until my mother pointed out that he wasn't married until he was 37. That quieted him down pretty quickly.

yasameen sharif
11.29.01 @ 3:24p

I could use a hug...............you devious little vixen you! Talking about my "divorce" is yicky.....

I guess I'll have to go home now and settle for a bunch of licky kisses and a warm cuddle from my puppy. (Not a bad thing to settle for, I tell you!!)



yasameen sharif
11.29.01 @ 3:28p

btw - I think you have officially broken Adam's "length rule".

matt morin
11.29.01 @ 3:57p

OK, in all fairness, I do know that Lee Anne wasn't being devious at all. She's not really the evil plotting type.

And although she called my a punk, I know it was meant in a very loving way.

russ carr
11.29.01 @ 4:35p

The big reason I hated "When Harry Met Sally"? (excluding Billy Crystal, who is reason enough) The perpetuation of the myth that men and women who sleep together can't just be friends. It's just wrong on so many levels -- primarily suggesting that "friend" and "relationship" are mutually exclusive.

The baggage we attach to sex, or relationships, or weddings, or any of that whole dance is entirely up to us. IMO, politicizing all this (the aforementioned deviousness, etc.) is the result of personal insecurity and an unwillingness to be honest with a friend and/or partner.

Years before getting married, I had great friend-girls (note the juxtaposition) which occasionally included sex. We weren't in relationships with each other (or anyone else); it was just because we were close, and it was fun. And I still count these women as friends.

Was I just that lucky?

mike julianelle
11.29.01 @ 4:40p

Yeah, I think you were.

Bastard!

lee anne ramsey
11.29.01 @ 4:54p

I agree with russ that honesty is the best policy, be it with a friend, a friend-boy, friend-girl, Girlfriend, Partner, Spouse, whatever you want to call it. Lies beget lies beget eventual truths.

russ carr
11.29.01 @ 5:28p

I've been agreed with in triplicate!

It's amazing what life hands you when you're honest, Michael.

mike julianelle
11.29.01 @ 5:32p

You tryin' to say I'm a cheat, Russ? I only lied about being a thief.

russ carr
11.29.01 @ 5:43p

If I were as easily charmed as Julia Roberts, I might believe you.

mike julianelle
11.29.01 @ 5:56p

Thank you. I may not be as gullible as she, but at least I don't look like a horse!

Whoops, that was my father talking.

matt morin
11.29.01 @ 7:07p

The only problem with the Just-Friends-But-Sleeping-Together thing is that usually, one person really does want more than the other, but is afraid to rock the boat.

But I've had friend-only women friends, who I slept with. We both knew where the other stood, we talked a lot, and it worked out pretty well.

tracey kelley
11.30.01 @ 11:23a

But never, never, tell your spouse what friend-only you slept with once, especially if you are still good friends with that person and your spouse meets him/her.

Best not to tell. Trust me on this.

joe procopio
11.30.01 @ 12:02p

The secret to marriage is two vanities. I'm not kidding.

michelle von euw
11.30.01 @ 12:51p

Russ, you are the man. That is great that you managed to do the friends/sex thing and not have it turn ugly. Because in the cases that I've known, it's always turned out the way that Matt said.

Yasmeen, I totally support the telling your family to get over it. It sucks when the people we love get hung up on our past relationships. They probably mean well, but sometimes it sucks to hear about how great your ex is. Although, hearing about what a dick your ex is isn't always a good thing, either.

michelle von euw
11.30.01 @ 1:00p

Joe, you are so on with the two vanities thing -- but I'd take it a step further and say, two bathrooms!

And Tracey, on the love thing: I'm with you! We are totally victims of Hollywood, which ends all romantic movies Before "life" begins. We are taught the message that, "love conquers all" and "no matter what our differences are, love will overcome anything." Which, unfortunately, isn't true in real life. Like Jason said (& I do think you have a nice point, just I don't think it's as easy and universal as your first post implied), people too often believe that love = perfection.

As like to tell my husband, he's not perfect -- but he's perfect for me. Or at least, he would be, if he liked the Red Sox...

yasameen sharif
11.30.01 @ 3:22p

Tracy has a very, VERY good point about not telling the present man about a one-nighter with a friend. I told my boyfriend about one event with a friend and to this day he has issues with the guy (who we spend every Thanksgiving with, by the way, as his parents and mine are best friends). Talk about making my life more difficult.....what was I? CRAZY???

russ carr
11.30.01 @ 5:06p

Michelle: Which means avoiding romantic movies (generally the goal of most men anyway). I mean, apart from the typical plastic writing, etc., they generally only serve to reinforce the "love-as-wistful-glances" mindset, where every relationship is dreamy.

Romance is overrated. Love is underdeveloped. Don't get me wrong, roses and chocolates and such have their place, but they're no substitute for filling her car with gas or a hug after a nasty day at work.

jael mchenry
11.30.01 @ 5:25p

Filling her car with a hug?

lee anne ramsey
11.30.01 @ 5:35p

Right about now, I wish I learned more about the romance writers of the 1700's and 1800's so I could relate their visions of romance to the marriages of that time period and compare/contrast to 20th century movies' visions of romance vs. marriages of our time period. I'm always coming up with new ideas for a book or a graduate thesis.

Instead, I am reading Elizabeth Wurtzel's follow up to Prozac Nation (titled: Bitch) where she comments heavily on the subject of feminism/marriage/etc. God, she is a piss poor writer.

russ carr
11.30.01 @ 5:43p

It's tough filling a car with a hug, but I'm very devoted.

tracey kelley
11.30.01 @ 6:02p

Russ, now, see, you got it goin' on. My husband surprised me by filling my car with gas just the other day when he knew I was frantically busy, and I found that incredibly romantic. 'Course, a bouquet of tulips will get him a lot in this household, too.

Intrepret that as you wish.

We are actually, if I do say so myself, very considerate of each other. THAT, to me, is one of the finer-tuned elements of love - when you think about your partner's wishes, desires or needs, not just in the grand ways, but in the everyday small things that can make an ordinary day just alittle sweeter. When both people do this, ir really makes a difference. He loves it, for example, when I go out to eat with friends at a restaurant but save some to bring home for him. Doesn't matter what it is, usually. He just really likes that. It's a dumb little thing, but I always set aside stuff for him - and not just the stuff I wouldnt' eat anyway. :)

Michelle, two bathrooms rock. But Joe, two vanities is 2nd best.

Yasmeen, see? It's just bad. Bad. Mustn't to do.

tracey kelley
11.30.01 @ 6:04p

And before Michael OR Adam says anything = Matt filled it with petrol, in the petrol tank. Not flatulence.

mike julianelle
11.30.01 @ 7:32p

I like to think I'm above fart jokes.

I leave those to Shrek and Eddie Murphy.

russ carr
12.1.01 @ 11:50a

Uh...for lack of a spot to put this... It's amazing how much "joe.intrepidmedia.com" looks like "www.intrepidmedia.com." Very subtle.

joe procopio
12.1.01 @ 12:05p

No it doesn't. Get your hand off that curtain. What? Get out of here. Where are my elevator shoes and my toupee? Aw, crap.

It was busted. Fixed now

tracey kelley
12.3.01 @ 12:40a

Mike, I know you're above it. You would just mock me. :)



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