Sunday, August 07, 2005

In which the Ornithophobe manages to piss off well nigh everybody...

It's good to have a secret space.

Sometimes there are thoughts in my head that I know have no place in polite company; thoughts that would shock and alienate everyone around me. I can only imagine the horror, the derision, should I loudly, proudly declare them to the world. "What kind of woman are you?"

But they reside there nonetheless, turning and fomenting, growing ever more rancid with each passing day. Like good wine turns to vinegar; these private thoughts get ugly and mean when I cannot give them voice.

I hate people. I hate society. And I hate the bizarre sexual inconsistencies and strange melange of new right and wrong that permeate our society today.

I don't belong here. I don't want to be "empowered," or "liberated" or My Own Woman.

I want to be protected. I want to belong to someone, and know that they are worthy and righteous and will take care of me, even as I take care of them right back. I want to know my place, and fill it completely; to have clearly defined responsibilities and even more clearly defined taboos.

The ornithophobe- 32, divorced, mother of two, full time employee on the career track- wants a husband, damnit. The old-fashioned variety thereof. I want someone who'll be the head of my household. Someone to tell me "No" occasionally. Or hold me when I feel small. Someone to help manage the decisions, plan the dreams, mow the lawn.

Nobody ever talks about this. My mother, God bless her, never needed a man. She did it all by herself- supported me. Fixed the roof, worked on the car, moved the furniture. Bought a house. Paid the bills. Put away a nest egg. Cared for her dying parents. Through it all, she said many, many times, "I'm more of a man than any man I know." The tone of derision in her voice as she said it was cutting. It told me plainly that she'd have welcomed a man- if she could have found one. A real one. But my father wouldn't keep a job, or buy a home. My stepfather wouldn't support a family, preferring to collect expensive sportscars. Neither marriage lasted a year.

Real men are in short supply these days. For thirty years or more, we've told men they're dispensable, disposable. We can "have it all", we can do it ourselves. Grrlpower, Wymyn's lib, etc, ad nauseum. It's our body, our choice. We're not subject to biological destiny, we have the pill. Every child a wanted child, so abortion is a basic civil right. Marriage is about being "in love", so when you're not in love anymore we have no fault divorce. Don't we want to have more, be more, than some housewife baking cookies and breeding baby after baby like a mindless animal?

I am a failure as a modern woman. Because I do need a man. I always have. I'm thirty two years old and I still want my father. I want a safe place to hide, someone to make me feel cherished and protected. The ex-husband couldn't do this for me. He wouldn't take care of me; instead, he needed me to take care of him. To mother him as his own never did. And I did so happily, but maybe I did not do it well enough. In the end, I just could not win his respect, and without respect there can be no love. He is a boy again now; a thirty five year old boy who enjoys his videogames and his freedom. All that nasty ugly responsibility that he could not adjust to is gone. Some day he will find a girl just like his Mama; she will be a career driven, upwardly mobile feminist who will make HIM feel safe and protected. She'll tell him what to do and when to do it.

I wish him well.

I don't want to make my own future. I want to embrace a joint destiny with someone else. To strengthen their ambitions, to promote their dreams. Mine are so small, so petty. To have a dining room, with kids and grandkids gathered round the table on holidays, warm and happy and FAMILIAL. To have someone beside me as I age, as the face and figure in my mirror comes to resemble that of my grandmother. To lie in eternity alongside a mate as our mortal remains return to dust.

These are my dreams. They are as empty and unattainable as any wish.

I am not designed for being alone. Everything about me is designed for the care and comfort of someone else. God, in his infinite wisdom, gave me warmth, wit, and a generous set of breasts to nurse babies with; he gave me a deep seated need to breed and care for a growing family. I grow good babies, you know. Smart, healthy, happy children, delivered with the ease bestowed on me by generations of peasant ancestors. I'm a decent cook and I'm not a bad housekeeper, when I have enough time to devote to my home. The boyfriend assures me my carnal abilities are not lacking.

I even own my own house, outright. It's paid for.

In short, I should have enough to offer in trade, to net myself the sort of husband I want. Yet the supply of old fashioned, marriagable, family-oriented men is nearly nonexistant. Nobody wants a wife, in the traditional sense of the word. They want someone to bring in an income and change her own oil, who will stay on the pill and not bring them any little unfortunates who eat up portions of their paycheck. Someone who will let them sleep in on Sunday morning and not interrupt them while they're involved in a twelve hour online gaming marathon. They want bedroom playmates and fiscal wizards with fast track careers and a stock portfolio.

They certainly don't want damaged 32 year old women with fatherless sons and daddy issues of their own. They don't want someone who will go, "Hey, you take care of this, and I'll take care of that. You have the career, and I'll throw dinner parties for your coworkers. You mow the lawn and I'll plant flowers in the rosebed. You move the furniture and I'll rub your back afterwards."

My future is assured. I will live alone, in my little three bedroom house. I will wear curlers and a bathrobe, and feed hundreds of cats.