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The Axis Of Snivel
I just posted my Advice Goddess column about a man who tried to go with his girlfriend on an all-girls spa weekend -- and threw a tantrum when he was told he couldn't. Here's an excerpt from my answer:

Wait, is he a man, or a 4-year-old who lost his mommy in the bread aisle? “MOMMEEEE! DONNN’T LEEEEAVE MEEEEE!"

The great thing about not having given birth to him is that you can leave him. And you probably would -- if he hadn’t been “fantastic until now.” Yes, until now, when he refused to accept that a fundamental element of the “girls’ weekend out” is the “girls.” In other words, if you have a penis, a prostate, and a five-o’clock shadow, don’t come.

...The guy’s at least smart enough to couch his stupidity in the language of love: “You can tell me anything!” -- as if love is cause for issuing somebody an all-access pass to your head. Yes, and “Wither thou goest, I will go!” Perhaps this sounds romantic, especially with all the wither and thithering. Basically, what it proposes is a relationship modeled on a persistent fungal infection: “Hey, baby, I’ll be all over you at all times like an itchy rash!” This isn’t a sign that two people love each other but that one is so much of a missing person that he can’t be left alone, not even for a weekend.

The last thing you need is a guy who can’t live without you. A better idea is one who can, but would rather not. You won’t find a guy like that gathering up his hoop skirts and storming out of the building, sobbing about being excluded from your bikini wax festival. No, he’ll be too busy thanking his lucky stars and planning his night out making man-grunts with the boys.

Ditch the “fantastic except…” logic that women so often use in hopes of hanging onto an ultimately unacceptable man: “He’s fantastic except…well, except for those bodies under the sun porch...”

The rest, including the woman's question, is here.

Posted by aalkon at April 3, 2006 8:41 AM

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I'm not sure where my first comment went, but I'll try again.

Amy, I personally blame the entertainment industry, particularly popular music, for glamourizing dysfunctional relationships. Just like daytime television glamourizes, the music industry markets emotional dependency as "love."

Consider Michael Bolton (no, you don't have to). A popular song of his asks "How am I supposed to live without you?"

An answer to this question might be "the same way you lived before you met her."

"It's romantic," his fans might say. I say it's disgusting. It's normal and natural to miss what you may have had, but to describe yourself as unable to actually function without this one person is incredibly pitiful. He further describes his love as "all that I've been living for." And we even find out in the first verse that she met someone else and he had to find out from others. Good God, man, salvage some dignity and tell this two-timing ho to go to hell! It might be kinder to wish her well and say good-bye, but either is preferable to this pathetic groveling which amounts to nothing more than emotional blackmail.

And the music industry continues to crank out the effusively sentimental and pathetic ubershlock like there's no tomorrow, as it has done for decades. Consider Gary Morris' original hit (later popularized by Bette Midler) "Wind Beneath My Wings" in which the person speaking describes themselves as "nothing without you."

Really? Is he/she a significant other or God, you can capriciously create and recreate you ex nihilo?

Toni Braxton wants a person who "walked out of the door and walked out my life" to actually come back and "un-break my heart."

Would you really want someone who "walked out of your life" to just suddenly come back and say, "You know what? I was wrong. Let's just get back to the way we were."

Not if you have an ounce of self-respect, or even common sense. Wishy-washy, indecisive people who don't know what they want aren't exactly S.O. material.

Gloria Gaynor had the right approach to dealing with someone who up and left her and then came back "from outer space." "Go on, now go! Walk out the door! Just turn around now, 'cause you're not welcome any more!"

She candidly admits that she "kept thinkin' I could never live without you by my side," but finally "grew strong" and finally realized "I will survive." You go, Gloria! Tell that skunk to go crawl under the rock he crawled out from under.

We need to quit making fragmented selves that are so lost without their loves into something beautiful. They're not. They're pathetic and repulsive. There is no poetry or beauty in dependency. We need to tell the Michael Boltons to "walk out the door," and invite back the Gloria Gaynors.

Posted by: Patrick at April 3, 2006 10:55 AM

What Patrick said.

It's interesting to divide pop songs into those that are about sex (ie the state of being male or female, and all that goes with it) and those that are not. The second category is much rarer and usually more interesting (country and western excepted).

What gets me is that when people discuss what it is to be human, they always bring up "love." People on chat shows, I should add. Seems to me that "love" in whatever form it takes is the one thing that unites us with most of the rest of the animal world. Why don't they mention building the Hoover Dam? Eliminating smallpox? Building cities with sewerage systems? Flying to Mars and beyond? Writing Beethoven's 5th? OK, so not many of us manage that last one, but you get the idea.

Posted by: Norman at April 3, 2006 11:29 AM

Anyone ever been to a wedding and actually paid attention to the sermon/speech given beforehand? I don't know if secular ceremonies incorporate the idea, but the religious ones I've been to always talk about how a man or woman is "incomplete" with out his or her "other half" or the "soulmate" who "makes us whole." What a pot of rubbish. I'm complete and whole already!

I agree with your points about popular music, too. Furthermore, if there's anything worse than the "I can't make it without you" crap, it's the "I'm still bitter about some man or woman who done me wrong like fifteen years ago, and I AIN'T NEVER LOVIN' ANYONE AGAIN!" Get over it already. Fall in love and enjoy yourself, and if it doesn't work out, focus on being a fast healer. If some dork you dated when you were twenty-one is still having a lasting emotional impact on you when you're in your thirties, you need your head examined.

One very relieving part of my growing up was figuring out that yes, I can get over it, and it will probably happen remarkably quickly if I just learn what I can from the experience and then promptly stop wallowing in it!

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 3, 2006 2:44 PM

And yet...

How is Annika Sorenstam's lawsuit to play in the PGA any different from this guy's immaturity?

Make up your minds, women. If you can lock the men outside, then the men can jolly well lock you out, too. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: gus3 at April 3, 2006 3:37 PM

>>Anyone ever been to a wedding and actually paid attention to the sermon/speech given beforehand?

I have. Actually, it was one of the first things I learned about adult relationships. I went to some wedding when I was six or seven years old, and part of the ceremony was some variation of the "make each other whole" nonsense. Even then, it seemed wrong to me.

Being in a loving relationship shouldn't mean acknowledging that you are/were somehow flawed as an individual. But that's how relationships are often presented -- something that makes you whole or transforms you, as if you were only 60% of a person beforehand.

People need to get over this idea. It's insulting and it's unrealistic. I wonder how many relationships fail because one party didn't feel "complete" like they were supposed to -- never realizing that the other party's only real failing was being human, with their own set of flaws and insecurities.

Posted by: Gary at April 3, 2006 11:50 PM

Pirate Jo writes:

I agree with your points about popular music, too. Furthermore, if there's anything worse than the "I can't make it without you" crap, it's the "I'm still bitter about some man or woman who done me wrong like fifteen years ago, and I AIN'T NEVER LOVIN' ANYONE AGAIN!"

Well, Dionne Warwick has a song about how "I know I'll never love this way again..." But she does know that. Her Psychic Friends Netword told her so!

Posted by: Patrick at April 4, 2006 4:33 AM

I agree unreservedly with Patrick: In Hell, snowballs weep for their own doomed fate

Posted by: Crid at April 4, 2006 2:12 PM

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