Friday, November 09, 2007

An American woman in a Canadian parka


On the subject of the American woman, I laboured mightily, and seemed to have produced a mouse. Hell, while on the subject of American women, I had to go to first a lawyer and then a shrink...I was having my own problems as the "slightly older guy" now out of circulation.
The shrink suggested I do the "familiar" for therapy, that is to say, be a journalist again... "You need to get back your focus. Do something you used to do. . That might clear the logjam."
So I thought of my reporter past.

While working at the Toronto Star, I was greatly surprised that it was not Pulitzer authorship that was causing people to read, it was Ann Landers. Viz,

To a woman who was fooling around with her fiance even though his gorgeous secretary had moved in with him, the late Ann Landers chided, "It sounds to me as if the rocks in Jack's head match the holes in yours."
I read other papers for advice to the lovelorn.

Dear Abby was a close second to Ann Landers.
Never mind the crisis in Portuguese Angorra or somewhere. After Ann Landers, everybody was reading Dear Abby in The SUN.

DEAR ABBY: My beautiful wife, “Doreen,” turned 41 a couple of months ago. Since then she has had extra piercings in her ears and has taken to wearing thumb rings, toe rings and ankle bracelets. Yesterday she pierced her navel. I am embarrassed for her. We have a 13-year-old daughter who is also embarrassed for her. How do I tell Doreen she looks silly? -- NOT SO HIP IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR NOT SO HIP: Your wife’s fetish brings new meaning to the term “heavy metal.” It shouldn’t be necessary to give her a lecture. Just walk in carrying a powerful magnet. That should send a message. (Well, Abby might know something about relationships, but she knows nothing at all about metallurgy).

Seems to me that ever since uber-authoress Gail Sheehy married Top Editor Clay Felker, founder of New York magazine, the way out for Americn women seemed to make them more like men--risk taking in their lifestyles, the daring to try the new, the woman astronaut shot off into space.
But largely, for most younger women, it's coming home from the office, cuddling with the the pet, popping open a bottle and taking off your pantyhose and bra to wash in the sink to hang up later. Over the shower curtain.
There will be no looking for Mr. Right tonight. Just too pooped.

But there's always the weekend. Ah, the weekend.
This will be the 72 hours when you'll be on, to actually invite people for your thirtieth birthday. There are, of course, those nagging questions as you hang up your pantyhose: Single woman? Why aren't you married? When do you plan to have kids? And if not soon, then when? Ever? Never?
And to all those questions that will surely come up: "I don't know."

This is a terrible time for women to be thirty.

It is a zany time for women to be forty.
And an even more dangerous time for women just past fifty. The risk-taking. Dare I date a younger man? Have I still got it? Empty nest, and now what? And hubber has got this younger woman. I know this. I know.
It is surely Ann Landers territory and even the monstrous almost- Jerry Springer world of Dear Abby.
In any society, it is assumed that forty percent of women are at least sane.
But the world of svelte superstars, fitness enthusiasts, weigh-loss programs and outright dancing houris is a sure temptation for the level-headed mouseburger of 30 still thinking about the last article by Helen Gurley Brown.
"Face, it," one American woman has told me. "The old way was the best way. Even if you're overweight. Do not play with your physical or emotional health.

"You mean it's back to Home-Ec and looking for Mr. Right?"

"Yes."
This came from a woman lately of NYC. Call her Trish.
She moved to Toronto,where I met her after spending four years in New York at a top-tier investment bank. She frequented A-list hot spots and mingled with the white-collar glitterati. Now here social life consists of a lot of dinners, hanging up her pantyhose in the evening and watching DVD movies." In New York, everybody's single and in Toronto, everybody's married. Half of them have kids."

She decided, finally, to relocate to Vancouver. Different story here. Here she could really extend adolescence. "In Vancouver, people ski, bike, hike--they aren't interested in being in the office till midnight.
And still, when you have that kind of time, you're even more prone to couple up.

Again. Looking for Mr. Right.
She finally found him, but the cad already had a wife and turned out crazier than a half-shagged mink on a sandbar.

Ah well. Back to the drawing board, back to New York. Here, most people were more self-focused--which means they are single longer. It is probably where I belong," Trish said a few years ago. "But face it, Ivan. I am now 31, and still looking for Mr. Right."

Well, if they still dump on you in one city, move to another city.
Trish went back to Toronto, where people are more focused, a tad more traditional. She met serious people.
She is now married to a successful IT guy,who is hardworking and doen't give ver any static, she has a house in the exurbs, has a spanking baby, and has never looked back.
"Mom's way was the best way.
"All the Helen Gurley Browns are wrong."
But Trish still had a career, so did her husband and only the babysitter is in there pitching in for everybody.
"It was not being Hillary Swank, or even Hillary. But it will do. Oh yes, it will do. How long did it take me to wake up?
A second baby has had Trish take a leave of absence while her husband worked.
"The happiness is probably short-termed," Trish admits. Who knows what the future will bring?
"But right now, I'll take it. I'll take it."

##


22 comments:

Josie said...

"She finally found him, but the cad already had a wife and turned out crazier than a half-shagged mink on a sandbar."

I think I met him just recently.

Heh.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hee.

the walking man said...

Ivan, I think you hit a stride on this, the journalist of the past comes forward...straightforward to capture and hold from the first word to the last. The inability to decide if this is fact or fiction is what i personally like best about it.

But I won't comment on the American women because I have to live surrounded by them.

Peace


mark

Charles Gramlich said...

Do American women even wear pantyhose anymore?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark.
Thanks.
Seems we can't do withouth them, Canadian or American.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Charles,
Shows how much I am out of circulation these days.
Pantyhose: I don't know.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Wasn't what I was expecting but it was a very interesting post with interesting observations. I learnt a lot. Thanks.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

LGS,

Wasn't what I expected either.
I had hoped to produce "creative writing" but instead came out with the standard journalistic dreadnought.
Oh say it on. I mean bolerplate :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Dang.
My last line should read boilerplate.

Josie said...

Charles, to answer your question, no American (and Canadian) women don't wear pantyhose anymore. Those ghastly things had to have been invented by a man. A gay man! Was there ever anything sexier than garter belts with real silk stockings? Was there everything less sexy than pantyhose? After years of wearing those ghastly things, women said, no more. Forget about burning their bras, they burned their pantyhose. I think I still have some buried in a drawer somewhere, but I haven't worn them for over two years.

Josie said...

I meant "anything" not "everything". I need my second cup of coffee. :-)

Sienna said...

A younger man you reckon....hmmm, well so long as he isn't much younger, nothing much more than 10 years....or it is getting into slightly freaky stuff...along the line of I may have babysat them. I just don't seem to be able to get my head past that, he's young enough maybe not quite to be my son, but definitely babysitting material..."come on, hey! if you eat your broccoli we can go yabbying"

Younger men, older men, just doesn't cut it. Married men the same, no way ....

I believe I have the love of my life, he is around 4 years older...he is everything I'm not, we are opposites, totally, didn't even like him to begin with, too bossy. My nickname for him was GMT (greenwich m/time), precision, punctual, orderly, organised, don't worry, :) I soon lightened him up..

Our human species is fascinating, the whole relationship thing is..??

Who woulda thought we could survive any of this.

Pam

Freida Bee said...

Oh man, it's too late for me at 37. No on hte panty hose. Glad I came over here. Maybe I'll learn a little about myself through reading about women through a journalistic eye. I am a mystery even to myself. (And understanding the male- forget it.) I'll "keep coming back."

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Josie, I was about to have my second cup of coffee as well, but there seemed to be a half-full bottle of Canadian Club right next to the clean mug, and...

Strike a blow for freedom!
Gain a day's respite from the Pain Industry!

Chuggalug chuggalug.
Makes me want to hi-de- ho.
Burns your tummy don't ya know.

Well, one thing about the pantyhouse: we seem to have opened a thread. :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Pam, humans are indeed fascinating, and so is the Australian language.
"Yabbying" in Russian is not at all the same thing as yabbying in Australia, oh lord it's not! :).

My former wife hooked up with a younger guy.
I am convinced that she did this to feel superior to him...she no dumbrod.
But she was always into horses...Oh Cathy!
Oh well. I like to think I'm not deep, but fancy.

ivan@creaetivewriting.ca said...

freida bee,

Hello.

I once dated a Christa Bee, but she would be my age, which goes back to about the fall of Rome.
I have had a look at your blog. Really dig it. You are bright!

interesting when you say "Reincarnation and Parallel Universes are the Same Thing (only one is seen through the filter of time,) I Feel Energy."
Ae you at all German?
I am half convinced these days that the Germans have a word for anytthing, any concept...Come to think of it, Einstein was "German"...that's the fascination.
Keep blogging that good stuff.

Ivan

eric1313 said...

This was a great post, Ivan.

How the hell are we supossed to be so many different things to so many different people?

The women today have that part down, to acheive everything and balance in a home and even children.

And we aren't exactly making it easy for them, either.

Good writing. Things come and go and come again. If it's all a cycle, we should theoretically be able to predict the future of writing.

Still, it would be a crapshoot.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Eric,
Norman Mailer has just died.
He was the last "Wartime" novelist.
He was also my hero, like Hemingway was his hero.
A bright light has fallen to earth and we could do nothing about it.
Mailer's last interview words were,
"The novel is gone."

I sincerely hope he was wrong.

Cheri said...

Gosh, I loved it. Why the hell haven't I checked you out before?

ivan@creaetivewriting.ca said...

Hi Cheri.
Seen you on JR's blog.
Welcome.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I know plenty of men who wear pantyhose on their head. In the free world, and even in prison. Call them "doo-rags."

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

er,

In mufti?