An Ordinary Man

Or, Men 101

Month: March, 2014

$30,000!?

CNNMoney reported today that the average wedding now costs $30,000.  How can one day cost so much outside of a cardiac ICU unit?  And what do most couples fight about? Money.  So let’s start our journey together by throwing away the price of a car, a significant portion of student loan debt, or a down-payment on a house because, goddammit, we have to put on a front.  Fools.  There’s no other word for it.  Agree to a $30,000 wedding and you are essentially agreeing to a divorce, unless one or both of you come from pretty serious money.  The only saving grace here is that this is the average, not the median, so a few mega-buck weddings skew the stats quite a bit.  But seriously, what couple couldn’t make better use of that money?

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“The Woman Who Gave Up Sex”

Writing a guest editorial for the NY Times, Delia Ephron bemoaned the fact that the lover of “The Good Wife” was killed off, meaning they would never have at it again, which broke her heart.  I don’t watch the show and clicked on the link because for most men over a certain age, every woman seems to have given up sex.  And yet there she is saying:

Most important, she gave up sex with Will Gardner because she’s a mother. I can’t explain it any better than that. Apparently to the creators of the show, this made sense, that motherhood was incompatible with wild sex.

I’ve got news for you, Ms. Ephron; it makes sense to virtually every ordinary man I know that motherhood is incompatible with at least wild marital sex! Never once, in almost 40 years of marriage, have I met a fellow husband who wished his wife would lay off a bit after the kids were born (except the odd one or two with madonna complexes).

I have no ax to grind with her, but to the extent she believes only the creators of the show think women hang it up all too early too often, she is simply wrong. Hugely wrong. And that, in a nutshell, is the point of my novel, An Ordinary Man.

N.B: Ephron is the author of Sister Mother Husband Dog (etc.)

You’ve Got To Be Kidding ….

An Ordinary Man does not have a political agenda so I am surprised to be posting political news, but this shouldn’t be ignored. According to today’s Boston.com, a state senator has filed a bill that, if passed, would make it illegal for a divorcing parent to have sex, or even a dating relationship, in the marital home until the divorce is final, unless a judge approves.

The senator is Senator Richard J. Ross, a Wrentham Republican, and his proposed law reads:

In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.

Wow. Just plain wow. And damned scary.

Sarah’s Revenge

“And of course he knew that I would divorce him if I found out, and that I would take as much of his money as I possibly could. And that didn’t seem to bother him. He’s the best at what he does; he’ll land on his feet regardless of what I do. That even includes killing myself. ‘Poor misguided Sarah’ is all he’d say.”

This comes from the most controversial chapter in An Ordinary Man; when Sarah, the wife of Richard’s best friend, Dr. Andrew Hillsdale, decides she will take revenge on her husband’s philandering by attempting to destroy that friendship. Her deed is perfectly crafted to do so, and quite dark.

As the author of the novel, dealing as it does with the male view of marital love and sex, adultery and reconciliation, I probably should mark my calendar for April 25, 2014 – the release date for a Cameron Diaz / Kate Upton movie, The Other Woman – which indicates it will take a more light-hearted approach to the all-to-common tragedy of infidelity.

I am not sure, however, that I would agree with a comment attributed to Ms. Diaz in the New York Daily News, quoting England’s OK! Magazine, that, “everybody has been cheated on, everyone will be cheated on.” In fact, the novel was written in an attempt to make infidelity less of a certainty by explaining how guys see things.

“And when I do love, it will never be a love that gives a damn.”

An Ordinary Man struggles to explain the differences between men and women, especially with respect to how they view love and sex. I may need to add another chapter, having come across Musings of a Virgin-Whore, about the 27-year-old virgin medical student auctioning it off for a minimum bid of $400,000. Now here’s a woman who seems to understand the imbalance of power An Ordinary Man focuses on; imagine some guy 1) being a virgin at 27, and 2) being able to auction it off for even $40 if he was. I don’t have a problem with the auction, but the title of this post, lifted directly from her blog, gives me pause: what kind of love doesn’t give a damn? I’m missing something. Good luck, Elizabeth Raine, whoever you are.

Cover Change

I have changed the cover of the book, from:

OM_Cover4

to:

Cover - elb

The original cover reflected a woman grown inaccessible and guarded, but given that the title is An Ordinary Man, it might make more sense to put a man on the cover (although this particular man is far from ordinary in real life).

Six Things That Work

Fawn Weaver – author of “Happy Wives’ Club” – interviewed thousands of couples in dozens of countries around the world and found they had six things in common, according to a report by Joanna Prisco via Good Morning America on abcnews.com. Richard, the ordinary man in the novel of the same name, would agree, with modifications.
1. Put Marriage Before Children – No. 6 on the published list, Richard would put this at the top of his list. Children are a biological consequence of love and cannot be allowed to supplant the love that resulted in their creation.
2. Respect – No. 1 on the published list, but heavily dependent upon Richard’s No. 1, above. Not putting the marriage before the children disrespects the marriage and thereby the spouse.
3. Rituals Enhance Romance – No. 3 on his list, too. There has to be something the couple does together everyday that they have done for years, that reminds them everyday that they are a couple and have been for years.
4. If the Bond is Solid, Sex will Follow – Richard would move it up a notch, believing that if the sex is solid, the bond will follow. Sex creates the bond, or burnishes it, not vice-versa.
5. Divorce is Not an Option – Originally No. 2, Richard places it much lower; divorce isn’t really an option, if you consider the post-family with the family as originally imagined. But keeping 1 through 4 in mind can keep you from getting to this point.
6. Spirituality Can Be a Stabilizer – No. 4 on the original list, Richard would agree that celebrating holidays, which tend to be religious, creates warm & fuzzy traditions that can help re-establish what was good about your life when you started sharing it.

I’d Snarl, Too

He wanted to find an appropriate surface – almost anything horizontal – lay her down on it and begin unfastening things, nuzzling where the sweat collected so she knew a shower would not be allowed because he did not want to wait that long. Fresh-scrubbed was lovely, but sometimes as-found was better; earthy, pungent, true.
“Hi, Dad,” Sean said, again from behind him, his feud with his sibling over. This is why he never managed to carry out ravishments anymore; you never knew where or when a kid would materialize. Lionesses will not mate after they have cubs so the prince that dethrones the pride male will often kill the deposed’s young to bring the females back in season so that he can mate with them. But after his own are born, the new king is reduced to lying around, waiting for the females to go into heat on their own accord after the new set of cubs gets older. So, Richard told himself, he’s no worse off than the king of the jungle. Last month he had consoled himself by noting at least he did not have to crack heads with sexual competitors like a bighorn ram.

lion

The King of the Jungle showing his mixed emotions to a young interloper.

photo: Oregon Zoo/Shervin Hess/REUTERS

Dave Barry on Boys (“Scum”)

CNN’s Jill Martin Wrenn interviewed comedian Dave Barry on CNN.com about his book, “You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About.”

CNN: Have you modified your parenting style having a daughter versus a son?
Barry: Absolutely. Girls turn into women, and they do it really fast and dramatically and terrifyingly. Suddenly — boom! — they are women. And then, boys come around. I didn’t worry about sex or social life or anything like that. With Sophie, I’m really aware of boys, because I happen to be one, or I was one. I’m a male, and I know we’re scum. We’re all scum. We know it. When they show up, they’re nice to me, because I’m the dad. But they’re not fooling me. I know they’re scum, deep inside. I want them to go away. It would be nice if I could get a humane trap, a boy trap, that I would put on the lawn. It would be baited with something that boys like, like fireworks, something insane. When I hear it clang shut, I would go out and take the boy and release him humanely in the Everglades.

He, of course, is right; the sole purpose a teen-age boy is interested in a teen-age girl is in hooking up with her. For the ordinary man, sex remains a critical part of the relationship, deep into adulthood. Read about it here if you don’t understand this.

Read the entire interview (it’s worth it) here.

Get Barry’s book here.

Hard Truths: Soft Undergarments

Such pretty things bras could be, with such a charming assignment; hold the lady’s breasts in place, please. What a concept. He disliked the new ones that presumed to improve upon a woman’s natural shape, or worse, added mass that was not there while smoothing over the nipple that was. Understandable in some environments but so asexual and inorganic. The one she was wearing was more like an undergarment than the molded cups in vogue today, which resemble nothing so much as a medieval cuirass as they hang on the shower rod to dry. Once taken off, hers would crumple in his hand like undergarments were supposed to, rather than persist as a misguided corporate attempt to homogenize female anatomy.

a cuirass

a cuirass

Random quote from An Ordinary Man (on sale this week at Smashwords.com)