A good friend of mine, born in the Midwest and living a successful life working for an investment company in New York City, recently returned to her hometown to marry her local sweetheart who gave up a shot at a Pro football career in Canada to work alongside her in New York. 

On the day of her wedding a relative from the groom’s side of the family gave her an envelope. The fellow who gave it to her was a lifelong bachelor and a distant cousin without a lot of sophisticated polish — some call them “good country folk” — and he had worked on a farm his entire life and had never ventured more than 50 miles beyond the village of his birth. “I don’t have much money,” he told her, “so my gift is wisdom.”

My friend hugged the fellow and he sort of awkwardly “bowed” to her as he backed out of the room without looking her in the eye again. When my friend opened the envelope her heart fell and her blood pressure rose as she read the following hand-scribbled wisdom:

Keep your man happy as whore in the bedroom and angel on the street. Keep his balls empty and his belly full.

Tempted to tear the “wisdom” into pieces she instead controlled the rising boil of her blood and tucked the note into her bra and went on with the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful and memorable. When she later shared the “wisdom” gifted to her with her new husband, he laughed it off. “Oh, that’s just Kenny. He’s never had a woman his whole life.”

My friend tried to laugh it off, too, but her husband’s possessive view of “having” a woman threw her a bit. As a “modern woman” — forsaking motherhood for a career — and living in the ancient world of a testosterone-dominated workplace in New York, she can’t help but think that somewhere down deep many men share that “wisdom” — that women really are nothing more than a “wet hole” as one of her male conspirators at work called her in a moment of angry revenge — and that she really is nothing more than a cook and a provider of sexual release. She wonders if women have made any progress at all in the world or if it’s all a shell game where everything changes and everything stays the same.

She wonders if the sexual yoke and the chain of cooking are still invisibly wedded — but always felt — around the necks and ankles of women even in the modern world of New York City where she breathlessly ran to for understanding and opportunity and a worldly education in order to escape the choking, horizonless, alfalfa fields of the Midwest.

29 Comments

  1. That’s a rough point-of-view, Lead. I understand about sharing duties and responsibilities but the sharing of traditional gender roles seems to be off-limits for you, right?
    Is it wrong for a man to give up his career for the love of a good
    woman?
    Is it wrong for a woman to condescend to motherhood in favor of a high-paying job?

  2. I offer up this quote from Jerry Hall – Mick Jagger’s ex-wife.
    “My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I’d hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit.”
    Jerry Hall
    It is not only men that share that “wisdom” …………

  3. Hi Nicola!
    I love that quote and I love your response even better!
    I think the “country wisdom” that was shared with my friend sort of shows how simple men are: Feed them and give them sex and they’re satisfied. It seems like a simple dyad for powerful control!
    😆

  4. Oh, and Nicola, if you want an Avatar here — or on any WordPress.com hosted blog — go to WordPress.com and sign up for an account. You don’t have to use the blog, but you can use the User Admin area to set your Avatar and your preferred blog URL and such. Then you can change your Avatar at will.

  5. If someone gave that “wisdom chit” to me I would start wondering about the “species” I was married to that could be satisfied so easily –
    And definitely about the “species” of the gift provider….

  6. Hi Katha!
    You’re right that many men are easily satisfied! I think women are much more complex.
    There are a lot of men that don’t need trinkets or want sparkling conversation.
    They just need a couple of basic needs met and the rest is, uh, gravy?
    😉

  7. Oh, and Katha —
    Login to your WordPress.com account and upload an Avatar! Then it will load here if you use the same information to post your comments here that you use to login to your account. Then you can even follow your comments in your WordPress.com Dashboard! Pretty cool.

  8. I understand…
    My point is do people need to get married to just fulfill this basic needs? or, people get married because they want to stay together???
    You need ‘gravy’ in your life to avoid the dryness…
    and thank you for the heads up – I will login into wordpress.

  9. Hi Katha!
    Well, I suppose it depends where you’re coming from. Kenny’s dry advice likely came from his father since Kenny has yet to have any sort of mature relationship with a woman so there’s a historical, familial and cultural trend — like it or not — that takes that view of a woman’s role in the house and marriage.
    Sure, today you can have that sort of relationship without being married, but I bet it’s easier to do that in New York or an urban center than it is on a Midwestern village farm or even in the wilds of India.
    I’m not defending the attitude — but there are parts of the world where a marriage is a business proposition only — and the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and cut-and-dried and completely bland and tasteless. The texture and spice most likely comes from the vivid imagination and… internet porn.
    When you login to WordPress.com be sure to look for the “My Comments” area when you click on your Dashboard. That’s a pretty neat feature!

  10. Marriage has to combine the business aspects, along with the romantic components to be successful. Each partner has to work at the relationship 100%, not just focus on doing “his” or “her” parts. A good relationship must be selfless and focused on the couple, rather than self-centered and focused on obtaining something for oneself.
    Also, when times get rough, don’t hesitate to get a good marriage counselor who can act as an impartial referee to help work out any problems. If you need advice, you might as well get it from someone who has gone to school to study relationships and who has a long track record of helping people fix (or figure out what to do with) their relationships.
    Just as John Cusak’s character in “Say Anything” realized the guys at the Gas and Sip didn’t know what they were talking about because no women had been around them in years — and not necessarily by choice — the same thing is true for Kenny’s advice.
    Kenny sounds like he doesn’t have much experience with human beings. I remember hearing guys repeat cliches when I worked at the grocery store for no other reason than someone had said the same thing to them at some point.
    Unfortunately, there is a lot of that bad advice that floats around middle and high school locker rooms that forms the education for many men. And, it gets passed along from generation to generation.
    I showed this post to my wife and she said that 30 minutes before she walked down the aisle, a “relative” from her side of the family (the guy wasn’t really a relative, but the husband of a close friend of her family, but he was an “honorary uncle” type of person) gave her the same advice about marriage, so I guess your friend shouldn’t feel alone in getting some strange advice.
    As for me, I don’t remember getting any pep talk before the wedding.
    Here’s some advice that I’ll pass along to the guys out there to keep the wife happy in the marriage … On second thought, I better not end up like Kenny and dispense bad advice. 🙂

  11. Hmmm, as someone who is planning my own wedding (yes it’s still gonna happen!) I have this to say.
    Any guy that has the cheek and nerve to hand me some advice like that on my wedding day, will find himself bent double and in a whole lot of unexpected pain. 😀

  12. Chris!
    What a great comment!

    I showed this post to my wife and she said that 30 minutes before she walked down the aisle, a “relative” from her side of the family (the guy wasn’t really a relative, but the husband of a close friend of her family, but he was an “honorary uncle” type of person) gave her the same advice about marriage, so I guess your friend shouldn’t feel alone in getting some strange advice.

    …and…And…AND?!! Did she take the advice or not?!!
    :mrgreen:

  13. I know you were not defending David, I was playing Devil’s advocate for a change!
    Yes, I know marriage is still a business proposal regardless of place and culture – sugarcoated with romance.
    Human being is the only species that has the ability to imagine – why don’t we use it with a tinge of intelligence then? Or, we don’t feel the “moral obligation to be intelligent”?
    (I miss the all the “related posts” on the right side of the page! 🙁 )
    With due (or, undue?) respect, I think “porn” is an overly hyped, third graded, crude form of sex manual. Getting satisfaction from the visual? Well, it depends. An instruction booklet works wonder for a machine, but instruction manual with human being??? I doubt it.
    My roommate’s dog, an extremely handsome, six year old German Shorthair is acting like a jealous kid; he won’t let me type…wants to drag me outside to play with him –
    It’s a beautiful gorgeous day!!! I am out of here… 🙂

  14. Hi Katha —
    Yes, I agree imagination is important. Some believe men are more visual and women are more aural when it comes to stimulation and that’s why internet porn is so powerful a pull for a few men — the eye craves the craven image.
    Your Avatar is on your blog page but not loading here! Login to your WordPress.com account and then click on USERS and then YOUR PROFILE and then you’ll see an area on the screen called MY PICTURE. That’s where you upload your Avatar!
    Have fun outside! It is viciously windy here today.

  15. Yes, I have heard “men are visual” – but how visual a person can be when there is no connection between the two? When the first thing you think that those porn stars are being paid to perform? Or, is it something like Pavlov’s experiment – after a certain point of time the dog starts drooling even without food – just a behavioral response? I don’t get it – probably because I am a woman.
    I loaded my avatar in ‘my picture’ section on the very first day I signed up for an account in WordPress, I don’t know why it’s not loading…. 🙁
    It was gorgeous here today; relatively warm (high 48 degree F) with no wind! I can handle a 22 degree F with a wind blowing 10 m/hr than a 32 degree with a wind 55 m/hr – the later bites!
    I have seen wind advisory for the first time in my life after moving here in Fargo!

  16. For many men, Katha, it’s all about the release of poison building up inside and relief comes only in erection and ejaculation. It’s as simple as that. They need to get the stuff out of them and it doesn’t matter how or when it happens.
    Are you logging in to your WordPress.com account before you post here? That will cross-register you here and there and your Avatar should be active.
    I’m so glad you had a good day with the weather! You’re right the wind plays a much more vicious role than many think. We had Wind Advisories here all weekend. I hate it when the wind whistles and howls.

  17. Well yall I’mma wonderin’ what the problem is here?
    Seriously though, a number of things jump out at me with regards to this post and especially the lady’s reaction to Kenny.
    I am not trying to advocate for Kenny, for his behaviour was certainly thoughtless, however, I would have to ask this question: What were his motives? If his intent was to upset her then indeed he is a thug, however, if his intentions were good, though misguided, does that excuse him?
    For example, if one were to travel to New Zealand one could quite easily meet a Moari. Tradition dictates to him that he stick his tongue out at you and shout in your face the first time you meet. This type of behaviour I am sure would be viewed by the lady above as rude, brutish and vulgar as this is not how people she is acquainted with behave. However, this is merely a traditional greeting by the Moari and intends no disrespect. Do we arrogantly suggest that the Moari needs to change his behaviour to suit ours or do we just accept that we are different?
    Likewise, although affronted by Kenny’s letter and what it suggests should she not just accept that both she and Kenny have different ideas on what a marriage is?
    Essentially, by reacting the way she did and to start to question her new husband’s attitudes she is stating that it matters how people view her…that she needs to be validated as a person asexually. To me that isn’t the mark of a liberated woman. True liberation comes from accepting who you are despite how others view you. It matters not if the whole world views women as a ‘wet hole’; it is how you view yourself.
    Did Martin Luther King lose sight of the fact that he was a man just because some viewed him as being less than a man due to the colour of his skin? The answer is no, Martin Luther King was proud to be a man but more importantly, he was proud to be a black man. King preached not to get the ‘white’ man to view him any differently but to get the ‘black’ man to view himself differently.
    Your friend is a woman and whether she likes it or not the mere fact she is female is enough to excite some men sexually. That is what nature intended to ensure procreation. This doesn’t demean her as a woman, it celebrates it. Having said all of that, does it give a man carte blanche to demand sex…no? Does it give the man a right to express his sexual desires without firstly being invited….no? Does being viewed sexually make you less successful or less significant…no?
    When you know who you are, you do not need validation.

  18. Yes David, I know men are genetically prone to release to procreate – that’s normal, natural.
    But I think the pattern/approach of releasing/hunting down women gets sugarcoated over the time than it was in the cave-man period.
    What I don’t understand is why a mechanically staged porn gets the status of live Kama Sutra when the real Kama Sutra leaves more room for imagination?
    I have heard people talking about porn as if that is the ultimate form of sex – regardless of it being virtual…that’s what I don’t understand.

  19. Katha —
    Many men are lonely and alone. They have little imagination for self-stimulation. They are not in the company of a woman. They need all the help they can get — even if remote and cold — to excite and deploy the poison within.