Friday, August 10, 2007
More Bad Dreams
We went to Promisek for a few days of respite. I had a dream that my husband and I were dating, and that after a few years he decided to break up with me. In the dream I was forty-two (my age now), and I was struck with fear that I would never marry, and would now have to revert to a way I used to relate to men, having sex with them in the hope that one of them might fall in love with me and perhaps even consent to spending his life with me. In the dream, I made a mental note to buy condoms, which seemed like a necessary ancillary to my new (old) life. It was a horrible, resigned feeling, and I felt myself looking down the road to a life of loneliness. I fear that my dream is the actual experience of many women in their late thirties and early forties, and it makes me horribly sad to realize that women have internalized the practice of giving so much in order to get so little in return from men, who in the old days recognized their role of caring for women and children and protecting them. In spite of whatever advances we seem to have made, I will not budge from my conviction that women want to marry, want to take care of men and children, whether they admit to it or not. It seems to me that the sexual revolution has done great harm to the idea of healthy relationships between the sexes, each of which now is always sizing up and second-guessing the other (He: “What does she want from me? I hope she understands that a roll in the hay doesn’t guarantee anything”; She: “Maybe if I perform really well in bed, he’ll want to see me again, and I’ll be his girlfriend”) while trying to avert and evade their real responsibilities to one another. But, at the risk of sounding medieval, I am willing to bet that most men who haven’t been profoundly damaged emotionally actually want to take care of wives and children, and that most women, even those who espouse second-wave feminist non-essentialism, want to have husbands and children.