A "missing" man who happens to be Governor of South Carolina gets caught with his pants down in Argentina while his wife's only comment is something to the effect, "I'm busy here taking care of our four kids while the idiot is chasing his Evita." Have you seen this guy, Mark Sanford? A wussy fellow who says inane things in a silly and pompous press conference like, "I'm going to lay it all out and...it's gonna hurt." Oh show me how you take the pain, Big Man! It's all so tedious and sneaky and, well, unmanly.
Which is why I have joined millions of tween and teenaged girls as a devotee of the "Twilight" books. I'm not the first mid-life mom to discover the love story of a clumsy high school girl and a vampire; my girlfriend Cheryl was the first of my peers to recommend them. My 15 year-old daughter made fun of my secret interest in the series, but ended up giving me the first book on audio disc for my car. The plan was that we'd listen together while she practiced her driving under my supervision. But I started sneaking listening sessions when I was driving around town alone, and I was up to disc 6 before I had to confess to her that I was hooked.
I am shocked by this and a little disturbed by this inconsistency in my feminist politics and here's why: These books portray the archetypal barely-civilized man lusting, actually hungering, for a frail and naïve woman. She loves him because he's physically superior--tall, broad-shouldered, the whole Greek god thing, he knows her in a deep way that the rest of the superficial world has overlooked, and best of all, he can beat up anybody who messes with her. I am capable of some introspection and I, like you, can see that for a traditionally non-violent person who believes that a woman stands alone as a force to be reckoned with, there's an obvious disconnect here. Yeah, but I'm in a mood.
I'm in the mood to see more people punched in the nose by a handsome hero. Perhaps the evolution of 21st century men into laptop toting, UFL-lit frequent fliers to further self-importance leaves many women hungering for a man who can cut down a tree, rebuild an engine and catch and gut a fish. And I want one of those kinds of guys handing out a few shiners to the girly men on my list: Bernie Madoff, Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh to name a few. Admit it, it felt good to see someone punch Perez Hilton, didn't it? Viral bullying like his is no match for a physical call to attention. "Say it to my face, Tough Guy!" Bam!
You would never catch Edward Cullen, the vampire, creating a media event out of an abject failure of character; as in being away from his kids on Father's Day (a criminal offense), cheating on his wife and evidently not even telling her where he could be reached in an emergency (also a felony), and hooking up in the first place on a "trade visit" to Argentina. Oh no. Edward would be rescuing Mrs. Sanford from all mistreatment, take her in his arms and make her forget the rest of the world and keep his promise to love her and protect her forever. He would be so full of rage at any mistreatment of a vulnerable woman that he would have to restrain himself physically to keep from killing (and drinking) her assailants. Then they would have sex.
My favorite place to read is on airplanes and now that I'm on to my second generation of Kindle (the electronic book), I have been liberated from caring what casual observers think of my choice of literature. And as a result, mommy porn is taking over a large portion of the memory bank. I'm on my fourth book about a twentieth century woman who travels through time and falls in love with an eighteenth century Scottish Highlander. He's gorgeous, huge, fights with daggers and broadswords and wears a kilt. He also loves his woman with a fury that occasionally borders on the side of uncivilized. Best of all, when someone offends her, he later presents her with a sack holding the offender's head. Then they have sex.
This is very sexy stuff, particularly now as we watch Senator Ensign of Nevada, former Governor Spitzer of New York and on and on of these flat-assed stiffs whimpering when they're caught and their political careers are tanked. What's most offensive about those public mea culpas is how cold and reptilian they are. I'd give nearly anything to have one of those wives just slap her husband silly at one of those news conferences. I'm sick of justifications and weak explanations across the board--from the philanderers to Wall Street swindlers to psychopathic international dictators--someone needs to just once, haul off and punch them, in public. Now that's foreplay!