Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I wanted it all and that's what I got

Main Entry: di·chot·o·my
Pronunciation: \dī-ˈkä-tə-mē also də-\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural di·chot·o·mies
Etymology: Greek dichotomia, from dichotomos
Date: 1610

1: a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities dichotomy between theory and practice>; also : the process or practice of making such a division <dichotomy of the population into two opposed classes>
2: the phase of the moon or an inferior planet in which half its disk appears illuminated
3 a: bifurcation; especially : repeated bifurcation (as of a plant's stem) b: a system of branching in which the main axis forks repeatedly into two branches c: branching of an ancestral line into two equal diverging branches
4: something with seemingly contradictory qualities dichotomy, this opulent Ritz-style luxury in a place that fronts on a boat harbor — Jean T. Barrett>

Definition number 4, that's me. A seemingly contradictory girl.

I blame it on Barbie. and Jane Fonda. oh, and Samantha, from Bewitched - especially when they aired the episodes where elizabeth montgomery was both Samantha and her evil cousin with the black pixie wig, Sheila (is that right? can't remember her name...anyway, i digress...). I have become a walking contradiction.

Womens' Rights or the right to be a woman?

When i was growing up in the 70's and 80's, the wheels had already been set in motion for women to climb the corporate ladder. Our moms before us had burned their bras in the sixties (as well as some grass, and even possibly their roots when dying their hair) all for women's lib. They had a mission - to make life better for their daughters. And they succeeded, as evidenced by the likes of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

My mom was in the workforce AND going to college at night and since my dad had a full time job, it fell to my grandmother to watch me during the day. So, for much of the day I got to watch my grandmother work in the garden, can preserves, keep house, start dinner and make sure my grandfather had everything he needed.

Later on, when i didn't need my grandmother to watch me after school, i started paying more attention to the other woman in my life. My mother. This is why i'm screwed up. I had 2 role models that were polar opposites. My mother could not have been MORE different than my grandmother if she had tried. She worked, she bossed, she traveled overseas for work at times. All her friends called her for advice on everything: work, clothes, men. She ran the show. Oh, and as far as dealing with my dad, let's just say she wasn't too interested in whether my dad had what he needed or not. He was an adult - he could manage. And that's how it was.

When i was alone, my free time was spent with my Barbie Doll - who, when i was 8yrs old, only had one goal, to get the corvette, marry Ken and live in the Dreamhouse and throw pool parties for her little sister Skipper's 16th birthday.

And when i wasn't pretending that Barbie and Ken were DOING IT (come on, fess up, everyone of you out there stripped those clothes off of those plastic people when your parents weren't around and made those dolls dry hump each other until the wax started to melt. ok, so you didn't?? get out. Maybe I deserved that strange look then when I returned my vibrator last week for burning up after a month...)

Anyway, what i was saying is that when i wasn't playing Barbie, i was watching the likes of Samantha in Bewitched staying at home, keeping house by twitching her nose, and making sure that a martini was waiting when Derwood walked through the door and that dinner was on their table by 6. She ALWAYS looked cute. perfect little outfits for daytime, and very ladylike dresses for dinner with the Tates. sigh.

I truly expected, at age 8, to grow up and fall right into that role. Work? As in paycheck? Seriously? I was going to have kids, play tennis. Work was FOR THE HUSBAND OF COURSE.
Then, my pre-teens hit. I was surrounded by my friends who were deciding to be lawyers, doctors, engineers (my friend, Renee, became an engineer, actually an imagineer. I hated Renee) Renee, if you're out there, I HATE THAT I STOPPED TRYING IN MATH AND THAT YOU WON THE MATH FAIR ONLY BECAUSE I WAS TOO LAZY TO ACTUALLY WORK. You should know that I made out with your boyfriend behing the locker rooms when you were standing in the GYM getting your math fair ribbon for 1st place. You win. You got the Disney Dreamers and Doers Award and a blue ribbon, I got frenched and detention.

Anyway, goals changed. I went to college got a job, got a better job. Bought a house ALL BY MYSELF. Got a promotion. Got another promotion. Then ended making more money than my then-husband with 2 degrees and his own business. Life was GOOD. Kind of.
But every now and then, something would stop me in my tracks and i would ACHE for something i never got to have. And i still do. I ache for the 1960s. No, i wasn't around in 1960 - but that decade, that life. Well defined roles. Men in the workforce. Wives at home. Ladies lunching together. Saturday nights out on the town that meant actually getting dressed up.

I want to see women dressed like this when they leave the house:

carrying handbags like this...

I am SO TIRED of seeing young women, even older women, for that matter, dressing as if they don't care. STOP showing up to Wal-mart in your pajamas. STOP wearing shorts that barely cover your rear. STOP thinking that getting INK all over your body is a good look. That look should still be only reserved for service men, truckers and king crab fishermen, k? STOP putting that beautiful body of yours in CRAP. Show yourself some much deserved respect.

I want elegance back. I want femininity and mystery back. I want to see gentlemen treat their women with respect. Open doors and pull out chairs and speak LOVINGLY to their families. I want dinner and dancing BACK. I want to have a reason to pull out a dress like this on a Saturday night.

And before some of my very good demmies have a stroke, no, i haven't lost my mind and flown the coop for the right. I still believe in a woman's right to equal pay, and the right to choose and all those wonderful things. But i'm having an identity crisis. Please let me have it without getting bashed too terribly hard.

There is a big part of me, that as i sit here watching the news, wonders if the statement that V said to me a few nights back wasn't spot on. He wondered out loud if we would have half the issues we have in our economy today if women were still trying to be home-makers. There might be, **gasp, choke, gasp** enough work to go around. BEFORE YOU GET ALL RIGHTEOUS, please let me point out that we were both having a moment of melancholy and he still very much believes in the best person for the job, etc - HE STILL VOTES FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS. He just, like me, is a little tired, a little worn ragged, a little depressed with our economy right now and what we see around us.

It will never be the simplistic time that it was in 1960. I know that. And, honestly, if it really came down to it, i wouldn't want that time back. As elegant and simplistic as it was, they were also building bomb shelters and living in fear of an atomic obliteration, and then Vietnam was right around the corner. So, no, i'm not wishing that back for any of us.

But a girl can still dream of beautiful clothes, nice manners and evening out with her prince, right?


Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Hello, my name is Samantha Bewitched.

No, not really. But I come the closest t that 1960's wife minus the date nights on Saturday night because with gas still almost $4/gallon, who can afford the babysitter?

I don't know which way is right or wrong. It's all a very personal life choice, yet it's hard to know what your heart tells you when we're constantly bombarded w/media telling us what we should want.

Getting quiet and knowing what I want/believe/know to be true for me is one of the hardest things to do in our generation, I think. However, I've found through raising my odd and quirky son that it's absolutely necessary. Now if only I would carve out that think time for myself...

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

Hiya! I was thinking something kinda sorta like this yesterday. I've been all about "lay off Palin's choice to do this with 5 kids, yo" and yet, I'm no feminist poster child. I love the image of the Doris Day movie life and even though I work, I pretty much have it. And I could quit work and totally have it if I wanted to. But all this feminist agnst has boiled out of me over how she's been treated. How does it square with my actual life, as someone whose husband takes care of things and takes me to the symphony and holds the door and I wouldn't give that up for anything?

GOOD post!

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

And you posted a pic of a Kelly bag, my dream bag???? I knew I loved you.

And the Queen is commenting over here. You go girl, getting those big bloggers on board.

maitlandmommy said...

Hey Twinkie and Shake-Shake

Like i said, I think i'm having an identity crisis as i sit here on a conference call (obviously not paying attn) and wonder to myself how i'm going to get the house picked up, my report done before COB and myself a shower before the teenagers arrive at 4 for pre-game party. Calgon - take me away.

Shake - that's for stopping by - it IS a personal life choice - with something lost on either side.

Twinkie - i'm seriously considering putting myself on the 3year waiting list for a Kelly. The only thing is i need a celebrity sponsor to get me on the list - got any connections :>)

Kate Doerpholz said...

Awesome blog.

I'm so having an identity crisis similar to this currently... but it's just so nice to hear someone else say what I am thinking.

dec0r8or said...

Dude, this is why I watch Desperate Housewives! LOL.