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  • Maureen Dowd: Are Men Necessary?

       November 04, 2005

    Well, I've been knocking around this blog for a little while now, and I've come to think of you, the dear reader, as a dear friend. One to whom I can confide. One who will understand my foibles and idiosyncracies, and not judge but rather celebrate. So with that, it's time I confess something to you that may be considered weird and is certainly somewhat embarassing. But if Mr. Sulu can come out of the closet, then so can I:

    I have a long standing crush on Maureen Dowd.

    I'm not sure what it is. I mean, OK so the years aren't on our side, in that she's got about 15 of them on me. But she does take a pretty good photo:

    The eyes, the Mona Lisa-esque hint of a smile. I mean, wow. You could print out that photo and set it up across the table from you over a nice Bordeaux and have a pretty good conversation: Why yes, Maureen...I think we were justified going into Iraq and if you'll indulge me I'll explain why. Maureen, hanging on my every word.

    Or maybe one a little less mysterious:

    Now that's just fun: Ah, Maureen, you enjoy my impression of Harry Reid working on a crossword puzzle, don't you?

    Even when not dolled up for an evening out, she still looks pretty good:

    Well, let me tell you exactly HOW the handsome, charming, and intelligent John Tant changed my mind about a great many things...."

    Or accepting an accolade from a particular group:

    Yes, landing John Tant IS quite an achievement....

    Now maybe part of this unrequited (as far as I know) crush has to do with our politics. I mean MoDo (I can call you MoDo, can't I?) is unabashedly left, and well I think President Bush isn't conservative enough. So we have that whole opposites thing. And of course there's the minor point of me being happily married so there's that whole "safe to fantasize" thing. But still...MoDo is a hot little number with the package. Looks, wit, and smarts.

    Well, maybe not so much on the smarts, at least in certain areas. When I read her (past tense...I hate Times Select so much that it robbed Maureen from my screen) I always got the sense that she wasn't quite as smart as she thought she was. Or if she was smart, she was being deliberately disingenuous with some of her things. But one glimpse of the byline photo and my concerns would be assuaged. Ah, sweet Maureen. Be all thy sins remembered.

    That she's famously single never concerned me either. Hey, sometimes you make choices in life that don't involve getting a significant other, you know? I figured she was deliberately single. And this made several recent revelations all the more difficult to bear. Because sweet Maureen...sweet, confident flummoxed by men.

    Maureen Dowd's penchant for provocative overstatement has found its most recent outlet in a much talked about excerpt of her new book, Are Men Necessary?, in the New York Times Magazine. In it she bemoans a perceived return of 1950s values and courtship rituals and portrays a younger generation of women as grasping, shallow housewife wannabes and "yummy mommies." In the most inflammatory and intriguing passages, she claims that men are put off by women in power, that they prefer the women who serve them—maids, masseuses, and secretaries—to their equals. She attributes the fact that she is unmarried to her powerful position as an op-ed columnist at the New York Times. Then she notes her own family history of domestic service and concludes that "being a maid would have enhanced my chances with men."

    And this isn't the first time she's expressed thoughts like this. Back in January she denounced men for wanting to marry their mommies. And when I go back through her columns, it dawns on me that she's been bitter about her single status for a looong time. I guess I was too enamored of the photo that accompanied those rants. So in the interests of saving this relationship, I want to give a little advice.

    Maureen...grow up. Men don't want to marry their mothers. And that's why you're still single. Because're Mom! You are overly critical, piously moralizing, and you have an opinion on everything over which you'll brook no disagreement. Why would any guy want to marry that?!? Plus, when an older woman bemoans the fact that she isn't married because there are no good men out there, usually the unspoken complaint is "There are no good men out there like me." Could it be that MoDo's problem is not the availability of "acceptable" men, but rather her own narcissistic streak?

    This isn't to say all men aren't intimidated by "successful" women. I know some are. But I think the vast majority of men want to be in a relationship that both thrills and challenges. And I think you have to take a marriage on that basis. If you're looking for a spouse who is your mirror image because you're so doggone perfect, then you're going to be one lonely person. With cats.

    So for my sweet Maureen...ditch the attitude and start accepting others on their terms instead of bitterly insisting they use yours. You might be happier. And so will I.

    Posted by John Tant at November 4, 2005 09:39 AM

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    #  November 4th, 2005 9:49 AM      kris
    you know, it occurs to me that i've had maureen dowd confused with helen thomas this whole time.  
    #  November 4th, 2005 5:00 PM      TheUnabrewer
    Her new book doesn't seem to have any new psychological insights on men, but it does have more than a few inadvertent psychological insights on Maureen Dowd.  
    #  November 4th, 2005 7:06 PM      Daddy
    John, Jesus....take your medicine and you'll quit having a crush on MoDon't.  
    #  November 4th, 2005 7:13 PM      Daddy
    BTW....I agree with your assessment of her situation.

    She's not Mom--she's WORSE than mom. More like mother-in-law. Or angry nun.  
    #  November 6th, 2005 10:03 AM      marcus

    You know, this works both ways. Women are often not keen on marrying beneath their power levels. After all, did Jane Fonda marry a auto mechanic some years ago?

    In addition, Elizabeth Taylor even at a quite advanced age had no problem finding men willing to marry to a more powerful woman.  
    #  November 6th, 2005 11:15 PM      Laura
    I thought this was funny. The money quotes:

    "Please Maureen, don't flatter yourself. Men aren't scared of you - we're tired of you." and "In other words princesses, real men want real women to bring more to the table than a penchant for emasculating us in public."  
    #  November 20th, 2005 11:39 AM      ococ
    Would someone tell MISS Dowd that if it weren't for the generations and generations of male innovation, hard word, genious and prosperity, that she wouldn't be in the comfy, haughty position she's in today. She is the most unhappy, disgruntled witch since Gloria Steinhem. She wants to make the rest of the world as confused as she is about what gender is all about.  



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