Who could deny that privacy is a jewel? It has always been the mark of privilege, the distinguishing feature of a truly urbane culture. Out of the cave, the tribal teepee, the pueblo, the community fortress, man emerged to build himself a house of his own with a shelter in it for himself and his diversions. Every age has seen it so. The poor might have to huddle together in cities for need’s sake, and the frontiersman cling to his neighbors for the sake of protection. But in each civilization, as it advanced, those who could afford it chose the luxury of a withdrawing-place.
Women are the fulfilled sex. Through our children we are able to produce our own immortality, so we lack that divine restlessness which sends men charging off in pursuit of fortune or fame or an imagined Utopia. That is why we number so few geniuses among us. The wholesome oyster wears no pearl, the healthy whale no ambergris, and as long as we can keep on adding to the race, we harbor a sort of health within ourselves.
A lady is smarter than a gentleman, maybe, she can sew a fine seam, she can have a baby, she can use her intuition instead of her brain, but she can’t fold a paper in a crowded train.
Topics: Women, Men, Babies, Men & Women
The thing to remember about fathers is, they’re men. A girl has to keep it in mind: They are dragon-seekers, bent on improbable rescues. Scratch any father, you find someone chock-full of qualms and romantic terrors, believing change is a threat — like your first shoes with heels on, like your first bicycle I it took such months to get.
The system — the American one, at least — is a vast and noble experiment. It has been polestar and exemplar for other nations. But from kindergarten until she graduates from college the girl is treated in it exactly like her brothers. She studies the same subjects, becomes proficient at the same sports. Oh, it is a magnificent lore she learns, education for the mind beyond anything Jane Austen or Saint Theresa or even Mrs. Pankhurst ever dreamed. It is truly Utopian. But Utopia was never meant to exist on this disheveled planet.
Gossip isn’t scandal and it’s not merely malicious. It’s chatter about the human race by lovers of the same. Gossip is the tool of the poet, the shop-talk of the scientist, and the consolation of the housewife, wit, tycoon and intellectual. It begins in the nursery and ends when speech is past.
Sin has always been an ugly word, but it has been made so in a new sense over the last half-century. It has been made not only ugly but pass? People are no longer sinful, they are only immature or underprivileged or frightened or, more particularly, sick.
Gossip is the tool of the poet, the shoptalk of the scientist and the consolation of the housewife, wit, tycoon and intellectual. It begins in the nursery and ends when speech is past.
I do not know who first invented the myth of sexual equality. But it is a myth willfully fostered and nourished by certain semi-scientists and other fiction writers. And it has done more, I suspect, to unsettle marital happiness than any other false doctrine of this myth-ridden age.
Topics: Women, Men & Women, Men
Frigidity is largely nonsense. It is this generation’s catchword, one only vaguely understood and constantly misused. Frigid women are few. There is a host of diffident and slow-ripening ones.
Of course we women gossip on occasion. But our appetite for it is not as avid as a man s. It is in the boys gyms, the college fraternity houses, the club locker rooms, the paneled offices of business that gossip reaches its luxuriant flower.
Sisters are always drying their hair. Locked into rooms, alone, they pose at the mirror, shoulders bare, trying this way and that their hair, or fly importunate down the stair to answer the telephone.
Our bodies are shaped to bear children, and our lives are a working out of the processes of creation. All our ambitions and intelligence are beside that great elemental point.
Topics: Man, Women
Sometimes I have a notion that what might improve the situation is to have women take over the occupations of government and trade and to give men their freedom. Let them do what they are best at. While we scrawl interoffice memos and direct national or extranational affairs, men could spend all their time inventing wheels, peering at stars, composing poems, carving statues, exploring continents — discovering, reforming, or crying out in a sacramental wilderness. Efficiency would probably increase, and no one would have to worry so much about the Gaza Strip or an election.
Say what you will, making marriage work is a woman’s business. The institution was invented to do her homage; it was contrived for her protection. Unless she accepts it as such –as a beautiful, bountiful, but quite unequal association –the going will be hard indeed.
Nothing fails like success; nothing is so defeated as yesterday’s triumphant cause.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Louise Erdrich American Children’s Books Writer
- Laura Schlessinger American Broadcaster
- Carl Sandburg American Poet, Historian
- Shel Silverstein American Children’s Books Writer
- Marie Chapian American Christian Writer
- Theodor Seuss Geisel (‘Dr. Seuss’) American Children’s Books Writer
- Ursula K. Le Guin Science-fiction writer
- e. e. cummings American Poet, Writer, Painter
- James Whitcomb Riley American Children’s Books Writer
- Diane Ackerman American Poet, Naturalist