But who wants to marry this?
CNN.com recently posted online the full text of an article that originally ran in Oprah magazine in May and apparently created quite a buzz in certain circles. Written by New York Times reporter Ellen Tien, it was titled “She’s happily married, dreaming of divorce” but could have just as easily been labeled “What it’s like to be married to a female New York Times reporter”:
I contemplate divorce every day. It tugs on my sleeve each morning when my husband, Will, greets me in his chipper, smug morning-person voice, because after 16 years of waking up together, he still hasn't quite pieced out that I'm not viable before 10 a.m.
A Mid-Wife Crisis may be a simmering underbelly of resentment.
It puts two hands on my forehead and mercilessly presses when he blurts out the exact wrong thing (“Are you excited for your surprise party next Tuesday?”); when he lies to avoid the fight (“What do you mean I left our apartment door open? I never even knew our apartment had a door!”); when he buttons his shirt and jacket into the wrong buttonholes, collars and seams unaligned like a vertical game of dominoes, with possibly a scrap of shirttail zippered into his fly.
[Thank goodness it’s a happy marriage, eh?]
We are arguably, to my wide-ish range of reference, Everycouple.
Nor is Will the Very Bad Man that I've made him out to be. Rather, like every other male I know, he is merely a Moderately Bad Man, the kind of man who will leave his longboat-sized shoes directly in the flow of our home's traffic so that one day I’ll trip over them, break my neck, and die, after which he’ll walk home from the morgue, grief-stricken, take off his shoes with a heavy heart, and leave them in the center of the room until they kill the housekeeper. Everyman.
[Fortunately for her, today’s liberated gals have ways to escape such hellish conditions]:
Still, beneath the thumpingly ordinary nature of our marriage — Everymarriage — runs the silent chyron of divorce. It’s the scarlet concept, the closely held contemplation of nearly every woman I know who has children who have been out of diapers for at least two years and a husband who won't be in them for another 30. It's the secret reverie of a demographic that freely discusses postpartum depression, eating disorders, and Ambien dependence (often all in the same sentence) with the plain candor of golden brown toast. In a let-it-all-hang-out culture, this is the given that stays tucked in.
[Welcome to another novelty in American culture: the middleaged female with an urge to roam]:
[W]e, with our 21st-century access to youth captured in a gleaming Mason jar with a pinked square of gingham rubber-banded over the top, we are still visually tolerable if not downright irresistible when we’re 30 or 35 or 40. [. . .]
We are also tickets with jobs and disposable income. If we jump ship now, we’re still attractive prospects who may have another shot at happiness. There’s just that tricky wicket of determining whether eternal comfort resides in the tried-and-true or whether the untried will be truer.
Our mothers, so old too young, believed that marriage was the best they could get. We, the children of mothers who settled (or were punished for not settling), wonder: Is this as good as it gets?
[Ellen knows what the problem is here, and it’s certainly not her]:
Maybe one day, marriage — like the human appendix, male nipples, or your pinky toes — will become a vestigial structure that will, in a millennium or two, be obsolete. Our great-great-greatgrandchildren's grandchildren will ask each other in passing, "Remember marriage? What was its function again? Was it that maladaptive organ that intermittently produced gastrointestinal antigens and sometimes got so inflamed that it painfully erupted?"
Yes. Yes it was.
— “She's happily married, dreaming of divorce,” from Oprah.com, posted Aug. 26 at cnn.com