What isn’t wrong with this picture?
Robin Rinaldi has just written a book about what she calls her “wild oats project.”
Rinaldi was happily married to a man who refused to have children. At first, she was tentative about wanting a child. Then she decided that she did want one. Her husband did not. He even had a vasectomy in order to ensure against the dread eventuality.
When she was over forty, Rinaldi decided that if she could not have a child she could at least get in touch with her sexuality. She moved out of her house and set out in question of sexual pleasure….
But, only on weekdays. On weekends she moved back in with her husband in order to… work on their marriage.
Unsurprisingly, all of this happened in the San Francisco Bay area. As for why Rinaldi was doing it, the Washington Post offered her rationale:
Rinaldi can’t seem to decide why she’s doing all this. The project is her “rebellion.” Or “a search for fresh, viable sperm.” Or a “bargaining chip.” Or “an elaborate attempt to dismantle the chains of love.” Or just a “quasi-adolescent quest for god knows what.”
OK, it wasn’t exactly a rationale, but, you weren’t expecting clear thinking, were you?
It takes a great deal of enlightenment-- to say nothing of a great many wild and crazy orgasms—to be that clueless.
Naturally, this good and wholesome woman did not consider that she was punishing her husband for his moral dereliction. Or perhaps she was punishing herself for not being strong enough to leave him.
The Post explained the somewhat diminished afterglow:
When the year runs out, Rinaldi returns to Scott, even though she soon starts an affair with a project flame. She’s no longer so upset about the vasectomy, regarding it as a sign that Scott can stand up for himself (though it may also mean she now cares less about him, period). No shock that post-project, their chemistry is off, and when Rinaldi makes a casual reference to their time apart, Scott finally explodes. “Do you know how many nights I cried myself to sleep when you moved out!?” he asks. “Do you care about anyone’s feelings but your own!?” She was “too stunned to reply.” But the fate of this marriage, revealed in the final pages, is anything but stunning.
At least, it’s original. A man who has a vasectomy because he refuses categorically to impregnate his wife is now said to be standing up for himself.
Unfortunately, Rinaldi decided that she was to blame. It sounds as though she underwent some serious therapy.
The Post says:
“These are the sins against my husband,” Rinaldi recounts. “Abdicating responsibility, failing to empathize with him, cheating and lying.” After blaming him for so long, “in the end, I was the one who needed to ask forgiveness.”
Of course, Rinaldi is a true believing feminist. But how does it happen that a feminist end up blaming herself for her husband’s dereliction.
In truth, no one is forced to have children. And yet, having children is a part of the marital contract. If a man cannot bear to have a child he should either do it because he has a conjugal duty or he should walk away from the marriage.
There is nothing strange or abnormal about her desire for a child. Instinct has a say in this matter, even though the unhappy couple does not seem to be willing to listen to what it has to say.
It is wrong for a man to denounce his wife for being selfish while he has robbed her of any chance to have a child... for reasons that smack of self-absorption.
The disgrace is his. But, how does a good feminist like Robin Rinaldi not see this?
For the record, the marriage did not survive the experiment. Mutual abuse, even freely consented, rarely leads to a happy ending.