Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Marriage Proposal

If Chloe Angyal and Katy Waldman never want to get married, that is surely their free choice. I am not sure why they want to make a public issue of it, but that is also their free choice.

What bothers Chloe Angyal is that her entourage does not seem to understand the depth of her conviction. The same is true of her paramour’s entourage.

As Angyal and said paramour jet off to Paris for the holidays their friends are lining up to ask whether he will propose marriage in the consummately romantic City of Lights.

Angyal is appalled at their presumption. These people are their friends. Presumably they are familiar with Angyal’s fanatical views on the subject. At least, her inamorato knows better than to propose  marriage to a marriage-negative feminist.

How could it happen, Angyal keeps asking herself, that all of these people can ignore her deeply felt beliefs? How could they all assume that her life will only be meaningful if she rides off into wedded bliss?

Angyal does not put it in quite these terms, but the implication is clear. Beyond her visceral hatred of the marital estate, and especially of marriage proposals, she is sorely offended that her friends do not take her feminism as seriously as she does. Somehow or other they believe that feminism can be compatible with wifedom. 

So, she wants to make it all perfectly clear. In a disgusting example of extreme rhetoric, she lays it on the line:

 He [her traveling companion] knows full well that I have no interest in getting married — to him, or to anyone whose name doesn’t rhyme with Shmenedict Shmumberbatch. And, he knows that I have even less interest in being proposed to. More than that, I would rather — and I’m only being mildly hyperbolic here — gouge my own eyes out with a rusty fork than be proposed at. I can imagine nothing less romantic, less marriage-inducing, than having an important life decision turned into a surprise performance that only one of us has had the chance to rehearse. There will be no Parisian proposal.

Angyal is slightly confused about the grammar here. Is it “proposed to” or “proposed at?’ One would like to think that her infelicitous image is more a sign of her shortcomings as a writer than of extreme mental distress.

Aside from giving herself an out— she would marry a certain British actor—Angyal hates marriage proposals because they are totally unromantic. Of course, we have all noticed that she is leaving a door slightly ajar—without a proposal then perhaps, if her beau changed his name, she might…. But let’s not go there.

What struck me about Angyal’s defiant assertion was the brutally violent image— gouging her eyes out with a rusty fork. At least Jocasta used broaches.

Perhaps she is being playful. Perhaps she is having fun with words. Perhaps she means it as a joke.

Unfortunately, it isn’t funny. It’s a gruesome image, horrifying in the extreme. For that reason one would like to think that “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.” To repudiate an idea with such extreme violence might mean that she despairs of ever receiving such a proposal. One hopes that one does not need to put the paramedics on speed dial.

As for the substance of the thought, namely, that receiving a marriage proposal is a worse violation of the female body than eye-gouging, it is beyond stupid.

Admittedly, the notion of having a man fall to his knees might be slightly embarrassing. When faced with the scene many women instinctively want him to get up as quickly as possible.

And yet, is a marriage proposal even roughly equivalent to an act of extreme violence? Do all of those people who are asking Angyal and her paramour whether they will return from Paris betrothed really want to submit her to such an unspeakable horror?

Apparently, her mind is so warped that she cannot entertain the notion that these friends and perhaps family members are telling her that they wish the best for her, that they see the two of them as a great couple and that they would prefer that she become a wife… and not an inamorata, concubine, mistress or permanent girlfriend.

How many men, hearing about Angyal's extreme views, are telling themselves that they had best not propose marriage to their feminist girlfriends, lest they get arrested for abuse.

Angyal notwithstanding, relationships are defined in terms of roles. The wife is preferred by most women, but many women feel that they are unsuited for it.

Amy Waldman quotes Candace, whoever Candace is:

I have also been told that what makes me dynamic renders me an excellent candidate for love affairs that married men think fondly about, but a poor choice for marriage itself. I cannot imagine I am the only woman that has been told she must quiet, calm, and settle down–be more of a lady–before she is acceptable enough to be wifed.

Waldman, like Angyal is upset about the stigma that attaches to being a single woman. But, is it really about the stigma? Perhaps it’s about friends wishing the best for their friends. Women who are happy to be married might want the same for their friends. Is this a crime? Should anyone who proposes marriage to a feminist be arrested?

Trying to outdo Angyal in horrific images, Waldman confesses:

I would rather be cast into a pit of flesh-eating aardvarks than have some man tell me he wants to be with me for the rest of his life. 

This is beginning to sound like a beginner’s writing course. Be that as I may, would Waldman feel better if she loved the man who wanted to be with her for the rest of his life? Or, would she feel better if he told her that he only wanted to be with her for a week or two? Perhaps, she knows that she is not really suited to be a wife? For all we know Angyal and Waldman are doing the male of the species a very large favor.

What does all this tell us about the mindset of radical feminists? One would like to take Angyal’s statement as a pungent irony, but one suspects that at some level she really means it.

In an exercise in self-definition, Angyal writes:

Fortunately, I’m a professional feminist, so it’s my job in life to suck the fun and romance out of everything, and Paris is no exception. Strolling by twilight along the Seine? You don’t want to know how many corpses have been tossed into it in the last few centuries alone. Captivated by the cobblestone streets, the winding back alleys? Cool, picture them running red with blood during the Paris Commune or the Reign of Terror. Romantic, right?

One is tempted to say: whatever turns you on!

Depending on taste, one does not quite see why Angyal would not be having the same fantasies about the bloody history of Paris on a romantic vacation in Paris. If this is what feminism does to Paris, perhaps aspiring young feminists should reconsider their commitments. Presumably, feminist killjoy that she is, Angyal would see the same things in her minds eye when walking around Paris, even without a marriage proposal.

For my part I hope she gets over her excessively negative thinking in time to have a great holiday.

Wishing Chloe and her paramour a Merry Christmas and  a Happy New Year in Paris!


Lindsay Harold said...

Feminist "Logic":

Marriage is BAD...because, obviously, the only thing worse than a man who will use you and cast you aside like trash is one who wants to care for you and love you for the rest of your life.

Kath said...

I am beginning to believe that feminists are afraid of living a full life. They fear love, family, the joy and pain that comes from caring.

Sam L. said...

A...MAN? Named Katy? (Well, OK, it after the MKT railroad--Missouri Kansas Texas). Clearly not enough of a man to leave this person in the lurch she so clearly deserves.

Lastango said...

Remember the old joke about how to torment a masochist?... tell him you're going to beat the crap out of him and then don't do it.

Chloe Angyal's consort could have a rusty-fork good time contriving the most cliched, saccharine proposals imaginable. Would that he ambush her with a quartet of violinists in the background, falling on bended knee as he recites from Romeo and Juliette amidst a cascade of rose petals!

Let the wench go about her business never knowing when a platform will descend outside her office window with a questioning banner, or what boisterous beseeching awaits her at the subway platform.

May the bastard propose and propose and propose... all much ado about nothing, but good sport in its making.

Sam L. said...

Ahhhhhh; my mistake. I assumed Katy was the guy Chloe was seeing. I now see she just wrote comments on Chloe's piece.

I see that each has her anger to keep her warm.