Thursday, April 2, 2020

The American Mind in Disarray

It’s a slice of American life. Or better, it’s a glimpse at the American mind… in complete disarray. Happily a woman wrote this letter to Miss Manners, who is eminently qualified to shame her into good sense.

It shows what happens when a woman decides to live her life and to fashion her verbal expressions according to the rules of political correctness, or wokeness.

Here is the letter:

Is it normal to make decisions in your current relationship based on the fact that you might not be together in the future? Example: I don't want to have my tubes tied in case this marriage does not last, and my next husband wants to have kids with me.

I was having this discussion with my significant other, and they said I was being sensitive and I should not take it negatively — that "it's just real life."

Fortunately, Miss Manners is not woke. She responds:

Say what? Miss Manners was still following you through the example. Certainly, if you do not think a relationship is going to last, no one can blame you for thinking about different possible futures.

A fair point indeed. And yet, what kind of fool expresses such thoughts to her husband… unless she is opening a negotiation about separation. Worse yet, by the time letter writer arrives at her second paragraph, husband has become a significant other: Worse yet, said significant other has also become a they. Polyandry, anyone? I will note what you are thinking, that perhaps the significant other is not her husband, but her paramour.

Expressing those thoughts to a husband you are not so sure about is another matter. Miss Manners got lost when the husband was demoted to a significant other and chided you for being overly sensitive.

If you were the husband on the receiving end of your wife’s unpleasant expression of doubt, it would be reasonable to be upset and concerned that you were being pushed out the door — in thought, if not yet in deed.

Letter writer would do well, in this age of promiscuous empathy, to consider the effect her conjectures might have on her husband. (Assuming that she was talking about it with her husband.)Would he not reasonably imagine that she is on the lookout for her next husband? So says Miss Manners, and she is surely correct.

Besides, we do not know whether the letter writer has or does not have children, or anything else that would help us to understand her predicament. Though, I would sympathize with anyone who asserted the he, she or it did not want to understand her predicament.


Random Chance said...

Looking at it from another perspective, what if the letter writer is the husband giving an example of what his wife is saying. In the next paragraph he is relaying the result of his own expression of doubt at what she has expressed to him, and then being told by her that he was being sensitive and should not take what has told him negatively. Possibly the very expression of the thoughts to a husband might be a reason to demote "wife" to "significant other". The thought itself is still quite repugnant, IMO, and makes me ask why marry in the first place if the plan is not to stay married? Vows don't have much meaning these days beyond ceremonial value, apparently.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Very interesting interpretation... thank you.

Sam L. said...

I'd like to see Miss Manners' actual post. I'm seeing fog in the night, with no moonlight.