Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Marilyn or Jackie

I don't mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it.
Marilyn Monroe

A lot has been written about these two women, against these two women, and discussed about these two women. Interestingly enough they are two women whose power, or perceived powerlessness at times, comes from the public persona they shared with the world.  No one really knows them but we talk of them as we do of family members, someone we could be or avoid becoming.  They are a study in light and dark, hair color and again what has been told of their lives.  They are women who let the men they chose to be with choose who they were with them.  They supposedly share a place in a man's heart and bed....yet we do not know if Marilyn ever actually had an affair with John....most documentation points to Robert.

At different times I think we, as women, are Jackie and Marilyn.  I know that when it comes to the reaction people have to their physical types most people prefer, strongly, one of the other.  Jackie with her blue blooded  upper class background, destined and pushed to marry for even greater things.  Jackie with her class and style and that smile that somehow I always found kept the world from really knowing if she was smiling or not at the moment.  The Jackie who lived through something so horrific that none of us actually can imagine being in her place in Dallas.  The Jackie who was a businesswoman and kept her children ...to be her children for as long as she could...they were not for the world regardless of what the world thought.  Then there was the Jackie who married a billionaire, a rough, shady, non-American, older, did I say shady cause I think Ari gets two of those. All of that and for her dark good looks there is always a bright halo, even after Ari, that somehow follows her.

There is Marilyn who changes from Norma Jean ...moves up from poverty....moves into the spotlight.  Is admired, caressed with longing, has that incredible breathless voice.  She marries and loves over and over again...maybe she is loved by these men or maybe they like the way she looks on their arms.  There is Marilyn who dies with the same air of mystery that she lived ...without children...alone and lonely.  For all the light that is around her, the peroxide hair, the dresses that shimmy when she walks, the famous white dress blowing on subway grate...there is an air of grey that seems to always be stalking her.

These two women are mythical...for the real ones could never really measure up to what we have made them.  I liked Marilyn...there is something about her that make me smile ....that makes me glad to be a woman.  There is power in her ability to make those around her think she needs them.  There is strength in her to keep getting up when so often the cruelty around her could have kept her down.  I admire Jackie for her strength and the way she did not let even the worst fate keep her from being the most she wanted to be.  I think we all are bits and pieces of these women and often no part of them at all.  I think women are constantly challenging themselves and each other to define who they want to be at different times of their lives.  I want to be breathless Marilyn and love with an abandon I do not allow myself and recover from that with the grace of Jackie.  

I want minimum information given with maximum politeness.
Jackie Kennedy

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I won the lottery!!!!!

I didn't but reading about the person who "possibly" won, ticket hers but misplaced or whatever story was last out, I guess I could say it too.  I do not gamble and that includes the weekly pilgrimage to the lotto machine.  I do not play slots or any of those casino games and though I enjoy a day at a nice track (NY's Saratoga or San Diego's Del Mar) or watching the big horse races on tv (yes I like the hats and the whole show) I do not associate gambling with anything other than some painful memories of a father who enjoyed it more than the wallet and his family did.  

However, when the lotto jackpot his $240+ million I too went and bought a ticket, and needed instruction on how to fill out the lotto ticket -- not for me the Quick Pick -- if I was going to be a millionaire I was going to earn it.  This giant jackpot...well it got into everyone.  The best part was that as we started talking about it the jackpot became all or nothing.  It was not enough for us to win a million anymore, after taxes and paying off mortgages and various other debts, I would be able to take a nice vacation but back to work I would trudge.  It was not enough to live on more, sometimes double, than our weekly take home pay.  We needed to be the .25% and we were all living large.   There were round the world trips, college tuitions saved for even the kid who needs several extra years beyond the 4 required, hell we got generous medical school and law school too if they wanted.  Our houses and apartments well they had been nice but now ...well we really could not do without a place that did not have "wings".  The talk in the office was of "would you quit or would you give notice?" ... me well I would give 2 weeks notice, after all looking at every Dateline or 20/20 on lotto winners most of them do need a job later so did not want to mess with my references.  We ladies were buying Hermes bags and other stuff we had drooled over from afar. The men were buying electronics in stadium sizes.  I would like to tell you that we had as much discussion about the charities we would donate to or the good we could do with that money...but that would be a lie.  We spent and spent and spent and it felt good.  

I know here is where someone is going to berate me for the capitalism - materialism- blahblahism.  I do not feel bad though.  I think it shows that most of us would like to have nice things and we define those differently.  We all would want more than we have and that is ok.  It is the ability to reach for that which makes the US still unique.  The person who is poverty stricken had the same lotto dreams as us I bet, but while we had it in our comfortable homes they had it with more need.  That is what imagination is for.  In reality if I won lotto, after some serious self and family/friend spending, I would buy up foreclosed homes and just give them to people who were in need.  I would like to help those who are down and out.  I would like to not be angry that the celebrities in the States seems so do so much more for other places rather than the people who need them here by putting my money where my mouth is.  All this and more ..if I won lotto.  Until then I do what I can even if that sometimes means just being kind to a stranger.  I continue to support small businesses and hope that big ones keep employing those of us who need them to.  I did not play again after I did not win...but that lotto ticket bought my co-workers and I something that we do not usually have time for these days in the office...a couple of minutes where we were just having a laugh, sharing a dream and most of all not running to our next meeting...it reminded us that we are more the same than different...and mostly it did make it seem like all you sometimes need is a dollar and a dream.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Men...sheesh and smooches

For those of us who are married to, in a relationship with, or just have to deal with them we often feel it is like dealing with a different species...and yes we often treat it like the little bus, special needs species.  I find myself guilty of this...I try and pride myself on my lack of generalizations about people based on a singular trait yet when it comes to men...guilty, guilty, guilty....I have partaken and been the ringleader in many a men bashing session.  

It is (ok here comes the justification) just that men will get the brunt of whatever ire I have based on the one I am currently with and there are traits that seem to be universal. Here are some I have seen based on discussions I have had across ethnic, religious, age divides with other women;  it appears that the majority think there is a secret hiding place for the things we all use in the same house daily.  Maybe they think that to get to the cereal you must go through the Maxwell Smart labryinth passing a retinal scan programmed only for the woman in the house...because they are looking right at something and not seeing it.  Maybe it is the way they leave a trail, and yes there are those of you men out there who are not like this but you are the minority, of clothes, items they used, newspapers in their wake.  Is the way they can recite sports statistics, or book info or insert their hobby of choice, yet seem to struggle to remember dates or names for the family and their friends?  I still am startled by the fact that I cannot ask a question that is relevant to their offspring while a highlight of a game my husband just watched is being discussed by strangers on tv!  Then there is the lack of multi-tasking ability coupled with the fact that it seems that a request is never seen as immediately needing to be completed...I mean do you think I meant at some time prior to the end of this century??? Or is it the questions that women never ask ? "What should I feed the children?", yes same children we both live with, I mean after all the answer will never be escargot with home churned chive butter even in France.  

For all of this, and trust me we make fun of you on a regular basis and yes your worst nightmare that we tell our girlfriends things is true, I love men.  I have always loved men, think I had a crush on someone when I was a in kindergarten. I love the way their bodies are different than ours, the way they look and sound and ooh a little cologne makes me giddy.  Men who have opinions so much less complicated than the nuances we as women add to the situation, usually in our heads, that help you get to a solution.  I will admit that usually working for a man is much preferred ...they do not bring the emotional baggage or worse the bitch who will make you suffer like she did personality to the table. I do think it cannot be easy to live with us either...we just are better at talking about it and maybe they have a healthier attitude since they do not let things annoy them the way most us let them aggravate us.

We recently watched a documentary on the way men's roles have changed in Western societies, am hoping that at some point those countries who are still working on getting out their own way and embracing the current century will get here, and I actually was sad that I never thought of it from their perspective.  I know the struggles women had and have, and scared of the way some people are trying to add restrictions to our growth and equality, but really this show was a bit of a wake up.  Men's roles were clearly defined before the women's movement, they knew who they were supposed to be and now well are they supposed to hold the door for us (yes), tell us what to do (no), stay at home to take care of children (maybe).  Top that with a bunch of folks who do not really talk about their feelings and it must be hard.  I can only help my boys become men who are comfortable in this era, where women are their equals as well as frustrating know-it-alls who will answer basic questions (like where is the cereal) with an eye roll and a "really?" because that is who women are.  I can only hope that my boys love who they are because only then can the be the men who love who they are with.  So to men ..cheers...maybe put away some of your crap and listen to us once in a while...but overall keep being yourselves because for those of us who choose you for partners you are the yin to our yang. 

Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other.  Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.  ~Katharine Hepburn