Monday, July 21, 2003
Sunday, July 20, 2003
So tonight's episode of Sex in the City brought up an issue that I think about a fair amount - men dealing with successful women. Perhaps that intro makes me sound conceited, but anyone who knows me will understand why this topic hits close to home. The plot goes like this - Carrie receives a big advance check for sales of her book in Europe while boyfriend Berger loses his second book deal. He claims it's ok, that he's proud of her and she shouldn't feel badly about being excited about her good fortune just because he's struggling. But clearly he isn't ok. It comes to a head in an argument in an alley, during which John Livingstone gives a truly compelling performance, shouting, "I don't want to be that guy!" ("That Guy" being the one who is uncomfortable with a girlfriend who makes more money than he does, or the one who claims to be ok with it and then takes it out on her by being a total jerk and behaving like an alpha male on too much testosterone) The question that I wanted Carrie to ask in reponse (and I don't care if this makes me sound unfair or un-feminist or un-whatever) was, "How do I help you to not be that guy?" True, this should not be our job. But it's also true that men and women's changing roles in society do not happen in a vacuum. And while we slowly creep closer to equal rights for both (all?) genders, it is understandable that both genders feel lost sometimes. And it seems stupid and fruitless for either group to become so focused on their own evolution that they lose site of the other's. I think about this because I feel very strongly about pursuing my PhD and working for most of my life. But I also feel strongly about having a family someday. I only half-joke about looking for a house-husband. Other people, far better trained than I, have written plenty of books about how women are struggling with the new burden of providing for a family while men are trying to figure out their place among laundry and PTA and carpools. But no one seems to have any idea how to strike any sort of balance between these two roles, or how to help delegate jobs to those best suited for them. I don't really expect to find any answers, but I'd like to hear what others think, or if others have had any sort of positive experience with this thing.