Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marriage. Show all posts

Saturday, November 1, 2014

He's The Boss

I've been trying to rent one of my duplex units for two months. We've tried various means of marketing it, including hiring a rental manager who appears to have done nothing more than post an obscure sign for his company on the lawn. Part of the problem is that we're putting it on the market at a time of year when relatively few people move. With the holidays fast approaching, we started to get impatient. We finally decided to post our own sign, and finally started getting a few calls.

This weekend a likely prospect showed up. A young woman (I'll call her Emily) took a look at the place, and was very enthusiastic. "It's so clean and spacious! I haven't seen anything this nice!" Since moving to the area a month ago, she, her husband, their three small children AND a large dog have been sharing one room in a budget motel while they look for a house to buy.

"I can't take being cooped up in there one more day," Emily said. "I can't even put the baby on that filthy floor."

We offered the couple a three month rental agreement. That would tide us over the holidays, when the rental market was likely to pick up, and would be a great mitzvah for this pleasant family in need. The rent they would be paying us would be less than what they were paying for the motel; it would take them at least two months to find and close on a house; they would be able to spread out and relax in comfort. They even had a fenced yard for the dog.

It seemed like a win:win for both parties, and we expected them to sign the agreement and move in today. 

We were surprised to get a tense call from Emily this morning. "Dale doesn't want to move out of the motel," she said. "I'm still talking to him about it."

As the day wore on, my partner and I wondered how Emily's conversation with Dale was going, There was not one doubt in our minds that Emily would quickly prevail. After all, as the old adage goes, If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

At three the phone finally rang. Emily was sobbing. "Dale won't let us leave the motel," she said. "He says it won't kill me and the kids to stay here another few weeks."

That didn't make sense to us, and we couldn't help expressing our surprise.

"I know it doesn't make sense," Emily said, "but he's the boss."

I felt a frisson of fear at these words. Were Emily and her children (and their large loveable dog) safe?

My partner said, "He's gonna pay for this later."

I thought about some of the men of the manosphere who brag about their ability to exert dominance over their wives, and the other men who complain bitterly about women who "frivorce" them. I thought how Dale may have won this particular "battle" but is likely to wind up losing everything. I thought about how people fall out of love, so often, because over time their needs and desires have been dismissed by the partner with more power.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's the Economy, I Tell You

In case you didn't see this excerpt from the upcoming book Marriage Markets: How Inequality Is Remaking the American Family, authors Naomi Cahn and June Carbone find that working class women (in contrast to upper middle class women) do better economically as single moms.  I didn't find the authors' conclusion in the least bit surprising: I see evidence of it all around me, every day.  

In today's economy, many working class guys can't get or maintain jobs that allow them to contribute much in the way of financial support.  Marrying such a man makes the woman responsible not only for providing for the child, but also her partner, and gives the man parental rights (i.e., shared custody) or control over her life that he wouldn't easily enjoy if she did not marry him.

Under these circumstances, choosing not to marry the father of her child is kind of a "no-brainer," especially if a woman has parents or other family members willing to help out with child care. 

Is it possible this phenomenon is fueling the backlash that the "manosphereans" represent?  Their fear of obsolescence is, after all, not unfounded.  As the middle class continues to erode, and the former working class slip into chronic, inescapable poverty, the trend of mothers unwed by choice is unlikely to reverse itself, however much they are berated by the religious right wing.  And the impotent efforts of the New Misogynists to shame these women are less menacing than pathetic, for they know and we know that those women they call "sluts" or "feminists" not only don't want them, they are better off without them.