Over Thai food, I confessed my guilty secret – I can’t help it, I watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and the Real Housewives of New York. I expected a horrified response from my sweet smart niece, Professor Little Diamond, but she just laughed.
“Oh we all watch them,” she reassured me, “It’s like watching a train wreck, you are appalled, but you can’t look away.”
What makes me really, really nervous about these ‘real’ housewives is that I think that the Bravo station is carried in Qatar and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. While the more educated have travelled, and know that these ‘real’ housewives are not the norm, there may be many who think that this is the life of the American female.
I remember when I shocked my Qatari friends as I told them I was going home to take care of my Dad while my Mom had a knee replacement and spent a few weeks in rehab. They didn’t know we take care of our parents; they thought we just put them in grim warehouse like nursing homes. How did they know? From television, of course.
So you can understand I have a major concern that these women are representing us normal people in the homes of our friends in the Middle East. These women spend a lot of money on scanty clothing, these women have people who come in and do their make-up before a dinner party, these people have nannies taking care of their children (many of whom are really bratty) and they all seem to be designing handbags or creating make-up lines or (oh-no!) cutting records to try to get a singing career started.
Ask yourself this – who do you know in your own circles who would agree to have camera crews follow them around in their lives, filming their most intimate conversations? Who do you know in your circle who creates drama and conflict? Who do you know who needs the affirmation of an audience to believe her life is worth living? Who in your circle is addicted to plastic surgery or throws charity events to get attention? Those are the women they are filming.
You never see these women go to church. You rarely see them cooking up a normal dinner for their family. You don’t see any of them heading off to an 8 – 5 job. You don’t see them doing all the normal things we normal American housewives do (a lot like our sisters do in every country of the world) like laundry, running the kids to school, doctors appointments, soccer matches, paying the bills, scrubbing the floor, making appointments at the veterinarian, getting the car serviced, buying groceries, going to PTA, or doing their volunteer work. You don’t see them running over to their children’s house to babysit, or going to their exercise classes.
But then again, if they were doing all these things that us REAL housewives do, who would watch, LLLLOOOOOLLLLLLL! I understand there may be some sister Real wives series coming up from foreign countries. It will be interesting to see how their lives look.
Read this article and weep, and be sure you have a group of wild girlfriends. 🙂
I found it this morning in AOL News Huffpost:
The Fine Line Between Marriage and Divorce
Iris Krasnow, Author, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes To Stay Married
I’m just coming off 200 interviews and two years of listening to mature wives reflect on — or moan about — how they are managing to stick it out in long marriages. Scenes from their relationships that range from 15 to 70 years are woven together in my new book, The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes To Stay Married coming out in early October.
I’ve been married for 23 years during which my husband and I have raised four sons, and have had plenty of rocking and rolling in our relationship. From my own experiences, and from the dozens of sagas unloaded into my tape recorder, I am constantly reminded of the eggshell-thin line that separates loving from loathing. I know that staying married can mean plates flying across kitchens, tears soaking pillows and emailing old boyfriends at 3 a.m.
I thought nothing could shock me about what really goes on behind closed doors between two people working hard to make it “til death do us part” — without killing someone first. After all, I have heard every brand of twisted love story — swinging, adultery, spouses coming out as gay after 30 years together, threesomes, fist fights in restaurants, even the tale of a husband discovered to be having sex with a sheep, documented in a photograph discovered by his wife in his nightstand drawer.
But in piecing together this latest book I have been surprised at some of the revelations. I’m not as ruffled by the tawdry tales of farm animals or one I heard from a 55-year-old wife about screwing a perfectly sculpted landscaper while her doctor husband was lecturing on vein surgery in another country. My biggest shock is how many outwardly cheerful women who have been married forever think about divorce if not weekly, at least once a month.
How’s this for a statistic? Of the 200 plus women interviewed and woven into The Secret Lives of Wives, I can count on one hand those who have never considered splitting up. It was no surprise that Beth often considered leaving her husband. He routinely told her she was fat and ugly, and when they fought in the car he would pull over and shove her out the door. Who could blame Shauna for her many consults with a divorce lawyer? She’s the wife of the traveling doctor, a man who hasn’t initiated sex since their honeymoon 30 years ago. Her secret is that she has it both ways: an intact family and a ten-year affair with a hard-bodied lover, who does her landscaping for free.
The biggest shocker is the number of wives in stable unions who frequently contemplate fleeing their marriages. These are not abused wives; they are women with nice husbands who give them orgasms and jewelry and stability. Yet many of these settled midlife women admitted they were slightly jealous of Tipper Gore who gets to have a fresh start after 40 years of matrimony with the same guy. While many speculated about whether one of the Gores fell in love with someone else, my instincts without talking to either of them is that perhaps they are a lot like other couples portrayed in the book. Maybe they were simply sick of being around each other. And maybe one or both of them finally couldn’t take it any more.
Who stays married and who doesn’t is a question not always about commitment or deep abiding love — it’s about endurance.
I have found in my collection of wives who remain in long running marriages that the majority of them share these common traits: They have the guts and determination to stick it out, no matter what. And their laments about their marriages aren’t because of anything serious. It’s the subtle nuances of living with one person in one house for a very long time that grates at the soul, that causes a simmering malaise. It’s the grind of the ordinary that drives people into thinking, “Is this all there is? I want more. I want adventure. I want change.”
Who wouldn’t want changes with the current statistics on lifespan? Women in their 80s and 90s are the fastest growing segment of the aging population which means that many of us wives could easily hit our 50th wedding anniversaries and beyond. That’s a hell of a long time to sustain one love affair, particularly when empty nest hits and it’s only you and the husband with no cushion of kids as a buffer.
There are three strategies that have worked the best with the women I interviewed. The happiest wives have a sense of purpose and passion in work and causes outside of the home. Wives who counted on a spouse for fulfillment and sustenance were often angry and lonely. And the happiest wives don’t spend a whole lot of time with their husbands. My chapter called Separate Summers is filled with women who take their own vacations, take their own summers, take charge of their own lives. Couples who allow each other to grow separately are the ones with the best chance of growing together and staying together.
Finally, the wives with the highest marital satisfaction have a tight circle of wild women friends with whom to drink, travel and vent about their husbands.
Yes, my work on this book has been quite surprising and enlightening. I now know that acceptance of mediocrity in a marriage relationship is more prevalent that you would imagine. I know that sometimes the only reason women stay with a spouse is because they have divorced friends who may have more sex than they do with new husbands but they also have cranky step-kids who hate them. Other women stay in lackluster marriages because they don’t want to give up their swanky lifestyles, and divorce is expensive, really expensive. We know from our friends who are pushed to the edge and do call it quits that the grass isn’t always greener, there are parched patches on both sides of the fence.
But most women told me they stay married simply because they like their marriages more than they dislike them, even if much of the time it’s 51 percent “like” to 49 percent “dislike.”
Iris Krasnow is a bestselling author and an assistant professor in the School of Communication at American University. Connect with her on: http://www.iriskrasnow.com
This totally light weight mystery was just right for a beach read. It was light on motivation, light on character description, light on substance – it was a very fluffy mystery.
Long lost love calls and says “come to Paris; I need you” and doltish hero heads off. Confusing plotting calls for some irrational police interaction, some unknown bogeymen, and a truly thin story line.
You can read it in about an hour, though, or stretched out between beach activities, it might be good for a weekend. Not only lightweight, but forgettable.
We didn’t go far – just out to the beach, Pensacola Beach, for a weekend. It was so much fun. It rained our entire drive to the beach, LOL all twenty minutes it took to get there:
But it started clearing, and with all the clouds, the sunset was spectacular:
We all have such a good time together. We took a drive out to Fort Pickens and I saw so many butterflies!
We had to watch THE game later in the day, which the Happy Baby calls “buttball,” LLOOLLL!
Here he is at breakfast with his BaBa:
It was a beautiful day, with another beautiful sunset:
AdventureMan asked me if I wanted a house overlooking the Gulf. I said ‘no, it would never be so interesting as Kuwait.’ In Florida, I think I would want a house up high over a bayou, where there are birds and wildlife. High enough to not flood when there is a hurricane or a storm surge. . . It still was a thrill to spend a couple days high above the beach, and watch the sun set. 🙂
It’s funny the things that make a marriage succeed. It’s the little things. We both wanted to go to Barnes and Nobles because the 2012 calendars are out and we like to have calendars we love to look out through the year. You can take a chance on waiting until New Year’s week, and sometimes you get a cool calendar at 50% off, but mostly the one you really wanted is already gone gone gone, woe woe woe.
Besides that, we always like to get what we want, then the other one hides it until Christmas. By then, we’ve forgotten what we picked out, so it is a really good surprise. 😉
I told AM that I was going to have to have a chocolate fix and he said he would have to have a chocolate fix, too. We decided we could share an Oreo cake:
It was a fun idea, but it didn’t taste as good as it looked. We didn’t even finish it, it just wasn’t that great.
I didn’t want to say anything. There is only ONE Indian restaurant that I know of in Pensacola, and it is just a short drive from where we live. When we moved here, it was really really good, and we went there often. Then it changed hands, and it was still OK, but not the same. Then when we went in, it was all different, and the food was NOT spicy – they dumbed it down! We were disappointed, but we didn’t want there to be NO Indian restaurants in Pensacola.
We think maybe it changed hands a time or two. We wanted to go back, but had been so disappointed by the dumbing-down that we just couldn’t do it. Today, we had decided to give it one more try.
We are so glad we did. Once again under new management, the Taste of India is great tasting food once again. The buffet had a good assortment of tasty dishes, mostly veg, which we like, but so rich and flavorful that you don’t even miss the meat. There were also several really good condiments, home made and delicious.
Yes. It is a little spicy, meaning tasty. It is not bury-your-mouth spicy, only tasty spicy. Only go to Taste of India if you like REAL Indian tastes, fresh fresh fresh and delicately made. It was a delight to be able to eat there and enjoy the food once again. Lucky lucky us, and lucky lucky Pensacola to have Indian food of this calibre. 🙂
There is a lunch buffet, and there is a dinner and take out menu. It looks like they are doing some improvements to the building, too. Welcome back, Taste of India!