This recent article in the New York Times got our attention just as many articles of the New York Times do: with how inane it is. Even its title feels like a jarring slap to the intellect: “Keeping Romance Alive in the Age of Female Empowerment.” Apparently men have issues when their women make more money than them and have more successful careers, as seen in this later part of the article.
Bernard Prieur, a psychoanalyst and author of “Money in Couples,” says men who earn less than their partners struggle with two insecurities: “They feel socially and personally vulnerable. Socially, they go against millennia of beliefs and stereotypes that see them as the breadwinner. And the success of their partner also often gives them a feeling of personal failure,” Mr. Prieur said in the November issue of the French magazine Marie-Claire.
The author of this piece, after using an obligatory Sex and the City example to introduce her exploration of modern relationships, opens the article with this question: “Is female empowerment killing romance?”
That made the women of the group almost spit up their happy hour cocktails.
“Yes, that’s the pressing question, isn’t it?” says Avonia the Wiccan Pimp, who does make more money at pimping than her husband Arawn does at running their local Wiccan shop. “Not whether centuries of traditions and gender expectations are outdated and irrelevant, but whether women having the same opportunities and success that men have enjoyed since the dawn of humanity is the real culprit behind the supposed decline of romance.”
“Oh, and this dreck was written by a woman too,” says Tina the Lesbian, shaking her head. “Damn you Lance Patriarchy and your devious methods of getting women to work against their own best interests on such a regular basis!”
This particular quote gets Ninja Vicki’s metaphorical goat (though we suspect she probably stole the metaphorical goat from someone)…
“It is amazing how even many liberal-minded men end up having sexual and emotional difficulties being with more obviously successful women,” said Sasha Havlicek, the 35-year-old chief executive of a London research group. A high-flying friend of hers resorted to ritually feigning helplessness with her partner to promote his sense of masculinity.
“Maybe it’s because I’m a ninja, but feigning helplessness to boost someone’s fragile ego sounds really insulting,” says Ninja Vicki. “If I’m feigning helplessness, it’s because I’m laying a trap not because I want some guy who can’t handle making less money than me not to feel bad about not meeting some outdated expectation of masculinity.”
“Hey, maybe this article has a point,” says Samurai Cathy. “Ninja Vicki is a successful thief and murderer, maybe that’s the real reason she doesn’t get dates and not because she’s an awful human being with more personal issues than Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, Party of Five, and My So Called Life merging together to create some sort of Weepy Drama Voltron.”
“Bitch, I will fucking cut you!”
As Ninja Vicki and Samurai Cathy take their ensuing screaming match and inevitable sword fight outside the bar, we see what the men of Renal Failure think of the article.
“Samurai Cathy makes more than me,” says Mikka. “And I’m cool with that, mainly because pretty much everyone makes more than me in their jobs. I’d need to date an entry-level crack whore to find a woman who makes less money than me.”
“Hell, I like it when a broad makes more than me,” says Anonymous Doug. “It means she’s got nicer stuff and can pay for her own damn dinner. Also it probably means she’s on some really good birth control so I can stop wasting money on condoms and get back to fucking like we used to do in the 1970′s before AIDS scared the shit out of everyone.”
“Cats don’t have this issue, thus proving we are the superior creature,” says Bernie the Half-Cyborg Cat. He makes more than his wife Marlie, who is a stay-at-home drunk. “These men aren’t upset that their woman makes more than them, they’re upset at what other people think about it and they take it out on the person who had nothing to do with it, the successful woman in question. If something is bothering a cat, they go to the source of their problem and take care of it. Cats don’t do this transference bullshit.”
“No one is more successful than Tag Larkin,” says Tag Larkin. We try to point out that many people make more money at their jobs than the 8.85 an hour he makes at Chickensian Dystopia, but Tag Larkin will have none of it. “Tag Larkin has redefined success, among other terms. Like ‘compromise’ and ‘tactful’ and ‘felonious assault.’”
“Maybe it’s not that men are necessarily turned off by successful women but it’s more that we don’t even think we have a shot at a woman if she makes more than we do,” I say. “Like the Sex and the City example she gives is Miranda saying she’s a stewardess instead of a lawyer and the dude she’s dating saying he’s a doctor instead of a guy who’s a shoe salesman. Maybe that’s what should have been the focus: do successful women date men who are not nearly as successful or do they only want men who make as much or more than them? It’s certainly a more interesting focal point than ‘Is female empowerment killing romance?’ whether the point is true or not.’”
And apparently by the time I make my statement the cops are pulling into the parking lot to break up Ninja Vicki and Samurai Cathy’s fight. Well, mainly they’re just asking Cathy why she’s in a parking lot with a sword because like a good ninja Vicki is not there; she disappeared as soon as she heard the sirens. Luckily Cathy won’t be getting arrested because she has a carry permit for her sword. There’s a female cop out on the scene. Maybe I should ask her if she would date a man who made less money than her… but I don’t want to get tased so early in the week.