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Missive #102

The Innocents Abroad, or The New Pilgrims’ Progress is a travel book by American author Mark Twain published in 1869 which humorously chronicles what Twain called his “Great Pleasure Excursion” on board the chartered vessel Quaker City (formerly USS Quaker City) through Europe and the Holy Land with a group of American travelers in 1867. It was the best-selling of Twain’s works during his lifetime, as well as one of the best-selling travel books of all time.

When I travel again, I wish to go in a pleasure ship. No amount of money could have purchased for us, in a strange vessel and among unfamiliar faces, the perfect satisfaction and the sense of being at home again which we experienced when we stepped on board the “Quaker City,”—our own ship—after this wearisome pilgrimage. It is a something we have felt always when we returned to her, and a something we had no desire to sell.

I think when he went around the world he did it in a pleasure ship. I’ll read his Following The Equator and find out.

I think Larry Johnson has this right. I’m reading more and more snippets of main stream media where they are setting the stage for the Biden administration to declare victory and walk away. It is getting too close to the 2024 primaries for Ukraine to still be a talking point.

The previous messaging about Ukraine’s inevitable triumph over Russia is dead. Bell [Retired British AIR VICE-MARSHAL Sean Michael Bell] and others in the United States and NATO are making it quite clear that Ukraine is failing because it refused to follow the wise military guidance of NATO. The stage is being set to jettison Ukraine and leave it to sort things out with Russia in the same way that the United States (and NATO) bugged out of Afghanistan. We declare “Mission Accomplished” and head for the exits.— Larry Johnson

The Elephant in Maureen’s Living Room and Do Great Minds Think Alike?, or
JR and Fred Try to Pour Water Uphill
By John Ross
Copyright 2005 by John Ross.  Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given

I’m spending Thanksgiving week here in Aspen.  I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid, and there isn’t anyplace I’ve ever been that’s better for my attitude.  When I’m not outside, I’m here in my studio writing, with a view of Red Mountain out the picture window.  Women of varying ages stroll by a story below, their looks generally varying between good and gorgeous.  Many, though by no means all, are what you’d call “high maintenance,” but then, that’s not my problem.  Which brings me to this column, which I’ve been dabbling with off and on for a couple weeks, adding material and editing it for content.

    And then, checking Fred Reed’s website, I see he’s already posted his take on the same subject: Resident New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s latest whine, her new book Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide.  You can read his views on this embarrassing tome at http://fredoneverything.net/Maureen2.shtml.

    For those of you who aren’t familiar with her, Maureen Dowd writes regular columns for the Times about men’s endless deficiencies, while at the same time bemoaning the fact that no man will marry her.  In the parts of Are Men Necessary? most commonly quoted by reviewers, she claims that men are intimidated by successful women in positions of power, and much prefer dating (and marrying) female subordinates such as their secretaries, rather than pairing with female executives and other professionals.*  She thinks the fact that she’s a columnist at the New York Times is the reason she’s never been married.  She turns 54 in January.  She bemoans that career women like her have trouble attracting men, she talks about her own family’s history of working as domestics and comes to the self-pitying conclusion that “being a maid would have enhanced my chances with men.”

    Maureen, Fred Reed has taken you to task for being a disagreeable shrew and failing to see that that is the reason no man will marry you, not your professional success.  He may have a valid point, but I don’t know you, and since every redhead I’ve ever met (including bottled ones like you) was at least worth knowing, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. 

    Maureen, there’s an elephant in your living room, and it looks like I’m going to have to point it out to you.  But before I do, a little bit about me and my credentials.

    I’m Amherst Class of ’79, while my sisters graduated from Smith College in 1968.  Since you got your B.A. in 1973, that puts you in the middle.  I think my memories of and knowledge about my sisters in college plus my own college experience makes me aware of what things were like for you during the time you became an adult.

    Maureen, in those days, the feminists of the era were (correctly) telling young college women that they could accomplish professionally just about anything a man could.  What these feminists failed to mention was that doing so would almost certainly require these women to squander a valuable and expiring asset: Their youth and fertility.

    Here’s the deal, Maureen.  With one exception, men can accomplish anything that we think is important all by ourselves.  Explore, build empires, create new industries, invent, discover, make money–all these things come naturally to us.  We don’t need your help. 

    But the one thing we can’t do by ourselves, and it’s the thing most men want more than anything else, is to have a family and play a prominent role in raising our children.  For that, we need a woman.  And not just any woman–we need a woman whose youth and fertility will give us the greatest chance of having healthy children, raised by a mother young enough to not be an old woman by the time the kids reach high school.  We men don’t want our children raised by a woman that’s old enough to be their grandmother.

    When it comes to the thing that makes women most desirable for marriage to men, WOMEN HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE. MEN DON’T.  That’s the elephant in your living room, Maureen.  You may not like to hear this, but it’s true.  Men constantly produce fresh sperm all their lives.  Women produce a finite amount of eggs at puberty, and these eggs age until they are no longer usable.  Sorry, but that’s the way it is.

    Actress Pamela Anderson has been on the cover of Playboy magazine something like 9 or 10 times, including in the last year–far more than any other woman.  She is tremendously sexy and sexual, things most men find compelling. 

    Yet if you asked a sampling of marriage-minded men who they would rather have fall in love with them, 38-year-old, 5’7″ actress Pam Anderson or 19-year-old, 6’2″ champion Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, what answer do you think you’d get?  If you think this isn’t a fair comparison because Pam comes across as too slutty while Maria hasn’t been in Playboy and doesn’t have a film on the Internet of her having sex, how about a choice between 38-year-old Pam and 24-year-old Paris Hilton?  FOR MARRIAGE, WOMEN HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE. MEN DON’T.

    Male lawyers don’t choose to marry their secretaries over female lawyers because those secretaries are subordinates or because the men are “intimidated by strong women,” they choose the secretaries because the secretaries are younger and more fertile than the female lawyers. 

    Maureen, you used to date actor Michael Douglas.  I don’t know how much money the New York Times pays you, but I doubt it’s anything like what Catherine Zeta-Jones earns as an actress.  Catherine is Michael’s peer, not his subordinate.  I think she makes even more money than he does, now.  So why did he dump you and marry her, if men are intimidated by successful women? Because when she bore Michael the first of their two children, she was 30 years old, while you were 47.  Michael was 55.  FOR MARRIAGE, WOMEN HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE. MEN DON’T.  In 1997, 82-year-old actor Anthony Quinn married his secretary, Robin Belvin.  Did he marry her because, as you claim, men are intimidated by strong women and she was his subordinate? No, he married her because she was young and fertile enough to bear him two children. If Robin had been 53 years old, as you are now, he wouldn’t have married her, no matter how subordinate she was.  FOR MARRIAGE, WOMEN HAVE AN EXPIRATION DATE. MEN DON’T.

    For all of society’s expectation that men and women pair up and marry at all ages, men are coming to the inescapable realization that there are only two rational reasons for a man to marry: Because either he wants to have children and the woman in question is likely to produce intelligent, healthy offspring, or if he doesn’t want (more) kids, the woman in question has considerable wealth and is happy to share it.

    This isn’t universally true; yes, men still marry women who aren’t wealthy and are too old for kids, but it’s getting more and more rare.  If a man wants companionship, there’s no need to invite the government into his relationship with his companion.

    Maureen, the time for you to attract the kind of husband you’d like to have was over thirty years ago, when you could have given a man the family he wanted.  Your career success (or lack thereof) would have been to him a non-issue.  If you’d made it clear you wanted to have a family while you were still young, there would have been many suitable men 8-10 years older than you vying for your approval.  You let your most valuable asset (from a potential husband’s standpoint) expire.  Accept the fact that you’re past your expiration date, and quit complaining about it. 

    You seem to take pride in your career.  If you regret missing out on having a family, don’t whine about it, use it to benefit others.  Write a column (or a book) urging parents to inform their teenage daughters of the consequences of pursuing careers while disregarding their own expiration dates.

John Ross 11/23/05

*Her source for this presumption was a survey of a hundred or so incoming freshmen at some college, most of whom said they’d prefer dating someone who was not in a position superior to them.  Methinks 18-year-old boys do not speak for grown men, and grown men is the group the 53-year-old Dowd complains about.

    11/30 update:  Boy, I’ve really hit a raw nerve with this column!  I posted a slightly shortened version as a review of Dowd’s book on Amazon.com and after reading it, Salon columnist Rebecca Traister decided to write a column entitled “Scary screeds about Maureen Dowd, written by threatened men.”  Think about that–she wrote an article based on an Amazon review!  This is how terrified some women are about the truth getting out.  I’m “threatened” because I point out that most men don’t propose to women that are too old to have children.  In the first 48 hours, her article about my comments has elicited 25 pages of letters, most from outraged women getting their knickers in a twist that someone has dared say that the emperor has no clothes.  Most accuse me of being a Neanderthal that wants to keep all women barefoot and pregnant in the trailer park and who thinks women are good for nothing besides being brood mares.  Others said I was bitter from being a failure with women.  Several made mention of “mail order brides” and blow-up dolls.  Rebecca Traister, the author of the Salon article, ended with “Raise your hand if you think Ross saw a photograph of the smokin’ Dowd and got all pissy because it was unlikely she’d ever sleep with him!”  I am not making this up. 

    Ladies, you just don’t get it. You are capable of many great things other than childbearing, and for that men will admire you and congratulate you and be in long-term, monogamous relationships with you.  But if you’re not a candidate to bear his children (and not rich), what rational reason does a man have to MARRY you?  Inviting the government into his union brings all sorts of potential liabilities and NO benefits to a man, unless the woman is wealthy. 

    “What about love?” some women ask.  A man doesn’t need the government to authorize his love for his mate.  A woman DOES need the government to be involved if she intends to cash out on the man who loves her.  More and more men are figuring this out, and saying “No, thanks” to marriage.

    Sorry, ladies.

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