In 1934, an American musical glorifying divorce (for women) was created. It featured a charming, beautiful, blonde woman playing the role of the divorced woman, happily flitting about, living a free life, and with lots of excess money to cushion her of course. I’m amazed at the naivety.
Divorce is usually far from that kind of scenario for women, and actually much closer to how it is for divorced men (at least in our day and age). Sure, they may be rare exceptions of women who really do enjoy life after divorce, but in my own experience in watching people, women are bored in their marriage, and then even more disillusioned after divorce. They truly think their life without their husband will be like this 1934 musical.
“The end of a marriage is like a little death, but to some married women, freedom looks like life after death. Young again, no one to tell her what to do, no more demands, criticisms. No more dinners to cook – no slavery! And just outside, bright lights, gay conversation, lighthearted friends, flirtations and adventures. Palm Springs, Vegas, here I come! …
“For the first few months, things do seem to improve. The cessation of hostilities is pleasant. Since the wife for years experienced an emotional tug-of-war in her mixed-up role as woman, wife and leader, the sudden severance brings temporary relief. But only temporary. …
What is the chief preoccupation of our newly arrived divorcee? Career, children, home, travel, art, politics, friends. No, it’s men! Where do these men come from? What are they like? What do they want? What have they been doing?
Hope is wonderful, but fantasy can be catastrophic! Many women, divorced or married and contemplating divorce, are sure that somewhere outside there is a man who will have all the virtues of her husband none of his vices. From this starting point, divorcees start the great search.”
The search for the fantasy man with all of her ex-husband’s good characteristics, but no faults… willing to raise her children, submit to her like a good whipped husband. The only problem is that she is looking at available men who either haven’t been married, or are divorced themselves. Divorced men (I smile to myself) are quite another problem & story for her.
“The male has suddenly become King! All the gals are after him. His stock has leaped upwards; he never had it so good, and he’s going to keep it coming. Marriage? That would end it all! he doesn’t have to do anything. He’s a male.
The chance of landing the ideal male is one in a million. Have you ever considered, ladies, the attitude of the eligible male? Marrriage is the LAST thing he wants! Suddenly, the world has become his oyster and, after years of marriage, monotony and misery, his ego crushed, his manhood challenged, he’s FREE and it’s a man’s world. Daily he is reminded by suppliant females that he’s a hero! Why should he give that up! Besides, he’s wily and experienced; he has learned the hard way.
He isn’t going to be trapped by promises of home-cooked meals, a seductive figure and the prospect of heady nights beside the TV. LIke an old salmon in a well-fished stream, he can smell the hook a mile away.
The ex-husband kinows this moment of triumph all too quickly comes to an end once he says: “I do.” He knows the law is slanted toward the female, and he knows there are thousands of attorneys all ready to aid the “little woman” once she decides to shed her husband and enjoy his substance. Why should he fall for that?
What does he want? It’s really very simple. An occasional date, proper respect and then to bed – no strings. And when he takes you to bed he feels he’s doing you a service! Oh, he’s a hard man. Of course you don’t have to go to bed with him. If he really digs you, he might wait three, maybe four dates, and then, no bed and he’s gone. …
And so, life passes pleasantly for our male. He has his work, friends, apartment, vacations, ball games, and of course, his women, all loving, never demanding, never possessive, and all telling him what a wonderful lover he is. And then there are so many women out there he hasn’t yet met. What an exciting prospect!
But you say, “He’s a fool. He doesn’t know what he’s missing – a home, a family, a loving wife, permanence, security, building something together.”
But, he does know what he’s missing. He had a home – worked hard to get it. His wife got that!
He had a family, and loved his kids. His wife got those too.
Permanence he never had – his wife’s attorney shattered his hearth.
Security – here today, gone tomorrow.
The things he built with his wife, his wife and her attorney shared between them.
Ms. Divorcee, you have paved the way for another woman’s failure to catch a man, and another woman has facilitated your failure.”
The irony of divorce and the expectations of women who are so often the ones to file for it. Just food for thought for a Romantic Wednesday post 😉
(Quoted excerpts from Marriage: Grounds for Divorce, written by Monte Vanton)