men-laura kipnis

“I’m hardly in a position to suggest that women shouldn’t be ambivalent about commitment, because everyone should be, in my opinion-note that the same term covers stints in a mental asylum. And if women who are ambivalent about commitment are drawn with suspicious frequency to men who are unattainable, far be it from me to begrudge anyone the consolations of venting about men’s immaturity and egotism in response.” (90)

“As anyone who’s been married (or simply been in the vicinity of a married couple) will attest, marriages are emotionally awkward arrangements between two people who frequently turn out to have wildly different needs and desires.” (146)

“Getting the balance right is tricky. Knowing someone too well can kill desire: boredom and irritation result. Knowing someone too little can lead to nasty surprises.” (147)

“Other people’s failures of self-comprehension make such tempting targets: you get to forget all similar occlusions of your own, while luxuriating in the warm bath of imaginary self-awareness.” (161)

“There’s nothing more alluring for many of us independent women than an available boyfriend….” (84)

“There’s no doubt that women are often pretty deluded about their reasons for wanting sex with men-it’s been true enough in my life anyway. People want to-and frequently do-have sex with each other for murky and self-deceiving reasons, or for clear-eyed reasons that turn out to be mistaken, or a thousand variations on the them of erroneous judgement. What Dworkin couldn’t concede is that what pushes against your boundaries, what destabilizes-maybe even chafes-can also remind you that you’re alive.” (206)

this is definitely one that i came to through that priceless anthology of writers writing on why they decided not to have kids, and i’m great-full that i decided to investigate this partner work of a writer writing about her suspicion of relationships, and the writing that ensues.

the whole business obviously strikes many close chords and while i’m sure we don’t have all of the same experiences, sometimes it’s cool just to see people reflect your values. i will take this moment to acknowledge the joy i felt not only upon finding maggie estep’s diary of an emotional idiot at the victoria public library, but also when i gained a sometimey pen pal out of the note that i wrote in the copy of that book that i had to try really hard not to steal (well, never return), but that of course goes against all my values.

and, wow. i just googled maggie estep and found out that she died two years ago of a heart attack. shit. i feel like it was only about three or four years ago that i was gchatting with her to try to arrange a meeting when i was coming to new york. i’m glad that i got to thank her for that work, and i will put in my gratitude jar tonight the reminder of just how blessed i am to know and hug, or be able to reach out to those whose work i have admired and loved to death.

(thank you thank you thank you thank yous).


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