Bad advice

Or more properly, questionable advice slanted to make women appear like desperate, grasping creatures who would wither without their man. At least, that's how this piece from the Sun-Sentinel (reprinted from New York Newsday) reads to me.

As spring turns to summer this week, infidelity expert Ruth Houston has a question for every wife: "Do you know where your husband is?"

The piece is peppered throughout with that sort of question and corresponding advice--"Go. Stake your turf. Be at your loving best."

I have a question for Ms. Infidelity Expert. Why? Why should a woman have to chase after a man she's afraid will cheat on her? Forget having to chase him--why should she bother in the first place? How worth it can he be? Okay, that's four questions, but you get the point, right? Call me old-fashioned, what with my living-in-sin relationship and my strong support for gay rights and what not, but fidelity ought not be something you have to worry about. If you're worried, something's wrong in the relationship.

Marie and Marlene Brown, the second authors featured in the piece, take it a step farther. Theer book is titled You Can't Have Him -- He's Mine: A Woman's Guide to Affair-Proofing Her Relationship. Notice anything missing so far from this discussion? Like the man's responsibility in this? The Browns are all about protecting their menfolk from the whores who are out to snag them a man.
The Brownes also recommend that wives make it clear to potential interlopers that their husbands are spoken for. Give him a well-timed kiss in her presence, or ensure that his work space is full of photos of your family, or put handwritten notes in his briefcase or gym bag -- anything, Marlene Browne says, that would tell another woman to move on.

But my favorite is the last example--a self-confessed cheating guy who makes this beaut of a claim:
"Back doors allow you to 'sneak out' and compromise on your commitments," he says. That includes sex with prostitutes, watching Internet porn, visiting online chat rooms, communicating with old girlfriends or flirting in the office. "They're distractions and energy drains. Any energy going out the back door is energy that's not going into your relationship.

Wow--looking at teh bewbs on your computer is like frequenting a prostitute? Let's get a bit of a grip here. Sure--some of those things aren't healthy in a relationship. I don't talk to old girlfriends, and the only person I flirt with in the office is Amy, but we work together, so it's kind of tough not to. I don't visit the sort of chat rooms where the talk is going to get steamy-- I haven't gotten any hot love in the comment threads at Shakesville yet (though I did tell a guy to fuck off in a thread over at the Great Orange Satan a couple of nights ago--does that count?) and the best looking local prostitutes around here are male. I guess. I can't say as I've actually rated them, but I do live near Wilton Manors, so it's a safe bet.

But here's my real gripe with the piece as a whole--the focus is always on the woman doing stuff to keep her man satisfied, and as a man, I feel more than a little insulted here. I dislike the notion that I have so little self-control over my cock that unless Amy is plying me with sexual favors and catering to my every whim, I'm going to start hitting up the few Spring Breakers left for furtive blowjobs. I certainly don't expect Amy to go hunting for stunt cock at the first sign of rockiness in the relationship--why should she expect it of me? It's infantilizing, and it's the same kind of stupid argument men in bassackwards cultures use to oppress women everywhere. "Oh, women are too stupid to make their own decisions, but when they show some skin, we lose our damn minds and start raping them willy-nilly!"

Please. Chris Rock has joked in the past that men are only as faithful as their options. Bullshit. Assholes are only as faithful as their options, and it's time responsible men pushed back on that attitude.

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