Tuesday 12 April 2011

The Bitter Divorcée

I must remind myself in the future to not drink anything while I'm sitting at my computer reading. Then again, maybe I can find some sort of plastic sheet to lay over my keyboard. Why you ask? Two words: spit-take.

Ms. Annie Parker is a blogger, raconteur, and skewerer of things unjust. Being a survivor of what I understand was not the most pleasant of marital dissolutions, she seems to have an inexhaustible supply of observations about marriage, her ex, and wee men. And no, I don't mean "we men".

On her About, Ms. Parker tells us a little of who she is, what she's been through and where she is today.

In February of 2010, I started this blog and began calling Ex out as a deadbeat and a no show on the internet. He discovered my work in March and sent me a nasty note demanding that I label it as fiction or take it down.  I have done neither and since that time, he has been an even bigger pain in my rump.  He petitioned to reduce his financial obligation to the children to $40 per month, (presumably so he could no longer be called a deadbeat—$40 a month would certainly be affordable).  He demanded to see the children on his non-negotiable terms.  He tried to put me in jail. He called the police to our home on Christmas Day. Worst—while he was drinking during last summer’s visitation, he seriously injured our eight-year-old son.

As for the injury, she writes about the twenty stitches necessary to close a gash over her son's right eye and includes a photograph. While you would think that hurting your own son should make anybody immediately swear off the bottle for life, it does not seems to be the case here.

How to Explain your Bitter Divorce to a Date
Ms. Parker refers to an article on eHow with the same name which claims to help you, the person in the midst of having a divorce, just what to explain to a date if the topic should come up. She goes on to examine point by point the eHow article providing some amusing commentary about the eHow author's approach.

The advice on eHow begins by explaining, “If you’re going through a nasty divorce and you’ve starting dating again, you may feel like you’re in purgatory….”  Purgatory? Purgatory is a place of suffering where sinners expiate their sins before going to heaven. If you are going through a bitter divorce, chances are you’re feeling more like you are in HELL and there is NO HEAVEN and you know what else?  You have no business dating. None.  Don’t go dragging some other poor unsuspecting soul into your war zone.  Sheesh. If that isn’t sowing bad karma, I don’t know what is.

However, the eHow contributor (I’m going out on a limb here to say it is a man writing) in his wisdom advises, “You don’t want to squander the possibility of the budding relationship before you. Proceed carefully as you explain your situation to your date.”  Go ahead, baby.  Wreck that train.

Wreck that train? I'm sorry, I was howling. Gawd damn is Annie funny. As she continues going through the piece, she points out how the essence of the article seems to be that you should lie to your date. She keeps writing "Be honest, like Bill Clinton". Okay, define "be".

Finally we get to: Trick her into believing that you aren’t the same asshole your ex kicked to the curb. The first time I read that I literally slapped my thigh as I guffawed.

She does end on a serious note which tells me while she can be funny, she also has a head on her shoulders.

If you are postwar dipping your toes into the dating waters: Just. Be. Honest. Divorce sucks, it just really sucks, especially when there are kids in the mix. Even for those who do it well (I know you’re out there) it is still a war, even if a diplomatic one. Most people get that, even if they haven’t walked the coals. For pity sake, show some humility, chances are you had a hand in screwing things up in your romantic last-round. Be truthful (without the gory details) and say straight-up that you expect the same.

An open letter to the men of the Men's Rights Movement
Ms. Parker has nailed this one. This article is superb and to paraphrase Stephen Colbert: tip of my hat to Annie, wag of my finger to MRAs. For those of you who may not be familiar with the term MRM, I don't think I can say it any better than David Futrelle who runs a web site called ManBoobz dedicated to exposing misogyny:

The Men's Rights Movement: A loosely defined, but largely retrograde, collection of activists and internet talkers who fight for what they see as "men's rights." Unlike the original Men's Movement, which was inspired by and heavily influenced by feminism, the self-described Men's Rights Movement is largely a reactionary movement; with few exceptions, Men's Rights Activists (or MRAs) are pretty rabidly antifeminist, and many are frankly and sometimes proudly misogynistic. Those who oppose the MRM are generally not against men's rights per se; they are opposed to those who've turned those two words into a synonym for some pretty backwards notions.

Ms. Parker gives a very fair assessment of this extremist male view of the world. I think she leaves the door open by commiserating with the problems of men on the other side of the sexual barrier while maintaining a firm stance against the more virulent attitudes towards woman. She's compassionate, but she's drawing a line in the sand. After having run into this movement some months back, I myself have been mulling over writing some thoughts about it which believe me would be in complete disagreement with their ideas and which, I've discovered, automatically makes me a mangina.

Okay, I have to say this because it's just too funny. What is a mangina? Most will know this as a uncomplimentary noun used to describe a man who is against the men's rights movement, who doesn't subscribe to the view of men need to stick together to fight against the hordes of controlling women taking over the world, a man who is a wimp or pussy-whipped. But what is a mangina? Really? I quote from Urban Dictionary: when a guy pulls his dick and balls back between his legs (forming a basket of fruit behind him) and then putting his legs together to simulate the look of a vagina.

If I hadn't just fallen on the floor, I'd be typing LOL or LMAO or even LMFAO. My gawd, who makes this stuff up? After reading some misogynist bulls**t on a MRM web site, I left a comment disagreeing with these ideas only to be called a mangina. What-gina? I had never heard the term before but when I found out, I asked myself whether I was dealing with mature men or - excuse me for being politically incorrect - a bunch a frat boy retards. (I can picture some guys having polished off a keg doing this in front of each other and laughing like a bunch of jackanapes.) Life is tough enough without idiots disseminating misinformation. I'm pussy whipped? What a bunch of scaredy cats. Only a true man can deal with an equal. A true man knows he's strong; a true man knows he's good. A true man has no need to dominate; he works together as an equal for the benefit of everyone. Only the weak and insecure have a need to deal with others from a supposed position of superiority. Those who are truly strong and know it, have no need to show it, to dominate, or to suppress. They extend their hand and treat others as equals. They are not afraid.

Sorry. I got up on my soapbox and went off on a tangent. Back to Ms. Parker. This is a great article and a balanced and fair assessment of men's rights activists. This woman is insightful.

Final Word
Whatever marital/martial discord may have existed between Ms. Parker and her spouse, she did the right thing by bailing because he fell off the wagon. No one should have to put up with a practising alcoholic and I am a firm believer that saving yourself is the best course of action for everyone involved. If divorce is difficult, it is only exacerbated by drink and the alcoholic thinking which goes along with it. I am sorry for her difficulties and I sincerely hope her ex sees the light.

Ms. Parker is a good writer: witty, equitable, and brutally honest. I like her. She's had some hard times and she still is having some hard times, but she's handling it quite well with a touch of humour. Ah, at the end of the day, we all have to laugh about it. It keeps us sane.

It’s been rough to maintain my placidity during the more nightmarish episodes, but I am working double-time. This blog has been transformative for me. The support and friendships that have come through this endeavor have been sustaining and the authenticity and intimacy it has brought to my everyday life has been absolutely amazing. We’re gettin’ by with a little help from our friends.

I don't think she's singing out of tune.


The Bitter Divorcée: on bitterness, contradiction, culture, and kids

Man Boobz: mocking misogyny since 2010
Ah, misogyny! I track down some of the most egregious and/or entertaining examples of man-boobery online (and sometimes off). I find a lot of it on Men's Rights and Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) sites. Sometimes I mock. TRIGGER WARNING: I quote some pretty extreme misogyny here; also, the comments section is pretty much unfiltered.
[This web site is absolutely hilarious. However, I would add that much of the humour comes from the material itself, that is, the men's rights movement is constantly shooting itself in the foot with outrageous claims, illogical trains of thought, and just plain stupidity. Daniel Futrelle does a great job of shining a spotlight on this absurdity.]

The Bitter Divorcée - April 4/2011
A New (and Welcome) Paradigm for Divorce
[Cathy Meyer, a divorced life coach who coaches people about their lives after divorce, took exception to blogger Molly Monet's approach to parting ways. Annie Parker, who finds Monet inspiring, in turn takes exception to Cathy Meyer. Interesting reading. Ms. Meyers was a little heavy handed in her criticism.]

CafePress: The Bitter Divorcee Online Shop
[T-shirts, bag, coffee mug and cards; all drawn, I presume, by Ms. Annie Parker.]

Zazzle: Bitter Divorcée store
[I love the t-shirt with the saying, "Blogging: It's cheaper than therapy."]


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