Monday, August 25, 2008

Marriage Is No Excuse

When I was a boy, it seemed like all the famous TV standup comics (men-only in those days) relied on marriage jokes. These were endless variations on Henny Youngman’s classic “Take my wife… please!” (Like: “I take my wife everywhere, but she keeps finding her way back.”)

Henny, Milton Berle, Shecky Greene, Alan King, Rodney Dangerfield, even non-Catskill -trained Midwestern comics like George Gobel, they all treated marriage as a joke.
“Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There's no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance, your wife is bound to interfere.” — Groucho Marx

But they didn’t invent this particular shtick. Odysseus probably made Penelope jokes to his cronies, after he drove off the suitors. And the ‘50s and ‘60s anti-monogamy monologists were tame compared to earlier satirical icons, like the widly misanthropic American Ambrose Bierce, or the naughtily philanthropic Oscar Wilde, to wit:

"Bigamy is having one husband or wife too many. Monogamy is the same." – Oscar Wilde
“One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.” – Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance
“Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage.” – Ambrose Bierce, Devil’s Dictionary

So the standup guys were hardly blazing any trails, even for their time. As the ‘50s gave way to the ‘60s and ‘70s, free love became a worldwide rallying cry for youth, breaking loose from all conventional constraints. It was echoed by shrieking rocker and whispery folksinger alike.

The conventional attitude about no-commitment “rolling stone” relationship was perfectly reflected in Glen Campbell’s lyrics for “Gentle on My Mind”:

…it's knowin' I'm not shackled
By forgotten words and bonds
And the ink stains that have dried upon some line
That keeps you in the back roads
By the rivers of my memory
That keeps you ever gentle on my mind

I never quite bought into this massively indoctrinated prevailing wisdom, whether expressed by Borscht Belters or shaggy-haired troubadours. In my private recesses, I always believed in the happy-ever-after marriage, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding (especially including my own parents’ dysfunctional union).

In fact, I continued to believe in this storybook ideal even when my own marriage began to fall, well, a wee bit short. It should work in real life. After all, it did work in the kind of stories I liked to read, and to write. At least up to that final fadeout.

But maybe I was wrong, and all the cynical voices were right. Maybe marriage is an unnatural state.
“Monogamy is like reading the same book over and over. – Mason Cooley
“Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.” – Amy Bloom

It was the revolutionary concept of the “courtship marriage,” as described by Fumika Misato on her Real Women Don’t Do Housework website, that suddenly stripped the scales from my eyes. "This," she declared flatly, "is a marriage in which your husband courts you till death does you part.”

Such a sweet revelation! The secret to happy-ever-aftering is simply to let the courtship continue! What a wonderful gift Lady Misato had given me (and all of us). Through her, I experienced a complete restoration of my naïve and boyish faith in storybook romance.

Later on, doing a bit of research into the origins of courtly love, I came across this quote from a 13th century writer, a quote that, for me, carried more truth than all the collected matrimonial wisdom of Marx (G.), Wilde, Bierce, Youngman, et al.:
“Marriage is no excuse for not loving.”
—Andreas Cappellanus: The Art of Honorable Love, 13th century

Morale: If you want to keep the romance in your marriage, let the pre-nupt be that the husband continues to press his suit post-nupt, dill death do you part.

My own embrace of Lady Misato’s advice radically transformed my marriage for the better, starting with my own attitude, and then, gradually, working its ways and wiles upon my wife. Granted, she was a little taken aback at first to find herself being courted again, but she’s getting to like it.

That transformation prodded me into writing a book, which I launched first on a website, then in publication.

As I wrote in an early draft, “The extravagant claim of this book is that love can be rekindled, even the all-consuming passion of first love. Not by returning to the time-tested, give-and-take practices of successful marriages (as most counselors recommend), but by the husband going all the way back to the giddy, unbalanced behaviors of courtship.”

Courtship is such an exhilarating state , it turns out, that husbands and wives alike are euphoric to be in it, over and over again.

It’s called being in love.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Making HER Your Fantasy (Reprised)

That’s the title of Chapter 2 of my book. It’s directed to husbands, and, of course, “her” refers to “wife.” I could have said, “Making Her Your Fantasy — Again.” The way she was during courtship, and the honeymoon. Until the glamour wore off somehow.

The point being, wives can regain that fantasy status. Because, to quote myself, “Men need sexual fantasy. It's the highest-octane fuel they can burn. They do idealize womanhood. They do empedestal their girlfriends.”

Men are going to have those perpetual adolescent fantasies about some female or other. So shouldn’t it be the woman we’re married to, instead of Angelina Jolie or Scarlett Johansson or Jessica Simpson or whoever?

I know, guys think they can’t control the sexual fantasy process. But, in fact, they can. If they want to, and are will to make an effort for a glorious payoff.

The first step – stop masturbating. Easier preached than practiced, of course. I spent most of a chapter on the topic, and it’s certainly more than I can deal with in this post. But, cutting to the chase, as I wrote…

“Once I stopped siphoning off the fuel needed for the marital combustion chambers, my sexual fantasies automatically refocused on my wife. She suddenly regained the status she possessed during courtship—seductress, enchantress. The creature to be pursued and won, again and again…

“I began thinking about her a lot. Daydreaming about her. Tripping out on tactile replays of her morning embrace, recalling the warm smell of her hair, the salty taste of her skin. She went, in the words of another song, from being ‘gentle on my mind’ to being very intrusive. In fact, I was thinking about her all the time. What I wasn't thinking about, or lusting after, were glamourized images of other females. Those had vaporized.’”

A commenter to this blog had the same experience when he stopped self-pleasuring. “Suddenly my wife looked really good to me,” he wrote, “and I began what I could easily be called courting (I developed a crush on her -- never thought I would feel that again)… Our sex life now is the best it has been since before we were married.”

A dominant wife explains how it operates on her husband, referring to a photo of some glamorous actress: “I have to admit girls, this young and beautiful woman on the left is what I would like to look like. Once a long, long time ago, I kinda looked like her, but even in my 20's, I didn't look as good. Now, I'm in my 50's and gravity is winning more and more every day.... But in the eyes and mind of my husband, I am FAR, FAR, superior to this beautiful young lady, because to him, I am his Goddess and his Queen, I am beautiful in his mind and eyes and he shows it to me EVERY Minute of EVERY day.”

Once this begins happening to a husband, he can actively encourage the process, and he will find himself living with a fantasy figure.

Or, to quote my favorite bit of advice on this topic, “If you want your wife to be a goddess, worship her.”

Becoming President of Her Fan Club (Reprised)

Are you the president of your wife’s fan club? Is she the radiant center of your universe? Does she leave you star-struck, blinded by her luminescence? Do you, like ardent Curly in Oklahoma! collect treasured keepsakes from your beloved? (“Give me back my rose and my glove.”)

If this sounds romantically retarded, give it another think. Didn’t you once feel that way about her? Star-struck and lovestruck? When you were courting? So, in keeping with the perpetual courtship marriage, the kind of FLR I advocate in my book, why not act that way again?

A co-worker once told me about this sexy new temp in his office, a Latina bombshell who turned him into Jello. When she agreed to go out with him, he went binge-shopping–for chocolates (Godiva), roses (two-dozen red). When he’d called to ask her out, he’d even asked what her favorite perfume was and bought some of that, at like $40 an ounce (this was twenty years ago). The guy just couldn’t help himself.

“I don’t care if I go overboard,” he told me. “You know what Alicia told me on the phone? She gives this incredible throaty chuckle and tells me, ‘Oh, you’re going to be wonderful for my ego!’”

What higher compliment could a girl give her fan club president?

This story reminds me of another, this one a reminiscence by the famous Hollywood actor, Robert Taylor. He wasn’t famous, though, when he was cast opposite the great Greta Garbo in Camille. Handsome, yes, but almost unknown, and not much of an actor, to be candid. But Garbo liked his princely looks and got him the part. Then proceeded to cast her spell over him, exactly as her character, Marguerite Gautier, does to his character, Armand Duval, in the film.

During the course of filming, Taylor spent hours in her dressing room as her enchanted captive, listening to her husky voice, looking at the memorabilia of her fabulous career, hopelessly drunk with her. And Garbo not only seduced Taylor, but induced from the too-laid-back actor a compelling performance. It comes across on screen—but, of course, he wasn’t acting. He was madly in love.

Alas, when filming wrapped, Garbo dismissed him completely. But, he had been, at least for magical moment in time, the president of her fan club.

My turn to confide. I was a ninth grader in a high school art class, seated by blessed fate in the back row next to a glamorous senior girl, a regal beauty whom I will call LaDonna Dillon. She had, like that, a camera-ready name. She starred in school plays—in sophisticated, decadent Tennessee Williams’ plays, believe it or not. Like Orpheus Descending. In high school! She spoke in a theatrical whisper. She was magnificent. And I guess she thought I was… well, kind of cute, with my goggle glasses and crewcut and obvious puppypdog adoration of her.

One morning I arrived early at the art bungalow and found LaDonna there, alone, working on a project. I took my place right next to hers, and opened a book on Renoir, the artist I’d chosen for my book report. Next thing I knew, LaDonna had scooted her stool closer, was right there, a perfumed erotically charged presence, looking over my shoulder at Renoir’s succulent nudes. In fact, at one point LaDonna reached over my shoulder and began turning pages, asking me which ones I liked best. My head was spinning, and that was the least of my organic reactions!

I was ready to establish the LaDonna Dillon Fan Club and Goddess Worship Society right then and there. (As it was, she went on to have a minor Hollywood career without me, mostly in episodic TV.)

Let me exit from this overlong post with a quote from one of my wife-worship role models, Au876, who posted for several years on Lady Misato’s original Wife Worship forum. Here’s his encouraging advice on becoming your wife’s number-one fan:

“Never miss a chance to tell her how beautiful she is, how smart she is and how much you cherish her. Rub her feet at night. Give her pedicures, fold her night gown, clean her hair brush (daily), rub her back, tend her bath (for example a simple thing like bringing her a hot towel to dry off with is little trouble and yet very sweet)… Let your adoration spill over.”

Amen, Au. Rah! Rah! Rah!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Where Have You Gone, Nancy and Dennis?

A couple of years back, on the old Yahoo “Venus on Top Discussion Board” (now evolved into the "She Makes the Rules Discussion Board"), there appeared a series of provocative and strongly worded posts on the dynamics and advantages of wife-led marriages.

The messages were signed “Nancy and Dennis” (though apparently written by Dennis), a couple who, by their own description, not only advocated but evangelized for female-led relationships.

Alas, after several weeks, the Nancy-and-Dennis dispatches stopped and appeared no more. Since then, I’ve found no evidence of them elsewhere in cyberspace.

Where have you gone, Nancy and Dennis? And are Ms. and Mr. Lynda of the old Spouseclub with you? Please come back or drop us a line. I’m sure there are many enthusiasts for this wonderful lifestyle who would welcome an update on your happy wife-led marriage.

In the meantime, here is a short sampling from their old old posts, grouped into a few topics (with apologies to the moderators of the former VOT Board):

Their Backstory
“Nancy and I have been in a female-led situation for over 25 years, Nancy is in charge of our household. She manages our finances, makes all major decisions, and sets our social agenda. Nancy's mother, Sue, lives with us and I defer to her as I would Nancy…
“[But] while both Nancy and her mother can be quick-tempered, ours is not a BDSM relationship, nor am I going about the house teetering on heels with a feather duster when doing housework. Ours is a pragmatic relationship with a variety of house rules and expectations where my opinions are valued and considered. In the end, of course, we all recognize that women will be making the final decisions!”

“Nancy and I met in college – at a NOW meeting no less – and hit it off quickly; Nancy assumed a leadership role right from the start and that role continues to this day. Over the years she's taken more power. She's the financial manager and decision maker who is focused on her career. I, on the other hand, do the majority of the housework and am generally supportive of Nancy's career and personal goals. Socially, we enjoy the company of other couples who, like us, are in varying degrees of female-led relationships.”

“We work at a local women's center where we conduct workshops aimed at getting women to be more assertive in their personal relationships… We offer them practical tips for taking control, the first of which is for women to take control of the finances.”

“We are evangelists for female-dominated relationships and want to encourage more couples to embark on them. We advise women to take control of their relationships and do so by becoming more demanding of their men. These three points -- money, housework, and social life -- emerge as the big ones.
“What women want, in our experience, is some say in the finances, a man who'll bear his share of the housework, and a man that she can share social activities with. In our view women can't have too much control of these important relationship elements.”

FLR = Harmony & Happiness
“Nancy and I do have differences of opinion but my opinion is sought and considered, although we all recognize that within our relationship women will be making the final decision and, once made, that decision is final.”

“Our opinion is that female-led relationships have fewer issues and problems than vanilla ones, but this assumes that an FLR is a total commitment, not just a game. It also assumes benevolence on the part of the woman making the decisions in that relationship.”

“As a man I can tell you that I like knowing exactly what my wife wants and when and how she wants it done. No conflict; no arguments. And I can tell you that most men really do want to make their wives happy.”

Financial Control
“Nancy and I teach that managing finances is critical to a woman's leading a relationship. [Women] might want to enhance [their] skills in this area by seeking a skilled financial planner and/or taking some workshops. Women's organizations such as NOW and the YWCA are good places to start for such resources.”

“I'm embarrassed to say that I was quite the spendthrift early in our marriage and spending money and not able to account for it, so Nancy put her foot down and initiated some pretty strict rules. She took away my debit card, limited how much money I could have with me at any one time – I was spending WAY too much at work buying coffee, lunches, and so on for too many people, too often.
“Her rules include limiting me to an allowance (albeit a generous one), requiring direct depositing of my paychecks, her having access to my company savings and benefits plans, limiting my use of bank and credit cards, and requiring justification of all card charges.

“How I spend my allowance is up to me but I've made a habit of asking Nancy's opinion on larger purchases. I can request (extra funds] but there are almost always conditions attached. Having to ask for money is a tremendous statement of who is in control. We are now financially solid as a result of her controls.”

House Rules
“We have a number of practical house rules that we've established over the years, mostly things that have just evolved from practice as opposed to being dictates from my wife. Discipline is rare; I understand her expectations and, for the most part, meet them…We are friends with other couples in similar situations – households where the men realize the innate superiority of the women and defer to them.”

Power Exchange

“[Women shouldn’t] feel guilty about using power. Men derive tremendous benefits from an FLR so women should use the power they derive from such a relationship and seek more of it…
“In our evangelization of this lifestyle we frequently cite our own and the experiences of couples we know in FLR situations. All are extremely happy and wouldn't want it any other way. But it takes specifics to get things rolling one small step at a time. Once the lifestyle has momentum though, our experience is that he'll be doing more, offering more power on his own.”

That’s all, alas, for now. But why not check out the workshop offerings at your local women’s center? You just might find Nancy and Dennis bringing their evangelizing act to a venue near you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Isn’t She Simply Divine? - Part Two

In Part one of this post (and in my book) I explained that “Worshipping Your Wife is not about literal worship (goddess or otherwise), idolatry or anything even remotely sacrilegious. It is about respecting and honoring, revering and protecting, adoring and cherishing.”

But that’s not the whole story. As I pointed out on my original website, “In some female-supremacist organizations, males do literally worship females; and in coupled relationships, literally worship their partners (by whatever agreed-upon exalted title). In some instances, there are even religious trappings—thrones and altars and confessions and so forth.”

To these couples, of course, such worship does not constitute idolatry, as the wife is viewed as an embodiment of the Goddess.

One of the longest-running Goddess-worshipping organizations that I’m aware of is the Service of Mankind Church, active since the late ‘70s in the S.F. Bay Area. Also known as the “SM Church,” “Essemian (ess-EM-ian) Church” or “Church of the "Surrendered Male,” the organization worships the “Darkside Goddess (Kali),” who is usually shown with her foot on the prostrate corpse of the male deity Shiva.
According to one of the Church websites, “A growing number of special women, some wearing long, flowing robes and capes, and thonged sandals upon their feet, others clad all in leather, spike-heeled shoes or boots, and carrying implements of bondage or punishment, are being called 'goddesses' and worshipped by those who humbly bow their heads to the floor at their feet… The Essemian Manifesto describes in religious philosophical terms the postulation that certain acts of female dominance, when ritualized as psychodrama, can be a religious experience.”

If the Essemians represent the dark side of goddess worship, Rasa von Werder emphasizes a blinding white luminescence on her web pages and in her matriarchal “Mother of God Church”.

Like the Essemians, Ms. Von Werder has been around a while, having achieved a certain fame in as a female bodybuilder, a stripper and Playboy’s Miss Nude Universe under the name of Kellie Everts. Ms. Von Werder, in fact, maintains a separate “Kellie Everts, Stripper for God” website.

How can any church not similarly endowed compete with that? Ms. Everts/Von Werder must get rather a lot of applications from new enthusiastic male converts.

I didn’t delve deeply enough into her abundant offerings to see if she encourages her devotees to build an altar to worship her, but other Goddess organizations have made this a pre-requisite to advanced study, as in this admonition from the “Femina Society” (apparently no longer Googleable): “Student initiates must erect an Alcove (Altar) of Respect with one or more of Her artifacts (inquire) or a Goddess figurine of Her choice. “

This may sound wildly kinky and fetishistic. But is endowing some innocent artifact with Goddess-like powers really so different from some common courtship behaviors, like the one amusingly described in Oklahoma! by the lovely Laurey in “People Will Say We’re in Love”?

She warns her boyfriend Curly:

Don't start collecting things
Give me my rose and my glove.
Sweetheart, they're suspecting things
People will say we're in love.

But why just read Hammerstein’s lyrics when you can hear Shirley Jones sing them to Gordon MacRae?

Was Curly accumulating fetish objects for his private altar to Laurey?

Maybe. But here are two unarguable examples of idolatry-at-home, both from letters to the invaluable Elise Sutton Female Superiority website:
1. “My wife makes me worship her, pray to her and chant to her. Sexual service is a part of his ritual in worshipping her. It is a beautiful thing. I humble myself before my wife and pray to her. Then I kiss her feet and slowly work my worshipful kisses up her legs and eventually make my way to her shrine, the place where all life begins. Once there, I worship her by licking her to orgasm while my wife chants a lovely song about the superiority of women in her sexy and hypnotic voice. I feel so at peace and nurtured by her, as I taste of her. It is not uncommon for both I and my wife to have tears in our eyes during this sacred ritual.”

2. “My Mother was a staunch Female Supremacist and lived it 365/24/7. It was her lifestyle and her religion. She was a Goddess, and she knew it… My father had to worship her as his earthly Goddess and be her slave. My Mother had ceremonies and rituals where the men had to worship the women.”

In each of these instances, the apotheosis was initiated by the woman, but more often, I think, the impetus originates from the male acolyte, who wants to exalt his wife into a goddess. A typical plea:
“Is it wrong for me to worship beautiful women? Is it normal for me to create an elaborate altar that idolizes beautiful women? This is what is in my heart! To me, it is about serving a living deity. Am I the only male who feels this way?”

Absolutely not. I’ll confess, I’m another such. And what about this guy, who clearly harbors the self-same worshipful yearning:
“I would like my wife to assert her true female goddess and identity and let me openly worship her the way I have to do in private now. I would welcome the worshipping lifestyle in ways in which would I'm sure would make my wife's life heavenly.”

But let me back up to that earlier question to Elise —“Is it wrong for me to worship beautiful women?” Her answer begins with a theological clarification: “The practice of exalting people, animals, and nature above God is known as idolatry and if you are Jewish or a Christian, idolatry is the violation of the very first commandment. (‘you shall have no other Gods before Me’). The key words are ‘before me,’ so you can worship women, but be careful not to replace the Creator with the creation. Women were created to be served by men and to govern men from a position of authority. Women were not created to replace God in men’s lives.”

After lecturing the man, she gives him a maternal pat on the head: “I can fully understand your desire to want to worship women in a deeper and more spiritual way… Women are worthy to be worshipped but you must be careful to worship women in a manner that will meet their practical needs. Building an altar and meditating on the beauty and majesty of women might be good for you personally, and thus be mentally and spiritually satisfying, but it has no practical benefit to women.”

Grab a mop and a broom, in other words. Clean the altar and the holy ground all around. And then ask your Goddess what else She’d like done. Here’s a wife who obviously is worshipped in exactly that way: “Dear Elise, My husband has learned to obey me and, indeed, to worship me, and I truly believe that he is a better person for the experience.”

I’m not attempting a conclusion here, just a survey of a considerable field. But, if a conclusion needs to be reached, let’s have Elise Sutton do the summing up, in her best counseling voice:
“Do you feel guilty about worshipping your wife and serving her as her slave? This is merely an advanced form of romance and intimacy. Don’t make too much out of the word ‘worship.’ Religion elevates these words to unattainable standards when they really talk to our most basic nature. You love God so you sing songs of praise and you worship God. You love your wife so you adore her, praise her and show her acts of devotion. It is not the same kind of worship because your wife is flesh and blood whereas God is Spirit but they both involve intimacy. Worship is an act of intimacy.”

Friday, August 8, 2008

Isn’t She Simply Divine? - Part One

As I said in my book (Chapter 5, Page 48): “Worshipping Your Wife is not about literal worship (goddess or otherwise), idolatry or anything even remotely sacrilegious. It is about respecting and honoring, revering and protecting, adoring and cherishing.”

I went on to belabor the obvious point: “We’re speaking poetically—the hyperbolic language of lovestruck suitors. It is through this rose-colored prism we view the creatures we love. ‘All women are goddesses,’ screen goddess Nicole Kidman decreed… Boyfriends need to understand that if women are worshiped, the world will be a better place.’”

Issue settled? You might think so, but you’d be wrong. Some newcomers attracted to the wonderful world of Female-Led Relationships are ready to do a one-eighty when they encounter the “Worship” word.

Like this guy: "As much as I love my bride, I cannot, will not, put her in the place of God in my life, and as such can't consider ‘wife worship.’ The Bible says that we are to worship God alone (Revelations 19:10 and 22:9). And if I attempt to put anybody or anything in God's place, my life falls apart.”

I certainly don’t intend to offend anyone’s faith, or launch a debate on Biblical exegesis and theology. I thought I was dealing in romantic metaphor, the “hyperbolic language of love,” using “worship” figuratively, as a daily and reverential attitude that combines love and devotion, honoring and cherishing.

But maybe that’s not clear enough. So I’ve dredged up a few responses to this objection.

Here’s one from Fumika Misato’s original Wife Worship Yahoo Forum (back in 1999) from a poster screen-named “pbear”: "[My wife] suggested that wife worship was sacreligious and it made her uncomfortable. I worship God and thank God for bringing my wife into my life and pray that I am given the strength to stay focused on her and the role she plays in my life.”

Lady Misato offered her own clarification: “I don't think that anyone's use of the term ‘worship,’ including myself, means anything of a religious level. And I'm not sure how serious even the most serious female-supremacists are about the religious content. At best, they are more spiritually oriented.”

“I agree with Lady Misato,” amened Au876. “We are talking about submitting to our wife, putting her needs and wants above our on… We are not praying to her and while we may be seeking her guidance, we don't think it is divine.”

Or, as I wrote in an earlier blog-post: “We intend no sacrilege; I think we just get carried away.”

But this does not close the case. Some worshipful husbands, and worshipped wives, do use the “W” verb non-poetically, it seems. “My wife has started referring to herself as goddess,” writes a devout husband, “and I’ve tried to treat her like one, even to the point of worship. She has no problem whatsoever with my ‘idolatry.’”

Years ago a young man sought Elise Sutton’s advice when his girlfriend made the same demand: “My girlfriend wants me to literally worship her as a Superior Being, a Goddess if you will, in both physical and psychological aspects. However, I am having trouble with this request. Wouldn't I be guilty of idolatry in the physical act of worshipping my Mistress? My girlfriend is a staunch believer in female supremacy and says that it is okay for me to worship God's most perfect creatures on earth."

Elise’s response resonates with Lady Misato’s: “Your girlfriend is challenging you to explore the spiritual aspects of the female domination lifestyle. I am sure she does not feel she is a deity. It sounds like she wants you to recognize her superiority over you and she is demanding that you worship her as your earthly Goddess.”

But Ms. Sutton is only getting started on this provocative topic: “It is a beautiful thing when a man humbles himself before a woman and worships her as his earthly Goddess. Humility is an important aspect of Christianity. Jesus humbled himself before his disciples as he washed their feet during the last supper. Was he committing idolatry? No, he was serving them and teaching them how to serve one another… When you bow before your superior Goddess, you are recognizing her supreme position over you. You are not exalting her above God. If you did that, then you would be committing idolatry. But if you exalt her as your earthly Queen and Goddess, you should be able to rectify that with your conscience.”

Then Ms. Sutton goes a step farther on the issue of idolatry. There are female supremacists who encourage, and even demand what she believes is idolatrous worship from their men:
“I know some women who actually make their submissive men pray to them. They make them perform rituals as they worship their earthly Goddess. I have never embraced that sort of female domination due to my conscience…”

I was aware of that, of course, when I wrote the book, but chose not to delve too deeply into such practices. But perhaps I will in another post, Part 2 of “Isn’t She Simply Divine?”

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stuck on Courtship

In case you somehow missed the message…

This blog, and the book it’s based on, both trumpet a return to courtship. And not just a return, mind you, but a return from which there is no return.

“Perpetual Courtship” I call it in Chapter Three:
“Thick-headedness and primal hunting instinct may convince a man that once he has been accepted by a woman, the chase is over. But it isn't—as husbands often discover too late, only when wives announce they're leaving—weary, perhaps, not so much of being mistreated as being treated indifferently. Brides can be won, and brides can be lost—if not courted and captivated anew each day. The chase, in other words, needs to be perpetual, with a daily quota of thrills and tribulations.”

But (to argue the point) isn’t that turning marriage, which should be a progression of life phases (what Gail Sheehy famously called “Passages”) into an endless replay of the same passage, like a needle stuck in a groove (for readers old enough to remember the Vinyl Era)? What's the point of endlessly repeating one phase, even a happy phase, like in Groundhog Day? Isn’t this turning pursuit of the love object into a closed-loop Sisyphean task, like Wily Coyote’s pursuit of Roadrunner, Elmer Fudd’s after Porky, Tom’s after Jerry?

Don't we all want to move on in life? And does everything in life have to be about the woman? Catering to her, treating every day like a first date with a fistful of roses? What about guy stuff?

The simple answer is that perpetual courtship is designed for guys, as much as gals (to use a proscribed word I happen to like). The male animal craves the courtship phase. That's where he is most fully engaged. Doesn’t matter if he’s already married, the hunting-pursuing need is still there.

Take that ritual away and he is going to start straying. He will find his courtship elsewhere, outside the marriage, seeking strange flesh.

So, if you want to save or safeguard a marriage, keep the husband’s courtship compulsion endlessly focused on his wife.

But doesn’t the perpetual chase, with the quarry seemingly always beyond his reach, make a husband frustrated or insecure? A wee bit, sure. But it also makes him more ardent. “On the edge,” as Lady Misato puts it. Certainly it makes marriage, and life, more exciting.

In a romantic courtship marriage, the ardent knight is always entering the lists against a new challenger, or riding out to prove his mettle against a new dragon. Motivation is always there. His Lady Fair is always enthroned or empedestaled, endlessly to be won—or lost.

What better authority to cite on courtship than two Loving Female Authorities, Fumika Misato and Elise Sutton?
Lady Misato: “The key to rediscovering courtship in marriage is to withdraw the certainty of romance. This simple idea leads to all sorts of interesting and exciting directions.”

Elise Sutton: “During the courtship, a man has to gain permission from the woman if he can touch her or kiss her. Men treat women with more respect during the courtship than during the marriage because men soon take the woman for granted. The dominant woman always keeps the upper hand by making intimacy a reward and not a husbandly right. After all, the female body is a masterpiece and only a man full of reverence should be entitled to touch his Goddess.”