Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sex, food, friends, family, shopping, chocolate...

...what order do you put them in? Women, I mean. The author of a very interesting article in The Daily Mail said that what makes women happy are these six things in roughly that order. I immediately wondered if the author was counting down to number 1 or starting from the top. What do you think?

The author is Fay Weldon, novelist, playwright, and screen writer. The Daily Mail bills the article this way:
It's OK to fake an orgasm and let him look at other women. Don't nag, just smile sweetly at him for his funny little ways. From FAY WELDON, one of Britain's best-known feminists, a provocative recipe for modern male fulfilment.

The article is accompanied by three stills from the movie, When Harry Met Sally, showing the climax of the scene between Billy Crystal and the wonderful Meg Ryan in the deli.

It's well worth reading. The article was adapted from Weldon's forthcoming book, What Makes Women Happy. An excerpt:
Guilt is stronger in women than in men, which is rather unfair. But what you are after is happiness, not fairness, so best accept it.

You can take the proud and defiant path through life, of course. Some do and get away with it. My friend Valerie went to an assertiveness class, complaining that other people walked all over her. My own feeling was that she was the one who normally did the trampling.

Valerie was told to give voice to her anger (or she’d get cancer), speak emotional truths (it was only fair to herself), never fake orgasm (it’s a lie, an indignity) and seek justice in the home and at work.

When she returned after her two-week course, she bullied more, smiled less and her self-esteem was sky high. It’s true she got a rise, but she lost her boyfriend. Justice was on her side, but life wasn’t.

Resenting men, a familiar emotion in most women, is understandable but pointless. It is not fair that for men — or at least 98 per cent of them — the culmination of sex is an orgasm. For women, it is not. Just 10 per cent of us always, always have one, or so the figures say. The statistics change. But the broad pattern is clear. Orgasm, the pleasure so liberally bestowed upon men by nature, is only grudgingly given to women.

Of course, women resent it. Listen to any conversation between women when men aren’t there: at the hen night, on the factory floor, over the garden fence, at the English Literature tutorial.

Women may laugh and joke, but actually they’re furious. They can, we can’t, unfair, unfair. They may not know what’s biting them — but that’s it. But facts are facts and there we are. Deal with it. Life is not fair. Resenting the fact is no recipe for happiness.

Indeed, the less you think about orgasms the better, since the greatest bar to having one, if we’re to believe research, is wanting one. Best if they creep up on you unawares. Which is ironic, since what you want most you’re going to least get.

But a lot of life is like that. Want too much and it’s snatched away. An attitude of careless insouciance is more likely to pay dividends. Because really it doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things, just as having an eclair or not doesn’t matter. Life goes on pretty much the same with or without.

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