March 14, 2012
a guest opinion from my dear friend Glenna, a confirmed spinster
Essay of the Week
Recently I've experienced an unexpected thrill. Unexpected because I had no idea it was even possible at my time of life, and thrilling because of the raw power. I think it may be akin to what men feel when they're in charge of large equipment.
I don't understand how, but I’ve become a huge political asset: Me! A single woman!! OMG! Usually, being a single woman is like, well, what it’s been like for most of human history – being marginalized, poorly paid or altogether unpaid, suspected of witchcraft, expected to work overtime and vacations if lacking a husband and 2.5 kids (or five if you’re Mrs. Romney, or seven, if you’re Mrs. Santorum), treated like a homewrecker ala Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction and thus shunned socially – the list goes on.
But this year’s election season has dusted all single women with magic: we may hold the key to the November election. Oh, to feel needed and attractive again! I cannot get over it. Would it be an overreaction to visit the salon for a makeover just to respond to robopolls by phone? Perhaps not. With great power comes great responsibility.
Whom do I have to thank for this unexpected reawakening of attractiveness? Republican men. It’s odd, and contradictory, but there it is. Big, famous, rich white Republican men. Specifically, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Rush Limbaugh. Unfortunately, not my type.
I am not alone. Recent polling indicates that women are leaving the Republican side in droves to vote for Obama in November. And it’s single women who are doing most of the leaving. We like Obama’s intelligence and ready wit – qualities the Republicans cannot seem to master. Of course, any president who can croon like Al Green has a huge, a vast – I simply cannot emphasize this enough – a near-universal advantage among women, single or married. So refreshing after the Bush era when we were all constantly subjected to John Ashcroft singing about that soaring eagle. But Obama makes us feel so brand new. Let’s stay together!
It’s not that there were ever that many single women enthusiastic about the GOP, if you don’t count Ann Coulter, who is so pickled in poison and abusive that she makes me think GOP men are like the late great political theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau – they like a gal with a whip.
But I digress. Sort of. The eruptions of the last few weeks over women’s right to control their bodies has stripped away much of the decorative bunting from the Republican message, revealing what’s actually under there: patriarchal theocracy. At least Mitt and Rick spend a lot of time there – Rush may be at a porn store.
I, and all the beautiful, incredibly intelligent, talented, funny, productive and dedicated single women I know, keep shaking our pretty little heads in amazement as each new Republican gaffe surfaces and spreads like wildfire through the digiverse. How they think women will vote for candidates who promise on a stack of Bibles to require women needing abortions to submit to forced vaginal penetration by the state, who want to outlaw all contraception, who call a panel of old religious leaders to a congressional committee to discuss contraception without a single (or married) woman’s participation, and who call smart and beautiful young women sluts and prostitutes while drooling voyeuristic slime all over them, we cannot imagine. It is to laugh.
What will they do next? Outlaw women’s shoes? Because it appears Republican men want us to return to that idealized state of tribal culture when all women were barefoot and pregnant.
Back in the 1960s, when the suburbs were the scariest Republican territory, we had the Stepford wives and movies about valium abuse. Now we have sister-wives. I for one am not planning to run up a nice shirtwaist dress in a floral cotton print with a self-belt and a Peter Pan collar. Get me a gabardine suit with shoulder pads and a peplum, and some suede open-toed pumps. And put on the swing music real loud. Let’s dance!