The happiest day of his life

When I was a preteen, I got my first Spiderman comic book. I was enthralled. A hero who had powers, but had a grandmother, responsibilities, made mistakes, felt guilt and confusion. I wanted this, not the princess crap. I did not want a prince to ride in and carry me off. I did not and don’t trust princes. The wedding being the happiest day of a woman’s life: what the hell? Is it the happiest day of the man’s life? If not why not? It’s important to the woman to be married to her love but not the man?

And anyhow, the Disney movies were very consistent. There were no good Disney Queens. The good ones died in childbirth, or were absent, or their ship went down. The stepmothers were evil. The princess career ended with marriage. Pregnancy either kills you or turns you evil. Actually, sex turns you evil if you are a female. That was the very clear Disney message judging by the animated features. Virgin girls are pure princesses but there are no adult female role models for years and years and years. By my preteens I wanted to drive my own wagon: I was not going to be taken care of, controlled, or left poor and with small children through divorce. I would have a career and children.

What IS the happiest day of a man’s life? Do we have any map of that? When they are promoted? When they buy twitter? When they are elected President? When they get married? Why do we have a happiest day for women (and is it the marriage or the sex?) but not for men?

In the romance novels, the man is usually older, “experienced”, rich, and has a reputation for seducing women. The woman is often a virgin, or she has a child because there was an evil man who she thought loved her, or the older man got her pregnant and she never told him. She knows it is true love because she is pure and yet is overcome by lust, so it must be true love. Snort. I have always thought this is stupid and silly. So men in the novels are experienced, have sex with lots of women, and then are carried away by lust that turns out to be true love with this woman? What about all the others? Did they think it was true love too? Or were they “bad” women, who had lust without true love? Impure, not virgins, not a “good” girl. Seems pretty confusing to me. Often the virgin gets pregnant because, hey, she is carried away by uncontrollable love, so of course she would not think about birth control. What is the experienced man thinking? Hey, let’s get this one pregnant, I’d like to pay child support? Oh, he’s carried away by uncontrollable love, but really now, you’d think after all that experience that he would use birth control. Apparently the rich experienced older seducer males are all morons when struck in the heart by true love. These books should be burned, really.

Anyhow, I was suspicious of the princess story and I wanted my own horse and armor and sword and I’ll fight my own dragons, thank you! I was much more interested in the super hero story, even though the superheroines were still pretty lame and likely to get killed off. Oh, and girlfriends get killed off. Gwen dying from fear during a fall: give me a break. Yuk. Made me glad she was dead if she was that much of a weakling. At least she couldn’t reproduce. I liked Mary Jane a whole lot more: feisty.

I wanted to be a superhero and still human, not a princess.

So what is the happiest day of a man’s life?

_____

The cat is Boa, not Sol Duc. Boa died at age 17 right before Covid-19 started.

7 thoughts on “The happiest day of his life

  1. OK, I’m really not playing devil’s advocate here, but after thinking about this mythology a LOT I’ve concluded it’s the human way of verbalizing the biological imperative to reproduce the species. It’s important to that end that women think that marriage and children bring happiness. And men? Personally, I don’t believe they are monogamous by nature, but women have to be given the long, long, long chore of raising a human infant to adulthood.

    I think people write this story over and over almost unconsciously because it is THE story. Based on my experience with men, women such as myself who don’t want that are kind of scary. “Oh no! How do I deal with this?” So, naturally women who are past child-bearing age or who are NOT interested in being a “princess” (mother) are evil and/or terrifying. I even have an 11 page letter from a man in whom I was once interested explaining that he was afraid of me and that’s why yada yada yada. Having power over oneself?

    Maybe this is different now, for younger generations. I have no idea, but nothing can change the biological imperative. It’s always there, which is kind of a pity since the biggest scourge to our planet is human over-population.

    • drkottaway says:

      Hmmm, I will chew on that. But we seem to be able to get away from biological imperatives enough to build spaceships. It’s just that the mythology wants to say men do that not women, which is untrue with birth control available.

      • I’m just talking about what that particular mythology seems to serve, and I also think the biological imperative is often ignored in these discussions.

        There’s a beautiful book I judged for a contest, “Anonymous is a Woman.” by Nina Ansary. It’s the best thing I’ve found for dispelling the myth that women have not, will not, and cannot do anything BUT have children.

        The reality remains that only women CAN have children. The most odious book on the male/female dynamic I’ve ever read is by Camille Paglia, “Sexual Personae” — but it’s well-written, interesting and makes a good — to me disturbing — case.

        • drkottaway says:

          Does it explain the “virgin good girl will only feel lust for true love” load of horse poop? But if it’s not true love, she’s a bad girl for feeling and/or acting on lust. Maybe we just haven’t had reliable birth control for long enough for the mythology to change. It is changing, slowly.

        • drkottaway says:

          Love the trailer! More book lust!

  2. You got comic books?! I wasn’t allowed to have comic books. Once I had a neighbor who had to get rid of his comic books. I had a Kool-Aid stand and we gave away a free comic book with every glass of Kool-Aid. Meanwhile, I read them as fast as I could while sitting at the table in the front yard. I had a kids’ radio show in the 70s. I read stories and promised no damsels in distress and no handsome princes to rescue them. I learned a lot about children’s literature but no one wanted to talk to me at parties. They seldom asked about the book I was reading. Maybe if I’d articulated my reasons as well as you did here, we could have talked. Happiest day of a man’s life? As a kid, I couldn’t even pick a favorite color – how can I pick a favorite day from 70 years?!

    • drkottaway says:

      Good point. I just hate the sales to women: make her wedding the happiest day of her life. Dumb, right? I bought comics with my hard earned allowance and read my cousins’ comics. (Still have mine, heh.)

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