|My boyfriend, he is so wise.|
Huffington Post ran my "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Housewives" piece last week. It was my first "wildly" popular post, not even close to going viral but it received over 1,000 comments and over 5,000 people liked it on the Facebook. I had a feeling that it would spark some interesting conversations...and I was right.
Whenever something I've written runs on HuffPost Divorce, I brace myself for the inevitable barrage of comments from what I like to call the He-Man Woman Hater's Club. There's a small group of men, very angry, somewhat bitter and extremely caustic men, who love to comment on articles written from a woman's perspective on divorce and single parenting. They blather on about the evils of alimony, about leeching ex-wives and their favorite factoid to spout off about is that "70% of all divorces are initiated by WOMEN!". I've told them, many times, that the majority of divorces are initiated by women because in many cases the men are too cheap, too chicken or too busy boning their new girlfriend(s) to do it. They have yet to embrace my logic.
This time, with this post, the He-Man Woman Hater's Club didn't attack. In fact, a few of them made "nice" comments. Gave me props, wished me luck, that sort of thing. I got a little weepy when one particularly gnarly guy actually reached out and sent me an email wherein he apologized for past remarks and said that he was going to print out my post and share it with his daughters. All together now: AWWWWW! It was really sweet.
What I didn't prepare myself for was the backlash from women. Granted, out of over 1,000 comments there were maybe 15 outright critical ones. All from women. And the worst were from supposed stay at home moms. Three in particular. One eventually apologized for being such a twat, but the other two are still bleating in the comment section a week later.
Some of the nasty comments came from people who most likely just read the title and maybe up to the part where I think to myself, "What the hell do you do all day?". I imagine that's when they rolled their eyes and quickly commented about "how dare you say what I do all day isn't work!" and "I'm so sick of stay at home moms being criticized!". Of course, if they had read farther, or perhaps if I had come up with a less-inflammatory title, they'd have realized that I am a strong supporter of BOTH stay at home moms AND working mothers. BECAUSE I'VE BEEN BOTH.
The most baffling one, however, was the woman who took great offense over the use of the word "comfortable" which I used to describe married sex. Her first comment lambasted me about it, suggesting that I quit taking out my anger over a failed marriage on innocent wives everywhere. And that mayhap the fact that I used the word "comfortable" to describe sex with my ex was the very reason he ended up leaving me.
Now, those of you who have read my stuff before know I have openly discussed the less-than-hot aspects of my marital sexy times. Is it impossible to have fireworks-inducing lovemaking when you are married? Of course not. Is it easy? Of course not. I was 5 months pregnant when Big Daddy and I tied the knot. And after that baby was born, three more came along in very quick succession (I was also raked over the coals on the HuffPost for having four kids, but we'll get to that in a bit). Pregnancy, breastfeeding, colicky infants, insecurity about having a postpartum body...all of that can make sex not only challenging, but let's be honest: it can make it feel like yet another chore, another task that needs tending. Not all of the time, though. There were always times when it was so beautiful, so tender, so mother effing COMFORTABLE.
I don't miss my ex-husband. Not one bit. But I do miss comfortable sex. Because it's a perk, a benefit that only couples who have snored next to each other for an extended length of time get to enjoy.
Sex when you're single can be AMAZING. It can be hot and racy and sweaty and can make you tingle right down to your toes. But one thing it isn't (at least not right away), is comfortable.
To me, comfortable sex is the kind where you know each other so well that there's no need to whisper "a little higher" or "whoa, cowboy, not so fast!" in your partner's ear. Oh sure, you can still whisper but when you've been with someone for a certain length of time, they know just how high to go and they know exactly when to speed up or slow down.
Comfortable sex is the kind where you can laugh. You can talk. Or you can remain silent, eyes closed and still be communicating. Your bodies know each other, they fit together and move together like a bow and violin that have been played in tandem for hours, years, decades.
That was what I meant when I used the word comfortable. Which I reiterated to this snarky chick. But she wouldn't let it die. She kept at it, and me.
I confess: my skin isn't as thick as it should be. I'm getting better at ignoring the mean stuff, but sometimes I just can't ignore it. This particular commenter happened to have her twitter handle alongside her little HuffPost avatar, so I clicked on it. I don't know why.
I was sad to discover that she is from England. Sad, because I have several readers from across the pond and they are LOVELY, kind people. This one, she was indeed lovely, but only on the outside.
Plus, finding out she's British meant I had to go back and re-read all of her venomous comments in a haughty English accent.
Our last barbs traded involved her sharing with me that she loves her husband, has a hot sex life and enjoys pearl necklaces (not the kind you get at a jewelry store, if you know what I mean). Which I thought was a little bit of oversharing, but whatever. She does have a food blog, which you might want to check out. Because, despite the fact that she's kind of mean, she can obviously cook. Maybe that's what I was doing wrong in my marriage? Not cooking enough. And not enjoying pearl necklaces.
The third Mean Girl was the one who, among other things, thought that maybe it was a mistake that I had four kids. I told her that it's a little late to for me to do anything about that one. She also told me that my main problem was that I didn't "marry smart". Okay.
So, obviously, I didn't mean to offend anyone with that particular article. I thought it had a good message for pretty much anyone, especially women. I'm proud of the discussions it created, and the positive feedback I received was so awesome that those few naysayers didn't really chap my hide too badly.
One thing I learned was that I need to toughen up. I tend to think of the things I write as my "babies", and although I know they aren't everybody's cup of tea, it still stings a bit when they are met with criticism, or even worse: bitchy personal attacks.
I also learned that not everyone understood the title. I still love it, and I still think it fits perfectly. But it could have been something that sounded less demeaning, less insulting. For that I apologize.
If I'd chosen a different title, though, chances are I wouldn't have had this in my head for the past few weeks:
Sing it, Willie and Waylon!