The harsh reality of feminism | AspenTimes.com

The harsh reality of feminism

Alison Berkley

So my brother is dating his 19-year-old maid.He is 29 and lives in Costa Rica, where, he tells me, “It’s perfectly acceptable for older men to date younger women.” Understand he was only in Colorado for a week, so I had a limited amount of time to kick his ass.”That’s nice,” I replied, trying to maintain a calm, even tone. “But a 19-year-old is not a younger woman. A 19-year-old is a child.” I pressed on. “I mean, what do you guys talk about? What does she think about?” I decided not to even bring up the fact that this girlfriend doesn’t speak a lick of English. We had that discussion during his last visit when he informed me that the best way for him to learn Spanish was with what he called a “sleep-in dictionary.”Wanting to learn another language I can understand. Hell, I’d go so far as to say I admire it – but dating the maid?”I figured I might as well keep her on the payroll,” he said, giving me a friendly punch in the arm.”Ouch! That hurt,” was the best response I could come up with.Let me interrupt the story for two seconds and explain that my brother is not this shallow, womanizing monster that I portray him to be. He is in fact, my favorite person in the world. This annoying guy I once knew said, “you are blinded by your love for your brother,” and it really bothered me – probably because I knew that just this once, he was right.Dan is like the character Ferris Bueller (please tell me you’re old enough to remember the movie starring Matthew Broderick) – the charming, adorable younger brother who gets away with murder and is loved by all. Meanwhile, I’m like the moody, older sister (played by Jennifer Gray of “Dirty Dancing” fame), the one with frizzy hair and braces who takes all the heat.He got all the best genes in our family: blond hair, green eyes and a little ski jump nose that came from God-only-knows-where. (Could he be the milkman’s kid?) He has perfect skin, never needed braces, and has the dimple I always wanted in his left cheek (life is so not fair). Maybe I am blinded by my love for him, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. My friend Sarah says he looks like Matt Damon, and I’ve had a few other friends along the way who have had opinions about him I don’t even want to think about. Let’s just say I’m not his only fan.He moved to Costa Rica after he went down there for a surf trip and discovered the country had more than beautiful beaches and good waves. There were also beautiful women, something he says he missed after 10 years of living in the mountains. Not to mention it’s also dirt-cheap, and has afforded him a comfortable lifestyle that includes a personal chef, a massage therapist he sees twice a week, and the aforementioned live-in maid.Meanwhile, in the midst of Dan’s visit I’m reading Maureen Dowd’s new book, “Are Men Necessary?” and it’s really upsetting me. A few people have compared my writing style to hers, even though she’s like a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and the only award I ever won was when I was voted “Best Columnist” in 2002 by the readers of The Aspen Daily News. (Go figure.)So I picked up her book and it basically says that powerful women are screwed because men don’t want to deal with us. They prefer more traditional, submissive types, she says, citing statistics about how the more money a woman makes, the lower her chances are that she’ll get married. The opposite is true of men. She also says men are leaving their successful wives for the subordinate females in their lives, their caretakers, their secretaries – and their maids.I have thrown this book across the room on more than one occasion, mostly because, (as I already admitted) I hate to face the truth. Reading this book has evoked crazy thoughts, like dropping this writing racket and just becoming a yoga instructor. I mean, how much easier would that be? Feminism is such crap. The alleged opportunity it’s afforded us is a ruse – all it did was create more responsibility than one human being can handle. Sometimes I feel like I’ve climbed too high up a tree and can’t get down. The journey up was fun, and I’ve got a great view, and it’s kind of exciting every time the wind blows, but I’m basically just clinging to the branches until someone comes to my rescue. And let me tell you, I’ve braved a lot of storms. I’m totally exposed, and it sucks.And then there’s my brother, who like I mentioned, is one of my favorite people in the world, and he’s living proof of this predicament. I have to ask myself what kind of influence my mother and I have had on him. We’re both educated, athletic, outspoken, and (OK, fine) maybe a little overbearing. It’s sort of difficult to overlook the fact that he has chosen women who are the exact opposite.His last night in town, we went out for Mexican food and Dan had a little truth serum we call tequila. After his third margarita, he squeezes my shoulder and says, “The truth is, I would love to be with a nice American girl who is smart and athletic, but I just haven’t found one who would love to be with me, too.”Maybe I’m not the only one up a tree, I thought. And maybe being on top isn’t so bad. I’ll just have to ride it out and enjoy myself until someone comes along who is brave enough to climb up there with me.The Princess should really go back to reading Us Weekly so she doesn’t have to think about this stuff. Send your loving e-mail to alison@berkleymedia.com.


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