Messages come this week from the East. Seems Middle Chicken and friends are a little worked up over Candace Cameron-Bure’s comments and book, released last week. The book, Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose, espouses Candace’s belief in submissiveness in marriage.
Before we move further–can I point out one thing? I write a popular blog, a lot of it about marriage. Thirty thousand readers follow along. My book remains in the publishing quagmire; but books espousing submissiveness and wife beating (remember Melissa Gorga?) are in print. WTF? Perhaps idiocy is the missing chip.
Candace, our beloved DJ Tanner from Full House, never struck us as a delicate, frail flower in need of direction. For millions of young girls, DJ was the girl they wanted to be. She was confident, competent and ready to take on the world. That she is promoting “submissiveness” in marriage is confusing to girls who related to DJ. Alas, Candace is not DJ and DJ was a made
She’s sharing her view. She isn’t saying it’s for everyone. She does have a 17-year marriage, undoubtedly some kind of a record in the world of Hollywood and professional athletics. Her husband is a hockey player. I know right? A belief that whatever works in a marriage, in the bedroom, in a relationship is up to the consenting adults, has always been my hallmark. So, I don’t necessarily have the same problem the younger set from the East does. They have yet to learn that compromise exists each and every day in marriage, on both sides, and that sometimes the best course of action is a closed mouth. But every day? You’d have to cut out my tongue.
The Norwegian pleaded more than once, “Please, please, please, don’t say anything.” Sometimes, compliance was best. Other times, his pleas fell on deaf ears. He learned that what he liked on first blush could be a pain in the ass to live with just as I learned his love of privacy, intriguing at first, could be an irritant. After a while I wanted to scream, “For god sake get over yourself. Your secrets aren’t that interesting.”
Where Candace gets it wrong is not that she should or should not choose to be subservient. It’s that most men are incacpable of handling the mantle. Do we really want someone in charge who, left to his own devices will wear bermuda shorts with black socks and hard soled shoes? If we let men roam about willy nilly, we will be decorating our homes with palette furniture, listening to heavy metal and drinking beer. Good Lord. Do we really want to hand over the reigns to someone who needs to be reminded to keep his hands off his junk in public? They need our help and our direction. Subservience to someone who isnt’ sure where the plates are kept? Not on my watch.
For the girls, it’s counter to DJ and who they believed her to be. She was the smart, older sister they knew was going to rock the world. To hear her tell legions of fans, “My man is the leader.” And “It doesn’t work to have two heads of authority. It doesn’t work in the military. I mean we have one president–you know what I’m saying?” I think Hillary missed the memo on that one, non?
So why isn’t real life DJ running a corporation like we thought she’d be? The same reason most of us aren’t. And it’s not a glass ceiling. It has more to do with an unwillingness to stay in a game where the playing field is considered even, though one of the players is sporting a comb-over and a polyester tie. We throw our hands up in the air and realize we can accomplish more at home and in our communities than the seat time guaranteeing men a higher rung on the ladder.
Middle Chicken reads various passages and passes on that a friend sent her a message: “Your mom needs to comment.” So here’s my comment. Her marriage–her business. Disappointed? Don’t be. There are a couple of marriages I would recommend, both inhabited by a Claire; as in Underwood and Huxtable. You want to be an equal, well-regarded and able to voice your opinion. You also want to provide the example of a strong-minded, powerful partner. Not to mention the ability to side eye with the best of them.
Not all of us have to ability to go all Lady MacBeth like Claire of the Underwood variety. We don’t all believe, “I like irons but I love fire.” Most of us might, however, tell our beloved, “No, I’m not going to ask for your blessing on every decision I make.” As one critic wrote, “Claire has power because she knows she has power.” Are we really so eager to abdicate that power to someone who has to be reminded it’s time for a haircut or has to order out in order to feed his own children?
Most of us do have the ability to rule the mini worlds of our homes ala Ms. Claire Huxtable. Career, mother, fierce hottie, five kids, doctor husband, take-no-shit-woman and a boss of the highest order. When things get tough? Let’s dance. Works every time. Need more proof?
“Oh, Child, don’t lie to me.” No one, with a lick of sense, would utter anything but the truth.
“I am a woman who is black. But I am also a human being who is an attorney, a mother of five, and somewhat knowledgeable about history, which is why I thought I was invited here. But when you look at me, this is all you see in me? A black woman?” Save your life. Run. Now.
“You are weak and sad.” You do not want to be on the receiving end of this.
“I amaze myself.” Us too.
Regardless of how any couple works through marriage–however we twist ourselves to accommodate the other, no matter how many times we bite our tongues, at the end of the day, if respect and regard is not the cornerstone of the relationship, submissive doesn’t mean a damn thing but, “yielding to the will or authority of another,” as Mr. Webster tells us.