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FROM FAB CAREER FEMINIST TO FRUMPY FRAU!
I used to call myself a feminist, however I drew the line at feminazi. I know that I am equally intelligent as my husband, despite the fact that nobody ever uses Doctor as a precursor to my name, which is Mimi M. I went through college like a rocket, after cleaning up a THC laden high school record and doing a bloody good job on those wonderful standardized tests. I landed with a small splash at U.C. Santa Cruz and barreled through Undergraduate and a Masters Degree in four ½ years. My hasty matriculation gave those banana slugs a good name. I was tripping over my coquettish satin mules (Minolo Blahnik knock-offs) to get into the “real world” and start attracting the big bucks like a monetary magnet.
For the next five years I worked at one of those big investment banks, giving out jewels of knowledge that I often acted upon myself. My mother was proud enough to take me on a pricey shopping fling through Macy’s, where I tried to buy timeless Anne Klein suits, I even forgave Burburry’s its old maid-ish reputation and invested in a well cut hardly frumpy wool suit. With the right Calvin Klein fitted button down and Via Spiga heels I could be the sexiest gal in the financial district. Life was good, my savings were growing, I was informally engaged to the right man, and my personal American dream was on the horizon.
Mother Nature had other plans. Even though I only saw my man on the weekends, it seemed one of those days had been enough for us to “follow God’s plan”.
I was knocked up. Throughout the pregnancy I worked. It wasn’t until I looking about to bust that I got off my feet. And after about 10 hours of agony, I had a little squished potato of my own. Well, legally half mine. Hubby deserves a squirt of recognition, pun intended. I frantically enjoyed my maternity leave, and when I went tromping back to work on Montgomery street, I really missed the little tyke.
Oh, it had a name, Cassandra, and no I didn’t know about the history of the name at the time, so my daughter will carry this aura of premonition about her, or, she’ll never read a damn thing the Greeks ever wrote and live relatively happily ever after. After about eight months, I became certain that I couldn’t miss the majority of her days. Happily, this coincided with my spanking brand new Husband accepting a job in Munich. So not only was I going to be transformed from chief breadwinner to housewife and mother, even more dire, I was headed blindly into a full time roll as a “hausfrau”.
First I need tell that being a homemaker in Germany has not become the commercial industry that is now in the U.S.A. To keep the tiny refrigerators full, the tiny washing machines spinning (forget dryers and reacquaint yourself with the clothesline) and the minuscule dishwashers cleaning, a woman is busy from dusk till dawn. Food must be carted home at least every other day, but freshness often demands a daily trip to the supermarket. Although the public transportation is great, it still leaves a mother carrying various bags and two toddlers on a couple of trains and a bus.
None of which stop at your front door. The upside? I stayed fit, rosy cheek-ed, and in the habit of keeping myself presentable. Actually, let’s bond over honesty and say I was fabulously fit. It was not until my husband’s career took us back to rural northern California that I began to let things, meaning me, slide. I don’t I was the sole instigator of turning me into a less attractive person, or frump. Here is my theory on the matter of long term coupling, which, as I said before, is mine.
Put your science/cultural anthropology hats on, or if you’ve never had one make one out of newspaper. The cognoscenti (those who are in the know) believe that there are relatively few cases of incest due to the following reason: mammals (like me) who live with, for a long period of time, years and years say, will almost always grow to have a complete aversion to anything bodily or sexual which concerns the familiar animal/sister/brother….husband? It is just flat out weird behavior to have hubba–hubba feelings towards your siblings because you have been in close to them your whole life and seen them grow and mature.
Does spending years with someone really make you find him/her sexually repulsive? In other words, does familiarity breed sexual boredom? I am afraid that the scientists say, that, to a certain extent, it certainly does, thank God and/or evolution. Let me tell you what familiarity bred between my husband and myself.
Obviously the first things to go were the modest suits fixed with come hither accessories. Luckily I had a few “we wear short shorts” outfits I had purchased for our Grecian vacations. These fit me to a tailored tee, thanks to all that lugging of chillun’ and groceries around urban and rural Munich. This was not to last. I was no longer a walker of kilometers and a climber of stairs. I didn’t conscientiously acknowledge that my life style was changing from pretty mobile to couch potato; if I had had that insight I would have gone into an exercise regime lest the buttocks and upper legs go all dimply. These things were not foremost in my mind; in Germany exercise was built into the lifestyle. My new life, and new charge, was to take some house and make it into a home for my husband and three kids. I gave a fleeting thought to full time white-collaring, but I didn’t want some stranger, however nice, spending more time with my kiddies than I was. I became an American Housewife as well as the family taxi, as so many mothers are, and my butt began to resemble a bucket seat. I started skipping showers, then hair appointments, my manicure was a forgotten luxury.
I think the day I realized I would fit in at Woodstock was during a family dining out excursion on a hot, hot May day. I was feeling so relaxed I threw my arms over my head, fingers entwined, to give my back an almighty stretch. As I did so, the faces of my nearest and dearest became contorted in disgust. I had bushy armpits. And bushy armpits make for bushy armpit-hair stench. “Mommy, put your arms down!” and “yech” were two of the comments that led to my late night date with the Sally Hansen hair remover. The third unspoken clue was the fact that I had been sexless for almost five weeks. So I resolved to revamp the mommy look with exercise and visits to the spa, before my husband started to complain about my sexiness, or lack thereof. Next to come: Being beautiful in the U.S.A. is a hell of a lot of work.
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