Brave New Woman

Stepford? Harper Valley? Call me a cab....

Elke Sommer, German actress, wearing a crochet minidress with a beehive hairstyle and sitting on the floor in a studio portrait, against a green background, circa 1965. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

Apologies, Elke Sommer. Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

I’m looking for a powerful man to safeguard me from the evils of the world. At one point, I thought I could be like a powerful man, but then the winds turned and the lights went out.

I vow to be the new American woman. Or at least, the latest version of her, as she oh, so elegantly emerges from the ballot booth waving off her husband while simultaneously polishing his doorknob. I hereby surrender my fight and join the ranks of my fellow female frenemies—second tier to the great white male. True, gold has eluded me, but silver is worth having too.

I’m not looking for sympathy: I’m relieved. I didn’t know how to do feminism anyways. There were too many choices, too much confusion. When Sam on Twitter tweeted, “Feminism fights against the world’s natural order and makes for an awful lot of unhappy women,” I thought how does he know me so well? I’m looking forward to a simpler life, one that is black and white with little room for gray.

As the new American woman, I will disengage from left-wing Facebook politics and promise to stop obsessively reading and reposting Breitbart news. Although, there was some valuable information in Milo’s essay, “How to make women Happy. Uninvent the washing machine and the Pill.” Then Doug from Texas, whom I don’t know but wish to, commented, “The work world which I live in is demanding and ugly. I provide for my wife so she never has to work outside the home if she doesn’t want to.” I was touched and thought, “I hope somewhere out there; there’s a Doug for me too.”

I’m pro family. I love families. I love my family. I love other people’s families. I love kids, and I love dogs too. I think I’m kind and good and would make a nice wife. I went to a seven sister school, but I’m not a lesbian—no girl-on-girl for me, unless my man wants me to.

The truth is I’m lucky. I’m a blue-eyed, blonde babe who gives good head, and my boobs are real too. But don’t hate me. I have issues. I’m on the wrong side of 30, I don’t have a trust fund, and I have spindly weak ankles. Sometimes, I have to wrap them like those ancient Chinese ladies with bound feet. On the bright side, my girlfriend said at least I don’t have cankles. She had on a darling pair of Sarah Jessica Parker stilettos and even managed to jump over a big puddle in the rain. I then spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out if I’d rather have cankles or pained ankles?

Wearing heels is risky. Will I break a foot? Will I come home in one piece? I’ve become entirely obsessed by other women’s shoewear. Some believe the bigger the hair, the closer to heaven. I believe the higher the heel, the better the woman. I’ve only mastered a kitten heel thus far, but inch by inch, I’m working my way up.

I’m far from perfect. I bleed from my vagina monthly. Once I was at a gala and had a terrible accident in a gilded gold bathroom. I splattered the walls and the floors red and stood back in wonder at my great mess. I was in a pristine, white gown with blood on my hands and thought, “No man knows such chaos unless at war.” Returning to the party, champagne in hand, I left the bathroom spotless.

I once foolishly dreamed of being fierce like Joan of Arc, but then she was burned at the stake. I refuse be ostracized with the misfits. I’d rather fall into a homogenous pool of paternal power and protection. And although I no longer believe in evolution, Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest theory seems neat. I only ask of my white American male leaders, what must I do when the rage in my belly builds or my heart aches? Is there a pill to take?

There’s a strange comfort to becoming someone I’m not. Once a sex columnist who kissed and told, a whore of the ages, now a modern day Mary Magdalene. I will be a devoted wife with good values, dedicated to the home and the children, and if I do so choose to dabble in the ugly work world, I’ll be carefully coifed like an ice cold, beauty queen.

Even if my soul bangs against my ribs and cries out for understanding, I won’t be difficult, and now that I can no longer afford to believe in the irrationality of love, I won’t be picky. Time presses upon me and without a husband, I am weak.

I imagine my husband like other men. He encourages me under the guise of empowerment.

“I will support your decisions,” he says. “Even if you want to start a jewelry line or teach kindergarten, I will support you.”

I don’t tell him I don’t want to start a jewelry line or teach kindergarten. He leans in, a big man and kisses me.

It is dark, and I can barely see his shape. I lie back on our king-sized Savoir bed, while he sits in a chair across the room and watches me. Surrounded by shopping bags from Herve Leger, Chanel, Ralph Lauren, my head rests on my new cream-colored, cable-knit cashmere sweater. He tells me to touch myself.

I run my hands over my breasts, my hipbone and down my thigh. I’ll bend for him. I’ll be his prize and his pride, and in return he will keep me safe. I stick my fingers inside myself and think of all of his money.

I can do this. I can be someone I’m not, because I understand the inclination.

The other night I was provoked by my liberal-minded date who had the audacity to hope.

“After the election, I buried my feminism right along side my independent spirit,” I told him and then steered the conversation to my newfound lust, cushion-cut diamond rings.

He insisted female empowerment wasn’t dead at all but stronger than ever. He quoted Gloria Steinem for inspiration. Her name rang a bell, like a once remembered dream.

“Glory who?” I asked.

He told me she likened our political times to an abused woman about to leave a violent household, about to get outside of his control. It is just then, at the cusp of freedom, she is most likely to be murdered or beaten.

“What you are seeing now,” he said, “is patriarchy’s last gasp.”

I try to picture what an America with a woman equal to or on top of a man might look like, and I can only hope, for her own sake, she’s in descent shape.

But until then, I will do my best to be the new American woman, waiting on all fours, dutiful, beautiful and game.

Brave New Woman