Sweet dreams are made of this,
who am I to disagree?
I travel the world and the seven seas,
everybody's looking for something:
some of them want to use you;
some of them want to get used by you;
some of them want to abuse you;
some of them want to be abused...
--The Eurythmics, 1983/1991
A dispiriting way to bring girls up, Sarah thought; to make marriage the sole end of female existence, and yet deny that love between men and women was possible. Ada did deny it. In her world, men loved women as the fox loves the hare. And women loved men as the tapeworm loves the gut.
--Pat Barker, Regeneration, 1991*
In time the love of the prince became a little less ardent than formerly, so that his evil mood seemed to grow again. It was as though a thick fog had obscured his senses and corrupted his heart. In everything that the princess did he imagined that he saw little real sincerity. Her outstanding goodness offended him; it was a snare, he thought, for his credulity. His unhappy state of mind led him to believe every suspicion. As a result of the melancholy with which his mind had been tainted, he followed her about, watching her. He seemed to enjoy limiting her pleasures and alarming her, mixing the false with the true.
"I must not be lulled asleep," he said. "If these virtues of hers are indeed genuine, then even my most unreasonable actions will only strengthen them."
--Charles Perrault, Griselda, 1697 (after Boccaccio)
--Maybe it's perfectly normal for disputes between married adults to involve things being thrown and smashed and furniture being overturned and people being hit with frying pans and screaming and slamming and broken pieces and children fleeing out the windows and tires screeching into the night - I wouldn't know, I hardly knew anything else for the first decade and a half of my life.
--Maybe it's perfectly normal for fathers to talk regularly about killing, and wanting to kill, specifically to go up "on top of a tower and shoot people" at frequent, random intervals; I certainly thought it was, and didn't even know it was copycat crime envy, for most of my life. I never knew anything different, growing up.( Eventually you just get inured to it, if your mother keeps saying it's just talk and doesn't mean anything: doesn't everybody's dad talk about how he wants to massacre strangers all the time?)
--Maybe it's perfectly normal for women to marry men they don't love to get out of their parents' home, and then disillusion them shortly after the ceremony, and lay it on their children by prior relationships, setting up a dynamic of cryptic blame and resentment and using to poison the whole family from day one.
--Maybe it's perfectly perfectly normal for men to make "jokes" about husbands killing wives ( Collapse )
* Oh, I can't begin to tell you how ferociously I hated Pat Barker back in 1991, and hated the NYT for reviewing her and excerpting that passage where I could stumble over it by accident - how much easier it would have been to avoid looking at the whole damn cauldron of worms that was "romantic love" and Christian marriage in the twentieth century--! As bad as how they kept playing that song on the radio wherever I went that year...