I Don’t Subscribe to That

I couldn’t bear to keep my thoughts to myself, which probably escalated my need to share. In Lucy’s class, one of the gentlemen had written an article according to his understanding of the assignment. Lucy was trying to help us practice different types of writing and we were assigned the task of writing a magazine piece. Magazines for women and men are full of helpful articles on various subjects designed to their niche audience. I have quite a love of magazines and have a few subscriptions. They keep me up to date on trends and new recipes. Some stories are touching real-life dramas that result in my feeling fortunate not to have to deal with more than my current life, which is pretty nice. I really don’t know why a man would feel the need to write a story for women, especially one that wasn’t married and didn’t have much real world experience with women. He did not seem like a good candidate to know what he was talking about. But Mr. Simpson, as Lucy liked to call him, had some notion to inform us all and wrote his assignment and designed it for ladies to read.

I really don’t know what Lucy was thinking but she asked Mr. Simpson to read his article out loud in class. Usually she reserves that honor for good work. There are a few more women in my class this year and I am sure Lucy was aware of the discussion this story would begin. I was listening mindlessly for the first few seconds but then the title hit me. Apparently, Mr. Simpson had prepared a list of thoughts on how a woman could catch a husband. As far as I knew, it was 1958 and the thought that women were just supposed to catch men had disappeared for the most part in the past few years. I certainly did not want my Daisy to think that her only role in life was to find a man, and for that matter, I really didn’t want Junior to think he was a good catch. Steve had never spoken to me in any manner when we were courting to make me think that my only virtue to him was as a trophy. Truth be told, I am a good wife and any man would be lucky to have me, but that was besides the point. My mother had not raised me just to find a man, but I really didn’t get any clear instructions from her on my future, so that may have been some unspoken thought. I know that Steve’s mother had some thoughts about my ability to meet her expectations but by this time I had proved my own worthiness even to her.

As I listened to the list, I knew I was getting angry. Mr. Simpson had some pretty feeble ideas on using the feminine powers of persuasion and some old-fashioned contempt of the female gender to boot. I couldn’t wait for the reading to be over and I tried to glance at Lucy to see if her face could let me in on the joke but she stood in back of me and I didn’t want to turn all of the way around and bring more attention to myself. I felt my cheeks flush with my feelings. When the cruel joke was finally over, Mr. Simpson sat down and Lucy asked for comments. I balled my fists up so I wouldn’t speak without direction and tried to listen to the comments but they were mostly on the structure of the assignment. One other female student timidly asked if the subject seemed a little out of date and I heard myself make a noise of agreement. Mr. Simpson disagreed and I lost it a little. I raised my hand to speak and Lucy asked if I wanted to make a comment. And I did. Strangely for me when I am angry, my words were well chosen and sounded as if I was providing the debate points on why the information was neither useful or necessary. Truthfully I believed that this kind of writing required women to remake themselves to fit the descriptions of others, something I did not find respectful.  I know that I spoke a little quickly but I got through it. When I was finished, there was a pause that lasted a few long seconds and the women in the class all clapped out loud. I wasn’t expecting that but it felt good. I finally looked at Lucy and she was smiling. To the benefit of everyone, the bell rang and we were all dismissed.

Leaving class, Mr. Simpson did not look at me. I am sure my thoughts didn’t matter to him but I was perfectly okay with that. On the other hand, I walked out into the corridor to find some of the other women in class waiting for me. They were acting like students who had just won an award and wanted to celebrate. We decided to all walk over to the cafeteria to sit and talk. I enjoyed our discussion that day and we made plans to get together after class each week to discuss the joys and foibles of being female. Women are good at that. We can literally find everything wrong with ourselves and then follow it with everything right. I know from the own self-talk that I can be my own best friend and worst enemy at times. I didn’t really know that everyone else was doing the same dance in their own heads. I looked forward to our weekly meetings; who knew where these conversations might lead.




It seemed to have a lot of fishing metaphors in

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