Some Men Are More Perfect Than Others by Merly Shain!

book copyPic by Franzi.

It took a while to finally get a copy of Some Men Are More Perfect Than Others by Merle Shain into my hands (I finally imported one from the U.S.). I once saw it on a website and was instantly hooked by its title, the content and the raving reviews: It’s ‘a book about men, and hence about women, and love and dreams.’ Merle Shain’s narrates her personal view on relationships/marriages (she wrote it in the 1970’s, where a marriage was still the status-quo). Back then the Canadian author was already divorced and experienced both sides of the story. I loved her writing and all those clever insights …that during the 1970s and 1980s were surely revolutionary!

On Romantic Love:

Day to day contact has a way of causing the intensity of romantic love to dissipate and sometimes when you get the somebody you have yearned for, most of the magic vanishes with the pain. It’s easy to want what you don’t have, when you don’t have it, and hard not to want something else when you do, so the big love in a lot of lives is the one that got away.

On Love and Making Love:

Once we couldn’t speak of sex and now we can’t speak of love, and strangers go to bed together instead of shaking hands.

On Married Men and Other Women:

A mistress has magic on her side, it’s true, but no one really believes in magic, not even magicians themselves, and the wife has history on her side, and economics, and children and innocence, habit, inertia and self-respect. And many a man who wouldn’t stay for her will stay for the image of himself as a good person, for his sailboat and his books, and because it is usually easier to stay where you are and do nothing, except when you must do something, anything at all. In that case, the mistress is simply a means of escape – like a parachute – essential to the skydivers safety while airborne but extra baggage when on the ground. And many a woman who felt herself loved by a man when he had a wife finds she has less, not more, of him after he is free.

On More Married than Happy:

We want to be together all the time, so we lock ourselves away in the love nest and begin to sacrifice individuality for “the relationship,” personal friends for mutual friends, and evenings with the boys for nights in which both give up what they would like to do for activities neither really wants.

On Today and Tomorrow:

Perhaps the old view of “Me breadwinner, you hausfrau” worked for our grandparents, when people obligingly popped off before boring each other to death, but it won’t work any longer because we are living too long and divorce is needed today to do what death accomplished more economically before.

On Loss of Love:

Some say it is rejection itself that panics us and that it hasn’t a thing to do with how much the lover was valued. And that seems likely, as many of us have wept copious tears over someone we were planning to leave ourselves before they beat us to it.

Perhaps it is the loss of the dream of being loved and loving that matters more than the loss of the lover himself, and that is a loss of self. One can’t run in a park without a dog or make angels in the snow without a child and there are things one can’t do without a lover, so the loss of the lover is like an amputation and the patient goes into shock.

On when Marriage (aka a relationship) ends:

One of the fringe benefits of being handed back your life is being awarded custody of yourself. {…} When you are first on your own, it may not seem a lucky break, because it takes time to rediscover who you are (And when you are used to defining yourself as half of a couple, or as the wife of a particular man, it takes a while to get this clear.) Most women, when they first find themselves alone again, unconsciously wait for another man to define themselves around, remaking themselves a little for each one that comes along.

On Your Own:

Single women have more moonlit drives and weekends out of town, but they may often spend their birthdays on their own and sometimes when they want to see a movie they have to take themselves.

There are no perfect men of course, but some are more perfect than others, and we can use all of those we can get. It’s true that there are fewer reasons to marry than there were in our parent’s day, but the most important one remains the same. It is still awfully nice to have someone to curl around in the night.

I wish you a wonderful weekend. Have a perfect one :)!

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