Friday, July 16, 2010


I have a question. I realize it’s rhetorical but I feel the need to share my bewilderment.

Why do attractive, confident, intelligent and financially independent women end up in relationships with men that want to control them?

There is no doubt in my mind this is another of the world’s great mysteries. I certainly am not engaging in any kind of man-bashing or degradation of any female who wakes up one day and finds herself in this situation, I’ve done it myself. Twice!

At a recent fashion event of the ‘ladies who lunch’ variety I was engaged in a round table conversation with an assemblage of near strangers when the topic turned to shoes, as it so often does in my presence. After debriefing on the current clog trend, the banter turned to sexy sandals and the all encompassing love affair those at the table had with them, when one participant broadcast her husband didn’t ‘allow her to wear sexy sandals.’

I’m sorry, what? Did someone just slap me into the 50’s and pop me next to June Cleaver?

I have so many questions I’m not quite sure where to start. How does one identify a pair of sandals that are too sexy? Too much toe cleavage?

Can she make a call in the affirmative on her own or must she present the offending stem to him for his approval? What other regulations apply? Is there a clothes / shoe combination rule that comes into play?

Despite near biting my tongue off in an effort to silence my mounting opinions I simply enquire as to what she means by that? Allegedly, her husband takes issue if she wears any type of shoe that may garner some kind of attention. From anyone. Hello, control freak in the house!

Clearly there’s an entire list of issues going on in this particular situation and given I am no psychologist I won’t even begin to speculate about what they might be but this woman is sadly not unique. I have heard dozens of girlfriends and near strangers tell very similar stories and contrary to popular belief these women aren’t doormats, they are emotionally healthy, physically attractive, independent and successful women.

So what’s going on here? Are women, no matter how ‘together,’ still in search of Prince Charming? Are we holding onto a childhood fairytale that a man should come rescue us, to our detriment? Problem is, in this new world of independence and career success we don’t really need rescuing. The tired old line of ‘let me take you away from all of this’ doesn’t really apply. I’m sorry, it’s great that you drive a prestige car and have a balcony with an amazing view – me too, now can we have a conversation with greater depth?

Don’t get me wrong for every one of these stories I’ve heard a woman interrogate a man with; 1) So what do you? 2) What do you drive? 3) Where do you live? Three simple questions designed to compile an income review and size up his potential as a ‘sponsor’ for the gal who aspires to being kept. If that’s your thing, knock yourself out, but don’t think the sponsorship doesn’t come at a price. I guess it’s up to the sponsored to negotiate terms that work for her? As a collective group our message to men is somewhat perplexing.

We all like the thought of being taken care of. It is nice to know that if we need backup our partner will step in and take care of the things we may not feel equipped to deal with because we are stressed, tired or sick. It can be romantic to return home and find an outfit laid out for us on the bed with an invitation to dinner. Spontaneous acts of kindness are thoughtful and sweet and should not be confused with the degradation of our chosen dress and shoes while in the car on the way to a party.

In simple terms, it’s not really about the sandals being too sexy or a t-shirt being too fitting, it is about something else entirely. Fact is, as long as you’re leaving the house in what is more understated elegance with a dash of sexy than it is stripper-chic, you should be good to go.

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