How Timely, A New Yorker Expose on Marriage; Contributions from Sedaris, Lepore and Mead; Bad Advice From a Personal Trainer; My Muslim Marital Situation; Two Texts to Grandson; Photo of Instagram Post and a Robot

It is still Sunday morning, November 7, 2021. I am still in bed. Wrote another blog but did not send it off for posting yet. I am getting far too prolific in my writing, even for me. I cannot understand this obsession with writing. I constantly say:
Me: I do not have writer’s block. I have writer’s diarrhea.
Alter Ego: Why do you think you have this sudden urge to write all of the time?.
Me: Well, it beats getting packed and going through all the accumulated paper work of my existence.
Alter Ego: You have a good point there.
Me: Or tidying up the apartment etc. etc etc. But it is more than that. An obsession to be heard. I had it once when I left London in 2017 and went to live in Vancouver. I wanted to reach out to people I had left behind, keep them with me. I did but it faded over time.
By the way, do let us define prolific ((of a plant, animal, or person) producing much fruit or foliage or many offspring. Hmmmm. I guess one could call my blogs offspring – does sound better than calling them foliage or fruit. At times definitions can be rather limiting.

Laid in bed and as my habit skimmed through my Inbox and happened upon a wonderful collection of storie on marriage, a topic of some interest to me these days. These articles were thoughtfully provided by David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. They tickled my fancy and I began to read them. Tickle you fancy is an idiomatic expression used when something pleases you or strongly engages your interest, though it can also be used as a euphemism for sexual pleasure or attraction, especially in women. As sex is forbidden from these days it has to be something that engages my interest.

The first to get opened was, of course, the one by my favorite funny author David Sedaris who writes about proposing to Hugh, his lifelong partner. It is called A Modest Proposal. It is sweet story about his new found ability to wed but we will explore, instead, the funniest part -personally I prefer funny to sentimental any day. David is waiting for the US Supreme Court to rule on gay marriage but still performing his daily ritual, picking up garbage by the side of the road near his UK home. This is SO funny.” I was standing by the side of the road, collecting trash with my grabber. It’s generally the same crap over and over—potato-chip bags, candy wrappers, Red Bull cans—but along this particular stretch, six months earlier, I’d come across a strap-on penis. It seemed pretty old, and was Band-Aid colored, about three inches long, and not much bigger around than a Vienna sausage, which was interesting to me. You’d think that if someone wanted a sex toy she’d go for the gold, size-wise. But this was just the bare minimum, like getting AAA breast implants. Who was this person hoping to satisfy, her Cabbage Patch doll? I thought about taking the penis home and mailing it to one of my sisters for Christmas but knew that the moment I put it in my knapsack I’d get hit by a car and killed. That’s just my luck. Medics would come and scrape me off the pavement, then, later, at the hospital, they’d rifle through my pack and record its contents: four garbage bags, some wet wipes, two flashlights, and a strap-on penis.“There must be some mistake,” Hugh would tell them. “You said it was how big?” I suppose for me the funniest is the thought of AAA breast implants and satisfying the Cabbage Patch doll but I was laughing so hard that I almost fell off the bed which is high off the ground and it would hurt. The story went on in a sentimental fashion but it was not that interesting to me (and perhaps you) so you only get the funniest part.

That finished it was off to another story in the collection. Jill LePore is another one of my favorite New Yorker writers, her Fixed, focuses upon marital therapy. It begins; “Marriage in America is in disarray, or so they say. Americans, among the marryingest people in the world, are also the divorcingest. Even during the downturn, business is up at eHarmony, which has taken credit for one out of every fifty weddings in the United States, but “The State of Our Unions,” an annual report issued jointly by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values, warns of a “mancession”: in a lousy economy, more men than usual are working fewer hours than their wives, making for unhappier husbands and angrier rows. A spike in the divorce rate is anticipated, although this may be mitigated by the fact that divorce isn’t cheap and people are broke. You might think that the mancession would also foretell a falloff in couples counselling, which isn’t cheap, either, but there’s no sign of a, ah, therapycession. “I have a pretty good marriage,” Elizabeth Weil wrote in a December cover story in the Times Magazine, but “it could be better.” This is America. Why settle for pretty good? Weil and her husband have sought the services of half a dozen therapists; her memoir about “marriage improvement” is under way. Beginning this past summer, casting agents for NBC’s “The Marriage Ref” scoured the countryside in search of bickering couples (“No problem is too small!”) willing to submit to an arbiter advised by a panel of stars, including Alec Baldwin, who, though divorced, did play the title role in a movie called “The Marrying Man.” Meanwhile, a National Marriage Boycott is on: its members pledge not to get married, no matter how many people ask them, until the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed.” This did makes me glad that I am leaving the USA because I do not think that the UAE has a very high rate of divorce. Well, the Ruler of Dubai has had five divorces, (according to Wikipedia) but I think he is an exception. By the way, the rumor is that two of his divorced wives are still are around and about. He did not divorce his first wife, the mother of ten or eleven of his children.

But back to Jill Lepore, summarizing the situation as follows. “ Campaigns to defend, protect, and improve marriage have been around for a long time. They’re usually tangled together.” Do love this description of a ‘successful’ case:” Dick is about to leave his wife, Andrea, for another woman. He is bored with Andrea. “Living with her is like being aboard that ship that cruised forever between the ports of Tedium and Monotony,” he says. Can this marriage be saved? You bet. At Popenoe’s clinic, Andrea is urged to make herself more interesting. She learns how to make better conversation, goes on a strict diet, and loses eight pounds. The affair is averted.” Does make one wonder how one can learn how to make better conversation when she was cruising between tedium and monotony. Well, also did this marriage continue to ‘prosper.”

There is more, rather cheerless statistics and information. “Today, something like forty per cent of would-be husbands and wives receive premarital counselling, often pastoral, and millions of married couples seek therapy. Doubtless, many receive a great deal of help, expert and caring. Nevertheless, a 1995 Consumer Reports survey ranked marriage counsellors last, among providers of mental-health services, in achieving results. And, as Rebecca L. Davis observes in an astute, engaging, and disturbing history, “More Perfect Unions: The American Search for Marital Bliss” (Harvard; $29.95), the rise of couples counselling has both coincided with and contributed to a larger shift in American life: heightened expectations for marriage as a means of self-expression and personal fulfillment. That would seem to make for an endlessly exploitable clientele, especially given that there’s not much profit in pointing out that some things—like the unglamorous and blessed ordinariness of buttering the toast every morning for someone you’re terribly fond of—just don’t get any better. Not everything admits of improvement.”

LePore expends her topic by telling of a woman who desperately wants to get married. She tries everything, finally resorting to this: “She signs up with Evan Marc Katz, a “personal trainer for love,” who sets about improving her marital fitness. She is concerned about her age. “Think about it this way,” Katz says. “Your market value may be lower than it was ten years ago, but it’s also a lot higher now than it will be ten years from now.” Gottlieb begins her book with a list, running to pages, of all that she wants in a man. In a chapter titled “How Feminism Fucked Up My Love Life,” she starts thinking that women are better off getting married in their twenties, before their market value plummets, instead of pursuing an education and a career.” Now that is the MOST ridiculous thing I have EVER heard. The chances of a woman having to work after marriage are huge, she will be poorly paid and never be able to work from home or have an interesting job. The chances of her husband divorcing her are also substantial – what would she do then with no education and no career, raising the kids on her own when her husband marries another twenty year old? .

Back to the collection to find an interesting story written by Rebecca Mead. You’re Getting Married about the enormous cost of putting on a wedding. “Marriage is viewed as a marketing opportunity. For every vow exchanged there is, it is hoped, a sweeping gown of satin and tulle to be sold; for every aisle walked, a trailing cloud of veil. Every kiss bestowed at the altar, under the huppah, or before the justice of the peace is, potentially, an occasion for the use of a silver-plated wedding-cake knife or a leather-bound guest book or a frilly lace garter threaded with blue ribbon. The average American bride and groom together spend twenty-two thousand dollars on the day that sees them transformed into man and wife, and each new union is filled not just with cordial hope but with the promise of profit. How is a bridal retainer to make the most of that opportunity?”

I have planned, via the blog, one or two enormous weddings to be held in Scotland at Dryburgh Abbey (Dryburgh is my birth name). But none of these marriages took place , so they was no outlay of cash. The guys were unsuitable, so this was a good thing.

But these days, after becoming a Muslim, everything is different. I can only go to bed with a man if he is my husband, not complaining, do think that it is a good rule. But where am I to find a Muslim husband in Marin County, California? That not the only reason I am moving to the UAE but it is a factor. Keep reading this blog and all shall be revealed.

Fascinating snippet on Instagram. These days I am ‘subscribing’ to posts related to the Islamic faith. One appeared yesterday advising: If you are looking for a husband look for three things: !) that he reminds you of Allah 2) knowledge that he will hold your hand in Hannah 3) that he will elevate your Iman.

What did I do with that information? Immediately texted Grandson.

Me: More questions. What is Iman? Instagram says 3 things to look for in a husband, One is about Iman. Another about Hannah, you already told me that was heaven.

Not received a response as yet but will as he is most reliable.

Two photographs attached. One of the Islamic posts from Instagram, accidentally took. Will figure out how it was done and do again (hopefully). Story behind the other. The day before returning to California asked Grandson to take me to the Grand Mosque to give me strength to return. While there had a pizza in one of the many restaurants. There was a robot in front, children gathered speaking to the robot – absolutely darling. Took the picture you see. My prayers to Allah were answered. One more week here but already so much accomplished.
Texted Grandson:
Me: Hotel very nice. On blog. Wish I was back with you – only about a week and I will be there.
Me: Allah is here guiding me – if I cannot have you, at least I have Allah.
Me: However, Allah does not do imitations of me like you do. Please laugh!

Not received a response as yet but will as he is most reliable.

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