Man questions women's 'boundaries'


April 12, 1992|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

A New Orleans reader wrote an irate letter this week that may echo the feelings of many men today.

"There's a pervasive attitude among people like you who write primarily to women that most women today are accommodating, submissive, fragile, non-assertive doormats who need encouragement to stand up for themselves in even the most basic ways," his letter began.

"What I want to know is: Where do you find these pitiful, downtrodden women? Not a single woman I know fits this description!

"Women today don't need encouragement to stand up for themselves. They're all too strong, assertive, outspoken, ready for an argument, eager for a fight. Their husbands, on the other hand, are all too anxious, apologetic and eager to please.

"My wife -- and all the wives of all the men I know -- have no trouble at all defending what you call their 'boundaries.' They're all too eager to confront every tiny issue, all too unwilling to keep the small stuff of life small," he wrote, adding that he's 34, a husband of eight years.

"If my friends or I forget to take out the trash, by the time our wives get finished with us, the problem is not that we didn't take out the trash. It's that we've somehow proven that we don't care about them, or our homes, or the rotten examples we set for our children.

"What could have been a two-paragraph exchange turns into a recitation of all the other times we've forgotten to take out the trash; all the ways we take our poor working wives for granted; all the ways we're just like our fathers; all the ways men in general have mistreated women down through the ages," his letter continued.

"It doesn't help us to explain. It doesn't help us to apologize. It doesn't help if we swear we'll never forget to take out the trash again!

"We've stepped not only on our wives' toes, we've stepped on their 'boundaries,' too -- which you're always telling them to defend.

"What I want to know is: How do we defend our 'boundaries'? Not a single man in this country ever does enough around the house, judging by your columns on the subject. But where are these poor working wives you're always writing about?

"Where are all these women who work all day and spend their nights and weekends raising their kids virtually alone and cooking and cleaning and waiting on their selfish, lazy, incommunicative, no-good husbands who spend their lives slouched in front of the TV?" his letter continued.

". . . In short, my wife and her cronies are defending their 'boundaries' just fine, thank you very much. But we modern, supposedly liberated men need columns from you about how to defend ours!"

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