Thursday, September 18, 2008

What the sexual revolution wrought

While it's common for single women who are sleeping with married men to issue ultimatums, I still think the blond intern's move was audacious. Call me old-fashioned. Here you have a much older man with a wife of 30 years and a child, and this young cupcake DEMANDS that he leave them. Where do these women get the chutzpah to heedlessly, selfishly -- even self-righteously -- trample all over other people's families that way? Whatever happened to guilt?

Don't get me wrong: the men who leave their families for these women are the real villains of the story. It's not new for single women to give married lovers ultimatums, but their married lovers didn't always follow them so easily. In the 1950s, when divorce was so unthinkable that people used the expression "broken home" and I grew up not knowing a single child in that situation, I think married men (and women too, but fewer) had affairs. And that their lovers issued ultimatums now and then. But when push came to shove, most men ended the affair and stayed with the family. They weren't saints, but people didn't blithely walk away from marriages and destroy families back then.

Today the opposite is true. As the "me" generation grew up and instant gratification served to legitimize every whim, the divorce rate soared. My kids knew plenty of little classmates in grade-school whose parents were divorced, and the numbers multiplied as they passed through middle school, high school and college. So it's come to this: young single women indignantly issue ultimatums, and married men don't deliberate for long. They walk, entitled and self-justified, leaving the wreckage of a family behind and rarely looking back. Let's get something straight: the sexual revolution was not a boon to women.

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