Vexing bourgeois conundrums
Vexing bourgeois conundrums. My friend Helen, who is expecting her first kid with her husband Niall in a few months, was telling me about the new-dad’s guide in the current issue of GQ. “Pretty funny stuff. There was one sidebar that had questions like this: Should you feed your kids organic milk (yes, particularly cause of the growth hormone they use in the U.S.) and, Do you need a Bugaboo (no), and Should you get a sleep Douala, stuff like that. And the headline was ‘Vexing bourgeois conundrums.’ That’s brilliant, that really sums it up.”
And I was reading Sandra Tsing Loh’s story in the current Atlantic Monthly about the fruit of the feminist revolution, which, she argues, is essentially a life of increased freedom from drudgery for educated, creative-class women, and, well, not a hell of a lot for the pink-collar masses who often end up in dead-end, boring, uncreative jobs out of necessity, feeding their kids convenience food and trying to budget their transportation, babysitting/daycare, work clothes and other costs from the now-mythic nickel-and-dimed paycheck.
The cover line “Feminism’s dirty little secret,” sums up Loh’s argument that feminism trumped class struggle and that the big family/career-sphere payoff from the movement (increased educational and career opportunities–as well as the ability to turn one’s back on them and choose to go back home to raise babies and go to Pilates classes, do crafts with the kids etc) benefited educated, professional women. Work like crazy or decompress? A vexing bourgeois conundrum, definitely one many of our mothers (and many of our peers) were not/are not lucky enough to face.
I find myself in the vexing bourgeois conundrum of thinking: should I keep yammering on about the Seinfeld-esque incidents that make up the bulk of my family life for pay, or should I maybe give it a rest? Put up my feet, watch some more Flight of the Conchords, write less and say more etc etc. Oh, and do more crafts with the Little Nutball (the Pete Doherty-like blood painting was a classic in the Nutball’s developing oeuvre, and we need to spin that out a bit more to see where it goes), read together, sit in the shade with the hens, etc. The latter appeals to me right now.
Thanks for tuning in. Now I’m going outside.