Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Stepford Wives

I started to write this for International Women’s Day (March 8), but I got busy and never completed it until now. But first, this note to all women everywhere:

Your day is over. Get back in the kitchen. I’ll tell you when you can come out again next year.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled post.

Let me tell you a quick tale about a true Stepford Wife. One of my Army buddies met her while having dinner off base at a married soldier’s house in Germany. She was from Turkey, a country known for its subjugation of women. Note – maybe it’s an unfounded rumor, but Turkey seems to have earned that reputation, at least based on what I saw within the large Turkish population in Germany. Issue a fatwa against me if you don’t like it.

My pal was excited when he returned from dinner; all he could talk about was his friend’s wife. She sat quietly by his side, never speaking unless addressed first. She cooked the entire dinner without any help from her husband or guest. They all ate together at the same table (at that point I was almost surprised he didn’t say she ate off the floor), but afterwards the men retired to the living room for booze and smokes and conversation while she cleaned the kitchen; later she dutifully took her place by hubby’s side. Whenever one of them finished a beer, she would hurry to remove the empty and get him a fresh one. Whenever one of them reached for his cigarettes, she would place an ashtray before him. My friend loved that and decided that’s what he wanted in his life.

She set him up with one of her friends, a beautiful young Turkish model, and the two went out on the town for a romantic evening. He was less enthusiastic about the Turkish wife concept when he returned early from his date. “She has no personality,” he griped as we sat throwing back shots of cheap German whiskey*. He went on to explain that by “no personality” he didn’t mean that she was boring – she literally didn’t seem to have a personality of her own. She said nothing the entire night except in response to his inquiries, and then she only gave short, factual answers. The rest of the time she merely sat and looked very pretty. She was willing to continue dating him (and, I suspected, marry him, move to the US, and be the Stepford wife he envisioned), but he ended the relationship after the first date.

Personally, I couldn’t stand a woman like that. My dog had more personality and that’s why I loved her, even though she was an obstinate and spoiled rotten fuzzy little princess. I think that’s the fatal flaw with the Stepford Wives tale – most men wouldn’t really want a silent, mindless automaton as a wife, except for married men who need a break from reality, except for married men who have been married too long and have had their views replaced by their spouses’. Like Scott Adams said, “Show me a man who’s been married for thirty years, and I’ll show you a man with absolutely no opinion.”

My posts have been getting longer as I grow older and more windy (by which I do not mean “farty”). I was going to end there, but I just remembered what happened to my pal in question so I’ll inform you of his fate and then quit.

Sometime later, while I was on duty after hours, the MP’s brought him in and placed him in the common room under guard. I was allowed in to talk to him and he fearfully told me that he had been arrested in a plot to rob the company armory to sell the weapons to a group of Haitians. Later, he told me the whole story; I’ll give you the reader’s digest condensed version.

He first concocted a plan to rob the armory, then went trolling for customers. He met who he thought was a group of Haitian delegates (they had a limo with ambassadorial plates) in a bar, but they turned out to be CID (Criminal Investigation Department – the Army’s version of Internal Affairs). He explained his plan to them, which required two people, and they accepted his offer. But first, as a show of good faith, they insisted he steal one M-16 from the guards on duty (who weren’t allowed to carry ammo, btw) and deliver it to them.

He enlisted the aid of a goofy private who immediately ran to CID and informed on him. They already knew, but they convinced the private to go along with my pal in order to act as an informant / witness to the crime. The two dressed in civilian clothes with ski masks, cut the wires surrounding the tank park, slipped inside, grabbed a weapon from the guards (who screamed like little girls that just dropped their ice cream cones), and ran away. The CID plan was for four guys to grab my pal, one on each limb, and then bash his head into the side of their car until he passed out. Instead they just arrested him, which was fortunate because they got their target and informant mixed up and didn’t get matters straight until hours later.

As it happened, all the witnesses (the guards, CID, and the private) were clear on a couple of points: the informant actually took the weapon and it was in his possession when he delivered it to CID. In the U. S. that would probably result in a mistrial. Army justice is a little more swift and brutal and they rarely do technicalities, especially when dealing with lowly enlisted folk, so my friend was sent to Leavenworth for a couple of decades. He wrote a letter to my home address, but my mother intercepted it (like she did all of my mail) and so I never heard from him again.

Side note – his father was a Chaplain (a colonel) stationed at the Pentagon. I’ll bet that did wonders for his career.

Other soldiers asked me why I remained friends with him after his arrest. I didn’t approve of what he attempted to do, but he needed a friend then more than before and I didn’t think it was a good time to pass judgment on him. Besides, I’d always lived by the saying “If I had to choose between betraying a friend and betraying my country, I hope I have the courage to betray my country.” They also asked me how it was possible that I didn’t know what he was planning since I was his closest friend. All I can say to that is 1) maybe he knew me well enough to know I wouldn’t go for it, and 2) I’ve practically raised naivetĂ© into an art form.

Okay, I did a long post again. So sue me. Feck off.

* Cultural note – America has cheap beer and our best wines are just imitations of what France, Italy, Spain, and Germany produce, but nobody makes whiskey like we do. Yes, I’ve tried Uzo and many other countries’ boozy contributions (but not that stuff from Korea that has the formaldehyde in it), and I still believe you can’t do any better than Kentucky bourbon. Sometimes we do manage to get things right.


AVA said...

I can't believe I read through this whole post :)

AVA said...

(jk) :)

Kerry said...

You can write some kick arse stuff ;)

Was your friend blonde!?

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

You know, even if your post are getting longer, they're still a great read. Just as long as they don't get all "farty"...;)

"(who screamed like little girls that just dropped their ice cream cones)"...that cracked me up!!! Very few things I read make me laugh out loud...but that one did...;)

~Deb said...

Ah, see I trained my girlfriend to pick up after my beers and fetch me a new one. It works well and I have noticed her personality taming down a tad. lol

Interesting story my friend. Nothing like a woman with a mind of her own, huh?

Kira said...

Well, there's probably robotics coming around that can provide all that a stepford wife could provide, so why bother with the real thing?

You're wrong about the wine. Some American wines are considered the top wines of the world. Stop drinking Boone's Farm and using it as a representative of what America has to offer ;)

pink said...

I enjoyed that post.I think what we all need in life is a sparring partner.Wheres the fun if you agree on everything or don't have an opinion.

Leesa said...

ava said, "I can't believe I read through this whole post :)" and then "jk" (just kidding). Is she kidding that she read the whole post or kidding that she implied she normally doesn't read the whole post. Confusing for me.

My father always wanted me to marry a Turkish man, so that I would fetch beers for him, cook him dinner which all arives at one time, and get on all fours so my wonderful hubbie would have a footstool. Guess I missed out.

I love your writing.

Grant said...

ava - you deserve a medal. :p

kerry - no, but I did later discover he had ties to the mob back home.

pq - thanks. I'll try to lay off the beans before posting.

~deb - reminds me of a Gallagher joke: "How do you figure out who's in charge of the reltionship? When it's time to go to bed and you get up to turn out the lights, look back to the person still in bed, because that's who's in charge."

kira - I knew some guys in the Army who drank Mad Dog 20/20. Is that the classy stuff to which you refer?

pink - I don't know about sparring partner. I think I'm looking for a comfortable level somewhere between slave and combatant.

leesa - thanks. And Ava's just using her feminine wiles to mess with my head. Luckily she's not Asian so I can resist (a little).

Spider Girl said...

It's windy posts like this that keep me coming back to your blog, dearie. :)

I've only known two Turkish women personally, but they were both giggly, cheerful whirlwind-personality types. However, they were single, so perhaps there is a transformation after marriage. I may never know, they both moved back to Turkey.