brainwash

Archive for the ‘lisa fitterman’ Category

the blame game

In lisa fitterman on 01/29/2007 at 3:28 pm

Recently my husband and I got up at the ungodly hour of 4am to catch an early flight to New York. We were preternaturally calm, perhaps because we were sleepwalking. But we were all ready when the taxi came to collect us 45minutes later.
It was an uneventful ride to the airport. We didn’t even chat, because he was watching an episode of 24 on his new iPod. “Men and their toys” he said apologetically. At the airport, the cabbie pulled in to let us off, at which point iPod guy turned to me, ashen faced, and said: “We don’t have our suit bag.” Silence.
“You’re joking, right?” I replied, for he always lies like that.
“No, I mean it. Did you bring down the suit bag? I didn’t.”
“What do you mean, you didn’t bring down the suit bag?” I hissed. “All our stuff is in that suit bag. Your suit. Your shoes. My skirt.”
You stupid jerk, I was thinking. you’re always supposed to do things like bring down luggage. This is your fault and now, we’re going to miss our flight, miss the fabulous event we’re supposed to be at tonight and miss NewYork altogether Our life is over.
I didn’t say that out loud, though. He already knew how I felt. Besides, I was travelling on his dime.
The entire episode showcased what I grudgingly admit is an unpleasant side to my personality, namedly, that I have a hard time accepting responsibility, partial or otherwise. I know this because other people have pointed it out- repeatedly. They say I can be unfair arrogant and selfish, even if I insist that blaming the other guy is really self preservation.
Then again, we all tend to lie to ourselves and other people about our failings, don’t we? Or, at least, gloss over them as if they don’t mean a thing. If I cheat on my taxes, for example, doesn’t everyone? Not- I repeat not- that I’d ever cheat on my taxes. But it’s hard to look in a mirror and see a cheater, a liar, gossip or worse, a martyr who thinks she’s always right, staring back at you. Unless, of course, she’s always right.
But enough about me, what do you think of me? Psychologists posit that the best way to assess ourselves- our true selves- is through the eyes of others. They say that flawed and inflated self-assessment is as rife as, well, faults, and that the least competent people systematically misjudge and overestimate their abilities, which , in turn, can adversely affect key things their lives such as health, relationship and finances.
As David Myers, a professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, who wrote the textbook Social Psychology, told the Seattle Times, “Most of us have agood reputation with ourselves.” True enough, if you consider the classic study from 1977, when 94 percent of American college professors rated themselves as above average, even though only 50 per cent could be in the top half in the first place. But that could also be characterized as willful ignorance.
On which count I plead guilty, your honour.
Oh, and that missing suit bag? We hightailed it home in the taxi, picked it up, returned to the airport and made it through with minutes to spare.
Later, while strolling along Broadway, I noted how proud I was I hadn’t said a thing about him forgetting our clothes at home. He just smiled and shook his head.

Lisa F.


Lisa Fitterman is a columnist on the edge for the Montreal Gazette. She writes about sex, relationships, housecleaning and anything else that is offbeat, off kilter or simply catches her eye. Vancouver born and bred, she began her career in 1983 at the Vancouver Sun as a general assignment reporter and quickly progressed to covering politics because no one else in the newsroom wanted to move to Victoria. Over the past 20 years or so, she has also lived in Edmonton, Boston and, of course, Montreal, where she has settled down with He Who Must Obey. Her stories have run the gamut, from grisly murder trials to provincial elections and sports coverage. She has won a National Newspaper Award for sports writing.

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on faking it…

In lisa fitterman on 09/23/2006 at 2:39 am

Sadly, Fay Weldon dulls sharp edge of her feminism and recommends joyless sex.
“Fay, honey, sometimes I’m really happy when I’m being… really bad.”

Call it a classic movie moment. It occurs in woody Allen’s film Celebrity, in which the main character’s former wife, Robin, visits a hooker to take lessons in oral sex.
“What goes through your mind when you’re doing it?” the hooker asks, curious.
“The Crucifixion,” Robin replies.
Oh, the suffering. (Not that I suffer, although why I feel I have to come right out and say that is perhaps fodder for a future column. Or not.)
I raise this topic because one of my all time favorite authors, the one who wrote Praxis, The Fat Woman’s Joke, Female Friends and the viciously funny Life and Loves of a She-Devil, the writer who planted in me the seeds of a cranky feminist- is now telling women that it’s best to fake it. Come again? (C’mon. Could you resist?)
I kid you not. Fay Weldon, long considered at the very vanguard of the feminist movement, is not only telling women to pretend they’re having the most earth-shaking, fabulous orgasms in the world, but to praise their partners afterward in order to make them feel like real men.
In What Makes Women Happy, scheduled to be published this Wednesday by HarperCollins, Weldon, now 74, sounds surprisingly conservative as she dismisses views that women have fought for over the years, like the right to have it all. Even the book’s cover (at least in Britain), is telling, as it depicts a naked male torso with a six-pack, period.
Is this what makes women happy?
Surely Weldon is being tongue-in-cheek as she explores how our lives, jobs, families, bodies, needs and responsibilities affect our happiness?
Surely she’s joking when she posits that women with successful careers will probably end up alone, that sexual pleasure and high-powered jobs don’t go together, and that we women should simply throw in the towel and be happy with our lot?
And she can’t be serious when she concludes that the Victorians were right: to be happy is to be good, and to be good is to be happy?
I mean, Fay, honey, sometimes I’m really happy when i’m being bad. Really bad.
Sadly, it’s no joke. According to Weldon, a whopping 80 per cent of us have orgasms only sometimes or even never, so we should just deal with that and move on. In effect, she subscribes to that other seminal movie scene in the deli between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally, where Ryan fakes an orgasm so strong, an elderly woman tells a waitress, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
“If you are happy and generous minded,” Weldon writes, “you will fake it and then leap out of bed and pour him champagne, telling him, ‘You are so clever’ or however you express enthusiasm. Faking is kind to male partners… Otherwise they too may become anxious and so less able to perform. Do yourself and him a favour, sister: fake it.”
Not even a nudge-nudge, wink-wink suggestions to fool him and keep the champagne to our non-orgasmic selves!
It’s as if this is the ugly female flip side of the Michael Noer column on forbes.com that i wrote about several weeks ago, in which he suggested that men not marry career women because they’ll end up alone, sick or living in dirty houses.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of lying there groaning and panting in increasingly loud increments while thinking about what colour to paint the kitchen puts me to sleep. That’s not to say i haven’t faked it when pressed for time: I have, on occasion, and those who piously claim you’ve never done so, well, liar, liar pants on fire.
But if you can’t experience orgasms with your partner, i suggest it’s much more beneficial to the relationship to tell him about it, and tell him what you do need. if he has problems with that, them kick him out of the bedroom. After all, relationships are grounded in the belief that you shouldn’t betray or deceive each other.
Why should sex be any different?

Lisa Fitterman is a columnist on the edge for the Montreal Gazette. She writes about sex, relationships, housecleaning and anything else that is offbeat, off kilter or simply catches her eye. Vancouver born and bred, she began her career in 1983 at the Vancouver Sun as a general assignment reporter and quickly progressed to covering politics because no one else in the newsroom wanted to move to Victoria.
Over the past 20 years or so, she has also lived in Edmonton, Boston and, of course, Montreal, where she has settled down with He Who Must Obey.
Her stories have run the gamut, from grisly murder trials to provincial elections and sports coverage. She has won a National Newspaper Award for sports writing.