Paul and Judith have been together for 17 years. They live together, renovated a house together, and share a home workspace. But they are not married. "Neither of us has ever been married, and we don't intend to marry each other. There are no practical reasons to do so—no kids (unless you count our elderly diabetic cat, Julius), no employer-paid health insurance—and several tax-related reasons not to." Nonetheless, they face the same financial strains and decisions that a married couple comes up against. This is the story of how an unconventional couple manages their finances, and why they've chosen this path.
I don't feel a pressing desire to "prove" to myself or anyone else that I won't change, that I won't compromise anything, because at some point I'm sure I will. (Isn't compromise a big part marriage, after all?) But I'm also certain that while bits of my identity are bound to shift, just as I would expect them to with any big life change and new perspective, the core of who I am will remain the same. No new name, white dress, ring on my finger or any other traditional convention is going to change that. For better or worse, I am who I am and I'm pretty solid in my identity. So when I read a column in the Guardian recently by Abigail Gliddon, a woman who claims "when a woman takes her husband's name, she surrenders her former identity and adopts his," I wondered how she came to have such low expectations for other women.
Men fix cars, figure out credit card bills and hook up the TV. Is it sexist to want a guy for that? "When I was in college I bought my first car... Normally this was a task that I would have heaped on my dad’s shoulders; after all, Dads are the people you turn to in times of vehicular crisis. Mine wasn’t there, so I went at alone." Later her boyfriend helps her deal with debt collectors. Does it make you a bad woman or anti-feminist to want a man to do certain things for you?
A new study shows Mr. Fix-It is a dying breed: London's Daily Mail reports the younger generation of men is less handy around the house. Tsk, tsk. Guess this means men are only good for sex. Kidding! In a study of 3,000 men, among those under age 40, almost 33% didn't know how to unblock a sink, 25% did not know how to change a fuse, and 7% couldn't change a lightbulb. Over-40 men proved to be much more handy (except for when it comes to assembling flat-pack furniture, which we guess means IKEA). Of course, the survey was on a home improvement web site, which has a vested interest in selling products to bumbling Mr. Fix-Its. But in any case, who needs men to unblock the sink for you? We women can do those things, of course (see: Martha Stewart, This Old House, Domino magazine, Extreme Makeover: Home Addition) and the reality is that if we are single and living alone, or suddenly become widowed or divorced, we'll have no choice but to care for our home ourselves. Being dependent on a man to do household improvements that might get your hands dirty is so not 2008. Whether she's single, dating or married, a girl's got to have her own toolkit and know how to use it!
Amid all the bluster about "foreign policy experience" and "abstinence-only education," there's been one meme missing. Thankfully, the UK's Daily Mail picks up the slack by asking: Would your guy bone Sarah Palin? Even if your feminist bone is the size of your pinky finger, it's hard not to be offended by such sexist drivel as this:
The BitchBuzz Manifesto states, "We knit, we bake, we fuck and we blog." And they do just that, and then tell us all about it. Smart and sassy, the ladies of BitchBuzz make it clear that they are not feministing politicos, but no-nonsense independents who are not averse to indulging in a bit of domesticity.
"I'm a female college student and a feminist. I expect equal pay, equal treatment, and fairness when it comes to chores at home. But I have fantasies of domestic discipline. Some days, I'd like to rush home and clean the apartment and make dinner for my boyfriend wearing only an apron. Then I'd appreciate it if he'd find some excuse--something I did wrong--to spank me until I cry before having wild sex with me." Girlfriend harbors some serious 1950s housewife "Betty Crocker" fantasies, but realizes she doesn't want her relationship to be all Betty Crocker, all the time. The cooking/cleaning/apron-wearing/spanking is a heightened form of foreplay for her, but it looks so much like reality (rather, some people's reality) that she's fearful her guy is going to blend the fantasy into real life
Started in 2004 as a way to anonymously write about her sex life and feminist views, Girl With A One-Track Mind has become much more. Writer Zoe Margolis "set out to show that it was OK for a woman to express her desire, rather than attempt to be the object of desire." Women and men were into her message (and her sexy posts), and she was soon receiving thousands of daily pageviews.
Bitch Ph.D. describes its content as "ranting about current events from a feminist perspective;" certainly there's plenty of food for feminist thought on the site, plus posts about being a working mom, academia, politics, the media â€“ all great, smart stuff. But what gets our panties damp are the posts about Bitch Ph.D.'s feminist marriage.
In theory, modern men enthusiastically welcome the freer sexuality of their female counterparts. It all seems quite good on paper: women get the opportunity to openly express sexuality on their own terms and men, well, get to have lots of sex with women. Free of commitment. Everybody wins. Right? Maybe not. Sure, given the right gal in the right situation, any guy can appreciate a taste of modern free love. But the issue at hand here is vastly complex. In the long run, modern men have responded to women's freer sexuality with more than a bit of anxiety and confusion. Secretly, under the surface, there is a nagging sense that while gains have been made in the sexual arena, something deeper and more important has been lost, or at the very least endangered.
Has today’s feminist movement really taken on a twisted connotation? There’s a stimulating and valid rant in The Los Angeles Times about how the original strengths and rights that women are striving to Feminist rightly claim have been blurred into obscurity.
A recent study on sexuality in France shows that French women are becoming as sexual as French men. Their 'number' has more than doubled in the last 30 years and attitudes have become more liberal about sex. Men, on the other hand, have largely just stayed the course. Maybe a little ennui is involved.
He‚Äôd love to write a novel; she wants to study law. Couples who are willing to live off a single paycheck can give each other something priceless: freedom. While one half goes through life changes; the other half is able to provide financial stability; Martha Baer reports.