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September 21, 2004 - 10:46 am

EUREKA!

I think I may have a crush on Archimedes.

Yes, that Archimedes.

I saw the NOVA documentary on him last week and have been slightly obsessed ever since then. Except for his penchant for inventing war machines (at least they were mostly for defense), this guy was totally cool. He was enthusiastic about his work to the point of forgetting to put on clothes before he ran out the door screaming with excitement about a big breakthrough in his latest project (I can relate). He was a dedicated civil servant (see the note on war machines above), royalty (does it get any better than a brainiac prince?), and his life’s work was even published (although subsequently unbound, scraped free of ink, and reused for a prayer book). Plus he had a nice thick white beard. Well, the beard may not be really sexy now, but I’ll bet in 200BC it was considered pretty sweet.

Okay, after reading what I just wrote, I realize how pitiful my attempts to maintain an active fantasy life are, given my limited sphere of influence (PTA, documentaries, and residential design). You walk a fine line between creative eroticism and just weird creepiness. I’m not exactly sure where Archimedes lies in all this, but I don’t think he’ll be edging out Galileo Galilee any time soon.

I’m going to change the subject now before you decide I’m not at all well-adjusted and never read me again.

Here’s something I really just don’t get at all.

The author, Rachel Greenwald, is completely sincere, too. I know because I was forced to watch an interview with her on a television that overcompensated for poor reception by pumping up the volume while I sat for TWO AND A HALF HOURS at the Social Security office taking care of some personal business two weeks ago. I was floored. After a few minutes of watching – slack jawed – I turned to the toothless, smelly, old black man next to me and asked in amazement, “Are you believing this woman?” He shook his head and laughed and replied “shoflewlwnrouw,” confirming his agreement that she was, indeed, not right.

At least, I think that’s what he meant.

Ms. Greenwald outlined a few steps you could take to “efficiently” find a husband, including my favorite: “[paraphrasing] Look more feminine with new clothes and a new, more feminine hairstyle. It may seem old-fashioned, but men really are more receptive to a woman who appears to have the values of his mother. Sweater sets are nice.”

Hello? Rachel, honey? I'm sorry, but ivy league education or not, this is the most asinine drivel I have ever heard regarding spending the rest of your life with someone. She definitely qualifies, in my book anyway, as a Crazy Woman. I was so aghast, in fact, that I looked her book up on line just to make sure I wasn’t on the side-splitting new reality show “Candid Government Office Security Camera” or something. It’s for real, and here’s how they summarize it:

In her bold, no-nonsense style, Greenwald tells women how to package their assets [think sweater sets], develop a personal brand, leverage niche marketing, use direct mail and telemarketing to get the word out, establish a husband-hunting budget, and hold quarterly performance reviews to assess the results.

Sounds Nazi enough. The synopsis concludes:

These innovative tactics will empower any woman to find a husband quickly and efficiently—and not just any husband: a wonderful husband.

I love that line, “not just any husband.”

The craziest thing about this concept is not the notion of packaging and marketing yourself. I mean, we all do that to some degree every day, although probably not as consciously as Ms. Greenwald suggests. And I don’t think my distaste for this book is due to a lack of pragmatism on my part either. No one who knows me would call me a romantic, by any means. I have a crush on ARCHIMEDES, for god’s sake.

And I guess, if I’m really honest, I can sort of understand the dilemma facing the single woman over 35 who wants to get married: Do you take a chance on someone you are madly in love with but who may be all wrong for you and run the risk of misery and failure chasing eternal bliss and children, OR do you systematically interview as many people as you can who fit into your profile and run the risk of utter boredom while aiming for some good companionship, responsible father material, and stable income? That’s a matter of personal choice, and I’d assume most of Ms. Greenwald’s clients fall into the latter category. Apparently, she’s been pretty successful so far and even has testimonials from many happy clients, both women and men, to prove it. And who knows? These marriages may work out of sheer compatibility.

But still, it just doesn’t sit right with me. I think maybe what bothers me most about her whole thesis is the belief that we could marginalize, or even eliminate altogether, the indefinable, magic element of love, as though marriage were a mere business merger and not the union of two souls, which it could be if done right.

All I know is that when finding true love – not just any husband – can be reduced to a simple formula, we’ll all be shouting “Eureka!”

~Samantha

recommended:
reading -Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
viewing - How to Marry a Millionaire
listening -"Catfish Blues" by Jimi Hendrix

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