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Put Down the Mouse and Walk Away from the Monitor, Slowly

I confess to being a paid subscriber to If it makes any difference, that’s how I got a free subscription to the New Yorker and six months’ of The Week (which is like a blog only printed on paper).

Ayelet Waldman recently began a Salon column that runs every other Monday. I didn’t know who she was until Ron Hogan of Beatrice/Beatrix fame posted a synopsis of her online writing that punched a 9.5 on my ick-meter, even more so when I read her posts (the only problem with writing about her writing is that it attracts more readers).

I know I’m a buttoned-down fuddy-duddy who barely lets you into my life (that revelation about Peet’s French Roast was tough, let me tell you), but may the mighty Creator help me if I ever begin embarressing family members as Ayelet Waldman does.

Oops, she did it again on March 28, but this time managed take a wide, aimless swipe at the distaff gender as she talked about why she hoped her daughter wouldn’t grow up to be a lesbian: “The stereotypical gay woman makes me insecure, conscious of my failings as a feminist. I make less money than my husband; I rely on him for simple home repairs; I care too much about what I look like; I once got a Brazilian bikini wax.”

Did someone tell her this was funny? A gay woman is not someone who needs to wear the pants in the family (note the logical lapse: if a lesbian needs to be the breadwinner, there could be no such thing as a lesbian couple). Nor is a lesbian necessarily someone good with tools. Yes, I like computer hardware; yes, I once (at Uncle Sam’s direction) worked as an aircraft mechanic; but that’s about it–and there are plenty of straight women more hardware-savvy than I. When my coffee grinder breaks, I replace it, and I dutifully but absently listen as my car mechanic explains that the bracket for the doomaflatchy is broken, necessitating the replacement of the whatsis assembly. My stereo is twenty years old, and we just started a family discussion called Let’s Replace the 19″ TV, since we both realized we’re squinting.

Then there is the slob factor Waldman is implying, particularly painful for someone known to spend $70 on haircuts, $200 on highlights (that’s what they cost in the Valley, and one must sacrifice for one’s beauty), and who as a South Beach cultic routinely denies herself pasta, sourdough bread, and even her beloved pho in order to squeeze her middle-aged flesh into Gap jeans and slim-fit Lands’ End turtlenecks. Yes, working from home, I am usually found in my corporate bathrobe (right now I’m in my pink flannel pajamas with the flamingo pattern). But I can and do gussy it up, and I take interest in what I wear and how I look.

I won’t comment on hair removal, which I admit tends to be seasonal, based on what shows, except that once again she’s confusing feminism with lesbianism. There’s a great life choice she laid out for her daughter: simpering, obeisant, fashion-obsessed Rules Girl, or humorless, hirsute, wrench-wielding lesbian garbed in dirty old clothes.

It’s bad enough Salon hired someone hell-bent on dragging her children and husband into her slow-motion Nashville-style public meltdown, but will someone please read Waldman’s material before it goes online and ix-nay the really upid-stay columns?

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