When last I wrote about Audrey Irvine, author of the erstwhile CNN column “Relationship Rants”, she was blaming everyone from Beyonce to the US Census for the fact that no one respects unmarried relationships anymore (her outrage started when a random skeevy guy hit on her and didn’t seem to care when she told him “I have a boyfriend”). For its sheer lack of logic, crappy writing and the negative messages it sent to women, I dubbed her essay, “A Boyfriend is No Defense from Being Hit On“, the most Ridonkulous Op-Ed of 2009. It’s still early in the year, but I think Audrey’s already written a real contender for 2010. This time she’s outraged that no one respects married relationships either! And she’s got something completely fucking ridonkulous to say about it! The essay’s entitled “Dear Married Men: Keep Your Distance” and…well…let’s strap on the barf bag and take a look:
Audrey tees up her rant by telling how one of her friends posted a Facebook status saying: “Maybe it’s just me, but I am extremely uncomfortable with any married man calling me “just to say hi.” Not good! Respect your wife!” This, and subsequent musings on married men socializing with single women led Audrey to conclude:
Drama is exactly what you get when a married man tries to befriend a single woman without mentioning his wife, much less an introduction. With that said, I’m declaring it is almost impossible for a married man to be friends with a single women if she doesn’t know the wife.
Well, if Audrey declares it, it must be so! Never mind that most women have plenty of platonic or business relationships with married men without a speck of drama (even if they don’t know their wives!). Yes, we sometimes cross paths with skeevy married men men who hit on single women (and married women, too). Thing is, when you meet these skeevsters, their motives are usually pretty transparent. It’s easy to simply avoid them, or give them the brush-off. But not Audrey. Just like last time, Audrey can’t encourage women to simply say “go away” to the skeevy guys. Instead, because there are skeevy guys out there, Audrey thinks every man and woman everywhere must change their behavior! To wit:
…my advice to married men is simple: You are married and cannot enjoy some of the same luxuries as single people. That includes befriending single women under the guise of business ventures without introducing your wife.
Does this mean a man’s wife has to accompany him to every business or social event? Audrey seems to think married women should expect to be dragged everywhere on some kind of cockblocking duty. Not only is this completely ridiculous–do you think they might have something more useful to do with their time?–but it’s also completely unnecessary: the vast majority of married men are perfectly capable of engaging in conversation or business relationships without being unfaithful.
There’s a whiff of real anti-male sexism at work here: OMG, all men are hound dogs! If his wife isn’t there, he’s going to try to fuck you! as well as the usual anti-female “woman as temptress” sexism: Don’t talk to my man, bitch! Cuz he’s gonna want to fuck you and that’s YOUR fault!
What I found almost as amusing as Audrey’s muddled brain-droppings is that most of the commenters on CNN–not usually a thoughtful crowd–think Audrey’s as full of shit as I do, and called her on it. A quick sampling:
Did CNN pay for this article? Frankly it looks like something written at the last minute by an author desparate for something before a deadline. Utter trash.
Frankly, this is how all of Audrey’s articles read to me. Her writing is as bad–or worse–than her message. One reader managed to cut through the shitty writing to get the only decent take-away message in this mess:
I agree with the message of this article, but I disagree with how it’s been cleverly hidden behind the subtle “don’t sleep with my man” message. Yes… single ladies…if it feels icky, than it probably is – so walk away. But I am personally insulted by the insinuation that my married men friends are out to sleep with me and further more that because I am friends with married men – I am putting your marriage at risk. Ladies (married ones) if you don’t trust your man to hang out with a female friend – then you’ve got bigger problems in the marriage that need addressing.
Well, yes. And given this article and her previous one about the importance of everyone respecting the territorial rights of boyfriends, I do wonder why Audrey seems to want everyone to walk around with “I BELONG TO [INSERT NAME HERE]” badges on their chests. Bad past experiences, maybe?
Unfortunately–as further painful proof of how ridonkulous Audrey’s writing is–I even found myself mostly agreeing with the “men’s rights” dude who wrote:
What a moronic article. Just another self-righteous woman getting off on bashing men. I am a happily married man and a darned good husband and father. I talk to single women all the time because they are PEOPLE. Most men DO keep it in their pants and don’t necessarily want to hop in bed with every woman they meet. It’s time men started standing up for themselves and started dealing with the sexism and prejudice that is being dumped on them these days. (ed: Oh noes! Think of the menz!!) Audrey Irivne, you are nothing but another angry sexist intolerant bandwagon jumper looking to satisfy your own ego.
That’s Audrey Irvine for you…so deeply wrong-headed about male-female relationships that she makes a feminist find common cause with a male chauvinist. Now if only she’d just rest on those laurels and spare us any further “insights.”