This is the story of a liberated woman who is sorry she bceame liberated. Her name for this article will be Ghiselda Manifesto.
She is a friend of mine and as far as I know she is as happily married as most people are these days. She doesn't have to work but decided that when her children went off into the world to find themselves she would get her degree and become a lawyer.
She did. She was accepted by a law firm and is now working for Blah, Blah, Objection & Sustained.
I saw her the other day at lunch.
"How's your tennis?" I asked her.
"I don't have time for tennis anymore. In fact I don't seem to have time for anything."
"But you loved tennis," I said.
"I loved drinking coffee and watching soap operas, too. But now that I'm a liberated woman I can't do that either."
"I don't understand it. It seems like only yesterday you were telling me how wonderful it would be to get out in the give-and-take of the real world. You dreamed of becoming a lawyer and being somebody in your own right."
"Yes," she said, "but I didn't think it would mean giving up the King Tut exhibit at the National Gallery."
"You missed the King Tut exhibit?" I tried to keep the shock out of my voice.
"I was in court every day trying to keep the FCC from taking a radio station away from somebody in Hoboken, N.J."
"I guess the thrill of being a lawyer wears off very fast."
"Do you know what my dream in life is now that I'm a liberated woman?" she asked.
"I can't guess."
"To see a matinee of 'Hello Dolly' with Carol Channing."
"Why can't you go in the evening to see it with Charlie? Is he too tired?"
"I'm too tired. When I get home I just want to sit in a chair and drink a glass of white wine and watch the eveining news."
"Why can't you?"
"I have to do the shopping at the supermarket on my way home, and then make dinner, and then do the dishes and clean up the house. I may be a liberated woman to the world, but I'm still 'good old Ghiselda' to Charlie, "the best little woman a man could have.'"
"But isn't Charlie proud of the fact that you're a lawyer and a person in your own right?"
"Oh sure. He tells everyone: 'Meet my wife, she's a lawyer and makes $40,000 a year and she still has time to cook, clean, do exercises, take vitamins and Geritol every day.' Then he kisses me on the cheek and says just as they do in the commercials, 'My wife, I think I'll keep her.'"
"That's tender," I said.
"You want to hear of another fantasy I have?" she said.
"I pretend it's 10 o'clock in the morning and Gloria calls me up and says, 'Let's go over to Neiman-Marcus and try on every suit they have hanging in the store. And then let's go have lunch and tell terrible things about everyone we know.'"
"That's a nice fantasy," I admitted. "I guess it will never be, at least you're not bored now."
"Have you ever tried to write a brief defending a gas line company in an antitrust suit? If you think waxing floors is drudgery, spend a day in a law library sometime."
"Gosh, I thought liberated woman had the best of both worlds - ego massaged all day long and cuddled all night."
"You've got it all wrong. No one massages a liberated woman in the daytime because he thinks he'll be patronizing her. And when she comes home at night the husband figures he's doing such a nice thing by letting her work that he doesn't have to cuddle her."
"What about joining a women's bowling league on Thursday?" I finally suggested.
S he paid her half of the check and left in a huff.