Once upon a time, most fathers were operating sole proprietorship businesses. Whether in agriculture or commerce, Father was the Master of His Own Domain. Everyone in the family knew and understood that their comfort and prosperity depended on the business being successful.
Children were expected to work in the family business as their way of assisting the effort, and generally, a close relationship would form. It wasn’t always a good or nurturing relationship, but there was understanding and communication. All generations knew their relatives fairly well if not necessarily endearingly.
This changed with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Those who invested in the machinery necessary to produce insisted that it do so as much as was possible. The workweek was based on that of the farm, in which work began as soon as it was possible to see it, and continued until it could not be seen. Twelve-hour days were common, and there was no such thing as a weekend or a holiday. It was only when churchmen complained that Sundays became a shorter day to allow workers to attend services. This likely rankled those whose main deity was Mammon, but it was attributed to being a cost of being a successful and profitable enterprise.
The cost was paid by the family. Dad left before the kids got up, and was almost always gone until after they had gone to bed. He was rarely seen, and when he was seen, he was not in a good mood. He was losing money he desperately needed to provide for his family, and woe betide the child who was costly in this manner!
As larger and larger businesses formed, more and more of the workforce became employees and ceased most independent commerce. There just wasn’t time and energy left after the Owner took the largest portion of both. More and more, children became the domain of the mother, and how her children saw their father was entirely her responsibility.
My parents were mindless Catholics. Anything the Clergy said was as if it came direct from the Almighty. Keep having kids beyond your ability to provide. Send them to parochial schools even though the cost was dear. NEVER do anything to inhibit or prevent your fertility, unless you cease having any sex whatsoever. And NEVER use the work “sex”!
As the front-end of seven siblings, I got to experience this “wonderful” life. I would be ensnared in it still if it wasn’t for Pope John XXIII. He wanted to get the laity more directly involved in the day to day activities of their parishes, and to make the many major decisions such an operation requires in tandem with the head priest of the parish.
It came time to build a new church, as the school attached to it had grown so large it couldn’t be accommodated anymore. For instance, there were 61 (yes, sixty-one – it’s not a typo!) students in my first grade class. The laity had decided on a church in the round, which was a popular choice in many parishes in the region, and could be built inexpensively.
HOWEVER (you KNEW this was coming, right?) . . .
Our Monsignor had other plans. He’d always wanted a Gothic-style cathedral, and that was what he would have. He cared not that the parishioners couldn’t afford the doubling of the projected cost. It also didn’t help that the parish was successfully sued by a Naprapath who didn’t want to lose his home to a bunch of damned Papists! This cost another million or so before it was settled, all of which came out of the parishioners.
His greedy disdain of the people he supposedly led inspired me to look more closely at other teachings which were total bullshit!
Let’s begin with honor thy father. None of us knew who ours were as people, as they weren’t home much. “Honor” became “fear”, for when He appeared, there would be lasting pain and anguish! We grew distant from our fathers, as there was little positive interaction to generate anything else.
Our mothers grew estranged from their husbands, as they all at some point decided that being a brood mare wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. They couldn’t disobey the Church which had assigned them to this role, so there was no birth control or non-procreative sex. They could only become as abstinent as they insisted their daughters be. My mother confided in me that she was done breeding for this reason, but never told me that she was cutting my dad off at the balls. I figured that out later.
All around the neighborhood, this was going on. The economic motive for marital discord was evident, but the method utilized to achieve this left much to be desired. It caused many an angry argument, which echoed around the neighborhood as we’d tell our friends why they couldn’t come over – again. A few fathers left for work one day and never returned. Some got girlfriends to take care of the things Mom wouldn’t. Most developed major illnesses, some dying about the time they turned 40, and leaving behind teen-aged children and a stay-at-home wife with few employment skills.
Regardless of how a specific man dealt with this cultural calamity, he had already earned the enmity of his family. Prompted by the disdain of the wife (who with typical feminine irrresponsibility blamed him for every thing wrong in her life), we kids all learned to disrespect him as well. We knew that Mom wouldn’t let him get away with disciplining us when we were on her side.
Mom also had the Church on her side. Dad was always the bad guy for not sucking it up and taking all the abuse, and sometimes the priests would actually say so to his face. He couldn’t act out as he probably wanted to, as the Church had him programmed to obey clergy without question.
To this day, few of my friends have good relationships with their fathers, nor any interest in improving things. They might call him on his birthday, or Father’s Day, and might show up for a short visit on Thanksgiving or Christmas, But almost never any other time. They are too busy trying to work up the energy and mindset to go back to work themselves, just like they saw Dear Old Dad do week in and week out. It’s What Men Do.
I tried to do things differently, but all I had to go on were the nascent feminist ideals our mothers were beginning to follow. It ended up costing me dearly, as my posts and comments attest!
My mother -already an RN who could out-earn my father working part-time- went back for a masters degree and several advanced professional certifications. She had gotten tired of waiting for my father to recover (from his emotional collapse after being made incel) to provide the Lifestyle To Which She’d Like To Become Accustomed, so she became one of those Sistahs Are Doing It For Themselves-types. The fact that she was now capable of earning in the mid-six figures while she let my dad break upon the workplace rocks drove a wedge between us that never closed. I never overtly disrespected her, but I was very glad when she died earlier this year. I was finally FREE!
So why do I burden you with the soap opera which was my early life? That was the time when I had the chance to prevent the problem situation I now find myself. My kids don’t disrespect me – although their mother left a few indelible signs of influence in them. My wife isn’t capable of out-earning me even with a masters degree. Otherwise, I did what my dad, and his dad, and his dad before him, did. This. Must. End.
Being a married man is a fool’s errand. Unless your goal is to beget, you are much better off having a life. Be sure it isn’t for nothing that the Rhyming Slang for wife is Trouble and Strife. Centuries of male angst inspired that connotation.
The economics of marriage suck as well. Well-paying jobs are becoming a thing of the past, unless you live in Beijing or Mumbai. Even there, having a well-paid position isn’t a sure thing, as at least 2.1 billion people globally live on less than $2USD a day. Of these people, at least 880 million live on less than $1USD a day. (Source: World Development Report 2008)
Things are also in decline for the USA. The Atlantic Magazine just published an article about declining American employment which is already evident in the fact that the number of US families living on $2 or less per person per day for at least a month had more than doubled from 636,000 households in 1996 to 1.46 million in 2011, according to a study released jointly by researchers at the University of Michigan and Harvard University. More recent reports don’t indicate better news despite “more jobs” to be shared by more people. Si, se puede yourself, Barry!
It’s going to be hard enough for today’s young men to provide for themselves. It is necessary that they not lightly or blindly take on any additional responsibilities, especially not women hearing their clocks tick. Most men can’t count on women to carry their share of the burden, and I don’t care that women now believe that men should be grateful that she will pay for dates. She WILL get her pound of flesh at a later time, and today’s young men need to understand the means, motives, and opportunities she will use to get it. Sex is the bait, and love has nothing to do with it. You WILL be lost in the process.
Just check the divorce stats if you don’t want to believe me over your mother’s conditioning of you. After all, your dad’s ashes are probably STILL on the top shelf in the closet. Such is the fate awaiting you if you don’t heed my warning!