The MAD Goddess writes out loud with candor and humor about the changing landscape of life for women with retired husbands,
adult children, and grandchildren. It's not always a pretty story,
but it's usually pretty funny.

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Monday, June 23, 2008


Like the bitter liquid my mother used to ladle down my throat when I needed it, we, as a nation, have taken our medicine and swallowed Hillary’s sugar-laced defeat. I hope that it somehow brings us closer to eradicating a rampant and insidious dis-ease nobody likes to admit to – gender bias.

Can this be the same election that demonstrated we can overcome racial prejudice? I’ve been trying to understand all the subtleties in play. I’ve been trying to find some lesson in it – pick out that one kernel that makes sense, will let each of us keep something good from this.

It isn’t there. Yet, can any one of us really say we are surprised at the outcome of the contest between Senators Clinton and Obama, when we live in a nation which gave the right to vote to African American men before it was given to women? History has repeated itself loudly and clearly.

Not that it should be the other way around. Whether it’s a bid for the White House or a job at the corner cafĂ©, neither race nor gender should come into play.

Call it what you will, paradox, irony or catch-22, Hillary Clinton proved that you can win to loose if you are a woman running for President of the United States. In stepping back from her bid for election, she expressed hope that her efforts had made it easier for women to break that proverbial glass ceiling. Here’s what Hillary taught the next woman brave enough to walk in her high heels.

She must be intelligent and educated enough to prove that she can handle the job, but . . .

She can’t be too smart for her own good, (Translate – don’t worry your pretty little head about it – the men will decide what’s better for all concerned).

She must be confident that she is the best choice for the job, but . . .

She can’t come across as too cocky. (Obviously, only men can be cocky and they’re not about to surrender that to women)

She must be attractive, but . . .

She can’t be too attractive (Apparently the syndicated cartoonists don’t know how to draw pretty women).

She must convince everybody that she really wants the job and persevere against all odds, but . . .

If she appears to want the job too much and hang tough until the end, she risks coming across as needy, greedy or pathetic.

She must outwit, out perform, out debate and stand up to every challenger, but . . .

She can’t talk too loud, talk too sternly, express offense or defend her position too vehemently (She might sound like a bitch).

She must be skilled at using rhetoric to inspire others, but . . .

She must never embellish or personally interpret any circumstance or situation. (Men are great communicators, women have a tendency to exaggerate, lie and manipulate the truth to their advantage).

She must not get too excited or show too much emotion, but . . .

She can’t be too stoic (She might look like a bitch).

She has to win the majority vote, but . . .

She must understand that she’s not running in a popularity contest (If anyone figures that one out, let me know).

We’ve come a long way, baby, but . . .

It’s nothing compared to how far we have yet to go.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Being a MA’d Goddess woman isn’t necessarily about age (as in middle aged). It’s about a stage that all women come to – some sooner, some later.

This past weekend, I went to the chick-flick premier with my daughter. It (our evening, not the movie) was all about a girl’s night out and started with a potential group of about half a dozen. One by one, our entourage dwindled until it was just the two of us.

First to drop was my daughter’s girlfriend, whose not-exactly-boyfriend (translate, when he’s interested he’s her boyfriend), suffered serious injury through his own stupidity. Now, I’m not so callous as to deny succor to the stupid – after all they generally don’t know (or maybe can’t help) that they are the dullest crayon. But in this case, the crisis was past and his prognosis was good. Still, she couldn’t possibly go out and have a good time with her gal pals while he just lay there in agony – and the care of round-the-clock nurses seeing to his every need. Her time would be better spent, at home, babysitting somebody’s kids. The whole thing sounded like doing penance to me but I’m not sure if it was for the sin of contemplating having a good time with her girlfriends, or for not being in the accident with the guy who’s not exactly her boyfriend.

Next to drop us like a dirty shirt downt he laundry shoot was the girlfriend whose husband decided this was (finally) the perfect time to install the floor tiles in their kitchen. She couldn’t leave him there to do it all alone after she’d been bugging him for so long and kept promising she would help if he could just find the time. Suddenly finding the time when she had other plans is a classic man tactic. The diversion saved him trouble of telling the truth, which is, “I don’t want you getting dressed up, looking hot and traveling with a pack of other dressed up hotties. You’ll draw the attention of men . . . who I know are pigs . . . because I’m a man.”

Oh, how truly clueless some males are about the ritual of girl’s night out when you’re a MA’d Goddess woman. Sure, we dress fine and we like to turn heads, but if we’re out looking for anything it’s a break from PMS – putting up with men’s shit. The last thing we want to hear is some line of bull from a horny animal.

So, with all the no-shows it was just my daughter and I. We had a perfectly lovely evening, starting at an A-list restaurant my husband suggested (even though he’d wanted to take me there first). Dinner was on her husband, who knows how to treat his mother-in-law right. Drinks at the coolest martini bar in three counties were on my husband, who knows that no man shall part a MA’d Goddess and her martinis – and a wise man will keep them coming.

And then, in a darkened theater, the screen lit up on a New York skyline and a familiar, simple tune gave rise to a cheer of Ma’d Goddess women heard round the world – or at least in our time zone. And whether they were 20-something or 50-something, they shared a bond of wisdom, a knowledge not born of a certain age, but of reaching a stage of certainty. Of finally figuring out that we don’t need anybody to complete us, just to meet us halfway.

And on that silver screen, four women confirmed that life is never perfect, that loving somebody is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, that your heart will be broken, but it can be fixed (one way or another), that when you stumble you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back up on those high-heels (literally or metaphorically), and if you keep doing that, eventually, you’ll come to know yourself and what you want. And lastly, that once you figure it out, who gives a shit what anybody else thinks.

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