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Sarah E. Hinlicky

SWF Seeks Marriage Partner

I've got it all. So why do I want a husband?

I have every reason to despise this book. No matter what they say, this is the best time ever to be a white American woman. Universities are bristling with scholarships for me, dying to turn me into a leader of the free world because of the happy accident of my gender. Quota-fillers are swarming to my door begging for the grace of my employment with their firm. The glass ceiling lies shattered at the feet of the corporate stepladder I am compelled to climb. I haven't even a qualm about walking through the parking lot at night to the car that shuttles me through my father- and husband-free life. I am fearless, bold, working, studying, opinionated, and successful.

There is only one flaw in my spotless life, a bitty little blemish that I must strive to conceal lest it mar the Teflon exterior of my precarious postmodern existence. And this relentless book exposes it. I want to get married, I whisper to the world, and with that the mighty warship of liberated womanhood is dashed to pieces between the Scylla of patriarchy and the Charybdis of femininity. I stand convicted: a humiliation to women everywhere.

The handbook to my downfall is innocuously titled Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying, edited by Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass. A volume in the new Ethics of Everyday Life series from Notre Dame Press, it is an "unapologetically pro-marriage anthology," as the dust jacket proclaims, intended to force well-trained feminists of both sexes to start asking the ickiest of questions: Why marry? What about sex? Is this love? How can I find and win the right one? Why a wedding? What can married life be like? (Conveniently enough, these are the subheadings of each section of the book.)

What's worse, this anthology is designed not only to provoke such questions—questions which are surely signs of embarrassing weakness of character and inveterate dependency in our world of Very Strong Humanoids—but also to send us looking for answers in decidedly un-contemporary ...

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